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Letters to the Editor

GKCIC takes a stand against rally

We call upon the Kansas City community to join with us, the Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council, in rejecting any agenda that furthers hate, violence and discrimination.

Sadly, the Council has become aware of a “march” scheduled for June 10 called “March Against Sharia.” (Ed note: These marches will be held all across the city, including one here at Washington Square Park in Kansas City, Missouri.) This rally promotes no positive agenda nor advocates for any positive change or benefit to our society.

The website of the sponsoring organization, ACT for America, describes itself as “the NRA of national security” and states that it is “fighting for” national security. ACT for America is admittedly an anti-Muslim group and is listed as a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center. 

There are no words strong enough to clearly communicate how concerned we are and how deeply we oppose any assembly or organization that is self-described as targeting a particular ethnic, cultural or religious group. While GKCIC supports the right of free speech, we cannot support hate speech. We believe these types of events that target one group are an attack against ALL faith traditions and life philosophies, as well as the values we hold dear. 

When we see violence, or attempts to discriminate against whole groups of people based on faith, life philosophy, race, national origin or ethnicity, we are called to remain steadfast in expanding our awareness of the spiritual values of ANY faith tradition. We know it is these values that can help us resolve issues and challenges occurring in every area of our lives and communities. 

In the form and manner unique to each of our respective faith traditions, the GKCIC invites each person and community to offer prayers of peace, healing and understanding for all, and to take whatever action each individual is called to take that carries the message “we stand together.”

Rev. Kelly Isola, chair

Alan Edelman, Jewish director

Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council

Keeping memories alive

It was with appreciation and great anticipation that I read the April 20 article by Mary Greenberg about the Jewish community of the Greek Isle of Rhodes.

My mother and father were born on the Island of Rhodes.  They did not meet until both came to the United States. Mama had excellent schooling and spoke at least seven languages (and my children tell me that she taught them a curse word in all seven of them!). She made us laugh when she would sing the national anthem of France.

Her ability to speak Greek always delighted my husband’s Greek friends from the Army.

On one of our trips to Europe, we spent a week on that beautiful island of Rhodes, visiting with family and paying our respects to many ancestors who were buried there before Hitler’s army arrived. To this day, I still vividly remember my mother crying one day when I came home from school, as she had just learned of the Nazi occupation of the island. I didn’t understand then what the world now knows; many of my ancestors perished at Auschwitz.

The beautiful Jewish museum in Rhodes, adjacent to the synagogue, was started by a Los Angeles attorney who is preserving the Jewish history of Rhodes. Those who are interested in the museum can write to: Aron Hasson, Rhodes Jewish Historical Foundation, 10850 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024, or visit www.rhodesmuseum.org.  

Those interested in Sephardic history might also enjoy a book by Isaac Benatar entitled “Rhodes and the Holocaust,” as well as “Stella’s Sephardic Table,” a beautiful book on the cuisine of Rhodes Sephardim, available on Amazon.

My personal thanks to Mary Greenberg for her article in The Chronicle about this special and legendary community. Her work keeps the memories of Rhodes alive, for which I am so grateful.

Stella Shemarya Parris

Overland Park, Kansas