Dan Shaughnessy argued (“Duxbury should dismiss its football coach,” BostonGlobe.com, March 23; Sports March 24) that Duxbury football coach Dave Maimaron should lose his job for tolerating “a play-calling system that uses anti-Semitic terminology.” On Wednesday, his recommendation was adopted. The larger questions, however, remain.
How long was this abusive anti-Jewish conduct happening? Who knew and stood by? What does this tell us about the mind-set of the people involved? What can be done to address the casual acceptance of anti-Semitic ideas and tropes? How can we ensure that Duxbury is as we imagine most residents would want it to be: an inclusive community that respects all people without regard to their race, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation?
For members of the Jewish community, these are not casual questions. In its most recent Hate Crimes Statistics Report, the FBI reported that more than 60 percent of all religiously based hate crimes are directed at Jews and Jewish institutions, despite the fact that Jews constitute less than 2 percent of the US population. Today synagogues across our region no longer think it is safe to keep their doors unlocked and, prior to the onset of the pandemic, many synagogues felt compelled to hire security guards for times of prayer.
We don’t imagine that members of the Duxbury football team meant to place Jews at risk. We are mindful, however, of how the casual denigration of Jews and Jewish life has time and again escalated with sometimes tragic results. We appreciate that the Duxbury community is taking this matter seriously and, more than anything, hope that this painful and disturbing situation offers a path to a better future.
Executive director, Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston
Regional director, American Jewish Committee New England
Regional director, Anti-Defamation League New England
A lesson that needs to be learned — and taught
Re “ADL seeks full review of football calls” (March 24, Page A1) and “Duxbury should dismiss its football coach”: I was raised as a Christian and learned about the Holocaust at age 9, when I first saw the photographs that my father had taken when his Army unit liberated a Nazi concentration camp (Dora-Mittelbau). Ever since then, I have understood what Americans of all ages should easily be able to grasp: To make reference to the Holocaust in a “hey, aren’t we funny/clever?” way amounts to joining in the obscenity of the Nazis and carrying it forward.
There should be an intensive effort by public officials and community leaders to change the culture of a public high school football program whose players remained silent in the face of a despicable practice. Why did none of these young men, most of them soon to enter college, and participating in a high-status program whose fundamental purposes ostensibly include building their character, speak out?
The difference between malicious intent and ignorance
Not knowing all the facts, I will not judge whether the firing of the Duxbury football coach, Dave Maimaron, was the right course of action. If he is a man who has long harbored resentment against Jews, then perhaps it was. But if he is someone ignorant and thoughtless, then surely he needs to be educated, and not fired.
Hate is indivisible
I recently led a class at my temple, Beth Elohim, in Wellesley, on the history of anti-Semitism, its current manifestations, and the pain that it causes Jews. I pointed out both the anti-Semitism that pervades our society and the support we are receiving. In particular, I am gratified that Christian institutions are speaking out forcefully against this age-old hate. They were there for us after the massacre in Pittsburgh at the Tree of Life synagogue. I want to add that we Jews have continued to oppose the systemic racism and hate in our society. The alliance between Jews and people of color must continue. Hate is indivisible. The massacre of Black worshippers while praying in Charleston, S.C., is exactly the same as the massacre of Jews while praying in Pittsburgh. This hate often begins, “innocently,” in schools, and calling it out on a high school football team is an important place to start.
A. Eric Rosen
Friday night lights
I am Jewish. So when I heard that the beloved, long-term, championship-winning Duxbury football coach, Dave Maimaron, was fired over the use of, among other things, concentration-camp-audibles, my first thought was, “Oh no. Those poor Jewish kids at Duxbury High.”
I cringe over what I fear might be in store for them: stares, whispers. Maybe worse. In the hierarchy of high schools and the towns that love them, is anything more powerful than a championship football team? We are about to find out. As families consider what was allowed to pass for acceptable in this championship town, I hope the ensuing dialogue will increase understanding and not invoke “cancel culture” to ostracize Jewish students and blame them for the loss of a coach. As I write this, Jews are about to light candles and usher in the Sabbath and Passover; perhaps we can all find common ground in a universal truth: “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.”