Kind words from the cantor
Thank you for “Celebrating the cantor’s double chai” (June 3), recognizing my 36th anniversary as cantor of Tikvat Israel. I received many compliments about how well it was written and numerous congratulatory notes about my milestone event because of the article. I appreciated your interest and wish you continued success.
CANTOR ROCHELLE HELZNER
Tikvat Israel Congregation, Rockville
Where do they stand?
Dov Zakheim’s article entitled, “Jewish Americans deserve hate crime protection too” (May 27), is cogently written and addresses an unfortunate reality of our time. Once again, antisemitism and a wave of hatred are on the rise in our country. Jews are randomly targeted simply for being or “looking” Jewish. There are numerous videos online of pro Palestinian protesters assaulting Jewish people on the streets or intimidating outdoor diners.
Lawmakers have been quite vocal, as they should be, condemning anti-Asian hatred. The Hate Crimes Act is an excellent piece of bi-partisan legislation. There is continual and ongoing discussion about the relationship between policing and minority communities. Yet, Congress is strangely silent regarding antisemitic acts, excluding an occasional sympathetic tweet about how these documented incidents do not reflect who we are. Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who certainly knows how to express his opinion, is suddenly muted as are other progressive Democrats. I strongly urge Jewish voters in the next election cycle, before reflexively pushing the lever for the same candidate, to closely question their local and state representatives about where they stand on this issue and what they did or failed to say. Their silence is deafening.
Both June 3 articles “People are accusing Israel of genocide…” by Ben Sales and “I love Israel and Hebrew culture …” by Mira Suchrov (June 3) should cause Jews to sit up and take notice. Antisemitism is increasing. Once again, Israel is being vilified throughout the world. Three major factors increasing these dangers remain almost incognito: failure of the general news media to provide truthful and balanced reporting, failure of our education system and the influence of radical Islam on perpetuating the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
Distortion and animus
As reported in WJW on May 27 (“JCRC rescinds honor for Fairfax County school board member”), Fairfax County School Board member Abrar Omeish posted on the social media accounts that she uses for school board business that Israel desecrates the Holy Land and engages in apartheid and colonization. The charges are not only without foundation, but they also evidently reject the right of the Jewish people in Israel to self determination and nationhood. That right is supported by most American Jews and to many is deeply tied to their beliefs and cultural identity.
Against the backdrop of Israel’s justified and restrained defense of its citizens against thousands of rockets, her statement about Israel killing Palestinians added to an already inflamed atmosphere of distortion and animus about Israel’s military actions. Omeish’s posts were a discredit to her role as an elected official and a school board member where judgment and empathy with all her constituents are required.