Keep It Simple

I find, “The synagogue, residing at …” and “a kind of bricolage …” in the JT’s “Winands Road Synagogue Set to Close,” (Dec. 23) completely unwarranted since it is a person who resides, not a building, and bricolage is a word perhaps 1 percent of your readers may have ever seen before. Why do you need to display such overbearing language when simple words will do?

Good writing should be simply stated, without scooping the bottom of the barrel of big words for the most impressive, longest and most incomprehensible you can find. Not necessary. Detracts from your message. Wears the reader out.

Civil Liberties at Risk

Several “Your Say” letters in the past few weeks have questioned the strength of the Democratic Party since Donald Trump’s presidential victory last month. The real situation is that the party racked up around three million more votes than Trump. Furthermore, Trump won with one of the lowest electoral totals.

Trump’s strategy was to call all minority groups a danger, call for their expulsion and then call his political opponent a criminal. These lies were repeated over and over until a great number of people became followers and eventually managed to take over the government.

As things stand today, America has a president-elect who indulges in lies to keep the support of a minority of voters. His message resonates with voters in the Southern states even to the point that legislators in North Carolina voted to take away powers from the duly-elected incoming Democratic governor.

I don’t know if anything can be done to stop Trump from becoming president. But a few Republican senators may be able to team with Democrats to stop him from wrecking our civil liberties.

Illogical Letter

Gary Kaplowitz’s lashon harah in his Dec. 2 Your Say letter “Be Wary of Democratic Party” belies logic and denies reality.

Like a “Fox,” he contends that the Democratic Party’s “campaign rhetoric has incited the worst racial, ethnic and religious strife since the 1960s.” In point of fact, Donald Trump first established his political currency by fronting a racist birth certificate campaign to delegitimize America’s first black president, Barack Obama. He then kicked off his presidential campaign by bashing Mexicans and then pivoted to misogyny.  It tells you all you need to know that his campaign was embraced by the KKK and the chairman of the American Nazi Party, and, most recently, it was even hailed with Nazi salutes — with Trump belatedly (and only when pushed into a corner to do so) rejecting such support.

Say No to Trumpistan

Presumably channeling America’s boorish commander-in-tweet, Gary Kaplowitz’s Dec. 2 Your Say letter “Be Wary of Democratic Party” heralds a fear society instead of a free one.  De facto, he “Trumpets” an America devoted to the isolation of Muslims; the oppression of minorities of color; the deprivation of the First Amendment liberties currently enjoyed by Americans; and backwardness when it comes to women’s reproductive rights.

Not to mention that he bigly does so in a Jewish publication at the very time of year when we Jews celebrate Chanukah, the  Festival of Freedom. What chutzpah! How utterly deplorable!

Keep America the land of the free and the home of the brave. Say no to Trumpistan, “the land of the fee and the home of the knave.”

Glaring Omission

I could not help but be drawn to the Jewish Times’ Nov. 25 story, “A Labor of Love,” on Beth Israel Congregation celebrating 60 years of growth and development. The piece did mention that it was started by 10 Jewish families and was  located in Randallstown prior to its current location. My family and I are very familiar with the Beth Israel Congregation of Randallstown because we were congregants for many years, and our children were students of the Hebrew school. It was a large vibrant synagogue during those years.

It is unclear  to me how you can write such a piece without any mention or recognition of Rabbi Seymour Essrog, who brought not only guidance and spiritual  leadership, but also significant growth and  development to Beth Israel Congregation for so many years. Furthermore, there was no mention, by name, of the families who played significant roles in those early years.

How can that be? It is as if they did not exist. I am very disappointed and saddened by such an omission. There was a significant Beth Israel history that the Jewish Times failed to mention. I am a longtime but now disappointed subscriber.

Strange Bedfellows

At first, I could not figure it out. Morton Klein, national president of the Zionist Organization of America, defends  the appointment of Stephen Bannon to a top White House position (“Bannon and Breitbart: Friends of Israel,” Nov. 25)? This is surreal, and for Jews, civil libertarians and others, scary.

Bannon, according to The New York Times and Washington Post, was recently chairman for Breitbart News, a major organ of the far right: white  supremacists, racists, anti-Semites, misogynists, Islamophobes and, yes, Nazis — a bunch of professional haters.

Why would Klein try to make this “news group”  respectable or try to legitimize or even applaud such a man, incomprehensibly, as “a patriot”?  The only answer I could find is that Klein is rushing to curry favor with the new Trump  administration. Anyone, even facilitators and promotors of anti-Semitism, Nazism and white supremacy, are allies of Trump and, as long as they “support Israel,” are welcome to Klein and the ZOA.

Love Thy Neighbor

Thank you for the thoughtful article by Daniel Nozick (“Love, Acceptance: Our Neighborly Pledge,” Nov. 25) about “V’Ahavta L’Reicha Kamocha,” presented in memory of H. Allan Lipsitz by the Rabbi Mark G. Loeb Center for Lifelong Learning at Beth El Congregation. The article captured the substance and spirit of learning together with four outstanding rabbis, representing different Jewish traditions and views, about what “love your neighbor” means and how to practice it.  Realizing how much we have in common is an important step toward healing the deep divisions in our communities today.

What Other Country?

Based on “ceding heavily Arab populated areas of Israel proper — specifically in the Galilee — to the Palestinians,” the JT’s Nov. 25 editorial, “Settlements Again,” states that Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman “hasn’t explained how he proposes to get Israeli citizens to agree to become part of another country.”

I’m not sure what other country you’re talking about. It can’t possibly be “Palestine,” as Mahmoud Abbas has already publicly stated many times that “Palestine” will be Jew free. Where would these Jews go? America? Germany? South Korea? Dealer’s choice?

Sadly, Compromise Is Long Gone

The JT’s article about Bernie Sanders promoting his progressive politics (“Bernie Is Back,” Nov. 25) reminded me of one of my favorite quotes by Abraham Lincoln. Paraphrasing, Lincoln said, “One can judge a man’s character by how he treats those who can do him absolutely no good.”

I definitely do not agree with all of Sanders’ viewpoints, but when he says, “A great nation is not judged by how many billionaires it has, but how it treats its most vulnerable people,” I can completely agree. Pushing close to 80, I can remember when bitter political adversaries could comprise and accomplish goals for the entire country. However, those years are long past and, one fears, never to be witnessed again.

As Sanders and many others say, the 1-percenters buy politicians in the same way as the fabled Don Coreleone — albeit with cash.

Why No Mention of Rabbi Essrog?

How could the JT publish a long article about the history of Beth Israel Congregation (“A Labor of Love,” Nov. 25) without once mentioning the late Rabbi Seymour L. Essrog? Isn’t that Rabbi Essrog in your picture, wielding a shovel as “Beth Israel members and clergy break ground at the congregation’s then-new home on Liberty Road in Randallstown”? If it is, why doesn’t the caption mention his name?

We knew Rabbi Essrog as the Jewish chaplain at Aberdeen Proving Ground. Beth Israel knew him as its spiritual leader for 30 years. The people you interviewed should have given Rabbi Essrog credit.