Prayers For Soldiers
Anyone who would like to be part of the war effort in Israel can call 011972-2-581-1911 (Jerusalem) and receive the name of an Israeli soldier to daven for personally.
May Hashem answer all our prayers for the good.
The Incomparable Rav Kotler
Marvin Schick is always a great read and he didn’t disappoint with his glowing account of Rav Aharon Kotler, zt”l (“The Legacy of Rav Aharon Kotler,” Front Page Essay, Nov.16).
Dr. Schick paints a picture of his greatness as only an intimate of Rav Aharon could and of the central role he played in the development of today’s Torah world. In particular, Lakewood has gone from being just a school to an overriding concept and state of mind that continues to impact the entire panorama of Torah education.
Despite the challenges posed by the Conservative and Reform movements, I have always thought there was a certain inexorability to the growth of Torah in America after the Holocaust as an expression of God’s will. Rav Aharon’s great talent and vision were used by Hashem to bring that about.
Chilling Out About Obama (I)
Ezra Friedlander’s point (“We Need to Chill Out About Obama,” op-ed, Nov. 16) really needed to be made. I have never seen so much twisting of fact and intellectual acrobatics concerning a president of the United States as are continuously directed at President Obama. Can it be that alone of all of our chief executives he is the only one who never gets anything right? Or that he sits up at night thinking of ways to do in Israel and the Jewish people?
How is it that even when Mr. Obama follows what other presidents have done with regard to Israel, he gets savaged for it while the originators of those policies – such as Ronald Reagan and the second President Bush – are fondly remembered by the Orthodox community?
Chilling Out About Obama (II)
I have often been embarrassed by the vitriol with which so may members of our community speak about President Obama, and I hope Ezra Friedlander’s op-ed last week will serve to demonstrate to those over-the-top critics that Obama is not all that different from other presidents.
I have great problems with Obamacare, for example, but why was Obama treated so harshly over it by people who gave Mitt Romney a pass over his enactment of virtually the same thing in Massachusetts? And as Mr. Friedlander ably illustrated, the views and policies regarding Israel for which Obama is vilified are not at all different from those of prior presidents.
Chilling Out About Obama (III)
I wonder what planet Ezra Friedlander lives on. Barack Obama said early on in his first term that he was committed to recasting the U.S. relationship with Israel and reaching out to Muslims. What other president came up with that statement? Does that mean nothing?
What other president sandbagged an Israeli prime minister just before meeting with him on an issue as important as the basis for the future borders of Israel? True, no president has moved the U.S embassy to Jerusalem, but for Mr. Friedlander’s information, The Jewish Press has pointed out more than once in its editorials that Obama is the only president who has refused to include an affirmative sentence in his waiver statement committing himself to such a move once circumstances permit.
About That ‘Restraint’…
The United States, Great Britain, and Russia all request Israeli “restraint.”
I have a simple question for each:
If there were a MexiHamas firing missiles into the United States, would our reaction be restraint?
If there were a ScotchiHamas firing missiles into London, would England restrain itself?
If the Chechens were firing rockets into the Kremlin, would Putin counsel restraint?
The answers are all self-evident.
William K. Langfan
Palm Beach, FL
JNF Can Learn From The Church
Russell Robinson, CEO of the Jewish National Fund, said in his Nov. 16 interview with The Jewish Press that he has no problem with the organization’s policy of only leasing land to Jews, stating: “I have an organization called the Jewish National Fund. If I had an organization called the Catholic Church, it would be different. I think the Catholic Church should be giving services for people who are Catholic.”
The ecumenical nature of the social services provided by the Catholic Church actually would be a wonderful model for the JNF to emulate. Catholic Charities is the largest private network of social service organizations in the United States. It works to support families, reduce poverty, and build communities regardless of religious, social, or economic backgrounds. Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. They alleviate suffering and provide assistance to people in need in nearly 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality.
It is time for the JNF to root out any of its remaining discriminatory policies rather than celebrating them.
Director of Israel Programs
Rabbis for Human Rights-North America
Sandy: The Religious Message
It’s easy to say God was trying to tell us something with Hurricane Sandy. I believe that. But what? Who knows? Each person can put his own spin on it.
It’s been reported that Rabbi Shteinman, shlita, said the observance of Shabbos was key. OK. I’m willing to accept what he said. Our Shabbos observance is off. I’ll make some guesses as to how it’s off, knowing that 99 percent of the observant world will disagree with me.
Maybe the Almighty is punishing us, or at least sending a very strong message, because of one or several of these factors:
● Chassidim are starting Shabbos too late.
● Yeshivish people are keeping Shabbos too long on Saturday night.
● Many people, especially the rich, and those who want to appear rich, are spending huge amounts of money on Shabbos – while others are going hungry.
● Shabbos kiddushim are growing too big and too expensive, forcing people to spend more than they have. (Let’s not talk about people – including teens and even children – getting drunk.) Whatever happened to a cold kiddush of cake and soda?
● Too many words are being repeated during Shabbos davening. Or maybe we’re being too strict by not allowing people to enjoy the chazzanus that requires repeating words.
● Too many people don’t say “Good Shabbos” to members of the opposite sex. Or maybe God is punishing us because there are people who do say “Good Shabbos” to members of the opposite sex.
Actually, I’m told Rabbi Shteinman was much more specific about the message of Hurricane Sandy. He said it had to do with eruvim and Shabbos. That was the Almighty’s message. This also makes sense to me. But how are we to understand the specifics?
● Eruvim, in some sense, allow mothers to go to shul. So maybe we need to be less strict about eruvim. Then again, maybe mothers and their little kids make noise and are a distraction in shul. So we need to be more strict.
● Maybe God is telling us we need to be more knowledgeable and involved in the outside world. An eruv would allow everyone to acquire a newspaper on Shabbos.
● Maybe God is sending a very specific message: One may not use electric power lines as part of an eruv. That’s why so many were downed in the storm. Then again, maybe the Almighty is telling us we should use more existing wires.
All these suggestions are within what is presumably the (extremely) broad range of Orthodoxy. So how does one determine the true message?
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