Letters to the editor: Oct. 7, 2020


Help Americans by passing relief bill

Without time to mourn the passing of a remarkable woman of integrity and compassion (“Ruth Bader Ginsburg, first Jewish woman to serve on the Supreme Court, dies at 87,” Sept. 18), our country leapt into political squabbling yet again. Merely a day after she passed, President Donald Trump tweeted that Republican senators have an obligation to move forward with a justice selection without delay. Despite what Trump says, senators don’t have an obligation to rush through the process of a critical lifetime appointment before Nov. 3rd.

Senators do have a pressing moral obligation to protect their constituents. Instead of insisting on disregarding Ginsburg’s dying wishes, they could at least focus on alleviating the suffering of Americans and pass a COVID-19 relief bill. They should quickly pass a package including a 15% increase for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) plus $100 billion in rental and mortgage assistance. Senators Roy Blunt and Josh Hawley should remember that this is the urgent business we need them to take care of immediately.

Cynthia Changyit Levin

Beth Shalom Cemetery ad

Town and Country

Counterpoints to Rochester column

In response to Marty Rochester’s Sept. 23 opinion piece on anti-Semitism in the 2020 election, I must disagree. It is my opinion that Donald Trump and the Republican Party are very comfortable embracing anti-Semitism and white nationalism. As we witnessed in the first presidential debate, when asked directly to condemn white supremacy, Trump refused to do so.

While there is anti-Semitism on the left to be sure, most of it aimed at Israel, but some revealed in attitudes toward American Jews, the presence of a few virulent anti-Israel “left wingers” does not mean “both sides” have a problem, especially when anti-Semites on the left are quickly condemned and repudiated. It means neither party is immune, but only one party is infested with conspiracy-mongering, white nationalism and anti-Semitism.

And as the Pittsburgh native Bari Weiss said after the Tree of Life massacre when she issued a warning to American Jews who aligned with Trump because they liked his policies, “I hope this week that American Jews have woken up to the price of that bargain. They have traded policies that they like for the values that have sustained the Jewish People and frankly this country forever: welcoming the stranger, dignity for all human beings, equality under the law, respect for dissent, love of truth. These are the things that we are losing under the president, and no policy is worth that price.”

Jay Goldstein


In the Sept 23 issue, Marty Rochester addresses “Which party better represents Jews?”  I would rephrase that question as “Which presidential candidate better represents American Jews?”

After President Trump’s performance in last Tuesday’s debate, it seems clear that the answer should be a resounding “Biden.”  American Jews must stand for democracy in this country.  Trump’s insistence, without evidence, more than a month before Nov. 3, that the ballot results will be false (if he loses) is undermining a fundamental feature of our American democracy.

His instruction to a group of far-right gun-wielding individuals to “stand by” is an invitation to violent action by the kind of people Jews and other minorities should fear. To be sure, Jews should acknowledge Trump’s support of Israel, and we should acknowledge that some in the far left wing of the Democratic Party appear to be anti-Semitic.  But if support for Israel and opposition to anti-Semitism must come accompanied by destruction of peaceful democratic processes in the United States, it should be clear to American Jews that Trump must be soundly defeated.

Martin H. Israel


In defense of Trump

I am a Jewish voter who recognizes President Donald Trump’s achievements and am disillusioned by the Democratic party.

Trump is great for the Middle East. A big reason that the Abraham Accords was achieved was due to Trump tossing out the atrocious Iranian deal, and uniting Arab countries who are enemies of Iran. Trump has also trampled on ISIS, which grew under the previous administration.

Trump is not a racist. Throughout his term, he has improved the financial health of Black universities. He signed the Futures ACT which guarantees funding for historically Black colleges and universities every year. Trump also signed groundbreaking prison reform which eliminated the “three strikes” life sentencing provision and increased the budget for rehabilitation and job training for inmates — thereby helping the large minority prison population.

Prior to COVID-19, our economy broke records due to Trump’s astute policies. His daily COVID-19 briefings during the spring included many experts. He used the Defense Production Act to increase the production of ventilators and PPE. He mobilized ships and make-shift hospitals to handle the overload.

From day one, Trump has been bullied by the Democrats who continue to spend the majority of their time trying to overthrow Trump rather than trying to improve our country.

Trump didn’t win because of Russian interference. He won because he was the better candidate.

Debi Neff

Lake St. Louis

Troubling echoes of the past

Just when we thought things couldn’t get any worse—after this despicable and inept president takes no responsibility for the mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic, causing 200,000-and-counting citizens to die; after he insults and demeans veterans and military personnel; after he can’t bring himself to show respect to the late Representative John Lewis; after he threatens the legitimacy of the upcoming election; after he dishonors Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg within hours of her death by chanting “Fill that seat” and shamefully, by the next day, sells T-shirts with that slogan; now he leads the Republican Party in their total hypocrisy by reversing their 2016 position of insisting that the next administration should choose her replacement.

Having served as a volunteer docent at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., there was a lot about Donald Trump in his 2016 campaign that reminded me of 1930s Germany. Those feelings of dread, unfortunately, have not abated.

In light of my current state of distress, it probably wasn’t the best idea this week to read French author Eric Vuillard’s prize-winning book, “The Order of the Day.” A dramatic account of Nazi Germany’s annexation of Austria, with the complicity of government officials, business leaders and private citizens, Vuillard’s declaration, “Great catastrophes often creep up on us in tiny steps,” will never leave me.

Further, two reviewers must have had Missouri Senators (Roy) Blunt and (Josh) Hawley in mind when they wrote: “With this vivid, compelling history, Eric Vuillard warns against the peril of willfully blind acquiescence and offers a reminder that, ultimately, the worst is not inescapable,” and “The worst tragedies of the century are preceded or accompanied by the ludicrous activities of mediocre individuals.”

Sherilyn Krell


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