Chillul Tefila Bifarhesia, as well as halachicly challenged verbiage and dress, are external manifestations of a critical lack of personal yiras shomayim which has lethal consequences.
A person had slipped and fallen on the ice and now lay dangerously in the middle of the street, in the heart of Boro Park, on erev Shabbos. I was at a red light across the street, stuck behind another car. As I waited in anticipation for the light to change, I prayed that one of the dozen (or more) motorists who drove right by her would stop and offer assistance.
I and the motorist in front of me were the only ones to stop to help this person. It turned out that she was indeed injured, and an ambulance immediately transported her to the hospital.
Then it hit home: How selfish and insensitive can people be? Those uncaring motorists could have hit her while she lay in the snow, unable to get up. I ask them: Would those few minutes to stop and call for help for an obviously injured fellow Yid have made a difference in your erev Shabbos schedule?
And to the person who had the time to pull up behind me and get out to scold me about why I ‘didn’t park like a mentsch,’ I apologize. I was busy preventing further injury to someone who might have been a member of your own family (which you could have ascertained if you’d taken the time to walk over and see for yourself). Shame on you!
Where Are The ‘Leaders’?
While it has become disturbingly commonplace to witness the capitulation emanating from the Sharon government as it prostrates itself before terrorists, the silence from our own American Jewish leadership is deafening.
Where is the outrage and the rallying cries from these so-called Jewish leaders in the face of the administration’s double standards regarding concessions demanded of Israel – specifically, the administration’s push for Israel to release jailed terrorists, coupled with its demand that Abbas arrest the killers of U.S. contractors. In other words, Palestinian Arab terrorists who kill Jews should be released, but Palestinian Arab terrorists who kill American contractors should be incarcerated.
While Condi is beside herself with joy at the newly elected “democratic statesman” Abbas, she sternly warns her Israeli friends to prop up the new PA leader with all sorts of goodies – and this while Abbas refuses to dismantle the terror webs. Why are our Jewish “leaders” silent?
It gets worse. Our Jewish leaders apparently are not bothered by the price that needs to be paid for “peace” – namely, slicing up Israel in order to hand the Palestinian Arabs (who are in fact a conglomeration of Jordanians, Syrians, Egyptians etc.) a contiguous state. Does this not ring alarm bells for our “leaders”?
The U.S. administration takes a substantial portion of its cues regarding Israel from the Jewish lobby and its attendant leadership. If our Jewish “leaders” are apathetic or support all manner of Israeli concessions, why in heaven’s name should we expect anything different from American officials?
These “leaders” are for the most part afraid to make waves. Leaders have no right to claim the prestige and perks that come with their titles if they put everything else before their sacred mission.
Elmwood Park, NJ
In spite of the best efforts of The New York Times and the Bush Administration, there is no evidence that the goal of Mahmoud Abbas are any different from the goal of Yasir Arafat to destroy Israel “in blood and fire.”
What is different is that Abbas is clean shaven, much better dressed and infinitely more shrewd than Arafat. Realizing that the gangs of terrorists he commands and those he is allied with can never defeat Israel in open warfare, Abbas has adopted the tactics of Sun Tzu, the 4th Century BCE. Chinese war lord and military strategist to defeat a much stronger Israel. One of Sun Tzu’s cardinal lessons is that “the supreme art of war is to defeat the enemy without fighting.” That is why Abbas will temporarily suspend the killing, say the right things and smile a lot.
Ariel Sharon has prevented his armed forces from defeating a much weaker enemy and is blindly participating in the “negotiations” scam. Sharon will risk civil war and the destruction of the morale of the army and his nation by ethnically cleansing more than 8,000 Israeli citizens from homes and farms that will all be turned over to the terrorists to establish a new front in their war against a shrunken Israel.
The best allies Mahmoud Abbas has are Ariel Sharon and the anti-national, anti-Zionist elites in Israel and America who support him.
George E. Rubin
New York, NY
Arab Land For Peace
As history has shown, peace summits can easily come to an abrupt end. During previous talks, Israel had to be the compromiser, while Arafat would reject every offer. After four years of bloody terror, a harder line can be expected from the Israelis. Land for peace has failed to materialize in the past, and there’s no reason to believe it will be otherwise this time. That is why more pressure must be put on Israel’s neighbors with regard to the Palestinian refugees.
After decades of allowing Palestinians to fester in refugee camps, Arab states must be the first to alleviate the suffering of their Palestinian populations. Jordan, whose population is 60 percent Palestinian, can transfer swaths of its land mass to a future Palestine. Egypt can do the same in the Sinai to allow the crowded Gaza Strip some breathing space. In Lebanon, home to nearly a million refugees, the occupying Syrians can grant Palestinians citizenship and access to labor, something denied to them for decades.
