A plea for civility


Each time we put out a paper, we try to strike a delicate balance. How do we include all the many viewpoints and members of our community?  Despite our singular-sounding name, we are not just one Voice, but many voices. In fact, it has been suggested that we consider changing our name to The Jewish Voices!

Our community is a diverse one: right, left and center politically, with a wide range of religious practices. Some of us are more observant than others, but most of us don’t condemn others for the way they practice. In a modern, forward-thinking version of Judaism, most of us understand that there’s room for many interpretations. 

After four years as editor of this community’s newspaper, I have observed that there are just as many definitions of what it means to be pro-Israel. Right, left or center, everyone has his or her own interpretation of what this means. And shouldn’t that be OK too? After all, while we may not agree on the means, we all want the Jewish state to flourish.

There are many local and national groups working for a thriving, peaceful Israel. They all have different ideas on how to accomplish the same goal. Shouldn’t we all be able to civilly listen to those whose views we may not agree with?

We get many letters, columns, calls and emails from readers about issues surrounding Israel. We welcome each and every one. But let’s try to understand that all have one goal in common: everyone wants what’s best for our Jewish homeland.

Accusations and nastiness don’t advance anyone’s cause. Disagreeing about important details or strategies doesn’t make us anti-Israel. There is enough unrest in the Middle East. Let’s quell the unrest in our own small but diverse community.

We want to give everyone space to express their opinions. But please remember to be civil and refrain from attacking opinions – and writers – you don’t agree with. Let’s get a dialogue going where we can respectfully express our opinions – and hear what others are saying.

During our summer publishing break, I’m organizing a point-counterpoint forum for our opinion pages. We will cover a variety of topics, in addition to Israel – I’m open to suggestions on these topics.

Please send me an email, at editor@jewishallianceri.org, if you are interested in participating or have ideas on other topics for these forums.

editor, ostendorf,