Peace For Nothing

Thank you for the wonderful job you are doing in keeping your readers informed about what’s really going on in the Middle East.

Previous Israeli governments tried Land for Peace and got no peace. Each piece of land given to the Palestinian Arabs was used as a launching pad for further acts of terrorism against Israel.

Land for Peace is precisely the policy pursued by Neville Chamberlain as he sought peace with Hitler by surrendering Czechoslovakia to the Nazis in 1938. The policy of appeasing Hitler didn’t work. It only increased his appetite for further conquests.

Israel’s policy of appeasement didn’t work either. The terrorists have only been emboldened. Israel’s disengagement from Gaza resulted in the Hamas terrorists winning the Palestinian Authority government election. Hamas remained committed to terrorism against Israel and to Israel’s destruction, and won a landslide victory. The Palestinians interpreted Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza as a sign of Israel’s weakness, and as proof that terrorism works.

The current Israeli policy is essentially surrender, or Land for Nothing. Israel is giving up land to those who seek its destruction and getting nothing in return (except more terrorism being committed against Israelis).

The Palestinian Authority is committed to the eventual destruction of Israel. What’s with these crazy Israelis? Do they really think such idiotic policies will win them peace or make the world love them?

Richard Chamberlain
(No relation to Neville Chamberlain)
Rochester NY
Conversions And Halacha
You know, despite all of the yelling and screaming about an Israeli Chief Rabbinate that has been hijacked by haredim who are targeting Modern Orthodoxy, is not the real issue whether halacha is being followed in conversions and divorces? Are these not fundamental to the integrity of the Jewish bloodline? Instead of arguing turf and reputations, should we not be focusing on whether the chief rabbis have a point?
Sol Glazer
(Via E-Mail)
In The Haredi Camp
Your editorial last week embracing the new rules about conversions adopted by the Israeli chief rabbis went to great lengths to avoid the appearance of any targeting of the RCA. Anyone reading between the lines, however, knows right away that the Chief Rabbinate has come to represent the haredi establishment in its efforts to discredit Modern Orthodoxy. I am disappointed that The Jewish Press, a Modern Orthodox paper, is in the haredi camp on this issue.
Neil Halem
New York, NY
Still More On The RCA

I suspect many readers are getting tired of reading about the Rabbinical Council of America in your news and letters sections, but I feel compelled to add my thoughts. I have yet to see any refutation by the RCA of the merits of Chief Rabbi Amar’s conclusion that he cannot blindly accept their conversions as meeting halachic requirements. As you noted in your editorial last week, that development was based upon actual case studies. If the RCA wants to restore its credibility it must confront the evidence in those files.

On a related note, I’ve read the various resolutions on religious issues that were adopted at the RCA’s recent convention and am puzzled at the logic of convention delegates setting halachic policy.

The RCA boasts of a membership of a thousand rabbis, but nowhere is it claimed that all of their members or convention participants are talmudic or halachic scholars. Yet at the end of their conventions, resolutions reflecting the views of a majority of the conventioneers are solemnly voted on, passed, and disseminated. Why should the rest of us care a whit about those resolutions?

Similarly, why should the RCA’s regular pronunciamentos during the course of the year about halachic issues with broad implications matter to anyone? Haven’t we always relied upon gedolei haposkim for this kind of decision-making? Should any of us really care what a majority of rabbis not noted for their halachic erudition feel about certain halachic issues? This may sound like “haredi condescension,” but how am I wrong?

I am not saying that there are not some competent halachists to be found in the ranks of the RCA. What I am saying is that packaging halacha in conventional organizational garb doesn’t work. At least not for me.

Heshy Brodkin
(Via E-Mail)

Unprincipled Kissinger

Once again Jason Maoz hit it right on the mark in his Media Monitor column of June 2 (“Kissinger In His Own Words”). I remember very well how Kissinger cynically played one side against the other in the years after the Yom Kippur War, first as Nixon’s and then as Ford’s secretary of state.

The man is and always has been a manipulator – in his younger days he was an acolyte of Nelson Rockefeller and was on record as having said some very ugly things about Nixon, who at the time was one of Rockefeller’s bitterest enemies within the Republican party. Then Nixon gets elected president in 1968 and suddenly Kissinger can’t say enough wonderful things about the man.

And it was Kissinger who tried so hard to torpedo efforts by Jewish activists and congressional leaders aimed at forcing the Soviets to adopt a more lenient emigration policy for the millions of Jews trapped behind the Iron Curtain. Thank God we had principled non-Jews like the late Sen. Henry “Scoop” Jackson who stood up to the vile, unprincipled Kissinger.

