Sharon’s Pledges

I am distraught by the pledge made by Prime Minister Sharon that Jerusalem is non-negotiable. Those of us who have been following the prime minister’s career and statements over the past few years realize that his saying that Jerusalem is non-negotiable is cause for great concern about the future status of Jerusalem. Given his record on keeping his pledges, I’m afraid the battle for Jerusalem is already upon us.

Toby Willig

Chilling Reminders

Thanks to the Nuremberg-like laws passed by the Knesset, synagogues will be destroyed and yeshivot ransacked. Jews of all ages will be dragged from their homes, in many cases no doubt beaten, and trucked to detention centers. This scenario sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

The security fence route will be the new Auschwitz border. More than 93 percent of the heartland of Israel will be excised from Judea and Samaria by this new ghetto wall. There is no doubt that the tens of thousands of Jews on the “wrong side” of the fence will be expelled next.

Terms such as “disengagement,” “security fence,” and “goodwill gestures” would make Goebbels proud. These are just alternate terms for the dismantlement of the land that Hashem gave the Jewish people. A large number of dead Jews will be the outcome of this suicidal policy.

If Jews don’t like the comparisons to 60 years ago, blame the people who are implementing the policy, not those reporting it. At least some of us are not silent this time.

Ken Abrams
Margate NJ

Pessimistic Outlook

Re the letter to the editor (Jewish Press, Feb. 18) from my old friend George E. Rubin concerning PA President Mahmoud Abbas:

Abbas does not need to resort to ancient Chinese texts dating back to the 4th century when he has the more readily available 1974 “Phased Plan” of the PLO. Indeed, the immediate phase is to demand retention of all Gaza and the “West Bank” as so clearly enunciated by Graham Usher in a recent Al-Ahram column. Jews, on the other hand, have lost their resolve to the point whereby they are unable to resort to (legally binding) 1922 international law to argue territorial claims. Attorney Howard Grief’s treatise, sponsored by The Ariel Center for Policy Research in Israel [policy paper #147], clearly demonstrates the validity of existing Jewish claims to the Land of Israel, despite British betrayal. Grief is able to argue the case on the basis of the Principle of Acquired Rights and the doctrine of Estoppel which apply in all legal systems of the democratic world to this day.

If, however, Jews who live in denial find this too difficult to deal with, why can they not at least address less sophisticated issues? A few simple questions would surely be in order. Since the idea of transferring Arabs is considered repulsive, why then is the uprooting of Jews acceptable? In an era of imagined peace, is there any reason why 8,000 Jews cannot live in the midst of a million Arabs?

Given the developing momentum for withdrawal, National Review contributing editor John Derbyshire’s January 2002 thoughts on”Israel’s Future” do appear closer to becoming reality, in particular his citation of Patrick Buchanan’s forecast of 25 million Palestinian Arabs living alongside 7 million Palestinian Jews by mid-century. This does not make for optimism.

Indeed, this oleh chadash, long an activist for Israel, finds it necessary to simply ask: What is Israel’s purpose?

Alex Rose
Ramat Bet Shemesh, Israel

Syrian Con Job

To take the handing over of Saddam Hussein’s half brother, Sabawi Ibrahim al_Hassan al-Tikriti, as a goodwill gesture by Syria, is to play into the hands of a “goodwill” con game. This meaningless display of “cooperation” is unlikely to greatly impact suicide attacks in Iraq or keep Islamic Jihad leaders from ordering suicide attacks in Israel, both of which are believed to be orchestrated, at least, in part, from Syrian soil.

That Sabawi was “captured” at such a convenient moment, when pressure on Syria is mounting, makes it seem like Syria not only knows where the terrorists on its soil are, but that it can just pick them up at will.

Handing over one lone individual, as high up on the wanted list as he may be, when they are harboring considerably more terrorists, only shows the Syrians’ utter contempt for the world community. Ceasing its support for terrorism certainly does not seem to be on Syria’s agenda.

Josh Greenberger
Brooklyn, NY

Back To The Future

I thoroughly enjoyed the tributes to Rabbi Sholom Klass, zt”l, which ran in the issues of Jan. 21 and 28. I thought you’d be interested in a letter that appeared in The Jewish Press way back in 1961, on the occasion of the paper’s one-year anniversary as a national weekly. The letter was written by my mother, a”h, who was Rabbi Klass’s aunt. At the time she wrote this, the paper was a small (24 pages each week), struggling enterprise. But she had a feeling it would grow and succeed, which of course it did, beyond anyone’s wildest dreams.

Binyamin Siller
Brooklyn, NY

Dear Sholom,

First, let me wish you an abundance of good health, my dear nephew, and then Mazel Tov on the anniversary of The Jewish Press. It is growing by leaps and bounds in both Torah and chochma.

