By Jeff JHO Hoyland
We are happy to announce that the 13th Annual Relay For Life of Bedford will be held on Saturday, May 19th – Sunday, May 20th at the Bedford High School Track.
Relay For Life is the American Cancer Society’s signature fundraising event where people within the community gather to celebrate survivors, remember those lost to cancer, and to fight back against this disease. Relay For Life participants raise money and awareness to support the American Cancer Society.
By Dana Fine
According to its definition, apartheid is a policy/system of segregation or discrimination on the grounds of race. Between the years 1948-1994, South Africa enforced through legislation an apartheid regime, which harshly discriminated the non-white racial groups. This discrimination encompassed every aspect of life, such as the right to vote, job opportunities and education. It also encroached on aspects of simple, everyday life: which road you could walk on, which park bench you could sit on, at which beach you could go swimming; even intermarriage between whites and non-whites was strictly forbidden. What is important to emphasize is that these people, despite being grossly discriminated against, were in fact, equally defined as citizens by the South African laws.
By David Packer
This letter responds to the others about Ken Gordon’s trip to Israel, totally supported by organizations in the U.S., as were trips by our Police Chief and others. I note that such trips have only been done by groups supporting Israel, are quite extensive, and very expensive.
Having been to Israel/Palestine on a Mission with Interfaith Peace Builders, I have had discussions with both Israeli and Palestinian groups working hard for peaceful resolution of the long-term issues in the region. The occupation of the Palestinian West Bank by Israel is a core issue.
By Ginni and Dave Spencer
For those of us celebrating the holiday, an old-fashioned white Christmas in New England was a lovely event to enjoy on December 25th. The view from every window was a classic winterscape and made for a cozy environment indoors in which to begin opening presents.
When I heard the DPW trucks rumbling by – during the night as well as all morning – I was reminded that as I was snuggling in, there were many hard at work in the cold and dark to keep our roads safe and passable for all of us and our visiting families and guests.
By Lori Reubenstein
Mr. LaMura’s letter is exactly why these study tours are necessary. Anyone who has actually been to Israel or has interacted with Israelis knows that the situation there is much more nuanced than what is painted in much of the media accounts.
By Dana Fine
For decades, community leaders throughout the Commonwealth have experienced the rich culture, dynamic history, and innovative high-tech economy of Israel with JCRC of Greater Boston.
JCRC Study Tours offer a unique opportunity to meet the people of Israel and to gain a better understanding of the complexities and challenges facing the country and the region.
Participants travel the length and breadth of Israel, learning from government officials and religious, academic, media and business leaders. Participants meet with Jews, Muslims, and Christians; Israelis and Palestinians; and individuals representing a wide spectrum of political and social thought.
By Vito LaMura
Our state representative, Ken Gordon, has gone to Israel with 12 of his colleagues, all expenses paid by a controversial lobbying group, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston. This group disingenuously claims that they fund these “study tours” for civic leaders to help them learn about and support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Let’s think about this for a minute. Do our State House reps and senators even remotely have influence or power in this regard? Certainly not. Then why does this lobbying group spend so much money to influence our lawmakers?
By Ann A Kiessling, PhD
Director, Bedford Research Foundation
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), the virus that causes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is arguably the most devastating virus humankind has seen during recorded history with more than 36 million people already dead and an equal number currently infected worldwide. The evidence is good that HIV smoldered in chimpanzees for decades before jumping to humans. Infected chimpanzees do not develop the deadly immune deficiency disease.
But, luckily, HIV is also a fragile virus. Unlike the flu, HIV requires either intimate sexual contact or blood-to-blood contact to affect transmission. HIV is rendered not-infectious by water, air, and soap, to name a few. The best evidence that routine hugging, kissing and other household contact does not transmit infection stems from the families whose husbands and sons with hemophilia were infected with both HIV and Hepatitis C during the 1980’s by tainted blood-clotting factors. Ten thousand men and boys with hemophilia (94% of the hemophilia population in the U.S. at the time) were infected before a test was developed to screen the U.S. supply of blood and blood-clotting factors for HIV. Approximately 90% of the HIV-infected men and boys with hemophilia died before the early 2000’s. The only HIV transmission reported in that population was by sexual contact from infected husbands to wives.
By Rev. John Gibbons, Senior Minister, First Parish Unitarian Universalist in Bedford, and members of the First Parish Sanctuary Team: Marilou Barsam, Cathy Cordes, Sylvia Cowan, Judi Curcio, Marya Dantzer, Christine Dudley-Marling, Diana Finer, Judith Frediani, Lee Beth King, Vito LaMura, Lisa Rubin, and Julie Zacharakis.
In my sermon last Sunday, I noted that as a congregation we have affirmed that we will give shelter to those who unjustly are threatened with imminent deportation, people whose freedom is in jeopardy, and whose very lives are at stake. Our love will resist the defensive stranger-fearing nativist impulse. We’ve prepared a place, organized ourselves, made coalition and allies. We welcome the stranger. We protect the vulnerable. We accompany the oppressed.
In response to the unanimous recommendation of our Sanctuary Committee, our Parish Board unanimously approved a motion to welcome someone into sanctuary on October 26. This could happen imminently. Let the beauty we love be what we do.
By Michael Rosen, Bedford Assistant Town Manager
I want to publicly thank the vendors in Town who graciously donated their local items for the Bedford Citizen of the Year gift basket. Their generous contributions made Bedford Day and the Citizen of the Year Ceremony memorable and enjoyable for 2017’s winner, John Linz, and his family.