Letters to the editor of the St. Louis Jewish Light


Story about helping Ukrainian family warms the heart 

In this frightening world with so many upsetting issues in the news, it was heartwarming for me to read about Lynn Wittels and her generosity in helping the Ukrainian family whose son, Nikita, needed surgery here. She reminded me that I am very proud to be a member of the St. Louis Jewish community!

Marcia Weber
St. Louis County

Yom Yerushalayim commentary resonates with readers

Having just come back from Israel, I really appreciated reading the May 10 op-ed “Yom Yerushalayim: A day of glory, gratitude and remembrance” by Rabbi Ze’ev Smason and Rabbi Yonason Goldson. Traveling through the biblical heartland of Israel to Mt Gerizim (Har Bracha) and Mt. Eval; seeing Shchem/Nablus, the burial place of Joseph; Shiloh, the site of the Tabernacle (and first spiritual capital of Israel for 369 years); Jerusalem and the city of David; and Hebron, the city of Abraham. The archeology, the history and the Jewish connection to the land is so palpable, I recommend that everyone do it.

I would also suggest that we refer to it as Judea and Samaria so we remember, and we remind the world that the Jewish people are connected to this area of Israel, too.

Rabbi Yosef David
St. Louis

Thank you for publishing the commentary by Rabbi Ze’ev Smason and Rabbi Yonason Goldson debunking the false claims that Jews don’t belong in Israel. May the day come soon when Hashem makes these false claims seem ridiculous in the eyes of the entire world.

Barbara Olevitch
University City

I want to commend the St. Louis Jewish Light for printing in its May 10th issue the historically informative article by Rabbis Ze’ev Smason and Yonason Goldson about the legitimacy of Jerusalem as well as Israel itself.  We need to be reading more articles of this nature so that all Jews are educated to the facts and able to hold their own in any debate.  

Too many people both here and in Europe especially have become swayed by the “victimization” of those in the refugee camps who for decades have remained pawns of Israel’s hostile Arab neighbors. The fact that our own United States took land from the indigenous people here, as did the Australian government do to their Aboriginals, has never been condemned by the United Nations, nor led to boycotts, and our histories were made by settlers who never had ancestors living on the land! 

The rabbis’ commentary contains the facts that prove that Israel historically and rightfully has long been Jewish territory, and that knowledge is essential to continue our struggle as a Jewish people.  Please continue to print more and similar articles on the opinion page.

Linda Shore Creve Coeur House vote on Israel resolution

Regarding “Rep. Ann Wagner’s resolution honoring Israel’s 75th passes. Rep. Cori Bush among 19 voting against” (published online, April 26): Again U.S. Rep Cori Bush, D-Mo., has shown utter disdain and contempt for the state of Israel by voting against a resolution praising the Jewish state and its accomplishments since declaring its independence in 1948.

Bush has supported the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, and she has failed to condemn the murders by Palestinians of innocent Israelis.

Her actions are truly egregious and show a complete lack of knowledge and understanding for Israel, which has continuously defended itself against Palestinian terrorism for the past 75 years. Apparently, Bush has forgotten the many times Israel has attempted to make peace with the Palestinians but has been rebuffed and met with stubborn resistance.

That said, Israel will continue to thrive and flourish knowing that the overwhelming majority of the world’s population supports its democratic ideals and its right to defend itself against those enemies who seek to destroy it.

Gene Carton

Community’s response to antisemitism

In a famous 1927 concurrence, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis famously posited what has become known as the “Counterspeech Doctrine.” In America, we don’t correct falsehoods and fallacies by muzzling the speaker, but by challenging them with superior counterarguments.

“If there be time to expose through discussion, the falsehoods and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence,” Brandeis said.

I wish the Israeli American Council (IAC) had heeded Brandeis’ wisdom in fashioning a response to the Parkway elementary school anti-Israel poster incident. (“Highcroft Ridge Elementary combating antisemitism after International Night incident” Jewish Light, originally published online on May 16). 

The IAC chose “training” the school’s faculty to mandate student silence, rather than leading a larger debate on the content of the posters, which among other things, wrongly states that Palestine was formed in 1948 and disparages the purpose of an entire people as being based solely on a state of resistance to Israel (“to exist is to resist”). Aggressively it alleges Israel practices ethnic cleansing and genocide. 

These accusations should be examined in the light of nations that have actually performed one or the other egregious act. Are they true? If not, why not? 

For Jews, the world will remain full of our critics – that is the design of it.  Are we scared to engage with the inevitable elementary school student critics of Israel? Do we really believe “enforcing silence” is persuasive? 

We’ve been here before. Jewish St. Louisans and Parkway residents will remember well Parkway’s antisemitic 2008 “Hit a Jew Day” debacle.

Although our parent-led movement made some waves, we were not strong enough to get the then-intervening Jewish organization — the Anti-Defamation League — to provide anything more than a tepid response. 

There were physical attacks against Jews because they are Jews. And our community leaders went weak-kneed.

Now, in the face of mere words, we demand silence. That only proves we are weak-kneed. But we need not be. 

Let’s ask Parkway schools to trade in ideas; to teach our children how to think freely, and to engage in open, peaceful dialogue. 

As Justice Brandeis advised, let’s respond to antisemitism with “more speech,” seizing the opportunity to correct the record and respectfully change minds.

Edward “Coach” Weinhaus
Creve Coeur Clayton