Letters to the Editor

Letters: Readers discuss unity at New Reform Temple, neglected YMCA and criminal inequality

Our real selves

A week after the Pittsburgh Tree of Life synagogue shooting, our synagogue gathered to celebrate our Holy Sabbath on the evening of Friday, Nov. 2. Members the New Reform Temple of Kansas City, where I am rabbi, were unnerved and frightened that night.

But something extraordinary happened. Hundreds of our non-Jewish neighbors came to our congregation to stand next us as friends and fellow citizens. It was standing room only in the sanctuary.

Mayor Sly James postponed his arrival at another event to stand in our vestibule and welcome our worshipers. His presence sent the message: Kansas City stands by our Jewish community.

So much hateful rhetoric exists in our country today. Racism, bigotry and antisemitism sully our national honor. Yet the residents of Kansas City continue to demonstrate that decency and good will win out over hatred and evil.

I have lived in Kansas City for over seven years. I have always felt that we are a great city. But the response of this community to the attack on the American Jews has brought me to tears.

Living here is a blessing. Let us celebrate that, at our core, we are a community of love, respect, tolerance and freedom. Let us never doubt the triumph of light over darkness.

Alan David Londy

Kansas City

Pressing needs

I was disappointed with the announcement of a $35 million investment in a new “full service” YMCA downtown. (Nov. 17, 1A, “YMCA gets full-service downtown operation in Lyric move”)

I have been a member of the Paul Henson Family YMCA in Prairie Village for 30 years, and I have watched that facility steadily go downhill with no updates. The parking lot is treacherous, with large pieces of asphalt missing, and the locker rooms have wet and moldy carpet. Until recently, the roof leaked onto members swimming in the pool.

I don’t understand why a small portion of that $35 million could not be funneled to make some improvements when so many of us, many elderly, patronize this facility. We would like to continue to use it.

Jeanette Cleary

Overland Park

A health crisis

I live behind the closed and shuttered Ramada Inn on Shawnee Mission Parkway. It disturbs me that Kansas City and Johnson County have allowed mentally unstable people to be released to fend for themselves.

A case in point: I spent over an hour one day last week trying to help a young woman who appeared to be delusional. My graduate training as a counselor would have suggested she was having a psychotic breakdown.

She apparently has been allowed to rent an apartment across the street from me — an apartment that I, as a retired high school Engish teacher, cannot afford.

When will people with mental illness be given the support they need? When will folk like me no longer be frightened by our neighbors?

Ruth Kauffman

Overland Park

Out of touch

Can you believe that a white person from Mississippi can be so dense that she doesn’t think there is anything wrong with joking about public hangings (aka lynchings)? (Nov. 14, 15A, “Hate crimes up for 3rd straight year, FBI reports”)

Larry Skogeron

Mission Hills

Legally unequal

A homeless man gets 6 years and 6 months for robbing a bank of $1,600. A bank vice president is sentenced to probation on $850,000 loan scam. (Nov. 21, 3A, “Homeless man who robbed bank to pay for room gets federal prison;” “Ex-Johnson County bank vice president gets probation”)

Is that justice?

David Barber

Kansas City

Be neighborly

The American continent is self-sufficient and there are no good reasons to remain invested in the Middle East wasting blood and treasure on wars without end.

Herbert Hoover may have been the first American president to introduce the “Good Neighbor Policy,” which involved investing in those nations that share the American continent and offering free trade. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, agreed with the policy, but was overwhelmed by the Great Depression and World War II. President Barack Obama tried to revive the policy and reached out to neighboring countries, but was stymied by Congress.

There would be no caravans of migrants from Central America, desperate for jobs and safety, if this sound advice had been followed by succeeding presidents. It’s not too late

Kenneth Lee