Letters to the editor: Week of Aug. 27, 2014

Jewish community and Ferguson

For two weeks now, the Light has published letters and editorials from local Jews who are dissatisfied with the Jewish response to the situation in Ferguson, or should I say the perceived insufficiency of such a response.

As an active participant in Jewish Federation leadership programming, a trustee of my temple and, yes, a trustee of this very publication, I am acutely aware of many actions and undertakings of various Jewish organizations and individuals in order to bring healing to Ferguson and the community at large. 

The difference, I believe, is that very few of these individuals and organizations have felt the compulsion to draw attention to themselves via the media, despite the ample opportunities to do so.

New Mt. Sinai Cemetery advertisement

Sometimes it’s the quiet assistance, unburdened by the need to schedule actual labor in between photo ops and dropping sound bites, that does the most good. Hard as it may be to believe, it is possible to make a positive difference in one’s community without having attention drawn to it.

During a time when the eradication of preconceived notions is more important then ever, it’s crucial to keep in mind that silence does not always mean inaction.

Yale Hollander, Ballwin

The “Jewish Community Statement on the Situation in Ferguson” (Aug. 20 edition) is painfully inadequate. Maybe much worse. The statement  highlights “bravery and devotion” of public servants and calls looting “reprehensible,” while failing to demonstrate unequivocal outrage about police brutality and institutional racism evident in local law enforcement. The statement fails to acknowledge that the tragedy and its aftermath were caused by public servants and a violently retributive police culture. The only “bravery and devotion” I see are demonstrated by Michael Brown’s family and the people of Ferguson seeking justice and an end to racist bullying tactics. 

Looting and wanton property damage are wrong. If looting is “reprehensible,” what do you call shooting an unarmed person six times? This is a scary lack of empathy.  Maybe much worse. I fear the statement will have the exact opposite effect as the one honestly intended. Maybe much worse.

Gary Weiss, Frontenac

Oppose veto override of HB1307   

It always concerns me when Missouri lawmakers insist they know what’s best for Missouri women. That’s exactly what happened when they passed House Bill 1307, an extreme measure that would make Missouri one of only three states to force a 72-hour delay on a woman needing an abortion. This bill isn’t about helping a woman make the best decision for her circumstances, but rather about shaming her for a decision she’s already made. These politicians’ goal is to place one more hurdle in the path of a woman who has already made a difficult decision. 

There is only one women’s health center that provides abortions in Missouri. The vast majority of Missouri women do not live near this clinic and would be forced to travel long distances, miss days of work and pay for accommodations, simply because some politicians disagree with their decision. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon understood the risk this law presented to a woman’s health when he vetoed the measure. Now some lawmakers are talking about attempting to override that veto during the September veto session. They would do well to heed the governor’s guidance on this important women’s matter.

Terry Bloomberg, Frontenac