Letters: Virginia and Roe v. Wade

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Jewish Community Should Respond to Virginia Governor Blackface Scandal

The blackface and KKK scandal of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam offered the Jewish community an opportunity to join forces with African-Americans, including the Congressional Black Caucus, in calling for the governor’s resignation. Yet the Anti-Defamation League, American Jewish Committee and other national Jewish organizations have been silent.

Historically, the Black-Jewish alliance was at its high point during the civil rights era of the 1950s and 1960s, when Jewish leaders such as Rabbis Abraham Joshua Heschel and Wolfe Kelman marched in tandem with Martin Luther King Jr. at Selma, Ala., and other places in the South.

Since that time, there have been fractures in the alliance. Now, however, this opportunity presented itself, but we let it slip away.

Jews might view this through our own prism. Imagine Gov. Northam had Nazi memorabilia on his yearbook’s page. We would be outraged and demanding his resignation. There’s no difference. If the Nazi memorabilia insults our sensibilities, we should recognize that the blackface and KKK robes do the same for African-Americans.

It’s not too late. The ADL, et al. can still weigh in. And we can learn for the future, as incidents like this will surely surface. Next time, the Jewish community should be ready to act.

David Broida | Bryn Mawr

Roe v. Wade Under Ongoing Attack

Stanley R. Askin wrote (“Human Life is Worth the Inconvenience,” Feb, 7), “As a Jew, I would never wish to force upon a woman the burden of caring for a child that she does not want.” Yet, he goes on to condemn abortions performed for reasons other than the “usual rape, incest and for the health of the mother.”

Roe v. Wade gave women the right to control their reproductive health and that the right to choose is to be made by her, her health care provider and loved ones should she so choose. The Casey decision placed constraints on Roe allowing states to restrict that right as long as they did not constitute an “undue burden.” Every Republican governor has pushed the envelope on “undue burden” to the extreme.

Abortion will be illegal in 35 states as soon as Roe is overturned or rendered meaningless by the Supreme Court. This will happen during the Trump administration. Ironically, it’s the Republicans who call for less government intrusion on our lives and freedom of choice yet they always embrace the religious right to pass laws restricting personal freedoms that conflict with their personal dogma.

Mark N. Cohen | Havertown

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