21 thoughts on “Letter to the Editor

  1. Tom you represent how New Canaan politics used to be and should be….
    We all worked together for the common good regardless of political affiliations.
    Thank you for your letter.

  2. Thanks Tom for sharing. Anyone who knows Lauren understands her passion for helping kids grow and mature through sports. There are democrat and republican parents on that first grade team. I am sure they would all join me in expressing how fortunate they are to have Lauren coaching their kids. For years Lauren has operated a sports equipment swap from her house, helping to defray the cost of expensive sports equipment and increasing access for all New Canaan youth. It’s disappointing that the RTC tried to use Lauren’s enthusiasm for and support of youth sports against her. I would like to know the decision making process behind the RYC’s strategy, why they thought this was a good campaign move, who authorized the statement, etc. I agree with Tom. Private apology is nice, but public apology and acknowledgement of incident, along with an understanding of why the decision was made and which individuals were directly involved would be most helpful and appreciated.

  3. Thank you, Tom, for such a thoughtful letter. It’s further evidence of why you’re such a respected member of the New Canaan community.

  4. I applaud the sentiments expressed in this letter, but waiting until after the election results are in rather than addressing this weeks ago when the incident occurred is simply not good enough. Lauren deserves better than this. Saying “it wasn’t me” is not a sufficient apology.

  5. People need to get off social media and start to talk (and listen) with each other face to face about local issues. It is much harder to be nasty to a persons face than some anonymous social media posting (but I appreciate not impossible). Tom I encourage you to work with both the T/C and the BOE (which I think you are the T/C liaison) and see how we can get more real public forums (not one way monologues) to talk about any issues the community faces. I see many school subjects that could come up (traffic in the am., turf vs. grass, social media use, school budget – what choices do we need to make, covid learning loss and where we are at etc. etc.). If we are afraid to talk (and listen) with each other in person about differences in a civil way we have very real problems.

  6. Thank you Tom for your clear moral leadership. We need more of this!

    To Conner’s point, a month later there has not been a public acknowledgment or apology by the RTC.

    If a person with as stellar a reputation as Lauren can be smeared like this what incentive is there for other residents to step up and serve. This only hurts our town.

    The very least the RTC and its members can do is issue a public apology immediately.

  7. Well said, Tom. I’ve witnessed Lauren’s enthusiasm and dedication for coaching softball for many years now, and there are so many young girls that look up to her and view her as their role model. I actually couldn’t think of a better role model for my young girls. She exemplifies every good quality that I would hope to instill in my own children. For anyone to take that genuine sense of goodness and deceitfully use it against her, purely for their ‘political’ gain, speaks volumes about their character.

  8. Thank you Tom. You represent the best of New Canaan, truly. So does Lauren. The absolute best and I’m proud to live besides the two of you.

  9. Nowhere in the letter (unfortunately since deleted) to the Sentinel does it state or imply that Ms Nussbaum was happy about the terror attack. Here’s what it actually says:

    “It seems oddly uncharacteristic for someone whose platform has been so focused on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to not be alert to such a serious assault on human rights. Why so indifferent or unaware?”

    Note it says “not be alert to” and “indifferent”. The implications are the opposite of what is stated by Mr Butterworth. Namely (1) that she did not know of the events of the prior night; or (2) that she did not think them worthy of comment.

    Furthermore, this brouhaha overlooks the salient matter of Ms Nussbaum’s support of DEI. Identity-based politics divides the world into oppressor and oppressed, inevitably leads to hatred of “privileged” groups, calls attacks on them “resistance,” and has unsurprisingly had real-world consequences.

  10. Lauren is above and beyond an amazing person -always putting other people first, constantly lifting other people up, tirelessly giving back to the community and volunteering- this makes me so angry to read. She didn’t deserve what was implied. Social media at its worst when someone takes something positive and turns it negative to get ahead.

  11. Thank you Tom. I do hope that this sentiment is shared and can be the spirit in which we move forward. If a candidate like Lauren can be attacked in such a callous and vicious way who would feel safe to run? Luckily (because she is Lauren…a truly remarkable person) she was able to push through the noise because all she wanted was to work to bring the best possible outcomes to our children in the New Canaan Public School. To take one of the most tragic days in recent history and weave it into a Board of Ed race for political gain was a new low. I hope she runs again. I know she is too strong and smart to be broken by such manipulation.

