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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 27, 2010 17 Elul, 5770

Common Sense for Sacred Ground

By Suzanne Fields




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | NEW YORK CITY — We stood together in the rain on a Sunday in late summer, most of us as protesters, some of us angrier than others, and some of us there as observers to take the temperature of anger at West Broadway and Park Place. We stood close to ground zero, as the place where the twin towers of the World Trade Center once stood will always be called. This was holy ground. We could feel it.

Many in the crowd of the 500 or so men and women protesting the construction of what New Yorkers call "the ground zero mosque" had been directly touched by terrorism, having lost friends, family, husbands, wives and lovers among the 3,000 Americans who died here. Many of the dead were cops and firemen who died trying to save others.

Angry politics was the order of the day, with one side crying shame at those who "show no sensitivity for sacred ground," the other accusing the first group of having no regard for the founding ideals of the republic.

The reasons on both sides are understandable, depending on your point of view. But everything seems all mixed together — anger, sadness and a profound sense that America has lost something big here. Not just the size of the towers — the buildings were always controversial from an aesthetic perspective — but something amorphous, the belief in our invulnerability and lovability.

Americans want to be loved (which is why we could never make it as a colonial power), and though we're sometimes perceived as arrogant we have always imagined that others see us as meaning well even when we get it wrong. This controversy exposes an ugly side, where we get up close and personal and not only disagree, but really, really dislike those who disagree with us.

The founders knew that for our nation to come together we had to stretch our principles to embrace protection of opinions that were sometimes hard to abide. On big issues there would always be big fights.

Fearing that some of our worst fights could be over an established state religion, the Bill of Rights set out first the right of religious faith — the government could never tell us how or what to worship, or whether to worship anything at all. This has enabled many religious faiths to flourish, but it has never kept anyone from regarding someone else's faith with distrust or even revulsion.

Sometimes arguments get robust. Mormons, Mennonites and Moonies have taken it on the chin at times in our past. Protestants and Catholics have regarded each other with hostility. Catholics and Jews have been exploited by stereotypes. Even Baptists and Methodists have occasionally had angry spats in small-town America.

It took John F. Kennedy to demonstrate that a Catholic could be elected president. But when Joe Lieberman, an observant Jew, was nominated for vice president by a major political party, and when his ticket lost, there was no bitter anti-Semitism in the wake of defeat. We're clearly making progress. Religion and politics have always had an uneasy relationship, sometimes exacerbated by current events.

Such is the controversy over a mosque proposed near ground zero. Those disposed against the mosque are decried by others as Islamophobes. Those who favor it are called self-righteous and oblivious of the feelings of those who lost loved ones there. Neither accusation is fair.

Passion (if not extremism) is always understandable in the defense of liberty; there's already a mosque four blocks away, and no one has objected to that. But the recovery, both physical and spiritual, from what happened at ground zero is unfinished business. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan remind us every day that Americans are still sacrificing their lives to fighting enemies who identify with the men who flew airplanes into the New York City skyline.

No matter how they may have perverted the Muslim religion, no matter that innocent Muslims here felt victimized, too, the barbarians of Sept. 11 were Muslim, and a new mosque near ground zero will be interpreted by the radical Islamists as a monument to their "victory" over America.

Time may heal all wounds, but not quickly. Sheldon Silver, the speaker of the state Assembly and a Democrat whose district includes ground zero, says the organizers of the campaign to build the mosque may have "honorable" motives, but now they must consider "the kind of turmoil that's been created and look to compromise."

That's neither apocalyptic nor melodramatic, nor does it speak to a "clash of civilizations." But it speaks eloquently to the moment, an appeal to common sense and sensitivity for honoring sacred ground, for finding another site for the mosque, and moving on.

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© 2006, Creators Syndicate, Suzanne Fields

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