Israel cannot and must not always be the one to make the most painful concessions. Should Israel turn back to the 1948 Auschwitz borders or allow millions of Palestinians to settle inside its borders, it would spell the end of the Jewish state. This time, the Arab states should be the first ones to make a grand gesture, and land for peace on their part would only render a future Palestinian state more viable, something in everyone’s best interests.
Brooklyn College And Israel
As Brooklyn College faculty members, it encouraged us to read that Provost Roberta Matthews (“A Lesson from Israel in Higher Education,” op-ed, Jan. 28) used a trip to Israel to discover the reality of the ‘country’s ongoing security issues.’
Since her installation as provost, Ms. Matthews has embraced a different reality, having:
* urged all Brooklyn College professors to dismiss their classes to attend a ‘teach-in’ on Middle Eastern affairs that contained no known supporters of U.S. or Israeli policy in the region;
* promoted a ‘global studies’ curriculum, a faddish approach that the Middle East Studies Association championed at its annual conference as a way of repackaging the organization’s well-known anti-Israel bias;
* appointed to a curricular initiative that claims to teach students about American democracy the faculty co-chairs of the ‘Current Events Committee,’ one of whose members boasted, in writing, of the committee’s unwillingness to sponsor ‘pro-Israel’ events;
* supported displacing from the Student Government members of the school’s predominantly Jewish political party, an action that violated college rules and that President C.M. Kimmich was forced to annul.
No public relations offensive can undo the very real harm of these policies in denying Brooklyn College students an objective portrayal of matters relating to Israel.
Margaret L. King, Professor of History
Robert David Johnson, Professor of History
Roles And Responsibilities
The Feb. 11 column by Rabbi Mordechai Weiss – ‘Let’s Stop Making Excuses for our Kids!’ – contained a few valid points, but I found it irritating. The valid point is that children need to be taught responsibility, which includes accountability for their behavior. Other statements elicited gut reaction, prompting me to write this letter.
There is a blanket statement that kids who are identified as misbehaving are always wrong (my paraphrase). The majority of mechanchim are honest and dedicated people, and I will not assault their character. However, misbehavior is almost always symptomatic, and it is not an indication that the child is bad. Rabbi Weiss referred to ‘remonstrating.’ Discipline is achieved by collaborating in setting rules, and showing the students how to follow them. Unfortunately, most schools approach this responsibility as a mandate to ‘punish.’ This is doomed to fail. There is no excuse for financial ‘fines,’ and too many suspensions and expulsions are questionable.
We recently read in Parshas Yisro that Yisro was most impressed with the fact that the miracles at the Yam Suf were based on ‘Ki badovor asher zadu alayhem,’ which according to Rashi means the Mitzrim were punished ‘midoh kineged midoh’ – the punishment fitting the crime.
The goal of giving a student a negative consequence is to teach, not to avenge a wrongdoing. Expecting that any other punishment will result in the learning of a negative association is wishful thinking. Many students learn that financial punishments are greed-based and directed at the parent, and that expulsions are rejections and expressions of rage. Until we can communicate a different message, we are not fulfilling our task as mechanchim.
The examples Rabbi Weiss used in his article are clear instances of midoh kineged midoh, and bear little resemblance to current applications of discipline. A valuable step before turning away some blaming fingers from schools would be to re-examine whether the discipline follows the midos of HKB”H that were are expected to emulate.
I was horrified to read that the drug busts and other horrific events are solely the ‘blame’ of the kids and their parents. I find a single attribution of blame to be grossly irresponsible – even if it were directed at schools.
Rabbi Weiss makes a valid point in noting that parents sometimes defend their children inappropriately and are guilty of denial. But to conclude that school discipline is the answer is beyond unjustified – it is a carte blanche that is often used inappropriately.
For several years I have been leading a weekly meeting (one of many) for Mothers and Fathers Aligned Saving Kids (MASK). Parents are able to address their denial, anger, and frustration with their children, communities, and schools. Most arrive at the door full of self-blame, and many are thoroughly bashed. They have rested at the foot of blame for too long.
Much of the progress in the youth-at-risk movement has come from eliminating the targeting of parents while not absolving them of their responsibility. MASK has been at the forefront of this issue for the past eight years, and through their efforts parents have taken off their masks and assumed responsibility for their roles – and stopped making excuses for their kids. They learn how to handle them.
Bashing parents is neither truthful, nor effective, nor acceptable. We need to partner with them to best help the children. As has been said, it takes a village. Let us all remove our masks and face our roles and responsibilities.
Benzion Twerski, Ph.D.
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Slaughter is a routine, widespread practice among many Moslem families.
parently an affront to J Street’s worldview, the focus of which appears to be the creation of a Palestinian State, whether or not that will bring peace.
The importance of the caucus on organ harvesting in China, sponsored recently by the Liberal Lobby in the Knesset, cannot be exaggerated.
