Letters from the Issue of March 7, 2002

More debate about "Strings Attached"

In other words, if they don't like the rules, they can alter them.

Audrey Zurawel

Bay Harbor Islands

Details

Who will speak for the coconut palms? Thank goodness someone has finally exposed this ridiculous violation of the separation of church and state. The eruv is by far the most flagrant and serious violation of the "establishment clause" of the First Amendment I have ever seen. Since September 11 we have seen a poignant demonstration of what happens when religion is allowed to run wild. One of the most valuable things we have that keeps our nation great is freedom of and freedom from religion, which requires a strict separation between church and state. So fundamentally important is this that the authors of our Constitution put it in writing.

I know of many people who feel bothered by the fact that this enormous religious structure, stretching for miles along the most pristine public property we have, is allowed to exist by the City of Miami Beach. It is even more outrageous that the city actually participated in erecting the structure.

This is not merely an innocuous religious symbol analogous to a Christmas manger scene. We're talking about ugly, twenty-foot poles stuck in the sand dunes stretching as far as the eye can see, marring an otherwise natural setting. Coconut palms have been defaced for the sake of this religious practice by nailing plastic pipes to them in order to attach the string from tree to tree.

The city is only adding insult to injury by defending the eruv and making Miami Beach seem like just another Southern hick town.

Pocho Cifuentes

Miami Beach

Someone needs new glasses: When I arrived in Miami in 1987 I soon noticed the unsightly strings and poles along Miami Beach. At the time I asked a local friend what was that "mess." She explained it had to do with Orthodox Jews. I said, why are Jews allowed to create such an unsightly situation? She said it was probably because they control politics in Miami Beach.

Subsequently I have wondered if all religions could deface the beach scenery with various religious displays. If all religions were treated equally in Miami Beach, we would see a comical mess of unsightly displays.

Gaspar González's article rightly highlights the separation of church and state. But that aside, what about common sense? Who in their right mind thinks this is an appropriate use of public domain? The rabbi in the article who thinks no one should be bothered by the poles and strings because "they are not obvious" needs to change his eyeglass prescription! His prejudice is really at play here.

Doug Black

Coconut Grove

That string threw me for a loop! The eruv is not the only religious symbol on public property in Miami Beach. The three-par public golf course along Pine Tree Drive sports a mikvah, a Jewish ceremonial bath. What was once a fairly challenging 140-yard par-three on the third hole became an easy 90-yarder.

Abraham Galbut was quoted by Gaspar González as "not being able to imagine a scenario in which there ever would be a problem" with the eruv. I encountered a problem with it once while running on the Surfside jogging path shortly after a tropical storm. While running my final stretch, I found my legs suddenly tripped up and my body doing cartwheels. I had tripped over the eruv string, which apparently became unkosher after the storm.

Ain't this town great?

David Horstman
North Miami

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