Letters to the editor
August 26, 2008 · Updated 3:14 PM
Paper’s coverage deserves thanks
I want to thank and commend The Beachcomber for the excellent coverage of the desecration of Havurat Ee Shalom and the stories about the wonderful support of the community. The paper took a bold step to speak out on this sad event and its implications for our community.
I know the paper won’t toot its own horn, but I want people to know about a thank-you letter written by and published in the JT News (formerly known as the Jewish Transcript) concerning The Beachcomber’s coverage.
The JT News is a biweekly news magazine that is the “Voice of Jewish Washington.” Not only did the story of the anti-Semitic act against our congregation make its front page, but the paper also published a beautiful letter of thanks to The Beachcomber.
The JT News praised The Beachcomber’s quick action to print a huge Mogen David (Star of David) in the paper for people to post on their windows as a sign of support.
The letter quoted the excellent Beachcomber article and editorial. As the JT News said, “It is a show of solidarity that could not have come from this or any other Jewish newspaper; the message would not have had the same meaning. It should mean a lot to all of us that a small community paper is willing to stand up with such courage, and that the community it represents is willing to stand up and show support for its local Jewish population.”
I believe that our community would stand up for any and all minorities in this way. It’s a reminder to me of our Island spirit. I know that the board and members of Havurat Ee Shalom plan on working with other community groups to research educational opportunities for our schools to enhance their ability to teach tolerance. I know that we all want to feel that any minority is welcomed here and that they and their children feel safe. Thank you, Beachcomber staff, for your support.
— Emma Amiad
Let us each keep beliefs personal
First, I would like to say that I wish I didn’t feel so compelled to write this. My hope was that after the break-in and desecration at the Havurat Ee Shalom, that the outpouring of well wishes from different religious groups meant a beginning of solidarity among us all. But I guess that is not to be the case.
My first reaction to what was written about the Book of Mormon’s hope that when Jews accept Jesus, they will enter God’s kingdom, was a sharp gasp, then anger and disbelief.
I turned to Judaism after my childhood rejection of what was taught in my Christian Sunday School in Seattle. Deep in my soul was the belief that I would find the truth I needed so desperately by studying with a beloved Rabbi for more than two years in preparation for my conversion.
What I found, that was so right for me, might not be what other Jews by choice or by birth would have found. When I say the truth I found so right for me, I mean that I found something profoundly personal.
I do not take my conversion lightly and I did not seek conversion with the hope of someday turning to Jesus. That just will not happen.
Jews who survived persecution at the hands of Nazis did not fight for their lives expecting to forget their covenant with God. Jews have maintained the longest faith in a one-God-only covenant the history of mankind has known. To begin to drift away, as an entire people, to a belief that breaks this covenant is not what keeps the heart of Judaism alive.
Let us each keep our beliefs personal and not try to subtly persuade others that there is a better way of believing. Even within this group of Vashon Jews, there are probably as many different ways of believing as there are Jews.
— Patricia Casey
Island rallied around Café Luna
Our local firefighters and medics often drop in to Café Luna; we know them by their drink orders and friendly personalities.
They were there at the café on Saturday, Aug. 16, first thing in the morning for coffee, and then, just an hour later when neighbors called 911 about the smoke that poured out of the offices of our neighbors, Jones and Stokes.
As we small business owners stood on the street and worried about the fire’s outcome, those same firefighters were back in full gear with a host of volunteers, all with familiar faces. But then, it didn’t stop.
After the firefighters had done their work and left, it seemed as if the heart of the Island kept dropping in to support us.
Stu, from Vashon Auto Parts, stopped by and offered some very sage advice: “You need to get out of the building!”
Pete from the Sportsmen’s Inn arrived with fans to help blow out the smoke. (I had never even met him before that morning!)
My amazing employees, Cathy, Lauren, Norma and Julia, tirelessly worked throughout the day until I insisted that they leave for fresh air and food.
Tina, the originator of Café Luna, told me with confidence that we would be all right. And I believed her.
Melinda, from The Hardware Store, offered her coffee bar to my baristas and her art gallery to our Saturday night musicians.
John Stanton repaired our computers and Tom Wentzel checked all the electrical connections.
Liz Shepherd, from The Beachcomber, stopped by to make sure that our weekend events were on track.
And many, many of our loving customers came by to offer hugs and encouragement.
Finally, when we had done all we could do, Vashon Market supplied us with change for Sunday’s opening, and our local police officers checked on Café Luna through the night as we left it open to air out.
It was a fire that bullied its way through our building, but it will be what happened afterwards that will stay with us long after the upset of the fire.
Thank you, Vashon. We are here to stay in our business, our home and as part of this amazing community.
— Natalie Sheard
What’s going on? Why can’t we look at ourselves straight in the eye, naked in the mirror and admit we have a huge vandalism problem on Vashon?
It’s delusional to believe that whoever is continually committing crimes on our Island will come to their senses once they
understand smashing mailboxes isn’t nice, removing bolts from the desks in a classroom isn’t funny, defacing our schools, churches and synagogue isn’t respectful and costs lots of money to repair, breaking windows of public places and sinking a church safe in Tramp Harbor takes a lot of effort to replace and messing with bus brakes could kill innocent children.
Why has it taken us so long to install surveillance cameras? Never mind, I know why. We are in denial! This Island is too small for someone not to know exactly who is committing these crimes. Why do we choose to be blind?
Let’s not confuse the act of forgiveness with the act of codependence. We have a serious problem on our Island that is screaming for accountability. It is up to each of us to make it clear to whoever is committing and facilitating these crimes that enough is enough.
The chase will end when we come together as a community and accept that delinquents and criminals never get their fill. We’re the ones who must take a stand and protect ourselves, our children, our environment and the climate on Vashon. It’s not up to the police, school, church and business leaders. The solution is in our hands and hearts. What we permit, we promote.
— Wendy Gage