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Letters To The Editor

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Words Of Thanks

I am a resident of Sea Gate and a victim of Sandy.

Our community was hit hard. No house was spared, and while some sustained more damage than others, all our basements were flooded and had to be completely demolished, with everything torn out and disposed of. The magnitude of this disaster cannot be fathomed unless you experienced it.

I want to take this opportunity to thank the New York City sanitation and police departments for their wonderful work. To Shomrim and Hatzolah and all the many individual volunteers who joined in the cleanup and recovery efforts: there are no words.

We are so grateful. May Hashem repay all of you.

Machi Spitzer
Brooklyn, NY

Two Very Special People (I)

Naomi Klass Mauer’s yahrzeit tribute to her mother, Irene Klass, and her husband, Dr. Ivan Mauer, was beautiful and moving (“Two Years Ago – Two Very Special People,” op-ed, Nov. 30).

I was privileged to know them both, and she captured their essence perfectly.

Barbara Gilor
(Via E-Mail)

Two Very Special People (II)

Naomi Klass Mauer’s article about her mother and husband was very touching.

Irene Klass was the embodiment of chesed and creating a Jewish household. Ivan Mauer was very smart and loved opening up a sefer or book, digesting it, and sharing it at the Shabbos table. Though his wit was sharp, his heart was soft.

Naftali Armon, Esq.
New York, NY

Halacha And Female Kosher Supervisors

There was something very crucial lacking from “The Mashgiach Wore a Dress: The Fight over Opening Kosher Supervision to Women” (news story, Nov. 30) – namely, what the halacha on this matter happens to be.

I would therefore like to note the opinion of Reb Moshe Feinstein, zt”l, who clearly writes in Igros Moshe (Yorah Deah 2:44, 45) that a woman may not serve as a mashgiach for kashrus. The prohibition has nothing to do with the idea being “new,” as Emunah chairwoman Liora Minka maintains, nor does it have anything to do with the halachos being beyond the comprehension of women.

Of course we should assume that the people involved are all working l’shem shamayim. However, I do not understand why Minka is ready to take her female kashrut supervisors case all the way to the Israeli Supreme Court. If the Chief Rabbinate says it is not in accordance with halacha, why is she seeking government intervention? Does she honestly believe she knows better than the Chief Rabbinate or Reb Moshe? It seems there is another objective here

Max Weiss
(Via E-Mail)

U.S. Support For Israel

I was fascinated by Walter Russell Mead’s front-page essay last week (“Why Americans Support Israel”). Like many of my fellow Jews, I have always feared the existence of widespread latent anti-Semitism in America and especially its coming to the fore in times of economic crisis.

In some ways this fear was largely irrational inasmuch as there has never been a country as hospitable to Jews and their religious practices as the United States. Professor Mead seems to point to American traits of realism and fundamental honesty as underlying the broad support in this country for Israel.

Perhaps it takes European-style sophistication for Israel to always be perceived as wrong.

David Perlmutter
(Via E-Mail)

Polish Court’s Ruling On Shechita

I view the anti-ritual slaughter decision in Poland as an ominous sign (“Polish Court Rules Against Ritual Slaughter,” news brief, Nov. 30).

While it is true that the elected government sought to protect both Jewish and Muslim religious slaughter, and it was a court that disallowed it, I am afraid the prohibition will nevertheless gain traction throughout Poland. The court found that exempting religious slaughter from the general stunning requirement in order to accommodate religious practice was arbitrary and therefore unconstitutional.

Since stunning is usually a means of ensuring the humane treatment of animals during the slaughtering process by eliminating the possibility of pain, the court ruling effectively declared and underscored that religious tenets that prohibit stunning during animal slaughter are inhumane. That does not bode well for kosher slaughter.

Shimon Geller
Los Angeles, CA

Rice And Libya

Re “Some Questions for Ambassador Rice” (editorial, Nov. 30):

While I do think Ms. Rice is not really responsible for her misleading statements concerning the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya, I also think she might be able to shed important light on how she herself was initially misled and whether there was a larger cover-up of the failure to provide protection to American personnel there.

Nancy Gorman
(Via E-Mail)

Rice And Israel

It appears that UN ambassador Susan Rice will be nominated by President Obama to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state. While Hillary Clinton has not exactly been uncritical of Israel these past four years, worse can be expected from Rice.

As secretary of state, Rice would present an existential threat to Israel, as she has shown a pro-Arab bias during her tenure at the UN. As The Jewish Press has noted in recent editorials, even while casting votes at the order of the White House against various Israel-bashing proposals and initiatives at the UN, she managed to find a way to signal her discomfort at appearing too pro-Israel.

While her votes in favor of Israel were obviously at the behest of the White House, her exiting the UN chamber in September as Prime Minister Netanyahu delivered his speech appears to have been a personal decision, showing her contempt for the Israeli leader and essentially equating him with Ahmadinejad of Iran.

Nelson Marans
Silver Spring, MD

Dangerous Decree

When we light the menorah and say “Al Hanissim,” we use the phrase “bayamim haheim b’zman hazeh.” Centuries ago the Greeks tried to abolish the study of Torah, the sanctification of the new moon, the keeping of Shabbos, and bris milah.

We in New York are now facing a terrible decree against metzitzah b’peh, an attack against circumcision as we perform it. One might think it harmless to require parents to sign a document saying that despite the (alleged) medical dangers inherent in this act they nevertheless are prepared to go ahead with it. But enemies of bris milah will say: “Look, even the Orthodox are signing statements that bris milah is dangerous; let us protect their children by not allowing the parents to be negligent.”

The next step would be the abolishment of metzitzah b’peh and the step after that the abolishment of bris milah altogether. And if the decree against metzitzah b’peh becomes law here, it will have a ripple effect in other states as well.

The ruling against metzitzah b’peh will have its day in court on the fourth day of Chanukah. We must use every day of the month of Kislev and the holy days of Chanukah to daven and give tzedakah so that Hashem will save us from this potential calamity.

Breindy Reiss
(Via E-Mail)

Help In Searching Jewish Roots

I am requesting help from Jewish Press readers. My grandfather immigrated to the U.S. from Riga, Latvia, and may have changed his name. In 1918 his wife (age 29) left Oklahoma for New York to help my grandfather’s sister with her family due to the flu and to the fact that they had so many children to care for. Unfortunately, three months later she died from the flu while still in New York.

If anyone is related to or working on the genealogy of this family, we may be able to help each other. Please contact me at J. Feld, PO Box 721, Placitas, NM, 87943.

In 1918 the family in New York consisted of Henry and Jennie Klein and their children – Joseph, Benjamin, Sarah, Eva, Percy, Louis (all born in Ireland), Mildred, Lily, Max and Hyman (all born in the U.S.).

In 1918 the family resided in at 597 E. 56th Street and in 1930 at 3761 61st Street.

Jennifer Feld
Placitas, NM

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