Letters to the Editor: Nov. 27, 2013

A lesson from the Maccabees

As a child, I learned that after the Maccabees’ victory, there was only one drop of oil left for the holy eternal lamp. However, the people took a leap of faith, lit the oil, and it burned for eight days, giving them enough time to get more oil. The miracle of Hanukkah.

Recently, I’ve begun to wonder: Was there really only one drop of oil? Or is it possible that the Maccabees, freshly traumatized by war and the grief of loss, looked at the oil that was left and imagined scarcity because they were afraid?

Too often these days we hear about scarcity and false choices. We can fund education or we can fund health care. Take care of children or seniors or people with mental illness. We have been led to believe that there is not enough, to be scared, to hold on tight to what’s ours because if we share, we won’t have what we need.

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The reality is there is enough. If we all contribute our fair share, if we stop bickering and look at what is important, we can do everything that matters.

In less than two months, our legislators will be back in Jefferson City. They’ll face many decisions, including the one I think is most important: whether to extend Medicaid to 300,000 uninsured Missourians. This is an opportunity that will relieve suffering, save jobs, and save lives. These are the things that matter.

Back to the oil. I don’t mean to imply that I don’t believe in miracles. Maybe there was just one drop that burned for eight days. Or maybe, the miracle of Hanukkah was that of a people leaving false choices behind, taking the first step to live their deepest values, and discovering that when they did that, there was enough after all.

May the holiday season inspire courage and wisdom in all our elected officials. May our state’s leaders reject false choices in favor of compassionate choices. And may they do what is right for the people of Missouri and expand Medicaid.

Jen Bersdale, Executive Director of Missouri Health Care for All 


Fundraiser’s cost 

No doubt, the Light’s Golden Anniversary Gala held in October was a wonderful affair for the more than 400 people who attended the event, which celebrated 50 years of the Light being the independent news organization of the St. Louis Jewish community.   

As a long-time subscriber to the Light, I would have loved to have attended, but I was precluded from doing so because of the cost — $150 per person. As a retired senior citizen of very modest means, $150 might as well have been $1,500. 

The whole affair left me wondering, Where is the Jewish sense of fairness? Or, has a segment of the Jewish community become oblivious to those who are less fortunate?

Gene Carton,  Olivette

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