  12. Tom, I can’t thank you enough for expressing the viewpoint of the many moderate Republicans that we get along with and appreciate in our Town. Your public sentiments conveyed here are of great value to our community. It is distressing to know that the worst attacks on social media against Lauren were made by individuals who no longer reside in New Canaan, no longer have children in our public schools, and no longer pay taxes to our town. However, it was these fringe voices that were both published in the New Canaan Sentinel and subsequently copied and amplified on social media by members of the RTC. This is exactly how lies and misinformation spread, including antisemitism, which is rampant in our country today. Rather than checking the facts related to Lauren’s post which she put up BEFORE the brutal terror attack by Hamas occurred, the RTC pounced on misinformation and used it to smear one of our finest citizens. As you state Tom, Lauren’s family was threatened by this abuse of social media. I hope that New Canaanites can see through this type of behavior. We are still waiting for a public apology by the RTC.
    And this particular attack against Lauren has NOTHING to do with DEI.

  13. It is unfortunate that Mr. Butterworth has joined the chorus of gaslighting and misrepresentation of my letter, defaming me in the process.

    There are number of falsehoods:

    – Again, nowhere does it say Ms. Nussbaum had an “awesome mood” specifically about the Hamas attacks. It was clear in the letter she was in an “awesome mood” due to her own morning plans. Despite this, the letter relays my personal experience seeing an insensitive post on a day that was similar to 9/11 for the Jewish community.

    – A number of people have wrongly claimed that the Hamas attacks had JUST happened or Ms. Nussbaum’s post went up BEFORE they happened. Such claims sadly highlight those individuals’ lack of awareness of the atrocious events that day. Many news outlets, including the NYT, had been reporting on the attacks much of the night prior; and by Saturday morning, Israel was fully at war.

    I communicated my offense to Ms. Nussbaum and the DTC shortly after Ms. Nussbaum’s post went up, but they chose to keep the post up. Prior to the publication in the Sentinel, they had two full weeks to recognize the insensitivity and remedy it – the right move would have been to take down their post. But my many attempts to bring it up or receive clarification on Ms. Nussbaum’s stance were met with silence and instead brutal harassment of myself, the Sentinel and the RTC. The post remains up today.

    I will share my letter in its entirety. People are free to read and make their own judgments. I stand by every word.

    • Inessa, first of all you no longer live here, so I don’t know why you continue to comment on local posts, write letters to the editor and so forth. You also fail to mention the comment you wrote on Lauren’s Instagram post, which mentions little kids being kidnapped and shot and then questions her concern for Israeli’s. You were not trying to find the truth. You were obviously attempting to attack her. By taking the post down, it would suggest she did something wrong, which she did not. She also did not delete or block people from commenting. She did not take down your vicious comment. She chose to let it all be, rather than trying to rewrite or spin what happened. What is more important is what Lauren did privately, which is to reach out to our local Chabad and to Jewish friends to see how she could support them. No, she didn’t post about those things because she did not want to appear to be capitalizing on a tragic and horrific event. Because she is an authentic and caring individual. And rather than actually doing something constructive, you chose to write an LTE that tried to smear a fine, upstanding and contributing member of this community.

      • I edited Inessa’s comment above to remove the letter in question, for obvious reasons.
        It clearly should never have been published, in my judgment as a news reporter and editor, and as has been acknowledged. It draws a line that doesn’t exist, connecting two things that have no connection. As Inessa is aware, our response to her when she submitted the letter to us on Oct. 15 was as follows:

        “Hi Inessa, Your letter appears to imply that Lauren Connolly Nussbaum felt good about the attack on Israel. Is that your intention? If so could you please forward me the response you received from Lauren Connolly Nussbaum when you asked her about it? If not, can you please re-submit your letter with more careful wording? Same with the organization Stand Together Against Racism: What did a S.T.A.R. representative say when you asked if they are planning to post about Israel and what went into their decision? The reason I’m asking these questions is that the implications in your letter are rather serious and I would hate for people to develop the idea that you were trying to leverage a tragedy that saw women, the elderly, and babies indiscriminately shot inside their homes in order to sway voters in a local election. That could be catastrophic for your reputation in New Canaan. I promise not to share your letter outside of my advisory council and look forward to hearing back from you. Mike”

        Inessa said in response that she disagreed, and offered to add what she described as a clarifying sentence. On finding out that Inessa doesn’t live here, we turned the letter down in any case because we only publish endorsement/election-related letters from constituents.

        Inessa, we’ll have an article on the site in the morning newsletter covering this evening’s swearing-in ceremony of New Canaan’s new Board of Selectmen and we’ll include comments from Rabbi Levi Mendelow of Chabad New Canaan—maybe take a look when it’s up, it might help you understand our local sensibility here.
        Thanks everyone, this thread is closed.

  14. How could the NYTimes report the attacks BEFORE they happened.?
    If you no longer live in the Eastern Standard Time zone your perception of what happened and when might be influenced. My advice is that you learn about the facts before making accusations that are unfounded.

