Sunday, September 28, 2008

PUBLISHER: Asking for and giving forgiveness.

In a column headed "Acknowledge wrongdoing" in the Sept. 28th Sunday News, Rabbi Jack Paskoff explains that Rosh Hashana, the start of the Jewish new year, is a time when Jews "seek out the people we have wronged, ask forgiveness, and do our best to change our behavior to avoid a repeat offense."

Later in the column he observes "These exercises sound very personal, but I want to suggest that they have a global implications as well. Can Jews forgive Germans? Can Armenians forgive Turks? Can Israelis and Palestinians forgive each other?"

Perhaps Rabbi Paskoff should have provided some local examples:

Should the Intelligencer Journal reporters and Editor Ray Shaw ask forgiveness of the public for their indiscretion in illegally accessing restricted State web sites?

Should the Lancaster Newspapers ask forgiveness for their mistreatment of former Commissioner Molly Henderson and their prejudicial coverage of the convention center project?

Should ex-convicts who violated our laws and social mores concerning sexual conduct ask the forgiveness of their victims and the public? (Many have.) And, when they do, should the public and the print media exercise forgiveness by allowing ex-cons to be assimilated into local housing without wide scale publicity so they can rebuild their lives?

If so, perhaps then those among us who have been so affronted and pained would accept the challenge of forgiveness, and community healing would take place.

As for, we know that on occasion we may err in our coverage. We welcome corrections and acknowledge them publicly. And if we wrong someone, we express our apology both privately and publicly. We have been so taught by our tradition and our rabbi.