A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

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Your letters to the editor of the St. Louis Jewish Light (March. 20 issue)


A message from Shaving Israel’s president

Oct. 7 changed everything for everyone in Israel and of course for Shaving Israel. Shaving Israel is very proud to support members of the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) in a very meaningful, personal, hands-on fashion. We identify soldiers in need and strive — with your help — to fill those needs.  After Oct. 7, supply shortages and problems with distribution mean that more IDF personnel need help. For more information about the aftermath of Oct. 7, please join us at Nusach Hari B’nai Zion on Sunday, March 31 at 3:30 p.m. to hear from Chris Hexter, grandfather of Yakir Hexter, z’’l, a lone soldier who was killed in Gaza.

 One of my duties as president of Shaving Israel is to pay bills to our vendors in Israel. Two of these calls to Israeli stores left me speechless. First, I called Ronit. I have gotten to know her a bit over the years. I called to pay our bill, but she told me that she could not accept my credit card number and asked if I could call the next day. I said, of course. 

When I reached her later, she told me that her son had been deployed to Gaza and was wounded there. The first time that I called, her son was having surgery. Thankfully, he is expected to recover. 

The second call was to Ezer, one of our newer vendors. He asked me how I was, since he had heard that antisemitism is terrible in the United States, and he was worried about us. Israel is at war, and they worry about American Jews! Meanwhile, we worry about them. What we say to each other is “b’yachad n’natzeach.” Together, we will win.

Laura Goldmeier
President, Shaving Israel

Contact your legislators

During President Biden’s recent State of the Union speech, he called out Hamas by saying, “Israel has a right to go after Hamas.” He went on to say Hamas could end the conflict “by releasing the hostages, laying down arms and surrendering those responsible for Oct. 7.” This is something we never hear our progressive friends say, which is that Hamas has it in their power to do the thing everyone wants, end this horrific war. President Biden also said, “To the leadership of Israel I say this: Humanitarian assistance cannot be a secondary consideration or a bargaining chip. Protecting and saving innocent lives has to be a priority.”

As American Jews, we can ask our representatives to demand that Hamas let our people go and surrender the murderers among them. At the same time, we must, and I repeat we must, ask our elected officials in Washington, D.C. to pressure the Israeli government to end aerial bombing and use of large-scale weaponry in Gaza while encouraging the flow of food and medicine into Gaza. The Jewish Light has been silent on the suffering of Palestinian people during this conflict and our elected officials need to know how we feel about the conduct of this ghastly war.

Roger Lewis

What’s in a name? 

Sen. Chuck Schumer falsely claims his name is derived from the Hebrew word “shomer” meaning “watch over.” Very few if any European Jewish names derive from Hebrew. Most come from some German language derivation.

More likely, “Schumer” derived from middle German meaning “hobo or vagabond.” Swiss German would make the derivation from a word meaning “cow milker.” None would suit this senator’s self-hubris.

No one should be ashamed of their name. But the senator invents an etymology that makes him appear as a “guardian of the Jewish people.” Observant Jews understand this is a false etymology to serve Schumer’s political purposes, and in reality derives from our Hebrew liturgy and applies only to the “Holy One” Blessed be He.

Stephen S. Lefrak, MD
Emeritus Professor of Medicine
Washington University School of Medicine

Response to recent d’var Torah

Rabbi Jim Bennett’s March 6 commentary (“Don’t let our reflection blind us to the needs of others”) starts off seemingly supportive of Israel in the current conflict against Hamas’ savage brutality, before concluding with thinly veiled, morally equivalent both-sides-ism regarding Israelis and the unnamed “others” whose pain and grief allegedly equal ours, but to which we are blind. 

I think I can provide an answer to Rabbi Bennett when he asks Hillel’s well-known question “If I am not for myself, who will be…?” Rabbi, don’t worry. If you cannot be for Israel, the IDF is. And so is Hashem. Am Yisrael Chai.

Matthew Grad
St. Louis

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