Letters to the Editor: Perspectives on fish fry story/responses

Some day St. Louis will be on the map, as the place where Larry Levin, Publisher/CEO for the Jewish Light, founded the movement for “Interfaith Food.”

As a Reform Jew (my daughter’s family belongs to Shaare Emeth) who believes in tikkun olam (Healing the World), I think I’m all for it. But more details, please.

I am familiar with “Interfaith Dialogue.” That’s when representatives of different religions gather to discuss differences and similarities. But “Interfaith Food” is when a mariachi and “children dressed in Mexican folk costumes entertain” Lenten observers lined up in a church gymnasium for fried fish, and a couple of Jews show up to “nosh” on chips and pico de gallo?

What is essential, here? For “Interfaith Food?” The Jews, the “noshing” or the pico de gallo?

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(Incidentally, in Yiddish, a “nosh” is a sweet treat. “Noshing” seems to be Yenglish for eating lightly. I am sorry I do not know the “Interfaith Food” equivalent for snacking.)

Evyan Jacobs

Delray Beach, Fla.

I was honestly shocked and embarrassed that so many people were bothered by the Jewish Light talking about local fish fries (Letters to the editor, April 6)! Are the readers not aware that there probably are in fact, many non-Jewish readers out there who are likely members of interfaith couples or families?

Did it occur to anyone that those non-Jewish readers may have felt a little more accepted by our community as a result of that article? I personally see nothing wrong with it and I think that a big problem with our Jewish community is the fact that many people within it do not think of any other way than their “Jewish” way.

What is the worst thing that could happen if a fellow Jew chose to go to a fish fry simply to see what it was about? Perhaps he or she might learn something, make a new friend, experience something new, or grow a little as a person! I don’t see this as a bad thing, and I think more Jews would benefit greatly if they stepped outside of their comfort zones a little more often. In my opinion, the Jewish Light deserves a pat on the back for encouraging such things. If Jews don’t want to be discriminated against by people outside our community, then perhaps we should make sure we are not guilty of the same offense.

Sarah Oberman

St. Louis

In light of the fish fry fracas, let me recommend the Greek Orthodox Church (Assumption) Friday lunch on West Outer 270 near Manchester. The food is excellent and the diversity is wonderful. The menu is more varied than a fish fry and it is interesting to tour other religious institutions.

Robert Hoffman

Chesterfield

The rebuttal about church-y fish-Meal or no meal? Perspectives on interfaith food, April 6-showed contempt for the Light’s readers by completely ignoring our concerns.

That was not “interfaith food” you were writing about. “Interfaith” is PC, but Lenten fried fish, not necessarily. None of the featured churches, not in their most utopian imaginings, planned to sizzle up food from the sea that patrons of all faiths could enjoy. (Why is a church fish fry “interfaith food” any more than dinner on the Hill?) Bubbling oil; jingling coins. The degree of organization suggests that fish fry dinners, like Bingo, are important church fundraisers. (The Light’s “staffers” have lately been to any good Interfaith-Bingo?)

“We live in a community that doesn’t include just us.” Have the Light’s readers written in great numbers to object to worthy coverage of universal issues such as public transit or health care? No! Straw-man arguments: not kosher.

“Not all of our staff is Jewish.” Have the Light’s readers written to object to employment of non-Jews? No! The Light’s employees are part of The Club (Official membership is in JProStl.), a group of professionals paid to care about Jewish causes. The Jewish community employs committed people of any persuasion-Orthodox, Reform, Conservative, By-choice Jews, Bagel-and-lox Jews, Not-at-all Jews.

But The Club is just a sliver of the Light’s subscribers. Journalism 101: Home improvement magazines do not advise readers how to self-tune a Harley or choose the best color lipstick. The Light should print what the greater part of Jewish St. Louis wants to read and needs to know. If the Light panders, let it not be to those who are professionally Jewish, let it be to a more critical contingent, the philanthropically Jewish.

“…we are not honestly aware that modern-day, community-based Catholic fish fries have contributed in any way to persecution of Jews.” We almost choked on our fish, while reading that sentence. No one in any of the letters gave the faintest hint of objection on account of Catholic persecution of Jews. And if other crank writers or callers did, why take-up their complaints in print?

“Our readers’ chains were yanked…all because our staffers had an enjoyable Friday-afternoon meal.” Before this the Light’s readers did not care, nor do they care now, where or what staffers eat on Friday or any other afternoon. Ein gitten oppetit! But choose more carefully on what you spend our ink.

“So we’re standing our ground.” (Or swimming upstream?) As if the Light had been used as a forum on an issue of consequence. There’s a place for free promotion of church-y fish. In other publications.

We have thought that Larry Levin enjoys being big fry in a small kettle of fish. Is he big enough to apologize to his readers for making fried fish of the precious resources with which he is weekly entrusted?

Jeff and Daphne Rosenblatt

O’Fallon, Mo.