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January 31, 2015 / 11 Shevat, 5775
 
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Letters To The Editor


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One View Of Obama

I hope those who believe President Obama spends every waking hour thinking about how to sink the Jews and Israel paid attention to your front-page news story last week about his appointing an Orthodox Jew as his chief of staff (“New White House Chief of Staff ‘Go-To’ Person for Jewish Groups”).

The front-page photo was interesting in this regard as well, showing Obama’s ambassador to Israel, also a Jew, learning Torah with students in the largest yeshiva in Israel.

I am not suggesting these gentlemen were chosen for their jobs because they are Jewish, but rather that they were not blackballed because of it. And that, I think, is the point. We can agree or disagree with the fine points of Obama’s policies, but it’s time we stopped demonizing the president in a manner we would never do with any other liberal Democratic president with whom we happened to disagree.

There seems to be something about this man that drives all too many frum Jews absolutely crazy. Martin Fried (Via E-Mail)

 

…And Another

I suppose President Obama’s selection of an Orthodox Jew as his chief of staff was newsworthy, as was the visit to a Jerusalem yeshiva by his ambassador to Israel. I hope, however, that we do not assume they provide a window into our president’s thinking.

I fear that putting too much stock into the fact that Obama has appointed a large number of Jews to key positions will blunt concerns about what the president will do should he be reelected in November and not have to worry about running for office again. Binyamin Roth Jerusalem

 

Heartbreaking Portrait

Devora Spitzer (“A Haunting Visit to the Gush Katif Museum,” front page essay, Jan. 13) paints a heartbreaking portrait of the aftermath of the Gaza disengagement in terms of both national and individual tragedy.

A living, breathing, flourishing community, symbolic of Israel itself, was cruelly uprooted and destroyed. Pioneering, achieving, God-fearing Jews had their homes taken from them and their lives ripped apart. And it was a Jewish government that did this to them and bestowed on all of Israel the gift of Kassam rockets. Esther Wolf New York, NY

 

No Forgiveness

Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld says it’s “Time for the Dutch to Finally ‘Fess Up” (op-ed, Jan. 13). Sorry, but there is not enough time in all of eternity for the Dutch people to make their apology. Even if such an apology were sincerely given, it would come 65 years too late, rendering it not much of an apology at all.

It is beyond my ability to forgive, and beyond the ability of the ashes of Dutch Jewry to forgive. Apology is born in guilt. Allowing 65 years to pass without an apology is proof enough for me that the Dutch have suffered no guilt.

In the unlikely event that some future generation of Dutch people rediscover kindness and compassion and truly seek forgiveness for their national crimes, they will have to beg it from their Creator.

I write this response as a Jew who lived during those agonizing years of the Holocaust. How can I not respond? Norman Shine Brooklyn, NY

 

Rush to Judgment

Although not his intended purpose, reader Nachum Myers (Letters, Jan. 13) provides ample proof that Yael Armstrong’s articulate Jan. 6 op-ed article (“Divided and Broken”), espousing tolerance and ahavas Yisrael, is exactly on point.

Did Mr. Myers read the same article I did?

How do you misinterpret Ms. Armstrong’s statement about sending her (pre-school) child to a playgroup at a Conservative synagogue as endorsing sending your (Orthodox) children to “educational institutions of Conservative Judaism”? The answer, I presume: You misinterpret it if you suffer from a “divided and broken” attitude that affects many of our tribe.

Ms. Armstrong’s point (which had nothing to do with Jewish education, by the way), adeptly proven by the letter from Mr. Myers, is that people rush to judgment rather than to understanding. Sholom (Sonny) Taragin Baltimore, MD

 

Foxman And Holocaust Imagery (I)

Abraham Foxman (“Trivializing the Holocaust,” op-ed, Jan. 13) was at his best in deploring the outrageous misuse of Holocaust symbols by members of the Jewish community. He was less so when he recently reached out to condemn Republican candidate Rick Santorum for making reference to a “Jesus candidate” in the current primary campaign season.

Santorum was responding to a question about the need for a “Jesus candidate” and obviously used the term as a shorthanded call for principled candidates just as his questioner had. We already have enough problems and have no need to create new ones. Arthur Kleinman (Via E-Mail)

 

Foxman And Holocaust Imagery (II)

Abraham Foxman says those Jews who condemned the Israeli soldiers for driving them out of their homes in Gaza and northern Samaria and compared it to the Nazi expulsions of Jews by the Nazis are guilty of ignoring the horrors of the Holocaust.

Foxman should be more concerned that Israel is the only country in the world where Jews are driven out of their homes by armed soldiers and cannot live where they want to in their own nation.

He says his Anti-Defamation League does not want future generations to forget the lessons of the Holocaust. He should be more worried by the barely concealed plans of the Israeli political elites to establish a Hamas-Fatah terror state in Judea and Samaria that will require the expulsion of 250,000 Jews into overcrowded Israel. This would give almost all of Israel’s water sources to the Arabs and leave the country indefensible. George Rubin New York, NY

 

Unfair Criticism

In their Jan. 13 op-ed articles, Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman (“Dear Brother: Who Are You?”) and Ziona Greenwald (“Where’s the Outrage?”) seem to be saying that since no one in the right-wing Orthodox camp has spoken out against the marauders, it’s apparent that the entire yeshiva world marches in lockstep with them. It’s quite interesting that both writers failed to mention that the leadership of Agudath Israel, which represents Torah Jewry, has unequivocally condemned the behavior of these fanatics.

While I do not question the writers’ justified outrage – I too am appalled by the extremists – I believe they do no service to the cause of Torah Judaism by besmirching a wide swath of the religious community.

Let’s recall the words of the saintly Chofetz Chaim: “At first I wanted to change the world, but then I realized I must first change myself.”
Dr. Yaakov Stern
(Via E-Mail)

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