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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Representative should condemn terrorism

In our efforts to improve the wellbeing of the women, children and families in our region, National Council of Jewish Women St. Louis works productively with many elected officials. But Congresswoman Cori Bush’s suggestion that Congress should deny defense funding to Israel after the unprecedented attack by Hamas radicals leaves us stunned and disappointed.

Her insensitive statement — publicized across the globe — fuels antisemitism in our own country as well as legitimizes those who wish to harm their fellow citizens. There is no place in America for that sort of hate. 

Congresswoman Bush mistakenly equates Hamas with the Palestinian people. Hamas is a terrorist group that savagely targeted Israeli civilians, pulling them from their homes in the middle of the night without regard for innocent lives or human rights. Hundreds of women, children and elders were brutalized, massacred or taken hostage. A music festival was transformed into a killing field.

No one can describe the largest single-day count of murdered Jews since the Holocaust as legitimize “resistance.” Congresswoman Bush’s suggested policy would withdraw critical support from one of this country’s most important democratic allies and further endanger our Israeli family members and friends. 

NCJW stands unconditionally with Israel after this terrorist attack. We also share concern about the wellbeing of all civilians. There is a time and place for discussion of the region’s divisions, but now is not that time. Shame on Congresswoman Bush for failing to unequivocally condemn terrorism and those who perpetrate it.

Nancy Litz, President and Ellen Alper, CEO, National Council of Jewish Women St. Louis

Editor’s Note: The Jewish Community Relations Council has sent this letter to Congresswoman Cori Bush and also shared it with the Jewish Light.

We reach out to you once again, in a state of mourning and pain, to ask you to meet with the Jewish population in your district to hear our stories and our suffering as you speak out in Congress and in public about the war that is unfolding between Israel and Hamas. 

Your Jewish constituents in the 1st District in Missouri are in a state of shock and fear. Practically every person has a family member, friend, or loved one who has been killed, kidnapped, injured, or traumatized in the devastating terror attack orchestrated by Hamas that left hundreds dead and still hundreds more missing or taken hostage. Hamas has taken credit for these activities, proudly laying claim to the innocent civilians that they dragged from their homes and brought into Gaza and has publicly stated that they plan to execute these individuals. 

In your statements on this matter, rather than focus your words on the lives lost and the need for a peaceful resolution following the horrific attacks that sent shockwaves across the world, you continuously choose to add implicit blame upon Israel. Simply put, there is not action that justifies terrorism and the targeting of civilians, and especially nothing that can ever alleviate the crimes that Hamas has perpetrated in continuing to hold these individuals hostage.

Congresswoman, your district represents the largest population of our Jewish community in Missouri, and yet the only voices that you incorporate continue to be an incredibly small population of Jews who have disavowed themselves of the rest of the Jewish community. Numerous organizations, both local and national, have reached out to you to share the views of our Jewish community on this matter and on Israel more broadly, and you still refuse to engage on this topic.

Congresswoman Bush, as a woman, an activist and a leader who prides yourself on hearing the voices of the marginalized and the vulnerable, it brings us endless pain that you cannot see our Jewish community as a voice worthy of time. The synagogues in your district have had to lock their doors due to threats of attack, our Jewish institutions have had to increase security and our community is, quite simply put, scared. 

We recognize that we will never agree on everything; there are no politicians with whom we agree all the time. We are asking you only to listen to us, to see us, and to recognize that our voices are valid and real in this moment.

Joel Iskiwitch, board chair, Jewish Community Relations Council and Maharat Rori Picker Neiss, executive director, JCRC

Cori Bush betrays humanity. Cori Bush has taken a shameful step in an already dismal career in Congress.

On the day of the largest mass murder of Jews since the Holocaust, Cori sides with Hamas, a terrorist organization whose charter calls for the destruction of Israel and the annihilation of the Jewish people.

The Palestinian people live under brutal circumstances, but not because of Israel.  Israel has not occupied Gaza since 2005, when it was turned over to the Palestinians by Israel.

With billions of dollars in aid from the United States, Europe, and the United Nations, Gazans live in abject squalor because of their leadership. Hamas uses aid money for weapons and terrorist infrastructure.

America is a place where the rule of law matters and freedom of speech is guaranteed, but there can be no “context” when it comes to the atrocities visited upon Israel on October 7, 2023.

The inability of Ms. Bush to stand with Israel against terror is bone-chilling. She has crossed over into something that can only be described as evil.

Missouri’s first district deserves better. She must be denied a third term.

Nathan S. Cohen

Billboard Judaism

I have mixed feelings about the wording on some of the billboards that are aimed to fight antisemitism from the organization JewBelong.org (“‘Infamous’ billboards return to St. Louis to fight growing antisemitism,” published online). Some of the billboards are fine, but other others not so much. I question how putting “Even if you think kugel is an exercise for your vagina…Jew Belong.”

Most people are going to look at that billboard and think that is just plain weird and not all that funny or not understand it at all. Another one says “Judaism: Come for your girlfriend. Stay for the lack of Hell.” Is that sign trying to proselytize (which is not what our faith teaches us) or combat antisemitism? I think that organization needs to give a little more thought about what they put on the billboards.

Debi Neff
Lake St. Louis, Mo.

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