    • As I mentioned above, your comments highlight lack of awareness of when the attacks on Israel happened.

      The facts are:

      1) NYT first mentioned the attack from Gaza at 1:59 AM EST on October 7:https://twitter.com/nytimes/status/1710535328602157156

      2) By 5:55 AM EST on October 7 the NYT confirmed Israel was at war:https://twitter.com/nytimes/status/1710594648115212663

      This news coverage appeared several hours BEFORE Ms Nussbaum’s post.

      (Just for additional clarity, the attacks happened 6:30 am Israel time and Israel is 6 hours ahead of the east coast).

    • In answer to your question, Christina … The attacks took place approximately 6:30 a.m. Israel Summer Time on Saturday, October 7th. According to WorldTimeBuddy, that would have been 11:30 p.m. on Friday, October 6th Eastern Daylight Savings Time (the night before on the eastern seaboard).

  15. Thank you, Mr Butterworth, for your comments and for articulating the need for serious reflection within the RTC. I’m still baffled at the lack of a public apology from them. Somehow, the New Canaan Sentinel saw fit to publicly apologize for printing such an egregious letter and yet the RTC silence is deafening. Have there been consequences for this? Are those responsible being held accountable by the RTC? Certainly, removing them from their position within the organization is a start. I’m devastated that someone as kind and dedicated to our community as Lauren has been so unjustly maligned, not once, but twice. It’s bad enough when a disgruntled former member of our community has the audacity to assail Lauren’s character from thousands of miles away but to have the RTC amplify and weaponize that message and subsequently double down when publicly called to account is really beyond the pale. Again, no apology, and quite honestly no word from a ranking member until after the election. The RTC must do a better job of setting examples of leadership. From the ugly newsletters they send their members to the anonymous online trolls they court and, further still, to the anonymous letters that were hand delivered to various mailboxes around town during the last BOE election against Fatou Niang….where and when does leadership step in to correct course? When one newly elected BOE candidate very visibly displays a “Let’s Go Brandon” sticker on their car at elementary school pickup where kids as young as preschool are in attendance, does the RTC seem to think setting examples of leadership is something best left to others? Lauren Nussbaum is a profile in courage and empathy and I know this experience won’t deter her from showing up for the community she cares about so much. But wow, what a price to pay for her tireless service on behalf of our community.

  16. Thank you Mr. Butterworth: I’ll take better late than never. I echo Julia Stewart’s statement: “To take one of the most tragic days in recent history and weave it into a Board of Ed race for political gain was a new low.” Nothing about what the Republicans did here passes the smell test for me, and as a thirty-year Jewish resident of New Canaan, I am so deeply ashamed that the Nussbaums were put in danger by false accusations of antisemitism. What Lauren said on Saturday October 7th was innocuous, and taken out of context intentionally to target the Jewish vote.

    The argument that Lauren should have been aware of the news that morning is utterly bizarre. I know where I was that morning of Saturday, October 7th: at a meeting in Bridgeport planning a Harvest Fest, coincidentally enough offering to contact my Rabbi to find out how Temple Sinai got the goats we used for our Rosh Hashanah Tashlich ceremony. Needless to say, the goat call was never made once I heard the news later that day.

    Ironically, that Saturday October 7th remained a joyful one for Jews such as my Orthodox son and daughter-in-law who were celebrating Simchat Torah in blissful ignorance, eschewing all technology because of both Shabbat and this holiday. They came back online Sunday night to be plunged into a world of despair – and a newfound fear over being so visibly Jewish in a rising tide of antisemitism.

    I am just so saddened by this local Republican effort to confuse and divide the New Canaan Jewish Community at such a vulnerable time. We have many Israeli families living here and I feel horrible that they were put through this disinformation campaign while managing their concern for loved ones back home.

    I can only imagine that many of my fellow Jewish residents aren’t really sure who to even trust any more. Sadly, we lost out on the benefits of having one of the most compassionate, thoughtful and caring people I have ever met in my thirty years here serving our school community. When I learned what had happened with the accusations against Lauren I couldn’t have been more appalled. Everything Lauren does and stands for is designed to make every single person feel personally empowered, loved, and included. Even in the midst of a busy campaign, caring for her family, and enduring these attacks, she would check in repeatedly to see how I was feeling. She never once let on what she was going through because she knew it would upset me. She has a deep and thoughtful understanding of the history of the Jewish people and our centuries-long search for security, safety and freedom in a world of hostility.

    I will end with my love, gratitude, and thanks to Lauren Connolly Nussbaum for being New Canaan’s most brightly shining beacon of love, optimism, compassion and hope for a better tomorrow.