Letters to the editor: Week of July 30, 2014

Senator thanked for support of Israel

It was distressing to read about recent anti-Semitic attacks in France and other European countries. Also troubling were the reports of anti-Semitic incidents in Chicago, here in Frontenac, and even at a rally in the Delmar Loop. This comes at a time when our Jewish brethren are under attack from a ruthless enemy. With the current U.S. administration pressuring Israel to halt operations in Gaza, many are beginning to feel that Israel is being abandoned by their closest ally.

Notwithstanding the rhetoric and actions of President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry, it’s good to know that Israel still has staunch supporters in the highest echelons of our government. On Friday, I received a call from Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., who shared with me his work on a bipartisan bill with Senator Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., that publicly reaffirms Israel’s right to defend itself — a particularly important statement as Hamas continues to pursue its stated goal of eliminating the Jewish State and its people.

After thanking Sen. Blunt for his past and present support of Israel and the Jewish people, I raised the troubling trend of rising anti-Semitic incidents around the globe. He was well-informed, very receptive and pledged to try incorporating a statement condemning all such incidents.  


While the senator did not ask me to publicize this, I feel it’s important for all to know when and how our elected representatives are working on our behalf and to show gratitude. Being involved and engaging our politicians makes a difference. 

Rabbi Shlomo Soroka, Associate Dean and Executive Director of St. Louis Kollel

Remarks are callous, reader says

In his remarks at a recent Jewish community meeting (published as a commentary July 23 titled, “Rehfeld: ‘We recognize suffering of others even in the midst of our own despair’ ”), Jewish Federation of St. Louis President and CEO Andrew Rehfeld shows a condescending callousness toward the Palestinian community here and worldwide. He calls on Palestinians to stop protesting and instead use their energies to send relief to their people, the way Jews send relief money to Israel. As if Palestinians presently don’t give money help those suffering in Israeli-occupied territories. As if humanitarian aid was the way to stop a violent military siege.

At a time when the Jewish state is leveling Palestinian cities and killing Palestinians (including children) by the hundreds, the head of Federation advises Palestinians to be more generous, the way Jews are. They say that free advice is worth what you pay for it, but somehow this advice seems worth even less.

Michael Berg, St. Louis