Trump needs to set the tone

Speaking to Congress, President Trump finally addressed the racism and anti-Semitism that he stirred up with his divisive rhetoric and encouragement of the worst elements in our society ("A call to action," Wednesday).

Unfortunately, Trump's comments and actions over the past year, including his unwillingness to distance himself from Ku Klux Klansman David Duke, have brought about this hateful climate. Trump fanned - or at least failed to tamp down - racism and anti-Semitism at his rallies, and as president he has railed against immigrants, Muslims, and anyone else who does not fit into his vision of America.

This is personal to me. I am Jewish. My grandparents and most of my relatives were gassed or otherwise murdered by the Nazi regime in World War II. I was conceived in an unheated cellar in the Netherlands where my mother hid for 18 months.

As a boy, I was welcomed into this great country as an immigrant. For 60 years, I have felt safe to be who I am and practice my religion. But I no longer feel safe. I worry about my children and grandchildren, the schools they attend, and the synagogues in which they worship.

I blame much of this on Trump. He is our representative to the world and our society. That is an honor and an obligation. To date, he has not met that obligation and has not been worthy of the honor.

|Marcel L. Groen, chairman, Pa. Democratic Party, Abington

No link to the president

It was edifying to see that the Inquirer had made the connection between the philosophy of the Trump administration and the desecration of Jewish cemeteries ("Cemetery crime hateful," Tuesday). With some additional research, I'm sure the Inquirer will be able to point out the connection between the Trump administration and the failure of the Delaware River Turnpike Bridge, the decline in soda sales in Philadelphia, the closing of the JCPenney stores, and the mating habits of college freshmen. By all means, let's not lose sight of the objective.

|Mike Egan, Plymouth Meeting, mchlegan@gmail.com

Response is heartening

I share Rabbi Joel Seltzer's heartbreak about anti-Semitic incidents in Philadelphia, including the desecration of gravestones at Mount Carmel Cemetery ("Where's the Brotherly Love?" Wednesday). There have been too many reminders that the haters exist and want to do us harm and make us afraid. Yet, I have been tremendously inspired by the overwhelming response by people of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to the recent horrific events. Their help with restoring the cemetery, raising funds for repairs, and making speeches acknowledging that we're all in this together help to restore my faith in humanity.

|Kathy Axelrod, Elkins Park

Follow noble instincts

The desecration of Mount Carmel Cemetery was a reprehensible act of violent disrespect against our Jewish community and their deceased loved ones.

The day before news of the desecration broke, I participated in an event sponsored by the nonprofit organization, One Kind Act a Month. In response to a Facebook invitation, more than 200 people of all ages gathered at noon in Center City. Their backpacks were stuffed with sandwiches to feed our homeless brothers and sisters. The leader was astounded at such a huge turnout.

Our city is filled with generous, kindhearted people who are ready to help, not harm others - people who respect the dignity of their fellow human beings as children of God. We need to invite each other to live from our most noble aspirations and to pray for those whose hearts are filled with exclusivity and animosity, attitudes that have no place in our country or in our city of brotherly and sisterly love.

|Sister Anne Myers, congregational president,

Sisters of St. Joseph, Philadelphia

Showing love and respect

As a Muslim, I want to condemn the cruel vandalism at the Jewish cemetery in Wissinoming.

As Ahmadi Muslims, we are guided by the Khalifa of Islam, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, who reminds us how the Prophet Muhammad was against all forms of anti-Semitism and how he treated both Jews and Christians with love and respect. It was this guidance that led a group of Muslims to Mount Carmel Cemetery to help our Jewish brothers repair some headstones.

We will always stand in solidarity with our Jewish neighbors and offer them any support they need, as all Philadelphians should.

|Nameer Bhatti, Blue Bell, nameerb@gmail.com

Obama ignored risks

Anne C. Richard's commentary, "Hysteria does not help make sound policy" (Friday), included this quote from President Barack Obama: "We don't make good decisions if it's based on hysteria or an exaggeration of risks." To that I would add: "Or by ignoring those risks." I think Obama did more of the latter than the former.

|Ben LaGarde, Glenmoore, blagarde2@gmail.com

Don't exploit vandalism

While I am as incensed as anyone about the desecration of the Jewish cemetery, a commentary's exploitation of this vandalism for political purposes is detestable ("No safety without safety for all," Friday). No one knows who perpetrated this heinous act, but laying it at President Trump's feet without a shred of evidence is irresponsible. Where was the outrage when another Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia, Adath Jeshurun, was similarly desecrated in September 2015? No one politicized it by suggesting President Barack Obama was responsible even as it occurred during tension over the Iran nuclear deal.

|Jay M. Borowsky, Philadelphia