by Max Brantley
Will Phillips, the West Fork fifth grader whose symbolic refusal to recite the Pledge of Allegiance became known worldwide after David Koon's story in the Arkansas Times, was honored over the weekend in Fayetteville by Mitchell Gold, a gay rights advocate, during a program at the library. This coverage (the local paper's coverage is behind the Hussman-Stephens pay wall) notes that Gold also donated furniture made by his company for Temple Shalom, dedicated the same weekend in Fayetteville.
The temple, whose construction was made possible through a joint effort between the Jewish community and a Palestinian-American Muslim, exemplifies the bridge-building philosophy that Gold is committed to with his company and his advocacy work.
“Mitchell’s definition of comfort goes far beyond his wonderful furniture,” said Judith Levine, an organizer of the temple dedication and whose board is a co-sponsor for the CRISIS event at the library.
“He recognizes how our humanity can achieve a wonderful level of comfort when we look beyond past prejudices that have divided us – whether it is the type of division that exists between people of different religious affiliations or the division that exists so often today between people of faith and their gay and lesbian neighbors.”