Passionate debate is good, not sweeping generalizations


This is an open letter to Edward Mehlman, D.D.S., in response to his Aug. 2 letter to the editor, “Writer disagrees with a rabbi’s perspective.” Thank you for taking the time to read my piece (“Every soul is precious”) a few weeks ago.

I am not going to debate who hates who more; in fact, that terminology makes me very uncomfortable and I feel it should be avoided. I will just ask, “What are you and I doing to change perceptions and preconceived stereotypes?” My suggestion – please accept an open invitation to explore Jewish relations anytime. (My contact information is available from the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island.) We should not be trapped into allowing hooligans, regardless of their external appearance, to define our relationship.

We should be able to debate passionately without stooping to sweeping generalizations, demeaning caricatures and thug-like behavior.

At the end of the day, let us remember that we only have one another. This is a philosophy I live by and so do the vast majority of Jews I know, regardless of their dress, affiliation or level of observance. I am sorry if your experience has been otherwise.

Rabbi Raphie Schochet