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Letters to the Editor

Not all Syrian refugees are the same

I believe there is a big difference between European Jews before and during World War II — who were not just caught in a war zone, but were being actively persecuted — and Syrian-Muslims. These young Syrian Muslim men, who make up the vast majority of the would-be refugees, should be fighting for their country. These young men from Syria — and in many cases young women — should be trained to be the boots on the ground against, first, ISIS, and then Assad. They are caught in a war zone. They are not being persecuted for who they are.

The story of Syrian Christians (and, in fact, all Middle Eastern Christians) is quite different. {mprestriction ids="1,3"}Their plight is much more similar to that of the European Jews in World War II. These Christians are being actively persecuted and killed and would probably not be accepted into a Muslim army fighting ISIS and/or Assad. Middle Eastern Christians merit refugee status.

I think a strong argument could be made for forming a 21st century version of the Kindertransport for Syrian Muslim children under the age of 12. That way they could be given safe haven until they can be reunited with their parents in a (hopefully) safe and sane Syria.

On a similar note, discussion on immigration into the U.S. has, by and large, neglected a very important issue: demographics. The U.S. is not replacing its population. The birthrate is dropping precipitously. If this is to remain a Judeo-Christian country, we must strongly re-think any opposition to Latino immigration. These people from Central and South America are a strong Christian (predominantly Catholic) church-going community —and we need them and their children if the Judeo-Christian ethic in the U.S. is to be maintained.

Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg

Edison, New Jersey


Sharing my thoughts

On reaching the milestone of my 80th birthday, I decided to gift myself a subscription to The Kansas City Jewish Chronicle.

With the passing of our beloved Dick Greenberg, I have taken over as moderator of “What Sup?,” a weekly discussion group at Village Shalom. I am a political conservative and a Reform Jew. When it comes to a variety of current issues, I would consider myself as “a jack of all trades and master of none.” I have an adequate liberal arts background from four years at Dartmouth College (1957) enhanced by taking almost every history course offered at Johnson County Community College. I prepare for each weekly discussion as if I were teaching a course in Great Issues.

As a Jewish conservative, I have had to temper my politics with more than a dash of liberal salt. I regularly make it a point to watch much of the so-called “main street media” and read the liberal columns in the newspapers. Many of your readers are familiar with my frequent Letters to the Editor in the Kansas City Star. 

Just to stir the pot a little, I have two questions awaiting satisfactory answers. First, why do so many Jews in America still vote Democrat? Second, why do rabbis generally express such strong, outspoken liberal beliefs?

I plan to read every article and letter in The Jewish Chronicle and intend to be a frequent contributor of my own thoughts. One of many things I have learned through the aging process is that we don’t necessarily get smarter with age but we do become wiser. I am very grateful for what I have and welcome the opportunity to share it with others. The Jewish Chronicle is another avenue by which I can do that.

Stephen P. Katz

Leawood, Kansas{/mprestriction}