Letters to the Editor

Remembering Peggy Lipton’s legacy

I found the Jan. 1 JTA article “9 Inspiring Jews who died in 2019” to be very interesting and inspiring. I am glad you included actress Peggy Lipton, who died at age 72 in May. However, there were two glaring omissions in your write-up of “The Mod Squad Actress.”

First, while the Russian-Jewish background of her father was cited, there was no mention of Lipton’s Irish background and the fact that she was a naturalized Irish citizen. Her mother was a Jewish immigrant from Ireland who came from a well-known family in Dublin’s once-thriving Jewish community.  

Similarly, the article did not mention the fact that not only was Peggy Lipton was a PWS (person who stuttered), but also one of the first celebrities to speak publicly about her struggles with the speech disorder. Her public statements on stuttering were always made in a way that would give hope to other people who stutter as well as put a human face on the speech problem. She paved the way  for other celebrities who stutter to address their stuttering publicly. In fact, Peggy Lipton is among the most prominent names on the list of “Famous People Who Stutter” on the website of The Stuttering Foundation (www.stutteringhelp.org), in addition to the website of this organization publishing a tribute article entitled “Peggy Lipton Remembered”. Over the last 50 years, she gave inspiration to and was a role model to countless people who stutter.

Adam Lichter, Springfield, Mass.


Response to letter about Bolivia commentary

When Socialist Party candidate Evo Morales was elected in 2006, he called himself Bolivia’s “first indigenous president.  A member of the Andean Aymara tribe, he became the darling of the Western intellectual left, who believed he would give voice to the “People.” However, as Norma Rubin (my wife) wrote in the Jewish Light on Dec. 12 (“Changes in Bolivia are good for the Jews”), by the time Morales completed his third term, the “People” were ready to see him go, and following proven election fraud, the army and police refused to support him.

The Wall Street Journal quoted fellow Aymara Yawar Copana, a former enthusiastic Morales supporter, as saying “the people feel cheated.” Copana called Morales’ leadership a “period of decadence [and] of depravity.”

One reason Norma wrote her commentary is her concern that some on the intellectual left, including some reports in the media, were no longer on the same page as the Bolivian people. Recently, this paper published two letters that seem to illustrate that point. The letters favored Morales and challenged Norma Rubin’s summary of events. For Norma, this story is not an abstract political discussion. This is her real life and that of her family and friends with whom she is in constant contact, and all of whom live in Bolivia and suffered daily under the corrupt Morales regime. 

The current reality is that all good people who seek to support the rights of the marginalized, and democracy generally, should be proud of the People of Bolivia. They stood up to tyranny. They fought it without violence. And they won.

David Rubin, University City


Executive order on anti-Semitism 

[Regarding the Dec. 18 editorial, “Domestic Terror in Jersey City”] Against the backdrop of the recent shootings in Jersey City, which claimed six lives at a kosher supermarket, and the growing incidence of hatred against Jews on college campuses, President Donald Trump issued an executive order on Dec. 11, which threatens to withhold federal funding from educational institutions that fail to combat anti-Semitism on campus. While on the surface such action seems appropriate, it will lead to an overall deleterious effect.

The order does not take into consideration the vast majority of students who are civil, decent-minded young men and women who decry discrimination and bigotry and are just trying to get a good education. They would suffer a grave injustice by punishing the good with the bad.

Consider the following analogy: If you were eating a deliciously cooked steak that contained a modicum of fat, would you throw the whole steak away? Of course not. You’d just cut out the fatty portion.

In that vein, allow me to suggest a better way to cope with this insidious problem of college prejudice and intolerance. I propose that any student who engages in anti-Semitic behavior that involves violence, chaos and mayhem should face criminal charges and be expelled from school and banned for life in enrolling in any other American educational institution. 

At the same time, however, freedom of speech must always be protected, including the spewing of anti-Semitic rhetoric, gross as it may be.

Anti-Semitism is increasing exponentially in the United States and globally. That said, it will take an all-out effort to curb and contain it. Although I don’t doubt Trump’s noble intentions, his executive order unfortunately, will do more harm than good.

Gene Carton, University City


Censure could help bypass the impasse

The uniqueness of Jewish history presents our people with a special obligation to hold President Donald Trump accountable.

American Jews have been active participants and admirers of American democracy and the rule of law.This president has demonized independent institutions at the heart of our unique republic.

American Jews are among the most important defenders of pluralism. Trump’s stereotyping of African Americans, Hispanics and Muslims is partly responsible for a climate that has increased anti-Semitic incidents.

Sad to say, but this president does not reflect the values of a majority of American Jews.

Congress is again embroiled in gridlock, in part because of Trump’s lack of respect for our democratic institutions. This time, the issues pertain to potential witnesses\in a Senate impeachment trial and how their testimony would be managed, as well as the illumination of the testimony. Trump blocked these witnesses from testifying during the impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives. These witnesses could include Mick Mulvaney, Mike Pompeo and others with firsthand knowledge of impeachable conduct by Trump. The testimony of these witnesses is needed to bolster the reliability of evidence collected from other witnesses.

Republicans are seeking testimony from former Vice President Joe Biden, his son Hunter Biden and the whistleblower whose written document began the impeachment process. As to the whistleblower, it would be a violation of law, a felony, for anyone to disclose this person’s identity. The testimony of the Bidens has no bearing on the guilt or innocence of the president.

Because the Republican Party is in control of the Senate, the prospect of conviction is highly unlikely. Against this reality, another way to hold Trump accountable is censure — a formal statement by the House or Senate of disapproval or condemnation.

Censure of Trump offers distinct advantages. Other than Andrew Jackson in 1834, Trump would be the only president to be impeached  and censured. The ordeal of a Senate trial would be\eliminated. Historically, generations to come, along with those who have witnessed his misconduct, can rest assured that the wounds of censure would be lasting and weighty. Trump’s transgressions would  always be remembered. Censure is historic. Trump cannot escape its impact.

In this way, Jewish values will play a role in seeing that Trump is held responsible for his assaults on democratic institutions.

Burt Newman, St. Louis