My mother, the eldest daughter of Reb Yaakov Kamenetsky, zt”l, was niftar last month at the age of 92. She took her last breath in her home in Efrat, Israel, next door to the shul that was my father’s for 24 years before his passing in 2007.
It comes down to his being famous.
Following the Boston Marathon bombing, one crucial point will likely remain overlooked. The most loathsome aspect of this or any other terror bombing attack on civilians will always lie in the inexpressibility of physical pain. While all decent people will abhor the idea of bombs expressly directed at the innocent, whether here or in other countries, none will ever be able to process the very deepest horrors of what has been inflicted.
It’s only natural to see increasing evidence of Jerusalem’s glorious Jewish past being unearthed, quite literally, under modern Israeli sovereignty. The new archaeological finds are also very timely – as the Arab onslaught attempting to detach Jerusalem from its Jewish roots gains steam, the facts on the ground, or “under” the ground, show quite otherwise.
The Talmud (Berachot 26b) says, “tefillot avot tiknum” – “prayer was established by the avot.” The Talmud then uses the following verse (Bereshit 19:27) to prove how Avraham established prayer: “Vayaskem Avraham baboker el hamakom asher amad sham et pnei Hashem” – “And Avraham got up early in the morning to the place where he had stood before God.”
Nearly 13 years ago, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak journeyed to Camp David to end the conflict with the Palestinians. With the approval of President Clinton, he offered Yasir Arafat an independent Palestinian state in almost all of the West Bank, Gaza and in part of Jerusalem. Arafat said no.
The news that the Internal Revenue Service unfairly targeted conservative groups has brought renewed spotlight on a 2010 lawsuit filed by the pro-Israel group Z Street, which alleges it was also singled out by the IRS when applying for tax-exempt status.
In an editorial last week (“Circling the Wagons”) we noted the efforts by the administration and its supporters to dismiss allegations that the government’s spin on the Benghazi attack was designed to shield the president and that the IRS was improperly used to stifle opposition to Mr. Obama’s reelection.
As the controversies besetting the Obama administration continue to grow in number and intensity, the prospect that President Obama would seriously consider military action against Iran, should that country continue its drive to become a nuclear power, becomes more and more remote. So we welcome the current enhancement of sanctions against Iran on the federal and New York State levels.
To his parents’ friends, he was “Mrs. Greenberg’s disgrace,” but to sports fans he is one of the greatest – if not the greatest – Jewish baseball players of all time. Long before Sandy Koufax, Hank Greenberg excited Jewish sports fans with his prowess on the baseball diamond.
To eat is to live – to keep our physical bodies alive. For without the body, there is nothing. No experience. No memory. No joy and no hardship. But man, unlike animals, eats to live and to enjoy. So how should a Jew respond when he is challenged as to why he imposes upon himself not just ceremonies dedicated to the enjoyment of eating but even more to the limiting of what he can eat?
Let’s think what OUR interest is, and act according to it.
This past Friday, I went shopping at a local supermarket and noticed a piece of paper on the floor with what looked like Hebrew lettering. On closer examination, I was shocked to see that this small pamphlet with some form off advertising contained the full text of “Krias Shma al Hamitta,” (the Shma Israel recited [...]
Dear Editor, I read with interest Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu’s February 24, 2013 article entitled, Women of the Wall Rabbi Calls Knesset Achashverosh. In 2003, the Israeli Supreme Court issued a decision that allows Women of the Wall to pray at the Kotel once a month on Rosh Hodesh. That is why Women of the Wall only [...]
Today is my brother’s second yartzheit and a Torah was dedicated in his memory.
I know that some people in heterosexual families see themselves as underdog victims harassed by threatening gays.
In Praise Of Marc Shapiro (I) I thoroughly enjoyed Elliot Resnick’s interview with Professor Marc Shapiro (“Things Once Taken For Granted Are Now Considered Unacceptable,” April 27). It’s a real credit to The Jewish Press that the article ran at all, which is a sad commentary on the state of Orthodoxy today and the fearful, [...]
Correct Distinctions Kenneth Levin’s April 20 front-page essay (“The Empty Rage of Jewish ‘Progressives‘“) makes precisely the correct distinctions between Alvin Rosenfeld’s monograph and the responses of his detractors. If they don’t want to be lumped together with self-styled progressives who delegitimize Israel, they should watch the company they keep. Richard Sherwin(Via E-Mail) No Debate Lately there [...]
Independence Day The celebration of Yom Ha’atzmaut is a declaration that the Nazis failed to obliterate four millennia of Jewish life. But while we’ve earned the right to rejoice, let there be no illusions. Once again, the very nations that stood idly by while millions of innocent Jews were slaughtered are jeopardizing Israel’s survival. The [...]
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