Letters to the Editor: Week of March 16

Showing respect

I would like to commend the Jewish Light on its journalistic language with regard to the March 9 article about Leo Wolf. In the article, each and every time the Light cited Leo Wolf’s name, they prefaced his last name with the honorific prefix of “Mr.,” as is the proper and respectful thing to do. Yet on the very next page, as well as in other articles that follow, Esther Munk is inexplicably and simply referred to as “Munk,” Rabbi Hershey Novack is referred to as “Novack,” Rabbi Naftali Schiff is referred to as “Schiff,” and so on — all in the same issue of the Light. I am fully aware of the respect due to Mr. Wolf, but why the lack of similar language with respect to the other individuals? How slighted they must feel! 

Addressing accomplished individuals and especially rabbis by their last name in the context of Light articles is insulting, distasteful and most of all disrespectful. Let’s dispense with this outmoded journalistic faux pas and give all individuals the same civil courtesy. Let the article about Mr. Wolf serve as a precedent, and then perhaps Ms. Munk, Rabbi Novack, Rabbi Schiff, and the rest of us might feel more duly appreciated.

Kenny Bressler




Columnist’s ‘red baiting’  

Martin Rochester’s commentary Feb. 25 Commentary, “Waiting for the Political Center to Coalesce,” provides a useful framework for discussing the current presidential election. (Disclosure:  I am voting for Hillary Clinton).  

However, he overlooks a lot of data to come to his conclusions and, for some reason, has a need to participate in “red baiting” of Bernie Sanders.  

Claiming that Democrats are only appealing to the 1 percent of population that supported Occupy Wall Street is simply not accurate. Clinton and Sanders are both appealing to a sense of fairness and an awakening of a  social  conscience by the more educated middle class from all races and ethnicities to support policies  that will assist communities and people  who are victims of changing economy and new technologies.  

As for Rochester’s statement that Clinton and Sanders wouldn’t say “All Lives Matter” during a debate, both candidates have to speak to concerns of African American community whose support is critical in many states, but their major speeches also appeal to a broad constituency that transcends race. Hillary Clinton, in fact, has said over and over again that she is not a one-issue candidate and Sanders seems to appeal to white college students more than any other constituency.

However,  unlike the author, Clinton and Sanders are willing to acknowledge that the U.S. has not fully confronted the impact of racial segregation on policing, education and job opportunities. Their competitors in the Republican Party refuse to even discuss race since  Republican politicians and leading conservative voices in journalism seem to think that whites are now the victims of racism. Watch Fox News, listen to Rush Limbaugh or read the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal for these views. The two parties are not morally equivalent, as Rochester thinks.

The most disturbing part of his commentary is  the “Red Baiting” of Bernie Sanders (“who in 1988 honeymooned in the Soviet Union and who, in his memoir, called Eugene Debs his “hero”).  This was totally unnecessary and irrelevant. First of all, Sanders visited Burlington’s sister city in the Soviet Union  with a delegation from Burlington, Vt., when he was mayor. He happened to get married a day before the visit and joked about his honeymoon (by the way, we have a few hundred sister cities in the People’s Republic of China).  

As for Debs, he was a courageous man willing to fight for workers at a time of terrible working conditions in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This was also a time when many  ancestors of the readers of the Jewish Light called themselves socialists.  

Dennis Lubeck, History Education Consultant

St. Louis