To The Daily Sun,
I woke up early election day morning wanting to vote, and because I had an early dentist appointment, it was a tough decision deciding which one to go to first. I was dreading the dentist but thought that if I went to the polling place too early, “pre-work” crowds would be there.
While debating to myself, I began reading the on-line version of The Laconia Daily Sun and read a wonderful article, written by staff writer Michael Mortensen, about the “unity “prayer service that I had attended the previous Friday night at our synagogue, Temple B’nai Israel.
It is hard to describe how awe-inspiring the service was while seeing the outpouring of support from our fellow non-Jewish members of this community in attendance. The service was full of music, hope, love, and peace. Shalom, the Hebrew word for welcomeand good bye, also translates to English as peace and tranquility. The service followed a traditional Friday night service program but contained more English translations of the prayers we usually sing in Hebrew, so our non-Jewish guests could follow along. There was also plenty of beautiful music with traditional Jewish prayer songs and a few appropriate secular songs, which Noam, an Israeli emissary to New Hampshire, sang while playing her beautiful guitar. In addition, the service included a few community guest speakers who gave us inspired words. After the service, a few families of our congregation had prepared plenty of delicious refreshments, an “Oneg Shabbat”. It truly was a service of “Shalom,” a word that was liberally sprinkled throughout the service by our rabbi and the guest speakers. Mr. Mortenden did an admiral job describing the evening in the article.
After I finished reading the article, at the bottom of the on-line edition, I noticed that someone had written a “comment.” I clicked on the comment thinking that it would be a positive review of the evening or the article. Imagine my surprise, when I noted that it was an anti-Semitic statement written by a known white supremacist in this community. I won’t give him any notoriety by including his name, but he has written other past racist, anti-Semitic, “opinions” in this paper.
I was profoundly upset and was trying to decide what my next step of action would be. My decision was to immediately go vote, since this is the only way to prevent giving a political platform to any Amercian governmental official who may share this man’s views.
After I voted, I went to The Laconia Daily Sun office to see if the offending comment could be removed from the website. There, I spoke to a young editor who saw the comment on the page. He told me that he would talk later with one of the managing editors of the paper to see if it could be removed.
After returning home and while following the election results, I explained the situation regarding the comment to our congregation’s rabbi, Rabbi Boaz Heilman. His response to me was “haters are going to hate” but that they still had the right to free speech. Also, that the Laconia community would see this comment and show how inhumane this man really is. As a result, in his opinion, it would be best if the comment remained on The Laconia Daily Sun web page. Even though I personally disagreed with the rabbi and thought that the comment should be removed from the site, the rabbi is our spiritual leader. I called The Laconia Daily Sun, spoke to an editor, and told them to not remove it. To the best of my knowledge the comment is still there. Shalom.