Commentary Magazine


Hallelujah

To the Editor:

Jennifer Moses’ essay, “With God in Baton Rouge” [March], made me ache. Here is a Jew, obviously searching for something spiritual in life, having to learn about God from non-Jews rather than from the people who brought the idea of God to the world. I disagree with her father’s assertion (cited by her) that “the Jewish tradition itself has inherent value, with or without God.” No sane group would suffer what the Jewish people has suffered throughout history if not for its faith in God. If there is no God, it is safer to belong to the local bowling club than to the Jewish community.

Michael Braitman
Jerusalem, Israel

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To the Editor:

Jennifer Moses’ essay is easily worth a year’s subscription. At least by this reader’s lights, she succeeded wonderfully. I hope she finds a rabbi with some of the wisdom displayed by Joyce, the black nursing aide who assures her that there is a God in heaven Who hears our pleas and answers our prayers.

Rabbi Avi Shafran
New York City

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To the Editor:

There cannot be many subscribers to COMMENTARY who expect, still less hope, to be moved to tears by an article in its normally astringent pages. But “With God in Baton Rouge” is one of the most moving pieces of writing I have ever read in my life. It would be hard to offer it the praise it deserves without sounding maudlin; but at the risk of sounding corny, I wish to say that if the universe of evolution can produce a writer as honest and as remarkable as Jennifer Moses, I can only assume that it is being presided over by a God Who loves us all.

Rev. Edward T. Oakes
Denver, Colorado

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To the Editor:

Jennifer Moses’ essay is beautiful in its language and delightful in its content. I was amused by her picture-perfect description of the broken and faith-filled South. I was warmed by her care for those who suffer. I identified with her honest struggle with her faith. And I was silenced with wonder by her essay’s powerful ending. I eagerly await her book on being Jewish in the South, and as a brand-new subscriber, I hope I never miss another issue of COMMENTARY.

Kathleen Ryan
San Antonio, Texas

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To the Editor:

“With God in Baton Rouge” is an extraordinary essay. With radical honesty and simple directness it reflects on the great question of how we are to live. I know of no better description of “becoming awake” (as a Zen master might put it) by faithful attention to the lessons of experience.

Hugh C. Murray
Seattle, Washington

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Jennifer Moses writes:

As a writer who sits alone for hours every day in front of my computer, I never know whether my words will find an audience. I am grateful that this time they did.

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