1 dead, 3 hurt in synagogue attack | April 28
5 words to fight anti-Semitism
Sleep has not come easy this past week. Since hearing the news of the terrible attack at the Chabad of Poway, Calif., I've been tossing and turning. I can't fathom what's going on in this great country I've called home since my birth nearly 45 years ago.
It wasn't easy after the Pittsburgh massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue either. But perhaps due to my naiveté, I thought that was to be a one-time occurrence. But six months later, innocent citizens, gathered in prayer on the last day of the festival that celebrates freedom, came under fire from an anti-Semitic madman. I ask myself, "Parkland, Pittsburgh, Poway; can it happen in Pinellas?" I try to push the thought out of my mind.
Anti-Semitism is spiraling out of control. A few days ago the Anti-Defamation League reported that in 2018 anti-Semitic assaults in the United States more than doubled. Anti-Semitism is not a Jewish problem. It's a world problem.
Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, my colleague and heroic leader of the Chabad of Poway, wants a "moment of silence" to be reintroduced into our public schools. This important endeavor, to incorporate a brief period of reflection or meditation at the beginning of each school day, was promoted by Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson in the wake of the assassination attempt of President Ronald Reagan in 1981.
I'd like to suggest an additional step, the daily recitation of just five words before we leave our homes. In Leviticus 19:18 we are commanded to "Love your fellow man as yourself." Every morning before I begin to pray I recite those sacred words, which puts things into perspective and properly frames the day ahead. If everyone would do the same we'd start eradicating anti-Semitism and bringing much-needed love, light and happiness into our world.
Rabbi Levi Hodakov, Clearwater
The writer is director of the Chabad of Clearwater.
Empowering women in politics | Maxwell column, May 5
They left me out
I am part of the female majority in America, but I will not be part of the Supermajority because they won't include women like me. I am a pro-life and pro-family woman, and there are millions of women who share my beliefs. You can't call yourself the majority when you do not represent all of the majority.
Mary Partington, New Port Richey
Florida turns hard right | May 5
Replace the Legislature
The Republican-led Legislature seems to have its own agenda and doesn't care what the citizens of Florida want. Amendment 4 passed with nearly 65 percent of the vote. Every election seems to be a hair-splitting race. I think the implementation of Amendment 4 would change that forever — which is why they're blocking it. That's why the only way to follow the people's will is to replace them as soon as possible.
Jeff Cutting, Brandon
Presidential Medal of Freedom
Teeing off on family values
Tiger Woods cheated on his wife, but because he can hit a golf ball 300 yards he's been selected to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. That really says a lot about the Christian family values of this country and its president.
Alfred Barnard, Beverly Hills