LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Week of January 6, 2016

Praise for Jewish institutions’ response to criticism of rabbi 

Kudos to the Rabbi’s Advisory Council of Jewish Federation, to Jewish Federation, and to the Jewish Community Relations Council, for taking a firm stand on civil disobedience. 

We come together when the “sacred diversity of our community becomes dangerous and ominous.” This is a lesson unto itself.

Rabbi Susan Talve is a treasure; she is always there to speak out civilly and respectfully against injustice. For Rabbi Susan, All Lives Matter, always. She spiritually counsels, and without personal regard for herself, she ministers to those in need. That is the highest form of service to God. I am proud to be a part of this vibrant St. Louis Jewish community that is not afraid to stand tall.

Elsie S. Roth 

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Torture should remain an option 

Several years ago I was taken to task by a fellow Jewish Olivettian for stating that torture should always remain an option when engaging in warfare with our enemies. This person couldn’t believe that I, a Jew, could possibly take such a stance, which she felt was the height of incivility. 

Fast forward to the article in the Jewish Light, “Jewish suspects allege torture at the hands of Shin Bet” (Dec. 23) in which Jewish youths are suspected of torching the home of a Palestinian family in the West Bank, and as a result, the alleged suspects have accused the Shin Bet — Israel’s internal security service — of using torture to extract information from them. If such allegations prove to be true, my compliments to Shin Bet and to Israel. War is war and it makes no difference whether the battle is against Islamic radical terrorists or Jewish terrorists. If there is no other way to obtain vital information, torture should always remain on the table.   

I would ask those who disagree with me this question: If a captured and uncooperative enemy had knowledge that a loved one of theirs was being held captive, would they object to this enemy combatant being tortured to extract information which could prove helpful in securing their loved one’s release? Of course, they wouldn’t. I’m not privy to Israel’s policy regarding torture, but I do know that President Barack Obama, being the ineffectual, weak president he is, has outlawed the practice. Hopefully, our next president will make it a priority to restore such a practice, when he or she takes office in January, 2017. 

Gene Carton 

Olivette