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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, November 10, 2019 1:00 am

Letters to the editor

Soaring music reminder of triumph of good

The Fort Wayne Philharmonic and the Jewish Federation of Fort Wayne are collaborating with almost 30 community organizations in presenting “Violins of Hope” to northeast Indiana through Nov. 23. Violins of Hope comprises a collection of restored musical instruments telling remarkable stories of the defiance, resilience and legacy of Jewish musicians during the Holocaust.

World-renowned luthier (instrument maker) Amnon Weinstein, who lost most of his relatives to the Holocaust, has dedicated his life to locating violins originally played by Jews in concentration camps and ghettos. He painstakingly pieced them back together, bringing them back to life on the concert stage. Although most of the musicians who played the instruments were murdered during the Holocaust, their voices and spirits live on through the violins Amnon lovingly restored. These instruments serve as a testament to the triumph of the human spirit and the power of music to lift hearts during even the most horrific circumstances. 

 The personal stories associated with these Violins of Hope will come alive through the vibrant creation of music, art, theater, readings, educational activities, interfaith dialogue and prayer services in northeast Indiana. The musicians of the Youth Orchestra and the Philharmonic will participate in dozens of musical performances so these stories can be brought to life on the concert stage.

On behalf of our partner, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, we would like to offer heartfelt thanks to all the collaborative partners and generous supporters of Violins of Hope. These organizations and their leadership understand that when we have flourishing arts, education and culture, society is enriched. They also realize when a society allows and encourages systematic hatred, evil results.

It is our collective prayer that Violins of Hope will serve as a reminder that good can triumph over evil when women and men of goodwill gather together with a sense of purpose, strength and optimism for the future.

Ben Eisbart

President, Jewish Federation of Fort Wayne

Banks contradicts own arguments on religion

In an Oct. 18 piece, Rep. Jim Banks bemoans “an outrageous assault on the First Amendment and our country's beautiful tradition of religious freedom,” amounting to an imposition of secular views on religion by Democrats. He seems to assert tax exemption for religious entities derives from the First Amendment and denial of the exemption is prohibited by the same amendment.

Laws passed with a blind eye to the First Amendment granted tax exemption to churches, thus at least enabling if not establishing religion. Besides, one wonders how paying taxes curtails “the free exercise of one's religion”?

It is hard to fathom his logic when he says the government should not choose who is “orthodox” and “unorthodox,” and follows it up with the claim that the “evolved” view of marriage is not accepted by a great deal of Christians. Surely Banks is not claiming that all the pronouncements of the church have been infallible or that churches had not led their flocks astray. Are we also to conclude that the Christian majority rules?

If equal opportunity and treatment are denied to any person because someone disagrees with or disapproves of his/her religious or social mores, that surely is religious intolerance and coercion and the very opposite of religious freedom. And sustaining that intolerance with tax subsidies flies in the face of the First Amendment.

The Treaty of Tripoli (1797) – however one views its validity – was ratified by the same folks who passed the Constitution and the First Amendment. Its Article 11 says, “the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.” Neither is any other religion mentioned. Taken together, one would conclude from these documents that our Founding Fathers recognized no state religion as well as the folly of such a stricture; and that we live in a secular nation envisioned by the founders and not imposed by Democrats.

Kamala S. Krishnan

Fort Wayne

Support for teachers benefits all of society

As a Fort Wayne Community Schools parent and public school advocate, I am 100% supporting the teachers who are taking the day off to attend the Nov. 19 Red for Ed Day of Action at the Statehouse.

For those not familiar, Nov. 19 is significant because lawmakers are back in session for a single day to organize for the next General Assembly. The day has been designated Red for Ed Day of Action to remind our legislators that children, educators and public schools need to be the top priority. I contend that most teachers do not want to be out of their classrooms; however, Nov. 19 is about doing what is right for our children, which means standing up for public education.

We, as parents, need to get behind our teachers and make a change. The teachers are not rallying just for more pay; they are doing this so they can teach. Standing up for public education is about giving our schools the necessary funding to provide resources and programs for our children's needs.

There are many ways to support public education. If you can't be in Indianapolis to show your support, send your teachers, volunteer to watch their children while they attend, wear red for ed, write your legislators.

You can make a difference. Start by supporting your teachers. I believe our children, our schools and our teachers deserve so much more and you should, too. Educated children are our future.

Jennifer Matthias

Fort Wayne

Samaritans reunite owner with bank card

I want to give a heartfelt thank you to the person who found my bank card on Oct. 29 and turned it in. I was attending the show at the Embassy Theatre and dropped it without being aware. Someone found it and turned it in to staff. The Embassy staff then found our seats and brought the card to me.

Thank you for your honesty and to the staff for taking the time to track me down.

Anita Altman

Roanoke