When I heard the news of Greg Casey, or Casey as we called him, passing away, a piece of my childhood ended (“JCC and Basketball Mainstay Greg Casey Dies at 59,” Sept. 5).
It was the early 1990s and I was a teenager who played basketball every spare second I had. I would play in men’s pickup basketball, but because I was a little young some of the men balked at letting me play. Casey, as I called him, let me play, and many times when people on my team would freeze me out, it was Casey who got me involved.
As a senior in high school, I started working the front desk, buzzing people in to use the facility. Aside from an uncle who would always strike up a conversation, the only other person who asked me about school and discussed sports was Casey.
While I attended a Jewish school and had Jewish role models, I consider Casey to be a role model for me as well. He treated everyone with respect and did not care about your race, religion or sex. Many times during games when both older or younger people would use words that might not be deemed appropriate, Casey would be the one who told people — perhaps it was in jest but now, having my own kids, I understand the meaning — to remember the kids can hear what is being said.
I am a grown man now with children of my own and I wish they, too, had their own “Casey” — someone who is not tied to their school or synagogue but someone who can teach the meaning of being a good person and gentlemen/mensch to everyone.
Gary Strong | Princeton, New Jersey
Not Entitled to Deny Forgiveness
Rabbi Sam Yolen’s op-ed (“A Pennsylvania Town As Victim,” Sept. 26) was quite interesting as well as provocative, but I must voice a major disagreement regarding state Sen. Mike Folmer who, according to the rabbi’s own words, was an outstanding leader of the community and supporter of the highly regarded interfaith clergy group. He was arrested for possession of child pornography but even though he has yet to be tried, the rabbi stated “the crime he committed is too grave for forgiveness.”
Putting aside the presumption of innocence, this kind of moral decree should not go unchallenged. We Jews do not believe in an easy road to redemption like the Catholics wherein a simple confession usually brings absolution. Nevertheless, forgiveness is not a decision for Rabbi Yolen to either grant or deny. This is because it is primarily between he who seeks it and the one(s) who have been damaged. A third party, like Rabbi Yolen or anyone else, is merely expressing a personal opinion. In the end, a religious person must recognize that the ultimate judge of us all is the One who is presumed to be merciful.
Ronald H. Beifeld | Conshohocken
Why does a man who gave up on Judaism at an early age, is an atheist, changed his too-Jewish last name, get a major article in a Jewish paper (“Gehry Makes an Entrance (Literally),” Sept. 26)? What an inspiration for the new year.
Sandra K. Myers | Philadelphia