Letters to the Editor: July 19, 2017

Editorial off-base 

I am appalled at your June 28 editorial headline, “Bibi’s Biggest Blunder,” about the Israeli prime minister’s cancellation of plans for a pluralistic prayer site at the Western Wall. 

Women in Judaism are far from being considered second-class citizens. The law of separate prayer at the beloved wall is a Torah-Judaic requirement: It is in no way a claim that the female gender is harassed or counted as second-class to men. It is Torah law that prayers be recited in separately furnished facilities in Jewish observance. 

Women are an integral part of Jewish life and have a totally reputable position as such, according to Jewish law. 

The prime minister made no blunder at all. He is carrying out Jewish-Torah required law, with absolutely no offense of any kind to Jewish women. 

Howard Sandler

University City



UNESCO Hebron resolution deserves attention

We are appalled at the travesty and insult to Jewish history and the Jewish people perpetrated by UNESCO in its resolution designating the old city of Hebron and the Cave of the Patriarchs as a Palestinian World Heritage Site. The Hebron resolution, which refers to the city as “Islamic,”  denies thousands of years of Jewish history, as well as Christian ties to the site, where the biblical patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, as well as the matriarchs Sarah, Rebecca and Leah, are said to be buried.

• Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said, “UNESCO seems intent on spouting anti-Jewish lies, while it remains silent  as the region’s heritage is destroyed by brutal extremists.” 

• Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett called the vote a disgrace. Bennett said the “Jewish bond to Hebron is stronger than any vote and dates back thousands of years.” 

• A statement by the United States Delegation to the World Heritage Committee said, “The decision to inscribe Hebron/Al-Khalil Old Town on an emergency basis is divisive, confusing and impossible to justify. The site is not under any real or immediate threat. Indeed, the only urgency here is an urgency to express political anger.” 

• U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said the move was both tragic and an “affront to history,” and that the U.S. would review its ties with the world body as a result of the decision.

We, the undersigned members of St. Louis Friends of Israel, submit this letter in the absence of any substantial Jewish Light coverage of this crucially important development. We believe that the Jewish community must be fully informed about UNESCO’s attempt to destroy Jewish history.

Galit Lev-Harir, Traci Goldstein, David Rubin, Rachel Katzman, Irl Solomon, Laura Goldmeier, Mike Minoff, Richard Senturia, Marcy Cornfeld, Stuart Klamen and Zev Rosenberg



Court ruling and the church-state divide

Back in the 1970s, my son attended a secular private school, Rossman, in St. Louis County.  Suddenly, books became available to Rossman students “at no charge.” Of course, almost everyone was delighted. Just as suddenly, the state of Missouri decided that taxpayer-funded books were unconstitutional for religious and private schools. Even back in the 1970s, Missouri got it right.

Barbara K. Geller

Creve Coeur



Celebration of life for Holocaust survivor

On Sunday, July 23, we will have the opportunity to celebrate the life and honor the legacy of the late Jerry Koenig, who died on June 11. Mr. Koenig was a Holocaust survivor whose stories of life in Poland, escape from the Warsaw ghetto, and nearly two years when he and his family were bunkered underneath a barn in the countryside, have educated and inspired thousands of St. Louis area residents. A celebration of his life will begin at 2 p.m. at the Jewish Federation of St. Louis Kopolow Building, 12 Millstone Campus Drive. Mr. Koenig’s life was an inspiration and his memory will always be a blessing.

Barbara Finch