Jews, Christians share a core

Published March 9, 2007

Re: "Holiday from the hypocrisy," by Marlene Sokol March 2

Jews, Christians share a core

In my schoolboy days (daze?) in the Bronx, children were often absent from school and would explain on the day they returned. Some would say things such as "Saint's Day"; others would explain, "Jewish Holiday." Teachers were usually sharp enough to judge which children belonged properly with which excuse, so that when my pal John Francis Xavier Ray, on the day after Yom Kippur, explained his absence on the previous day by saying, "Jewish Holiday" (as I just had), not only did the other children grin or smirk, but Miss Shortino gave him "the look" and said, "Johhhnnn?" Whereupon Johnnie flashed her his beatific Irish smile and elaborated his explanation with, "Well, me family is in sympathy with their cause."

These days I have no children in school so my interest in the matter is less pragmatic, and more theoretical. I am especially interested in your observation regarding Judaism and Christianity that "The two faiths, at their theological cores, are mutually exclusive." I am interested in what you construe to be each of the faith's "theological core," and the ways in which each is such that there is no overlap.

My own simple view is that in the kernel of the center of the seed of the "core" is a teaching of a young Jew who yearned to bring other Jews to love their God, and to love their neighbor as themselves. If Gentiles see value in that way of living, then I applaud the nonexclusivity.

Mortimer Brown, Lutz


Why not mark all holy days?

I loved your column in today's North of Tampa section. It was a pleasure to hear some common sense for a change. The holidays do have names and it shouldn't be politically incorrect to use them. You're right, the fair is no more crowded on weekends than it is on "Fair Day," so what's the big deal?

However, I might carry this discussion a step further and suggest that there is nothing wrong with recognizing the holidays of other religions. Maybe our children would gain a little tolerance with the exposure this might generate. Knowledge is the first step to understanding, and most of our kids know nothing about religion except what they are taught at home or in church - not the most evenhanded of presentations. Isn't it okay to run school a few extra days in June to accommodate the holy days? All of the kids (and teachers) would probably enjoy a day off now and then.

Etta Green, Tampa Palms