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September 19, 2014 / 24 Elul, 5774
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Letters To The Editor

Baseball Fan

I’ve come to admire the depth of knowledge that Jason Maoz regularly displays in his Media Monitor column, but I had no idea he could write so eloquently and knowledgeably on baseball as well (“The Vanishing Jewish Baseball Player,” front-page essay, April 8).

You obviously timed the article’s appearance to coincide with the start last week of the new baseball season, and reading it certainly increased my enjoyment of the return of America’s Pastime after a long, dreary winter during which we sports fans in the New York area had to suffer through a season-killing hockey strike and the less than inspiring efforts of the New York Knicks and New Jersey Nets.

Please feature more articles on Jews and professional sports. Readers like me can’t get enough of that stuff.

Ira Lekachman
New York, NY



Only One Subject?

Rather than feature articles about baseball, you should be screaming to the heavens every week about the betrayal of Israel by the disaster named Ariel Sharon. I’d like to see you have full coverage, front page to back, of the betrayal of Jewish settlers and the jettisoning of the concept of a complete Israel by the likes of Sharon, Olmert, et al.

That’s the only subject you should be talking about. Forget the other news stories, the Torah columns, the social register, baseball, agunas, and whatever else might occupy us – the upcoming disengagement plan should be the sole object of our concern. For the next few months, change the name of the paper to “The Gaza Press” and devote all your energies to reporting and analyzing the tragedy as it unfolds.

Some readers may laugh and call me obsessed, but I think there are others just like me. All I can think of right now is the looming Gaza disengagement, and I don’t have the time or the interest to concentrate on anything else.

Goldie Witkin
(Via E-Mail)



Come Home, Dr. Schick

God bless Marvin Schick and thank you, Jewish Press, for publishing Dr. Schick’s op-ed article (“Lead Us By Teaching,” April 8). I miss reading Marvin Schick in the pages of The Jewish Press – I vividly recall his many years as a weekly columnist for your paper – but I refuse to purchase the scandal-mongering paper that carries his subsidized column.

How good it was to read Dr. Schick’s thoughts in The Jewish Press, and I hope to see more of him in this paper. Dr. Schick: come home to The Jewish Press and leave that other paper to its Federation-worshiping, Orthodox-badgering, alternative Judaism-championing ways.

Zechariah Strasser
(Via E-Mail)



Eidelberg’s Tap

Paul Eidelberg gives us his usual excellent analysis in his April 8 column. Any rational, humane and civilized person reading with full understanding Professor Eidelberg’s assessment of the nature of Israel’s current enemy must shudder in revulsion and apprehension.

The tragic reality is that in such a perilous time, Israel is in need of leaders with the wisdom of Solomon, the courage of the Maccabees, and the love of Israel and the Jewish people akin to that displayed by our many tzaddikim down through Jewish history.

The reason I shudder in revulsion and apprehension is because I see instead an Israeli Supreme Court transforming the country into a secular state. I see a secular prime minister devoid of the courage and planning skills he once showed as a military commander. I see a prime minister foolish enough to reappoint Shimon Peres, whose legacy is a pathetic record of failure and disaster, and whose agenda has been overwhelmingly rejected by Israeli voters time after time after time.

We should perhaps regard all this adversity as a warning – a tap on the shoulder to get our attention. Mr. Eidelberg got mine.

Norman Shine
Brooklyn, NY



Views Misrepresented

It is most unfortunate that The Jewish Press chose to run an inaccurate article from Arutz Sheva (Israel National News) without contacting any of the rabbis who were maligned (“YU Rabbis Approve Disengagement,” April 8).

The panel discussion was an internal educational program allowing YU students to hear differing religious perspectives on issues in Israel. The questions analyzed were whether it is halachically permissible for the Israeli government to adopt a plan which it deemed necessary for Israel’s security and political needs – even if it involved giving away territory – and whether opponents of such a plan serving in the Israeli army should be mesarev pekuda (permitted to refuse orders).

I made the point at the outset of the discussion that being a rabbi does not me give any expert knowledge about security and that I would focus on the halachic status of Israel as a Jewish state.

Rabbi Charlop strongly denounced any plan that would include giving land to the Palestinian Arabs. Rabbi Lamm and I, with different formulations, said that Mitzvat Yishuv Haaretz is not an absolute (yehareg V’lo Yaavor) and is outweighed by pikuach nefesh. No one said that the Sharon disengagement plan met that criterion.

