Letters to the Editor, June 3, 2010

Creating a ‘Sukkat Shalom’

I read in disbelief your defense of the tasteless depiction of the Prophet Mohammed by the TV show “South Park” (“Comic Belief” editorial, April 28). Jewish tradition states that we – and our institutions – must be a “Sukkat Shalom,” a place of peace for all whom want to worship. For a Jewish institution to defend this action is appalling. The depiction of the Prophet is an offense to Islamic tradition – with a rule against depicting God and the prophets from the Hadith, a collection of sayings and actions attributed to Mohammed (along with a few passages in the Quran that seem to offer support for the idea.

While I agree “South Park” has a first amendment right to trash someone’s religion, it does not make it right. I find it hypocritical to attack those who find the “South Park” depiction as tasteless while in same space a few weeks earlier your editorial criticized Catholic priests for the same type of tastelessness.

Your editorial stated: “Whichever religion or movement is involved, there is no question that hiding sexual abuse from the public is indefensible. And to attempt to avoid responsibility or pacify the public with deflective and inappropriate statements such as those by Cantalamessa is itself seriously shameful. For any institution fraught with an epidemic of ills, the best defense is never to take the offensive; it’s to accept responsibility, show contrition, provide the utmost candor, and demonstrate humility and compassion.”   


I question why is  it shameless and offensive when talking about Jewish flash points, such as the Holocaust or perceived anti-Semititism but you defend those who use Islamic flash points as a first amendment right.

Rethink your point and truily make our Jewish “tent” a Sukkat Shalom – a place for all to come.

Rick Isserman

Creve Coeur

Jewish early childhood programs show community’s strength

I read with interest the recent article about the new hours for the Saul Spielberg Early Childhood Center. Last year, B’nai Amoona Early Childhood Center became a full-day (7 a.m. to 6 p.m.), year-round program for children 1-5 years old,with hours similar to the programs that were already offered in the Early Childhood Centers of the Jewish Community Center and Shaare Zedek. St. Louis is truly blessed with a wealth of wonderful Jewish early childhood programs from which to choose. All are committed to offering early childhood experiences deeply and lovingly rooted in strong Jewish values and teachings. All are responding to the changing needs of families with young children in the hope of providing viable options for families in these changing times. And, while we all, of course, hope to build our programs, most importantly, we sincerely hope that families will choose a Jewish early childhood environment for their children. We take seriously our responsibility to make this possible.


Sue Boxer

Director, B’nai Amoona Early Childhood Center