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Give Lubbock a Break

In the Mail--


To the Editors of The Crimson:

Joseph R. Palmore doesn't seem too keen on the recent campaign of the Lubbock, Texas school board to rid student attire of various "satanic symbols" ["The Devil Went Down to Texas," Sept. 12]. Fair enough. In my 18 years growing up in Lubbock, the school board managed to do many a foolish thing. Regrettably, however, Palmore's lampoon leaves his Harvard readers with the impression that our hometown (Palmore is from Lubbock, too) is some sort of theocratic backwater, a place where decency and common sense are casualties of the ongoing struggle against "the Evil One." This is simply not the case.

I am Jewish; most of Lubbock, as you can imagine, is not. In fact, Lubbock is predominantly Southern Baptist. It has been described as the "buckle of the Bible Belt" and is reputed to have more churches per capita than any other city of its size.

What does all this mean for Lubbock's Jews? I can't speak for my coreligionists, but my own recollections of growing up in Lubbock consist less of the the occasional bigotries ("Don't you want to go to heaven?") than of the many instances of respectful curiousity.

I recall the Hanukah presentation--complete with menorah, skullcap and tallit--that I gave to my sixth-grade class, and the invitation that followed to give an encore performance for the younger kids. I recall looking out from the pulpit at my Bar Mitzvah and seeing the attentive faces of my Bible-thumping friends.

I recall teachers and school officials anxious to accommodate my absences for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. And perhaps most of all, I remember the great pride and pleasure that my grandfather took in being invited year after year to speak at local churches or at the Lions Club on one or another Jewish topic.

Lubbock takes its religion seriously, to be sure. But I suspect that the "anti-Satan" campaign has more to do with unruly heavy-metal enthusiasts than with making ready for the apocalypse. Gary Rosen   GSAS

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