Michael Ellis
Brooklyn, NY
Misses Chess Column

How sad that you gutted Jeffrey Kastner’s “Chess In The Press” column which so many readers have enjoyed for many years. To replace it with a “game” so offensively named as “Judoku” only compounds the error. I guess this is just another example of the dumbing down of America.

Bring back the chess column and give kavod to the great Jewish chess champions of the past like Lasker and Reshevsky.

Emanuel J. Chosak
New York, NY
Torah Vodaath Reunion

We’re hoping that readers can help us locate the following classmates (each would be about 63 years of age) for a 50th-year reunion of the 1956 graduating class of Yeshiva Torah Vodaath Elementary School in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

The reunion date is June 25, 2006.

Ackerman, David
The Cohen TRIPLETS (Allan, Martin and Norman)
Fogel, Charles
Frankel, Moshe
Goldfeder, Sheldon
Greenberg, Martin
Greenberg, Michael
Hidrie, Joseph
Hyman, Stanley
Kaplan, Benjamin
Lev, Martin (Mordechai)
Lewin, Edward
Rich, Stuart
Segal, Barry
Schiff, David
Schiff, Marvin
Vogel, Roland
Moish Weissman
Cell: 347-528-7837
Home: 718-698-5217
Heshy Nagel
Phone: 845-406-4261
Plea From A Christian Zionist

American Christian Zionists have a bond of special love for the Land that the Lord God of Israel gave to the sons and daughters of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and King David by everlasting covenant.

We know that many of your ancestors have, down through the dark and bloody ages, had many crimes committed against them by those who called themselves “Christians.” Crusades and devilish inquisitions have been carried out by those flying the flag of Christianity – horrific acts that have left an indelible stain on the pages of human history.

My dear Jewish friends, I assure you that these barbarities were not born in the hearts of those who truly love the Lord and who revere the sacred tenets of Christianity. Usurpers of the name “Christian” gave vent to these bloody atrocities, not true children of God.

Yes, we differ about the Messiah, but what else is new? In this hour of great, great need, both for the dear Hebrew people worldwide as well as for America, both Christians and Jews best circle their wagons (I am a 66-year-old cowboy preacher) and stand united against our common foes. We as Christian-Zionists in Oklahoma City are doing all we can to raise our voices to Mr. Bush, Mr. Olmert, Dr. Rice, et al, to save all the land of Israel for the Jewish people.

We are, however, tremendously concerned and distraught about Sodomite parades and celebrations in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and other Israeli cities, along with the promotion, by high Israeli officials, of Tel Aviv as a world capital for sodomite “culture” and tourism.

The organization Jerusalem Open House is sponsoring a week-long international Sodomite convention in Jerusalem, beginning August 6, with a parade, film festival, and other celebratory events designed to introduce this lifestyle/death style to Jewish young people. Why, on its website this group even lists programs for Orthodox Jews as well!

Now, let me be very candid, humble, and sincere in what I say. The silence we perceive on the part of rabbis and political leaders, particularly those in the Orthodox and more traditional communities, is deafening to us Christian Zionists.

We noticed a while back how rabbis banded together to ban wigs from India because of their concern that the hair originally had been part of an idolatrous practice. But is not such a massive explosion of sodomy in the Holy Land deserving of fierce and ongoing opposition on the part of religious Jews?

What we perceive in following Israeli politics is a never-ending cycle of Wheeling and Dealing in these government coalitions, with the bottom line being meeting the monetary needs of community institutions, schools, and the poor.

We understand those needs, believe you me! We suffer the same at the present time here in Oklahoma City. But what role does the sanctity of the Holy Land play? Why won’t leading rabbis meet with Olmert, Peretz, Peres, and other government officials and tell them face to face: “We demand that these aforementioned abominations be canceled, or there cannot be business as usual”?

We Christian Zionists look at Orthodox Jews as the standard-bearers of Judaism and as stewards of the Holy Land. We find it paradoxical and sad that while the Palestinians in Israel support Hamas, which pledges a return to strict Muslim sharia, the religious Jews seem to be turning the other cheek to the most blatant forms of immorality.

May the Lord God of Israel (called that 498 times in my King James Bible) bless you as you consider these words.

I am, humbly and sincerely, a yedid and chaver of the dear Hebrew people.

Rev. Jim Vineyard
Oklahoma City, OK