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September 21, 2014 / 26 Elul, 5774
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Letters To The Editor

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Concern About Hagel (I)

Re “More on Hagel” (editorial, Dec. 28):

Noteworthy among the friends of Chuck Hagel arguing for his nomination as secretary of defense were a number of individuals noted for their lack of concern when it comes to the security of the Jewish state.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, one of Hagel’s most vocal advocates, has long been at the very least indifferent about our relations with Israel. He has been joined in his defense of Hagel by the usual coterie of politicians and military and civilian leaders who have long frowned on close ties with Israel.

Certainly based on previous statements and actions Hagel is hardly qualified to be secretary of defense. His agenda is one of overseeing the diminution of our military power and influence throughout the world. His ascension to the position of secretary of defense would be a disaster, not only for Israel but for all of our allies throughout the free world.

Nelson Marans
Silver Spring, MD

Concern About Hagel (II)

Obama’s selection of John Kerry for secretary of state and Chuck Hagel for secretary of defense should be a major concern for the pro-Israel community and for all Americans. As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Kerry criticized Israel’s blockade of Gaza and building homes in Jerusalem and on other Jewish-owned sites. He is a strong advocate of a Palestinian state carved out of the Jewish patrimony. During the Vietnam War Kerry demonstrated against the U.S. at the Paris peace talks and testified in Congress that American troops were war criminals.

Hagel has always been hostile to Israel and accused the “Jewish lobby” of having too much influence on U.S. policies. He has always opposed sanctions against Iran. Obama selected Kerry and Hagel because they agree with his policies and because there is no need for moderation in his second term since he will not have to run again.

George Rubin
New York, NY

The Evil Behind The Newtown Atrocity

Rabbi Richard Louis Price’s article, “New-Town” (Family Issues, Jan. 4), conveys the notion that Newtown-type tragedies are psychopathological in origin. This may be true in some cases, but history shows that some stem from a strong predisposition on the part of the perpetrators to evil.

On December 5, 2007, Robert Hawkins, 19, walked into Westroads Mall in Omaha, Nebraska and killed eight people and himself. His suicide note read, in part, “Everyone will remember me as some sort of monster…. [But] just think…I’m gonna be…famous.”

Michael Welner, an associate professor of psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine, put it this way: ” ‘My fame is more important than your life,’ that’s basically what he said.”

The public perception of the 1999 Columbine killers, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, was they were lonely outcasts out for revenge on those who bullied them. But three months after the massacre, the FBI convened a summit in Leesburg, Va., that included world-renowned mental health experts as well as Supervisory Special Agent Dwayne Fuselier, the FBI’s lead Columbine investigator and a clinical psychologist.

Their conclusion was that Klebold and Harris were not lonely outcasts at all and in fact regularly partied with friends. Klebold boasted on a video about inflicting “the most deaths in U.S. history.” Harris, according to Fuselier, had a messianic-grade superiority complex and was out to punish the human race for its appalling inferiority.

According to Agent Fuselier, it wasn’t just fame they were after. They were after infamy of global proportions. Their aim was to create a nightmare so devastating and horrendous that the entire world would shudder at their power.

So to speak of mental health issues without recognizing the evil aspect of some of these atrocities misses an important factor. The antidote for evil is not always the psychiatrist’s couch but, rather, rearing kids with a conscience.

Josh Greenberger
Brooklyn, NY

European Anti-Semitism

I wonder why we spend so much time trying to analyze the European Union’s continuing visceral antagonism toward Israel (“Israel-EU Tension: The View from Europe,” news story, Dec. 28).

For me it has long been rather simple. The members of the European Union still cannot accept that the Jewish people, whom they consigned to the ash heap of history by refusing to allow them entry as refugees from the Nazis, learned how to take care of themselves and gave meaning to the vow “Never Again.”

I can’t help believing that European leaders during the Holocaust thought that at long last the centuries-old “Jewish problem” was about to be solved. I’m not saying they would have pulled the trigger or ushered Jews into the gas chambers themselves, but I do think they wanted look away from what was happening, take a deep breath, nervously await the Final Solution and perhaps prepare some touching eulogies to European Jewry in order to assuage their consciences.

Current EU members are their successors. That is why with respect to the Jews, they’ll never play by the rules.

Arnold Rich
(Via E-Mail)

Birchas HaChaim

Chaim Kaminetzky took joy in sharing in the happiness of others – of family, friends and acquaintances; in short, of Klal Yisrael. He had his serious side, always searching to help someone in need, as well as his humorous side, entertaining you with his good natured quips.

It is hard to grasp that we are at the point of Chaim’s Shloshim, and harder still to accept his sudden petirah. For thirty years Chaim was an integral voice at Ohel as a vice president and lay leader. And lead he did. In many of our conversations he asked whether there was another idea, a road not traveled, a new way, to improve a child’s life. And so we talked often of the many paths to achieve specific goals.

Modest as he was, Chaim touched and improved the lives of so many of the children, adults and families who are part of Ohel’s history – and future.

Sheya Mendelowitz, whom I met through Chaim, suggested I look at Birchas HaChodesh and in that berachah see how the life of Chaim Kaminetzky was lived. It is a good way to remember Chaim every chodesh.

Chaim personified and exemplified all of the following attributes:

* Chaim of emes

* Chaim full of heart and soul

* Chaim of tzedakah

* Chaim with love of Eretz Yisrael

* Chaim dedicated to Ohel’s children

* Chaim filled with empathy

* Chaim full of emotion

* Chaim of leadership

* Chaim of music

* Chaim with a love of family and Klal Yisrael.

We will not forget you, Chaim!

David Mandel
CEO
Ohel Children’s Home and Family Services

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