You May Want to Start Checking the Want Ads, Robin
Today I am shocked to find myself writing a letter of complaint for the first time in my long but happy life. I couldn't let my feelings of disappointment go without somehow confronting the offender.

I recently came across the article "Stripped of Spirit" written by Robin Dougherty (January 7). I was quite shocked to learn her opinion of a well-produced, harmless, and highly entertaining local production of Gypsy at the Royal Palm Dinner Theater. As a resident of Boca Raton, I appreciate the fact that I can go out and spend a lovely, family-oriented evening in my community. Not only does this venue offer fine culture to the area, but it continues to do so year after year without offending anyone. (That can't be said about most movies these days.)

Recently I read an editorial in a local paper about this production of Gypsy that pointed out a very interesting perspective. It mentioned that the cast spans in age by about 70 years. It shows beautifully how three generations of people can come together and form a union with fun, vision, and connection while learning something from each other. It, in fact, is a rare phenomenon that a person in her seventies can have such a passion and remain so active in her profession. Jan McArt (Mama Rose) expresses a fantastic charisma and exceptional talent that I've always admired. (And no, I'm not a relative or even a friend of hers!) I was sad to read that Dougherty's article focused only on negative reactions to everything she witnessed.

It is a popular opinion of many Boca residents that the Royal Palm Dinner Theater is a valued treasure. As the article was quick to point out, the theater recently has had certain financial difficulties in trying to stay open, and yet Dougherty chose to make it most unappealing for anyone to patronize the place by her mean-spirited words. In my opinion, that does not serve this community well. Needless to say, I will continue to go to the Royal Palm Dinner Theater, but I will not continue to pick up your paper, free or not. You should better serve these theaters. If they disappear, so will your job.

John Fogel
Boca Raton

A Word From the Pastor Bob Political Action Committee
I found Paul Demko's article ("Channeling Jesus," December 31) interesting, and for the most part, factual. As for the least part, I am referring to his statement that Pastor Bob instructs us on how to vote. Demko specifically mentioned the gay and abortion issues. Pastor Bob does teach that these are sins. However, as Demko neglected to mention in the article, Pastor Bob also teaches to love the sinner but hate the sin. Because these sins are brought to the light in the Word, anyone who accepts God's word as the truth would know to vote against any issue condoning these practices without Pastor Bob telling them to do so.

As for his instruction on the wording of gay rights issues, I was in the congregation that particular day. As I recall, his concern was over the wording. It was one of those times when to vote against the issue one had to vote "Yes." And he did say more than once that each person was to examine their own heart and follow what they thought was truly right. Personally, I would think that the "Powers that be" would word issues to be voted on as simplistically as possible to avoid any confusion..., but then again, what is their true intention?

As for Cross TV, I am not in an area that currently enjoys being able to view it but look forward to the day that my cable company provides it. I was looking for a movie to watch last night, and could not find a single one that was not filled with violence, obscene language, and explicit sex. My viewing has become more selective, and I welcome any station that provides programming I can enjoy.

Suzanne Jeren
via the Internet

Immigrant Song
Kudos to Jay Cheshes for his wonderful piece on the Haitian vs. African-American battle that plagues most of South Florida's urban schools ("Identity Crisis," December 24).

My experience as a Haitian-American with African-American schoolmates was one filled with racial epithets such as "H.B.O. (Haitian body odor)," Haitians eat cats, Haitians are boat people, and Haitians have AIDS. Of course, no one is born with racist views. These African-American kids were taught at home to despise Haitians. African-Americans often complain about America's white-dominated society and the feeling of inferiority that is forced upon them. I would like to see more dialogue in which South Florida's African-American leadership community discusses how its own kids have learned to hate Haitians and what they can do to help Haitian kids feel welcomed in the black community.

The Hispanic community realizes the importance in finding a common goal, in combining their numerical strength to gain political clout. This, unfortunately, is a lesson lost on too many self-appointed leaders in the black community. Haitians have lived in South Florida for nearly 30 years; yet, African-Americans are still reluctant to embrace their brothers and sisters from the Caribbean. Know this, however: With demographic studies indicating foreign-born blacks eventually becoming the majority within the black community in South Florida, African-Americans would be wise to extend a helping hand rather than alienating Haitians.

Marc Mathieu
via the Internet

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