Siruv Pekuda, encouraged by rabbinical leaders, has serious consequences for the religious role in determining the Jewish content of Israel and Rabbi Lamm and I opposed it, while Rabbi Charlop did not believe that it would happen.

The views expressed have been said publicly by many prominent rabbis. The notion that there is only one religious perspective on these issues and any one who disagrees should be publicly attacked is not consistent with our tradition and is dangerous.

Rabbi Yosef Blau
New York, NY
 


Death Of A Pope


The Good That He Did

I must take issue with reader Avraham (John) Forcella, who winced at the comments of Jewish leaders towards the late pope (Letters, April 8). It is true that John Paul II made many mistakes, but as a person he was fallible. Certain mistakes will be remembered, such as the Nicaragua pilgrimage of 1983 or his stand on contraception and liberalization of certain aspects of the Roman Catholic church.

Unfortunately, the pope did live in a real world and he had to stand on the balcony with Pinochet, say nice things about Arafat and keep his mouth shut when Bashir Assad was spouting off. That is called diplomacy.

Past popes have not all been a particularly pleasant bunch. The attitude of Pius XII toward Jews was made quite clear in his reports from Poland right after the first world war. Yet only sixty years before this Jews had been locked in the ghettos by the popes while those outside the papal domains were free. One can also mention the Inquisition, Crusades, Catholic colonization of America and, of course, ultimate responsibility for the Shoah.

What John Paul II did was show the way forward, the path that the church needs to take in the future. While fighting liberation theology on one hand, he reached out to people of other faiths and went further than could ever have been expected in admitting past Catholic evil.

What really impressed me the most was the way in which the synagogue here in Warsaw was packed with non-Jews for the memorial service to the late pope. This indicates how his teaching has reached the hearts of ordinary people and demonstrates to me that there can be no turning back to the wrongs of the past.

Alan Heath
Publisher
Polish Business News
Warsaw, Poland



Right Tone

Congratulations for perhaps the most thoughtful comments I have read on Pope John Paul II and his relationship with the Jews (editorial, April 8). You carefully articulated the gratitude many feel for the historic changes the pope instituted in the approach of the Catholic Church to Jews. You also conveyed concern over the incongruity and significance of his embrace pf Arafat and Waldheim and his shocking silence in the face of Assad’s blood libel.

On the face of it, in terms of Jewish/Catholic relations we Jews are better off than we were before Karol Wojtyla’s ascension to the papacy in 1978. But there persists the nagging sense that at the end of the day, even to someone like him, we were not considered fully “regular” after all.

Herman Simons
New York, NY



Not Positive Enough

I strongly disagree with your editorial on the death of John Paul II. It is undeniable, as even you concede, that he made the world a safer place for Jews. Why, then, can you not bring yourselves to fully acknowledge that contribution? It almost seems as though you have some fear of appearing to legitimize the pope’s accomplishments.

I think the Orthodox community in particular should have seized on the pope’s death as an opportunity to show his successor – and the Catholic Church itself – that we know how to say thanks and that we are capable of viewing gentiles as sincere and decent human beings. All too often our attitude toward non-Jews is one of blanket fear and condemnation, combined with a sense of superiority that would put many a redneck bigot to shame. And then we wonder why that attitude is returned against us – in spades.

Moshe Goldman
(Via E-Mail)



Mr. Goldman, Meet Mr. Deutsch

Who made The Jewish Press the spokesman for the Jews? Did you ask a shaylah whether you are permitted to say nice things about an avoda zara? Who said you could publish a photo of a pope wearing a cross for all to see?

The world’s attention was gripped for days by the death of a leader of Christianity, and this will result in great problems for the Jewish people. I don’t care what political benefits he was responsible for, or whether he was good for Israel.

Berel Deutsch
(Via E-Mail)



A Finger In The Eye

It’s very nice that the pope apologized for what his church did to the Jews over the centuries. I happened to see the news clip of that event and was infuriated by the deliberate, flat and undramatic manner in which he read the statement off a piece of paper. A little more passion and emotion would have been in order.

And wasn’t this the same pope who was pushing to have Pius XII, of all people, turned into a saint? Given the raging controversy over what Pius did or didn’t do to help the Jews during the Holocaust, the effort to have Pius canonized was like poking a finger in our eye.

Boris Solomonov
Jerusalem

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