You and I have a lot in common. We have both spent roughly 18 years living in Kansas City. We were both fully engaged with Jewish life there; you graduated from HBHA, as did my older children. And we both have a very deep and abiding love for Israel, as well as a vision for its future; we recognize that there are Palestinian narratives as well, and we believe that Israel should pursue a two-state solution.
Written by David S. Jacobs, M.D. Overland Park, Kansas
In the April 16, issue of the Kansas City Jewish Chronicle we are treated to a treatise on Obama’s tender care for Israel (Obama stresses how much he cares for Israel, Page 1). Sure. The article fails to remind its readers of Obama’s refusal to attend Netanyahu’s address to the Congress or to meet with him, his reference to potential reprisals for Netanyahu’s speech, and his chief of staff subsequently threatening that 50 years of Israeli “occupation” is enough. (Never mind the Palestinians’ ardent position that Israel should not exist.) Two White House meetings enthusiastically described in The Chronicle included support from Jewish fundraisers for the Democratic Party, participants who did not agree to be identified, and as well mention of a left-leaning columnist. This piece describes “difficulties that Obama and Netanyahu have in communicating with one another,” but it was not Netanyahu who refused an audience with Obama.
“The Last Witness,” a thriller by Jerry Americ. (The Story Merchant, 2014)
“How Sweet It Is!” by Thane Rosenbaum. (Mandel Vilar Press, 2015)
“Fugitive Colors,” a novel by Lisa Barr. (Arcade, 2013)
As we commemorate Yom HaShoah this year, readers will find these new works of fiction fascinating, each in a completely different manner. The authors look at the Holocaust and the Nazi horror from very unique points of view, each book adding something new to Holocaust history and the history of the survivors.
I have always felt safe knowing that I live in a country where my religious freedom is a priority. The First Amendment clearly lays out that each citizen of the United States is guaranteed the right to freely practice their religion. Being a Jew in America, I am without a doubt part of a religious minority. Just over 1 percent of Americans are Jewish, and our world makeup at 0.2 percent is even smaller. If Jewish populations are so infinitesimal, why are we subjected to so much discrimination? Why do political groups and other religious groups constantly have to target us? What did we ever do to deserve anti-Semitic oppression?
When a close family member suffers from a mental illness, the rollercoaster lifestyle takes you on an unpredictable journey. You can neither plan nor have expectations. No one knows what each day will bring. You may cry, pray, question or soul search all the while going through the traditional stages of grief for the life you pictured in your mind. My outlook has been made possible by the survival skills taught by NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Health), including self-care. It taught me that it is not just okay to take care of yourself first, but it is imperative that you do so. A good example is of the stewardess instructing the passengers on the plane that, “in the case of an emergency, please place your own oxygen mask on and then assist anyone around you.” For many of us (especially Jewish mothers!), this is a foreign concept. By the time we have finished caring for everyone else we pass out exhausted, no time for ourselves. But, I realized how crucial it is.
Last week, I travelled to Washington D.C., to attend the fifth annual J Street National Conference. I attended the conference because J Street represents my values of a democratic Jewish state, which is committed to pursuing a two-state solution.
Written by Sol Koenigsberg, Prairie Village, Kansas
In response to Rabbi Mark Levin’s column, “Must Israel become racist?” published in the March 26 issue, I understand his reaction to Natanyahu’s election day political blunder. I winched when it was reported. Rabbi Levin says he was saddened and angry and I believe he over reacted. The Israeli democracy process worked and 13 Arab Israelis were elected to the Knesset. Yes, I know that prejudice exists in Israel. In spite of that, Israel has taken in Ethiopian Jews, Yemenites, Jews from India and elsewhere. Columnist William Safire wrote that it was the first time in history that Africans were taken to freedom, not slavery.
Written by Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg, Edison, New Jersey
The Jewish community commemorated Yom HaShoah on April 16. Holocaust survivors, members of the second, third and fourth generations and others who lost loved ones in the Shoah lit candles, said Kaddish, attended Holocaust memorial events and shed tears. In addition to crying for those we lost, we should have positive and loving thoughts of our parents. Enough talk of suffering. We should speak of accomplishments. I am proud of my parents, Jacob and Rachel, who came to America with nothing, settled in Kansas City, could not speak English and created a safe and secure world for me, their only child. Like many of your parents, my father struggled through many business endeavors; eventually he did well in this, the Goldena Medina.
As I write this, I have just returned home from St. Peter’s Church to commemorate the yahrzeit of Bill Corporon, Reat Underwood and Terri LaManno, murdered by an anti-Semite for being at Jewish locations one year ago today.
The cornerstone of the American Holocaust survivors’ legacy is the government sponsored Yom HaShoah commemorations. These government-backed commemorations were created as a means of engaging elected leaders and lawmakers with Jews. The American Holocaust survivors recognized that elected officials have the power to protect civil liberties, as well as to deny them. With this in mind, they created the centerpiece of the commemorative services, the Proclamation for Days of Remembrance, for memory and as a warning. The first Proclamation for Days of Remembrance in Kansas was signed by then Gov. John Carlin in 1982, marking this year as the 33rd annual event.
Some years ago I asked a local African American community leader why he discriminated against gay men and women. He answered, “The Bible prohibits their lifestyle.” I said, “You mean the same Bible that was used to justify slavery against your family?” He said, and this is the exact quotation, “That’s different.”
Must Israel become racist? The article by Rabbi Mark Levin (March 26) starkly reveals the views of uber-left wing J Street, whose positions he advocates at every opportunity. They hurl the word “racist” indiscriminately, the idea being to cow into silence and force onto the defensive anyone who disagrees with them.