Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Letters in Paper about Lakewood

Letter in the A. P. P. responding the anti-Semitic rant by the Reverend Nunn:

As a candidate who ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the Lakewood Township Committee, I was appalled, shocked and dismayed to read the op-ed piece "Preferential treatment in Lakewood affects entire community" by the Rev. Kevin Nunn. I wonder what Nunn is teaching his followers.
During the seven-plus months that I was campaigning, I saw a much different Lakewood than the one described by Nunn. I saw a deputy mayor who is an Orthodox Jew (Meir Lichtenstein) rush off the dais to administer first aid to a member of Nunn's group when she collapsed. It didn't matter that this woman was black or that she was not an Orthodox Jew. All that he saw was a person in need of medical treatment and he provided it to her. It did not seem to me, as Nunn puts it, "that they don't defile their sick with the blood of our sick."I wonder if I would have written the same letter that Nunn had written and changed the word Lakewood to Harlem, would the Asbury Park Press have printed it? Or would they have branded me a racist?Nunn says "We could work together. Our children could play together, go to school together and enjoy the bond of unity that strengthens all men through camaraderie and communication to make this one great community." If he was truly interested in that, why did he not once approach me to share his concerns and fears regarding Lakewood? As someone who, in his own words, wants to "enjoy the bond of unity," why did he not once approach me, a Jew with a yarmulke on my head, to see if I were elected how we could work together to help the people that he purports to lead?
The fact that he never once reached out to me leads me to believe that Nunn is not interested in any of the words or concepts that he espouses. He is only interested in one thing: hate.Has Nunn ever bothered to find out why Orthodox Jews send their children to private schools?
On top of my property taxes that I pay, which go to educate his children, if he has any that are in the Lakewood school system, I pay thousands of dollars in private school tuition. I do this, because as an American, I am granted the liberty by our great country to educate my children as I see fit. I want my children to have a religious education, an education that is not afforded to me by the public school system.Nunn also is upset that "luxuries are afforded such as tax-exempt status for synagogues." I wonder if the church that Nunn prays in has tax-exempt status?I can go on and refute all his claims one by one, yet the question will remain: Will this satisfy Nunn? In my opinion, it will not, because he has shown his true colors, that of a person who is filled with bigotry and hate.
I call on all of the good people of Lakewood who I met during the campaign, whether they are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, black or white, to come together in one unified voice and to tell Nunn that he and his hatred are not welcome in Lakewood.
Steven Langert

Charges unfounded, offend community
In his Nov. 18 commentary "Preferential treatment in Lakewood affects entire community," the Rev. Kevin Nunn makes some unfortunate and outrageous charges against the Lakewood Orthodox Jewish community and the Township Committee.I am always wary of someone who must state in their opening comments "emphatically" that they are "not anti-Semitic nor racist." The minister then goes on with the most shocking anti-Semitic and racist column that I have ever read in any newspaper.On the one hand, to refute these absurd charges point by point would only lend validity to them. On the other hand, to leave them unchallenged leaves the impression there is a scintilla of truth. I would therefore like to address two points and show how false and distorted they are. This should give a good indication to the truthfulness of the rest.The outrageous charge is made that the Orthodox have "separate entrances to enter the hospital, ride in separate ambulances and seek to police their own community," so "they don't defile their sick with the blood of our sick." The minister knows quite well that the separate entrance to the hospital is used only on the Sabbath and holidays when Jews are not permitted to use the electronic doors in the front. He also knows quite well that the private volunteer ambulance organization has nothing to do with not wanting to "defile their sick with the blood of our sick" as I am unaware of any separate blood bank. It is to address the response time issue for a dispersed community.Nunn's comments bemoaning that by "allowing this to continue, by 2010 the demographics will have shifted so greatly that what once was a racially and socially diverse community will be a predominantly Orthodox Jewish community" sadly takes me back to an earlier time in my childhood when similar charges were made about another group that I would suspect the minister would be more sensitive about.Nunn seems to be disturbed by the power and influence of the Orthodox community in Lakewood. I would remind him of the words of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.: "Our nettlesome task is to discover how to organize our strength into compelling power." I would suggest that he do the same and stop trying to tear others down.
Abraham E. Danziger

