Letters to the Editor: October 31, 2018


Condolences from NAACP  

On behalf of the St. Louis NAACP I extend our heartfelt condolences to our families and friends within the Jewish community. But it cannot go unsaid that with the establishment of the Third Reich in 1933, German leaders proclaimed the rebirth of Volksgemeinschaft, dividing the population into two groups: “national comrades” who belonged to the Volksgemeinschaft. And the Gemeinscaftsfremde, “community aliens” who did not. And the same sort of hate was prevalent last year when white supremacists in Charlottesville invoked the classic imagery of Nazi racist terror with a torch light march, chanting “Jews will not replace us.” And that hatred was present yesterday when worshippers attending services at a Pittsburgh synagogue were slaughtered, in the bloodiest act of anti-Semitism in American history.

While our faith moves us to extend the Right Hand of Fellowship to those who hate, we all must continue to “fight for the freedom” stolen yesterday at a Pittsburgh synagogue. 

“O Lord, grant that this night we may sleep in peace. And in the morning our awakening may also be in peace. May our daytime be cloaked in peace. Protect us and inspire us to think and act out of love.”

Volunteer with CASA ad

Adolphus Pruitt, President of St. Louis City NAACP

Reactions to Tree of Life vigil at the J   

Thank you to all those involved in yesterday’s Tree of Life vigil at the Jewish Community Center. It was a truly moving and meaningful ceremony bringing together people of many backgrounds and faiths.

Conspicuously present were both Sen. Roy Blunt and Rep. Ann Wagner. Thank you to both of them as well for helping my/our community mourn, yet again, another tragedy of gun violence. 

I, along with others I’ve spoken with, noticed Sen. Blunt clapping during, what seemed like, anti-gun remarks by some of the speakers.

So, I’m curious, Sen. Blunt and Rep, Wagner, given your record(s) on gun control legislation, what is your stance on semiautomatic rifles like the AR-15, the weapon used in many mass shootings (Pittsburgh, Orlando, Las Vegas, Parkland, Newton, etc…)?

Michael Slawin, St. Louis

I attended the unity rally at the Jewish community Center on Oct. 28, one day after the massacre in Pittsburgh.  We had a great attendance with people from multiple groups within the greater community.  Clearly the preponderance of the attendance were Jewish people showing solidarity, compassion and unity.  In my view the crime perpetrated in Pittsburgh was greater than a crime against the Jewish people and was a crime against humanity.  Although they were our brethren who were slaughtered, and with whom we feel great kinship, the crime was against civilization and all good and well-meaning people of any group.  I was heartened to see representatives of the interfaith council, elected leaders, and people of other ethnicities and races. 

I was very disappointed and dismayed by the extremely inappropriate comments of State Sen. Jill Schupp and Rabbi Andrea Goldstein with their highly divisive messages imploring people to vote, a subterranean message that Democrats are the party of inclusion and the Republicans the party of exclusion.  This was not the time or the place for this type of rhetoric.

The unity rally at the Jewish Community Center was intended to bring us together, not to divide us. It was not intended as a political rally.  I wholeheartedly support the right of every American to express freedom of expression and to vote for whomever she or he chooses.

I would appreciate that in the future a unity rally unify rather divide.

Myron H. Jacobs, M.D., Clayton

Response to letter

In response to my concern about Missouri’s governor scheduling an extraordinary session of the legislature on Rosh Hashanah, Mr. James Pollock (Letters to the Editor, Oct. 24) remarked on my insensitivity in scheduling a community Health Care Fair on Shabbat. I appreciate the opportunity to address his legitimate concern.  

Before I schedule an event on Shabbat, I give heartfelt consideration to the tenets of my Jewish faith, the message I am sending, and the alternative options.   

The (Health) Care Fair was a relatively easy decision.  Most of the people who would be served by access to 44 health care vendors, all providing free services, were non-Jewish. The event has always taken place in Overland, an area of the district I represent where some people face economic challenges.  In some cases, the services provided are literally life-saving. From blood pressure screenings, to flu shots, to mental health care, dental screenings, vision screenings, free trigger locks, financial literacy services and so much more, I have determined that the availability of vendors for two morning hours receives the most public usage on Saturday.    

I take to heart the precept likening saving one life to saving the world. 

Mr. Pollock and others may not agree with my decision.  But I think they can agree with the idea that using my role as a state senator to provide free healthcare services to as many people as possible is indeed respecting my religion.    

State Senator Jill Schupp, District 24