Week of March 5, 2008

Inaccurate headline?

The recent headline in the Light about “Jerusalem cheering” over the death of a terrorist was not only the opposite of Jewish values but not true. There was no cheering in Jerusalem, no celebration in the streets, unlike the Arab capitals when innocent Jews die. We do not celebrate the deaths of our enemies.

This in fact is one of the major differences between “us” and “them”. The Light in its misleading headline completely obfuscated this difference. It thus evolved to what one might call an “oxymoronic” position, i.e., a purportedly Jewish newspaper, using an obviously non-Jewish headline, which in its message feeds into worldwide anti-Semitism. This week, there was little Jewish light in the Jewish Light. You should be ashamed.

Stephen S. Lefrak, MD

Professor of Medicine

Assistant Dean and Director Humanities Program in Medicine

Washington University School of Medicine

A telling use of ‘the’

A recent editoral in the Jewish Light stated, “The problems of the mentally ill and their families, and persons who live with drug and substance abuse problems have by no means gone away…”

You mean of course, “mental illnesses.” You no more intend diminishing to a “the” mentally than a sensitive person intends diminishing to a “the” Jews. The transference of this “the” interests me greatly, as do the transferences of any prejudice from people who have experienced them to other groups. I’m “the” and you aren’t, or in common application, “You’re a “the” and I am not,” a sort of a playground taunt — for adults.

Do Jewish cultures, too, discriminate against a diminished, stereotyped “the” mentally ill? We all find someone to, don’t we?

Harold A. Maio

Advisory Board, American Journal of Psychiatric Rehabilitation; Board Member, Partners in Crisis; Former Consulting Editor, Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, Boston University; Language Consultant, UPENN Collaborative on Community Integration of Individuals with Psychiatric Disabilities, Ft. Myers, Fla.