Letters, Jan. 4, 2018

Jan 04, 2018

Made the world safe

I was heartened that Mr. Seymour, in his Dec. 28 opinion piece, took the time to alert us to the insidious infiltration of political correctness into American culture. We should all take heed of his warning!

However, perhaps we should dig a little deeper into the subjects of his ire. He first takes issue with the critique of Hallmark Christmas movies. But if you read the Slate article, the sarcastic tone of the writer is evident, who is pointing out, yes, Virginia, that each movie is a sappy conglomeration of similar plot points, characters, and fake snow. The writer is simply analyzing the films for the world they reflect (not to mention the economic cash cow for Hallmark). To say the Slate article is spewing "venom" is to take a very shallow, infantile reading.

His second alarum concerns an essay about the origin of "Jingle Bells." Again, if you Google a couple of the news reports, you see that Professor Hamill was trying to sort out the provenance of the song (and it is not a "carol," regardless of what the Daily Mail states — when was the last time you sang "Jingle Bells" at midnight Mass?).  Hamill is attempting to put the song into the cultural context of the time and referee a dispute between two cities which each claim to be the city of the song's composition.

Mr. Seymour, our erstwhile etymologist, mentions that "racialized" is a "made-up word."  He is right about that. A form of the word was made up by word maker-up-erers in 1874 and was used in a Daily Beast article in 2013. Maybe the word "racial" is new to him?

So, I can rest more easily and sleep more soundly knowing that Mr. Seymour has made the world safe for Hallmark movies and "Jingle Bells."

Larry Abbott


The greater epidemic

For Tom Seymour: In response to your Dec. 28 column about the seasonal controversy over "Merry Christmas" and "Happy Holidays," I concur with what I take to be your focus. You are quite right, political correctness, however well-intentioned a concept it may originally have been, has gotten out of hand, and needs rethinking.

So far, so good. But then, in a manner that regrettably has become altogether too common among the "to the core" on the right and the left, you ruin it by resorting to name calling, labeling those who disagree with you as "Christmas haters." I have lived an active life the better part of eight decades and I have never ever come across anyone anywhere — of any nationality or any culture or any religion — who hates Christmas.

Thus, although you start out on solid ground, you step aside from the core issue, which here is not Christmas. Here, the core issue is hatred and by calling names, you yourself incite it, however loudly you may shout "Merry Christmas" as you do so. Rather than offering a solution to the genuine problem that you perceive, you inflame it.

This is, in my view, the greater epidemic facing our country. Increasingly, conversations that begin with courtesy and sensitivity evolve, not only among political opponents but even among friends and family, into venomous name-calling and from there into stinking silence. Every one of us has a responsibility and a stake in resolving this crisis, but perhaps none more than those, like you, who have public podium and a following.

Francis Sinclaire


Remembering loved ones

On Dec. 3, a reading of those remembered was heard at The First Church in Belfast as part of the Love Lights Tree lighting.

The idea for the tree started earlier in the year and became a reality when Pastors Kate Winters and Joel Krueger donated a beautiful fir tree. They were joined by several volunteers to plant the tree in front of the church. The lights on the tree represent loved ones who have passed.

At this special time of year, the Love Lights Tree helps families and friends keep their loved ones’ memories alive. Donations for the Love Lights will be used by the church to help community members in need.

We want to thank everyone who became a part of our Love Lights. We invite you to drive by The First Church and see the wonderful white lights glowing from our little tree. As the tree grows, the love and light will grow!

Thank you again.

The First Church in Belfast

Love Lights Tree Committee

Meredith Lang

Carryl Khrone

Jayne Giles

Chanukah thanks

Adas Yoshuron Synagogue's Community Chanukah Party at the Rockport Opera House on Dec. 16 was an enormous success. We welcomed over 140 adults and children to a joyous evening of energetic music, delicious food, and family fun. It was a beautiful evening and a very special way for community members to gather to celebrate the Festival of Lights.

On behalf of the board of directors of Adas Yoshuron Synagogue in Rockland, I’d like to thank the following Chanukah party sponsors: CedarWorks, French & Brawn, The Grasshopper Shop, Once a Tree, Planet Toys, and Main Street Markets, which also provided the delicious latkes. Thank you to the Strand Theatre for donating movie tickets. The generous support of these businesses helped make this community celebration possible.

John Heywood said, “Many hands make light work,” and that was true of our Chanukah party. We’re grateful to the town of Rockport for use of the Rockport Opera House, and to house manager Terri Lea Smith for working with us on all the details. Much gratitude to Sruli Dresdner and Lisa Mayer for the spirited and inspiring music, and to Lisa for leading us in Israeli dancing.

I’d like to thank my co-chairman, Stuart Finkelstein, for working on publicity and for organizing the children’s crafts; Fred Ribeck, for designing our eye-popping poster; Liz Snider and Richard Aroneau, for their excellent guidance and suggestions; Judy Stein, for rallying her Food and Jewish Culture gourmet cooks and concocting delectable Jewish food from around the world; Shelley Kushner and Carol Jacobsen, for purchasing supplies; Gail Wartell, for help decorating and for publicity; Elizabeth Siegel, for planning the Chanukah crafts and making decorations with the Hebrew School students; Minda Gold, for leading the children in song and leading the blessings over the candles; Sara Levy and Kathleen Meil, for supervising the children’s crafts; Lenora Goldman, for staffing the information table and selling supplies; Jacques Vesery, for taking pictures; Denise Singer, Susan Wind, and David Smith, for selling tickets; and everyone who came out and danced and sang and enjoyed the Festival of Lights.

We hope to see you in December 2018 at Adas Yoshuron Synagogue’s Third Annual Community Chanukah Party at the Rockport Opera House!

Linda Garson Smith


Chanukah Party Committee Chairman

Adas Yoshuron Synagogue



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