Letters to the Editor: Week of Dec. 10, 2014

Clarifying statement on Ferguson 

While I’m pleased to see the Light join the important national conversation on Ferguson (“Through a Glass, Sadly,” Nov. 26 edition), its editorial misinterpreted the statement I released on behalf of Bend the Arc. By expressing disappointment in the grand jury’s decision, I was articulating my disappointment with the myriad ways in which our country’s ongoing racial inequality — including, but not limited to, legitimate criticism from legal experts that the grand jury process was biased — led to Michael Brown’s death and the outpouring of grief that has followed. 

Regardless of the particulars of what transpired that night in Ferguson, Brown’s tragic death has illuminated the many ways in which systemic racism operates in our country today. It is the duty of all of us to honor his memory by creating a more just society for our children and communities.

Stosh Cotler, CEO of Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice

Why second guess grand jury’s decision?

I read with dismay the Dec. 3 letter to the editor entitled, “Thoughts on Ferguson.” The letter begins with, “I’m ashamed that I consider myself a St. Louis Jew,” and continues with such assertions as “there has been no uproar among the St. Louis Jewish community” and “Officials at all levels…have made a mockery of due process.” This cannot be further from the truth. 

First, who are we — Jews or otherwise — to second guess the deliberations of a grand jury, a group whose members sacrificed weeks of their lives to do nothing but examine the facts of this case in the course of due process. 

On what grounds does this individual hold that the grand jury unequivocally made the wrong decision, and that due process was not served? The truth is, we Jews were not there, and we Jews do not know the facts — period. The Talmud states, “Teach your tongue to say, ‘I do not know” (Berachos, 4a), when uncertain. Second, we should be very sensitive about who it is we ridicule. The police took an action that was ultimately deemed appropriate at all official levels. These are the same police who dutifully help protect our homes, schools and synagogues here in St. Louis on a daily basis, and if anything, they should be commended for risking their lives. On the grounds of these unequivocal facts, I am proud to consider myself a St. Louis Jew.

Kenny Bressler, Ladue

Saluting retiring Jewish community leaders

In recent weeks, the Jewish Light has announced the retirement in 2015 of two outstanding Jewish professionals: Batya Abramson Goldstein, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council, and Barbara Raznick, Direcor of the Brodsky Jewish Community Library.  It  will not be difficult to fill their shoes: It will be impossible.  These two women have set the gold standard for Jewish professionals and are to be congratulated for sharing their time, knowledge, and devotion to Judaism for the betterment of the Jewish and greater community. Yasher Koach to both.

Rosalyn Borg, University City