People choose where to live
The racist opinions in "Preferential treatment in Lakewood affects entire community" about the Lakewood Orthodox community resonated with xenophobic people the world over.The fact that people of a certain belief choose to live together in close proximity, pay for their own private schooling and housing, and set up legal, tax-exempt houses of worship is their own choice. The fact that people willingly sell their property to others at market prices is also their own choice. No one is forced to sell their property to others; they do it of their own volition.Demographics in every community shift constantly. Should we evict all the blacks from Harlem that displaced its earlier predominantly Jewish community? Certainly not. Over time as ethnic groups grow and shrink, the communities they inhabit change along with them. To those too racist to realize the dark nature of their thoughts and words, their hypocrisy is clear.
Israel M. Shenker

Writer's disclaimer belies truth
In reference to the Rev. Kevin Nunn's commentary "Preferential treatment in Lakewood affects entire community," the mere declaration that the writer is "not anti-Semitic nor . . . racist" leads the reader to think he is exactly that. This revelation of guilt is a common psychological experience for those who disparage and create an "otherness" for another group.While noble in cause and semantics, the use of the Founding Fathers' "all men are created equal" clause is misleading. It is social institutions that yield commonalities among the people. Yet, because Nunn is in the majority's religion, he feels it is OK to marginalize and defame the Orthodox Jewish community.I hope Nunn doesn't follow the dictates of his forebears: namely, Pope Paul IV's bull of 1555 that led to detaining and placing people of Jewish ancestry into ghettos, forbidding them from owning real estate, making them attend Christian universities, hire Christian servants and wear the common couture of the day and forcing them to wear distinctive badges and clothing.Nunn should live by his savior's teachings: love your neighbor and all.
Mark Kunzler

Writer's concerns seem misplaced
Having read and reread the Nov. 18 commentary "Preferential treatment in Lakewood affects entire community" by the Rev. Kevin Nunn, I have a number of questions. Why would a man from another county (Monmouth), another town (Asbury Park) and who can't even vote in Lakewood choose Lakewood as his rabble-rousing focal point?Why would a man, who claims to have equality as his goal and lives in a town that has many problems that need solving, choose to turn his back on his home town and instead choose to grace Lakewood with his great insight and sensitivity?The answer is the same as the answer to the question: Why do Ku Klux Klan members choose the towns they choose to infiltrate?Nunn and his followers are lucky enough to be living in a country that holds dear the right to freedom of speech. How sad when a man takes advantage of that right and invokes the name of God in order to create hate. Luckily, most people recognize people like Nunn for exactly what they are.
Gail Gobar

Distinctions understandable
Regarding the Nov. 18 commentary "Preferential treatment in Lakewood affects entire community," the claim by the Rev. Kevin Nunn that the organization he represents is not anti-Semitic is ludicrous.Nunn says that minority children are excluded from Jewish private schools. Why would Christian or Muslim children want to go to a yeshiva? He says the synagogues are tax-exempt. Does his church pay taxes?He states that the people have left Lakewood due to their inability to run successful businesses. The last time I looked at our capitalist society, it appeared that anyone with ability, ambition and capital could open a business.Why isn't the minister complaining about the Amish Christian community in Lancaster, Pa.? It appears that his description of the Jewish community would be parallel to the Amish.
Paul Schneider

Accusations toxic, inflame
It is a great relief to read the Rev. Kevin Nunn's declaration that he is not anti-Semitic, and that his Lakewood Improvement Association, presumably embracing some of his best friends, includes Jews.Had he not so declared, I might have been misled by his various accusations — some of them outright fabrications, others slanderous falsehoods, yet others misleading half-truths, all of them toxic and incendiary. He says that Orthodox Jews have "created economic and social discrimination," receive "preferential treatment," are undermining the economy of the community, are taking over, are virtually enslaving a "work force to accomplish their labor," view others as "not good enough" to interact with, will not "defile their sick with the blood" of others, and undermine the Declaration of Independence.As I say, it is a great relief. And the reverend can quote Scripture about righteousness, too.
Rabbi Avi Shafran
An abuse of free speech

Iwas stunned to see an article filled with such hate as the article written by the Rev. Kevin Nunn.While the Constitution protects free speech, spreading racism and the like does not do the Asbury Park Press any justice. You are implicitly supporting these thoughts of religious profiling as long as you do not print an editorial separating yourselves from Nunn's comments.I urge you to take the high road and while yes, you can print Nunn's thoughts, make it clear to the folks out there that you support the entire Constitution, which includes the words "all men are created equal."
Michael Rosenstock

The A.P.P. should apoligize!
posted by Yeshiva Orthodoxy
at 1:53 PM


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow ! Shtark !

2:38 PM  

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