My family and I look forward to every Friday evening when we scan every line and corner of the paper. To my joy I read about my beloved father, a”h, and the comparisons you made between his [position] and others concerning tooth paste. Words cannot express how I felt. This I remember ever so clearly: a handsome little boy of 12 (you) standing along side of his grandfather (my father) whom he thought was asleep, waiting for his lesson to continue.

Such precious and fond memories because I too revered and respected my sainted father. May his memory be a moletz yosher to all his children and grandchildren, amen.

May Hashem grant you years of health and prosperity for the noble, dedicated work you are doing.

Aunt Myriam Siller
Brooklyn, NY

From The Heart

I am writing this because there are several issues that need to be addressed by the haredi community, of which I am a part.

First, we have the ongoing problems of shidduchim. Where does it say that the parents of the girl have to support the young couple while the husband “sits and learns”? That certainly was not the case in Europe before the war. The only bochurim who were supported back then were those who were true iluyim – the ones groomed to be roshei yeshiva and poskim. When I was in kollel, my wife and I decided not to accept any support from our parents. We decided that as long as we could afford for me to sit and learn, I would – and when we couldn’t afford it, I would go out and work. (I apologize for using a four-letter-word – work).

Second, there are the shalom bayis issues that affect a rapidly growing number of newly married couples. Although it takes two to tango and there are three sides to every story, I lay the blame mostly on the type of bochur our yeshiva system is putting out on the market. The girls’ schools produce a much better all-around person than the boys’ yeshivos do.

In general when a girl is in the shidduch parsha, you are looking at someone who is mature, unselfish, not demanding; someone who has spent a number of years involved in chesed projects during high school and seminary. She understands what it means to work together with her bashert toward a common goal, to be part of a team, to compromise when needed; she realizes that life is not only about “me” but about “us.”

The typical yeshiva bochur is just the opposite. He is not ready for “us.” He has not gone through the life experiences that the girl has. Most bochurim don’t work on chesed projects and don’t have any hadracha in what it means to be married. Their attitude is “iz kumpt mir” – and why not? Their roshei yeshiva tell them that.

This of course leads in no small measure to the abuse and aguna epidemics currently afflicting the haredi community. The problem of domestic abuse among frum couples has grown dramatically, yet how many roshei yeshiva and rabbonim have addressed this publicly, arranged asifos, or even admitted that we have a problem?

How many people have any idea of what an abusive marriage is like, or of what an aguna goes through on a daily basis? I refer not only to the emotional, physical and monetary hardships she must contend with, but to the total indifference she faces from rabbonim who have no training or experience in dealing with domestic abuse or who just plain don’t want get their hands dirty protecting and helping a poor aguna and her family.

This all starts with the lack of a proper well-rounded educational system for the boys, and progresses until they reach the shidduch parsha and lack a proper perspective on what is important in a shidduch. The obvious failure of roshei yeshiva in implanting proper mentschlichkeit in their talmidim has to be corrected. Money and yichus should not be the end-all and do-all of what one looks for in a shidduch.

Roshei yeshiva and rabbonim who are reading this, please bear in mind that you, too, after 120 years, will come up to the bais din shel maaleh and the Ribono Shel Olam will tell you that yes, you taught torah; and yes, you had a yeshiva; and yes, you had a beautiful shul, but look at the way so many of your talmidim,and mispalilim were conducting themselves.

The Ribono Shel Olam will show you all the single girls who cried for years because they didn’t have the right amount of money or yichus for the precious bachurim. He will show you the pain and suffering the parents went through when they watched their daughters cry as their friends were getting engaged and not them. He will show you how the parents worked themselves to death trying to repay all the money they borrowed to “buy” husbands for their daughters.

He will show you how your talmidim and mispalilim didn’t know how to conduct themselves in a marriage, how to be a mentsch, a husband, a father. He will show you how your talmidim and mispalilim wouldn’t give gittin, though they could recite by rote the machlokes rashi, tosfos, rishonim and achronim on Maseches Gittin. He will show you the thousands of unborn neshomos that didn’t come down to this world because of the refusal of your talmidim and mispalilim to give gittin. He will tell you that all this is on your achrayus. He will say, what good was all your learning, shiurim, musar vaadim, droshos, etc., if this is the product you produced and accepted.

I am just a simple Yid, a ben Torah, someone who is trying to make a difference, someone who cares.. May we be zocheh to be true ovdei Hashem and be marbitz torah in the way that the Ribono Shel Olam wants us to, and merit seeing the beas goel tzedek.

Ben M. Joseph
(Via E-Mail)