Ben-Gurion No Model
   Assemblyman Dov Hikind’s column on Ehud Olmert in last week’s Jewish Press quoted David Ben-Gurion saying “We chose a Jewish state without the entire land of Israel.” What was the Jewish character of the state chosen by Ben-Gurion? Ben-Gurion’s “Jewish” state took Yemenite children from their parents, cut off their payos, and raised them as secular Jews. Ben-Gurion’s “Jewish” state was state without Torah.
   Also, how was Ben-Gurion any better than Olmert with regard to dealing with the Arabs? In 1956, after Israel conquered the Sinai peninsula, Ben-Gurion caved in to American pressure and returned the entire Sinai, thus setting the stage for later confrontations. In 1967, Ben-Gurion, retired but still influential, opposed the preemptive strike that enabled Israel to win such an overwhelming victory in the Six-Day War.
   Mr. Hikind ought to know better than to hold up Ben-Gurion as a model for true Jewish behavior.

Jay Grossman

Spring Valley, NY


Time For Action


   Dr. Phyllis Chesler’s “Manifesto for Survival” (op-ed, Dec. 15) needs to be understood and acted on pronto. A first course of action would be for each of us to contact every political official and demand that our government issue a non-negotiable ultimatum to the Arab states that are identified beyond any doubt as a declared and dedicated enemy seeking our destruction.
   The ultimatum would clearly state that we take their threats seriously and that those threats constitute an act of war. The only civilized, moral consideration we will extend these governments as an opportunity to protect their civilian populations will be this one-time offer to cease and desist further aggressive threats, publicly sign a non-aggression pact and cease the development and production of nuclear and chemical weapons. Failure to respond to this offer will render those governments responsible for all the terrible consequences we will bring upon them.
   In the name of sanity, we must do it.

Norman Shine

Brooklyn, NY


Trivializing Observance?
   Rabbi Mordechai Weiss (“Diversity: The Uniqueness of Our People,” op-ed, Dec. 15) correctly points out that it is unwise to judge people based on external criteria. Each person has something to contribute to society. However, I disagree with what I view as his attempted trivialization of the guidelines and principles essential for authentic Torah observance.
   In support of permissiveness, he cites the talmudic maxim koach d’heterah adif, which actually pertains to talmudic discussions; in particular, in the event one disputant has a mesora from his rebbe (a tradition from his mentor that a particular approach has its origins in the revelation at Sinai.) In that case, such an authority can argue by virtue of such knowledge in favor of a more liberal position. (This option is for the tannaim, the rabbis of the Mishna.)
   One classic case involves Beis Shammai and Beis Hillel in Masechta Beitza 2. This might surprise Rabbi Weiss: The liberal position does not prevail. (Also see Chullin 58)
   It is ironic that many of the most popular practices in Judaism stem from chumras. Without getting too technical, I’ll cite one timely example: Kindling the lights of the Chanukah menorah. The universal practice involves a mehadrin min hamehadrin ceremony, which is a super-orthodox lighting extravaganza. Every night an extra candle is lit to commemorate the triumph of freedom to believe in God and to proclaim that the Word of the Lord is from Zion and Jerusalem, and that this Torah will never be exchanged for any new man-made doctrine.

Chaim Silver

(Via E-Mail)


We Stand Corrected
   The tagline for writer Irwin Cohen (“The World Series That Wasn’t: Post-Season Musings of a Veteran Baseball Scribe,” op-ed, Dec. 1) describes Mr. Cohen as the only Orthodox Jew to have earned a World Series ring from a front office position. In fact, Joel Mael, an Orthodox Jew from Lawrence, Long Island, is the vice-chairman of the Florida Marlins. He held his current position in 2003 when the Marlins beat the Yankees in the World Series and he received a World Series ring at that time. Kindly correct this oversight.

Rhonda Younger

Brooklyn, NY





Neturei Karta Breaks Bread
With Holocaust Deniers

In Their Element


      I commend The Jewish Press for publishing the front-page photograph of Neturei Karta members being greeted by the president of Iran at that conference in Tehran. I hope those letter-writers who recently defended Neturei Karta now realize that the group’s agenda has gone way beyond anti-Zionism and has become plain old-fashioned anti-Semitism.
      By actively participating in a conference that questioned whether or not the Holocaust took place, Neturei Karta members hung their hats together with the likes of Iran’s Ahmadinejad and the former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. Those gentlemen are not just anti-Zionist, they are anti-Semitic.
      As a firm believer in the concept of midah k’neged midah – a person is punished in a manner similar to the sin he committed – I can only imagine what Hashem has in store for Neturei Karta members who associate with those who wish to wipe the Jews off the face of the earth.

