Helping Hands

The 2004 annual Bais Yaakov convention was held in Detroit over the weekend of November 18-21 (5-8 Kislev). Our school, Bais Yaakov of Ramapo, arranged for other girls’ schools in the metropolitan area to accompany us by bus from New York to Detroit. After an uplifting and inspiring convention, the bus was headed back to New York when it broke down at 2 a.m. outside of Toledo, Ohio. What were the students and chaperones to do?

A call to Detroit resulted in a connection being made with Rabbi Garsick of the Eitz Chaim shul in Toledo. He opened up his synagogue and was willing to provide sleeping accommodations for fifty-five tired Bais Yaakov girls.

Thanks to the Toledo Police Department and the Toledo Transportation Authority (which closes at 11 p.m.), arrangements were made to bring the girls to the shul where they would stay until Monsey Tours could arrange for another bus to bring them back to New York. The experience turned out to be a true Kiddush Hashem.

The hanhala of Bais Yaakov of Ramapo, together with the other schools that came with us on our bus – B.Y. of Passaic, B.Y. of Monsey, T.A.G., Bruriah, Shevach, Nefesh Academy, T.A. of Philadelphia, Scranton, and Breuer’s-Washington Heights – would like to take this opportunity to publicly express our gratitude to all those involved for their help and assistance on that fateful night: Rabbi and Mrs. Eisenberger and Rabbi and Mrs. Kahn of Detroit; Mr. Lunger of Monsey Tours; Rabbi Garsick of Congregation Eitz Chaim, and the police and Transportation Authority of Toledo.

Thank you all very much.

Rabbi Nachman Kramer (Founder/Director)
Mrs. Ayala Berney (Hebrew Principal)
Bais Yaakov of Ramapo

Strange Encounter

In “The Chomsky File” (front-page essay, Jan. 28), Rachel Neuwirth recalls the dubious relationship between Noam Chomsky and Holocaust deniers, particularly Robert Faurisson.

A number of years ago there was a trial in Toronto of a Holocaust denier, and the court decided that Faurisson could be called to testify as an expert. Chomsky, at the time, had come to Toronto to give a lecture at McGill University. I attended the lecture, and when it was over I went up to him and asked if he were aware that Faurisson was now considered by a Canadian court to be an expert on the Holocaust. Chomsky burst out: “I am more of an anti-fascist than you.” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing – how could a man who didn’t know me make such a statement? So I simply replied, “How do you know?” He remained silent. From that day forward I’ve questioned his judgment.

Dr. Elie Feuerwerker
Highland Park, NJ

Lupolianski’s Obligation

Shame on Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski (“Jerusalem Mayor Denies Thwarting Gay Pride Parade,” news story, Jan. 21). The last time the gay pride festival was held in Jerusalem, the religious mayor was silent. The result was a historic abomination, as the Holy Land was flooded with individuals flaunting their immoral lifestyles. Who can forget that tragic day when the rainbow banners of Sodom flew from Jerusalem’s flagpoles?

The mayor has an obligation to safeguard Jerusalem’s sanctity and ensure that such a disgrace never happens again. If Mr. Lupolianski is unwilling to sacrifice votes to prevent a chillul Hashem, then he doesn’t deserve the support of religious Jews. One simple question can put things in perspective: What would Dovid Hamelech do?

Donny Fuchs
Far Rockaway, NY

Grassroots For Gush

Re Dov Hikind’s Jan. 21 column (“Gaza: I Can’t Read One More Headline”):

As a staunch supporter of Gush Katif, I greatly appreciated Mr. Hikind’s beautiful words and obvious passion. My question to Mr. Hikind is, what now? He closed his article by writing, “We cannot afford to fail. David Hatuel’s family can never be replaced and neither can the beautiful Jewish community of Aza.”

We in the Toronto Jewish community have started Grassroots for Gush Katif, and one of our projects is to try and attract people to visit Gush Katif, stay with families (who will be happy to host people from North America), and while there work in the greenhouses and just be a presence to show we care. Perhaps Mr. Hikind would like to get behind a project like that in the New York area. For more information, please e-mail or call 416-457-2625.

Anne Maurer

For The Record

I greatly enjoy the information found in the weekly Machberes column, but it is disturbing to continually come across errors of fact. While Rabbi Tannenbaum is doing a wonderful job with the column, many of us follow the information he provides for genealogical purposes and assume that his names and dates are correct. Unfortunately, many times they are not.

In the Jan 28 column on the Bluzhiver Rebbe, Rabbi Tannenbaum states that he is the great-great grandson of Rav Dovid Spira, zt”l (which is correct) whose dates are 1808-1865 (which is incorrect) and who was the Lanzuter Rebbe (which is also incorrect).

