Editorial Judgment and Responsibility
Published this week in the St. Louis Jewish Light.
Norman Pressman raises an interesting point in his objection to the all-girls musical productions of Block Yeshiva and Bais Yaakov (Letter to the editor, Feb. 29). He is correct that I will not be able to attend my own daughter’s performance, in accordance with Jewish law. I appreciate his heartfelt concern for my feelings and those of my daughter, but our commitment to 3,300 years of tradition mitigates any pangs of disappointment.
Be that as it may, objection to this kind of “segregation” begs the question of consistency. Why has Mr. Pressman not similarly denounced the JCC for segregating men and women into separate locker rooms? Why has he not expressed outrage against the International Olympic Committee for refusing to integrate men and women in athletic competition, against the NAACP for devoting resources solely to the African-American community, and against professional basketball for its underrepresentation of the vertically disadvantaged? Indeed, why has he not filed suit against the Department of Transportation for segregating northbound traffic from southbound traffic with those ubiquitous yellow lines?
Ultimately, it is neither the illogic nor the pettiness of Norman Pressman’s reflexive attacks upon Jewish tradition that matters. Of far greater concern is the pattern of poor judgment shown by the Jewish Light in providing a platform for hatemongering and factionalism.
Responsible spokesmen representing different opinions may argue passionately without abandoning reason or civility, and a local paper should offer a forum for articulate voices expressing divergent views. However, the failure of the Light to demonstrate sound editorial discernment is among the primary reasons why the paper has lost credibility in the eyes of so many while alienating a substantial part of the Jewish community.