Putting differences aside to give credit where due

Laura K. Silver is a trustee of the Jewish Light who writes a blog for the paper’s website (stljewishlight.com/laura). Laura is married and the mother of two middle school age children.

By Laura K. Silver

In the wake of the vandalism to our historic cemetery, where my grandparents and great grandparents are laid to rest, we saw a spirit of community in St. Louis that I haven’t seen in quite a long time, possibly ever. A group of volunteers from all backgrounds spent their time repairing our brokenness. They embraced tikkun olam in their deeds, and gave us hopefulness in an act of unification and solidarity. For that, I am grateful.

Lately, our world has too much divisiveness and not enough kindness. Our President is regularly accused of being a bully, and a recent survey found more Americans are embarrassed by him than not. The nearly simultaneous discovery by NASA of seven new planets, while inviting awe, led me to ask myself, “Don’t we have enough trouble with just one?”

I understand that the human race is varied, with each of us basing our views on the sum of our experiences. In a country with such diversity, we are never going to see eye to eye. Despite my fundamental belief that most people fall somewhere near the center and that our politicians are pandering to the extremes, I am consistently proven otherwise.  

That said, we can do better, and with that in mind, I’m giving some credit where credit is due.  While I don’t agree with him politically on pretty much anything, I am thankful for the appearance at our cemetery by the Vice President this past week. 

Call it a photo opportunity if you wish, but I believe Mr. Pence is in a situation where he simply cannot win. If he fails to show up, we say he is ignoring anti-Semitism. If he does takes time out of his day to pitch in, there are people who think he does not belong there. Which is the greater evil? To me, it is clearly the former.

New Mt. Sinai Cemetery advertisement

In spite of our differences, both on social issues and on correct flag identification, I believe that, in this case, the Vice President was trying to do the right thing. I’m not going to be a bully and fault him for choosing to participate in an act of tikkun olam or for being kind. The same goes for our governor. Until someone can convince me otherwise, I’m choosing to say thank you to both of them for coming out and lending their support in our time of need.  

Because unless NASA seriously ups its game, we are all going to be stuck here together for a while.