The Lanzuter Rebbe was Rav Eluzar Spira of Munkacz fame and the 1808-1865 dates are his, not those of Rav Dovid Spira (1804-1874), who was the Admur of Stryzow and Dynow and author of Tzemach Dovid.

Arye Gordon
Los Angeles, CA

More About Rabbi Heifetz

I was very pleased to read the excellent Jan. 21 op-ed article by David Altman on the question of dating the destruction of the Second Temple (“Is the Real Jewish Year 5765 – Or 5931?”). The article indicated that Dr. Chaim Heifetz was able to defend the rabbinic views on the dating and discover numerous errors in the works of Greek historians who were responsible for the secular world’s dating of the Temple’s destruction at 586 BCE.

Readers of The Jewish Press should know more about Dr. Heifetz and how he came to make such an important contribution to the accuracy of rabbinical teachings. Dr. Heifetz is an ordained rabbi. He was a member of the 1951 s’micha class at Yeshiva University. This class included such American rabbinic luminaries as Rabbis Norman Lamm, Max Schreier, Yehuda Parnes, Herbert Bomzer and many distinguished others.

As distinct from his colleagues, Rabbi Heifetz chose to make his career in Israel. Several years after his ordination, he and his wife, Tovah, made aliyah and settled in the Bayit Vegan section in Jerusalem. Here Rabbi Heifetz received his PhD from the Hebrew University in the Dept. of Mishpat Ivri (Rabbinic Law). He subsequently completed legal studies and became a member of the Israeli bar. Thereafter, he served for 35 years as the legal adviser to the Israel Ministry of Religious Affairs. He also taught Tanach at the Michlalah in Jerusalem.

In his remaining time, Rabbi Heifetz devoted himself to studying the problem of the difference in the way Chazal and secular historians dated the year of the destruction of the Temple.

Rabbi Heifetz mastered the work of all the prominent historians of the 19th and 20th century who wrote on Persian history. He also studied the work of the Greek historian Herodotus and found the errors of fact and method in that work.

While David Altman cited the work of Brad Aaronson and urged Jewish Press readers to review Aaronson’s article, it is to be remembered that the article, although excellent, was only an abridgment and summary of the work of Dr. Heifetz. Serious scholars, who are versed in Hebrew, should read the Dr. Heifetz’s original material on this subject. It first appeared in the Torah journal Megadim (vol. 14, Sivan 5751). The journal is published under the auspices of the Yaakov Herzog Foundation at the Har Etzion Yeshiva. The Heifetz article is preceded with an introduction by Rabbi Yaakov Medan, professor of Talmud at the yeshiva.

As a friend and colleague of Rabbi Heifetz, I feel that readers of The Jewish Press who study the original article will be inspired by its inherent insight and wisdom.

Rabbi Shlomo (Stanley) Wexler

‘Worse Than The Holocaust’

It’s unbelievable to me just how far those on the left will go in their obsession with political power. Once known as “utopians” and “idealists” for their unflinching optimism, today’s neoliberals have devolved into rabid partisan dogs, irrationally snapping and frothing at everything President Bush and his supporters say or do. Even when the Bush administration promotes the advancement of basic liberal ideals, the neolibs react hysterically with predictable outrage.

Case in point, the reaction to President Bush’s inauguration address. As we all know, the speech was about promoting freedom and liberty, with the president saying we’ll never be truly safe at home until tyranny is replaced by democracy throughout the world.

You would think freeing people from oppression, torture and slavery sounds pretty liberal, huh? Certainly nobody in his right mind could have a problem with these noble aspirations, right? What a great, unifying speech!

Not if you’re a neolib.

What is really scary about this is just how deep the poison runs in their veins. The other day, an older, liberal Jewish woman told me she wished my new baby girl hadn’t been born into this world. According to her, Bush’s victory and the war in Iraq have made the world nearly uninhabitable. When I reminded her of the horrors of previous generations, like the Holocaust, she replied, “Bush and the Religious Right are worse than the Holocaust.”

Maybe she’s just one wacked-out old woman, but I think it goes beyond that. The pattern is clear: Our friends on the left are only happy when right-wingers are tyrants, because it makes “progressives” look good and, by extension, validates leftist ideology. However, an idealistic conservative like Bush, who champions the cause of freedom and liberty, is truly dangerous to them as he threatens the future viability of their socialist utopian dreams.

Well done, Mr. President. In your inauguration speech you successfully revealed, and marginalized, the liberal farce, while simultaneously putting world tyranny on alert for four more years.

I am proud to say that you got my vote, George.

Ken Ostroff
Boca Raton, FL