We don’t have to agree, but we must recognize common values
I am pained reading the letters to the editor. There are those that want to believe that anti-Semitism is left or right, black or white, rich or poor. There are only two types of people: those that hate Jews and those that don’t. Any attempt to make anti-Semitism fit a particular narrative is mistaken and dangerous.
We don’t have to agree, but we do need to stop attacking our brothers and sisters. This is not a false unity where we march together in complete harmony, but we need to recognize common values that we share. We all want to fight anti-Semitism so that we are secure in our person, homes and property regardless of politics, race or class. How we best do that is of course the test. However, those who disagree with our opinions in the Jewish community are not brainwashed, stupid or bigots. They are simply wrong. This should be our starting point.
We are a small people that does not have a large margin for error. This extreme polarization endangers all of us.
Letters should stick to the issues
I have written many letters to the Chronicle and had them edited for content and language. With the election season in full swing, coincidentally in the month of Tishrei (a time for forgiveness and joy), several letters have been published with scornful and angry language. One recent letter writer even had the chutzpah to say she could not forgive Jews who support Trump. Others have accused Biden supporters of being naive. The way things are headed, the letter sections of the Chronicle may eventually be a compendium to the first 2020 presidential debate. Tempers and fear are high, both ways. My question is to the Chronicle editors: Where are you in screening and perhaps calming things down?
More importantly, as Jews we are responsible for our actions, spoken words and emails. Please try to stick to issues and not act like judges of your neighbors. That leads to better messaging and, who knows, you may change a few minds without the anger or labeling.
As Simone Shapiro wrote in her letter in the Oct. 2, 2020, edition, “If we are lenient with our judgment of others, G-D is lenient with his judgment of us.”
Celebrating the community’s volunteers
I wholeheartedly agree with Raimy Rubin’s* comments vis-à-vis volunteering as an excellent way of expressing one’s Judaism or feelings of connection to Judaism (“Studying community: Volunteerism as an expression of Jewish values,” Oct. 2). One of the many collateral damages of COVID-19 for us at the Jewish Association on Aging has been the need to keep volunteers from our facility. Our incredible and amazing volunteers are so desperately missed by staff, families and residents alike. Their impact on our daily lives is immeasurable.
We are not so patiently awaiting their return and, hopefully, the addition of new individuals from our community who want to truly make a difference to our seniors. I truly believe that the take-away often exceeds the effort — so, in essence, we all win.
Here’s to the amazing people who give of their time throughout our Pittsburgh kehilla.
I know I speak for all of my colleagues when I say, “We can’t wait to welcome you back!”
Sharyn Rubin, JAA’s director of Resident and Community Services
*Raimy Rubin is the author’s son