Barry J. Koppel

Kew Gardens Hills, NY


Enough Is Enough


      Although initially outraged and disgusted by the picture of Neturei Karta representatives being greeted by the Iranian president at the Holocaust deniers meeting, I applaud The Jewish Press for putting it on the front page. We constantly prod moderate Muslim groups to speak out against their extremists, yet we allow these evil people dressed up as chassidic Jews to repeatedly disgrace our religion without vociferous protest from the rabbinic and lay leaders of our community.
      The vicious anti-Israel behavior we have witnessed in the past from this group has been swept under the rug as political – i.e., anti-government or anti-Zionist – but enough is enough. They’ve now become Holocaust deniers. If they can’t listen to reason here, there are six million souls waiting to set the record straight for them.

Dr. Marvin Brody

(Via E-Mail)


No Shame


      How low can they go? Have they lost all sense of shame? Those photos of Neturei Karta operatives openly consorting with notorious Holocaust deniers and arch anti-Semites in Tehran were absolutely sickening. They were “honored” with front row seats by their new associates, led by the proto-Hitler, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who denies past genocide against the Jews while eagerly anticipating a future one.
      While Neturei Karta is entitled to its odious opinions concerning the legitimacy of the State of Israel, such a gross display of chillul Hashem crossed all remaining red lines. What these so-called rabbis lack in ahavas Yisrael is more than made up for by their sinas chinam.

Richard D. Wilkins

(Via E-Mail)


No Laughing Matter


      Just look at those costumes! You have three clowns dressed up like Orthodox Jews shaking hands with a beast masquerading as a human being, while two other similarly costumed beasts approvingly look on.
      I’m being facetious, but the reality is that this is no laughing matter. This goes deeper than Neturei Karta’s mere rejection of the State of Israel, as wrong-headed as that may be. (And how difficult is it to understand that Israel exists to this day only because God wishes it to exist and has foiled all efforts to destroy it over the past 58 years? To reject His great miracle is to deny His very existence). These lunatics are actively legitimizing haters of Jews by their presence at this so-called “scholarly conference” and by their claims to represent religious Jewry.
      Does Neturei Karta “Rabbi” Yisroel Duvid Weiss actually think that fellow conference-attendee David Duke would not gladly toss him into a fiery oven if he could? Believing that a Nazi or a Muslim jihadi would spare him because he is not a Zionist Jew is as foolishly naive as the belief of liberal “Jews of the Mosaic persuasion” in Holocaust-era Germany that the Nazis would spare them because they were not like those odd-looking religious Jews.
      We should keep the so-called rabbis of Neturei Karta in mind when we recite the verse in the Amidah calling on God to punish informers, heretics and other such arrogant sonnei Hashem and sonnei Yisrael.

Paul Deckelman

Far Rockaway, NY


See No Evil


      I must express my dismay over the front-page photo in last week’s Jewish Press. Publishing that picture gives publicity to an insignificant group that represents nobody but themselves and that has been condemned by all segments of Jewry. I feel your paper owes an apology to its readers. Please don’t even mention these traitors to our people any more – they are not worthy of it.

Shlomo Philipson

Monsey, NY


New Depths


      I thought Neturei Karta could not reach new levels of chillul Hashem, but they’ve raised (or rather lowered) the bar again. Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s Holocaust denial gathering in Tehran drew some of world’s leading Holocaust deniers – and right there, present in the front row, were members of Neturei Karta.
      Apparently, this conference, which had been denounced by such friends of the Jews as Germany, England, France, the EU and the Vatican, is just fine for Neturei Karta.

Zachary Gorden

Brooklyn, NY


Al Tehi Tikvah


      Concerning those Neturei Karta representatives who met with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the Holocaust deniers conference I can only say: Caesar had his Brutus, America had its Benedict Arnold, and we Jews have our traitors, too.
      Denying the legitimacy of the government of Israel is one thing. Expressing that view by legitimizing the potential murderer of millions of Jews and by tacitly denying the Holocaust is quite another. Let me suggest that while waiting for Mashiach to come and redeem us, Neturei Karta settle in Iran where I’m sure they’ll be warmly hosted by their friend Ahmadinejad.
      “And to slanderers let there be no hope.”

Henry Adler

(Via E-Mail)