Letters to the Editor: July 1, 2020


An uplifting story 

What a wonderful, heartwarming headlining article about the father-son reunion written by Ellen Futterman in the June 17 edition of the Light!  I can’t begin to express how deeply touching this story was, especially welcomed coming at a time where all we seem to hear and read about is very upsetting, depressing news.  Hats off to the Light and all involved!

Linda Shore, Creve Coeur

CJL was important community resource

I agree with those who have written to disapprove of the ending of the Federation’s Center for Jewish Learning (CJL). Many good points have been made.

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It seems that we are using our resources more for buildings and facilities than for activities which will help our peoplehood survive. We name our buildings and spaces for people who have given a lot of money; we buy engraved bricks to pave gardens and line walls; that’s fine, and we’re grateful that we have those nice places. But physical artifacts are, in history, insignificant; a drive down Delmar Boulevard reveals several buildings which not long ago were synagogues, and in 40 years, our current buildings will likely be repurposed as well.

One of the prime reasons given for discontinuing CJL is that its offerings duplicate congregational offerings. My personal interest is biblical Hebrew, and I had been attending a CJL class in that subject. Let me ask, then: Does your congregation offer serious education in biblical Hebrew? Or do we just leave that learning to seminaries and yeshivot, and let those who know it tell the rest of us what’s in the Tanach and our siddurim?

When the Second Temple was destroyed, some very wise rabbis determined that the future of the Jewish people, no longer having a place of its own, depended on education; apparently, they were right. Is it so different now? How can we justify our existence if we don’t know enough to argue for it?

Andy Curry, Creve Coeur

Newspaper space can be put to better use   

The June 4 letter from Michael Berg attacking Missouri’s new anti-BDS legislation should never have been published. First, the legislation clearly uses compromise language, so it passes Constitutional muster. Second, it helps fight against anti-Semitic boycotts on Jewish businesses that have plagued our people’s history. 

The following are some previous submissions by Mr. Berg to the Light

• Oct. 20, 2015 – vilifying Prime Minister Netanyahu for inaccurate comments about the former Mufti of Jerusalem being the instigator of the “Final Solution” but expressing no outrage that he actually shared Adolf Hitler’s murderous desires.

• Dec. 16, 2015 – a signatory to the  “Open Letter Response” from the local chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace, outrageously accusing Israel of ethnic cleansing and colonization. The Anti-Defamation League website lists JVP as a “radical anti-Israel activist group that advocates for a complete economic, cultural and academic boycott of the state of Israel” (read the ADL’s full backgrounder at https://bit.ly/ADL-JVP). 

• Dec. 7, 2016 – Defending well-documented anti-Semite Roger Waters as being engaged in “non-violent advocacy for racial justice…”

• Nov. 23, 2017 – attacking the Light’s editorial board for supporting the ADL working with Israeli and American police departments to help combat extremism, terrorism and hate crimes.

• Nov. 14, 2018 – Questioning whether American Jews should support Israel at all. 

The Light should cease giving space to such haters.

Marc Jacob, University City

Reader responds to Rochester column

I was disturbed by Marty Rochester’s June 17 commentary “Civics, history education needs a dose of honesty” for a few of reasons. 

First, never mentions that many young people today show their patriotism by improving our country, not by blindly, passively valuing its freedoms. There is evidence for this kind of patriotism in a piece pubished by The Conversation [a nonprofit publisher of news analysis and commentary online]  — read it online at https://tinyurl.com/ycte8qbs). We may seem less patriotic because we believe in American ideals and want society to uphold them. 

Secondly, when Marty Rochester appropriately criticizes history textbooks of his youth merely including “the obligatory mention of slavery, the relocation of Native Americans…the internment of Japanese-Americans…and other such blemishes,” he doesn’t mention a key problem: We are often only taught about U.S. government-sanctioned racism that occurred decades ago. 

When young people learn later that government-sanctioned racism also occurred repeatedly within our lifetimes, we realize that teachers withheld or didn’t know uncomfortable truths about the government worsening racial inequity in recent decades. For example, the book “The Color of Law” cites a Dallas Morning News report that government segregation of public housing, even in previously integrated neighborhoods, meant that as late as the 1980s, almost 10 million people in public housing were segregated by race and that whites received better services/maintenance/amenities.

Thirdly, Rochester blames a lack of patriotism largely on Howard Zinn’s book “A People’s History of the United States” and the “1619 Project.” Even if it’s true that these works demonstrate poor scholarship (I haven’t read them or the relevant critiques), it’s still true that countless sources besides these highlight truths avoided in civics (e.g., see “When Affirmative Action was White” and “The Color of Law”). When people learn from so many reputable sources what they didn’t learn, is it not both logical and ethical that they display less love for an America that has never offered liberty or justice for all?

Molly Zeff, St. Louis

President deserves credit for Israel support

The Jewish Light cannot write any editorial without slamming President Donald Trump.  This was true in “Shavuot and the Rule of Law” (June 3). 

It is really a shame to not present what Trump has done for the State of Israel. He moved the embassy to Jerusalem, pulled out of (Barack) Obama’s disastrous Iran deal and gave official recognition of the Golan Heights. Finally, Trump cut $200 million in U.S. aid to Palestinians, who have used that money to fund terrorism.

This is why so many Israelis are pro-Trump. Too bad this paper feels differently.

James Pollock, Town and Country

Movement’s ties to anti-Israel platform troubles reader 

I taught for 25 years at Rutgers University, one of the most diverse of American universities. I secured multiple grants providing financial help for minority students.

I also secured funds for Rutgers faculty members to teach faculty at a Haitian school of nursing and made several trips to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.

My career accomplishments are a statement of what I believe—that treating other people differently because of their skin color or ethnic group is wrong.

However, Black Lives Matter mixes support for Blacks with hateful anti-Semitic messages that I cannot support. 

BLM is affiliated with the Movement 4 Black Lives (M4BL) whose manifesto states that Israel is genocidal and an an apartheid state. 

Although the media falsely refers to “peaceful protests” that have taken place after the heinous murder of George Floyd, anti-Semitic chants have been heard, though rarely reported in mainstream media. 

I could go on, but it all points to the fact that there is a moral gap in those who support the rights of Blacks while denying the rights of Jews. 

Elise L. Lev, Professor Emeritus, Rutgers, The State University of N.J.

Currently living in The Villages, Fla.


Call to resign  

St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson has endangered the lives of those demanding justice for the oppressed. By reading the names and addresses of protestors aloud on Facebook, she has attempted to silence and intimidate those who know that Black lives matter. She should resign her post. It is the only way to put right the wrong she has done. As a person who recognizes the systemic racism entrenched in police law enforcement, I am calling for her resignation, and I ask the rest of the Jewish community in St. Louis to join me.

Krista Hyde, St Louis