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September 23, 2014 / 28 Elul, 5774
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Letters To The Editor

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Schumer Knows His Constituents

Senator Chuck Schumer, who led the way for Chuck Hagel to garner the endorsement of Senate Democrats who might at least have wavered due to Hagel’s stated positions on Israel and Iran, desperately wants a greater leadership position in the Democrat Party, hence his championing of the president’s nominee. It’s called sleazy politics.

Schumer knows full well that New York Jews will give him a majority of their votes no matter what he does or says. That’s simply the nature of most Jewish voters. Their main focus is always about voting for Democrats. I regard this as a self-destructiveness that knows no equal.

Myron Hecker
New City, NY

Inspired By Neuberger

Roy Neuberger’s articles never fail to inspire, and his Purim front-page essay (“Road to Nowhere,” Feb. 22) was no exception.

I wish more of our pulpit rabbis, yeshiva rebbeim, frum community leaders and others who claim to carry the flag of Torah Judaism would be even half as sincere as Mr. Neuberger and filled with the kind of fervent emunah Mr. Neuberger exhibits in all his writings and lectures.

Chaya Morgan
New York, NY

Nadler And FEMA Funding (I)

I was flabbergasted to read that Rep. Jerrold Nadler opposes granting federal disaster aid to religious institutions only because of their religious aspect (“Congressman Nadler Disappoints,” editorial, Feb. 22).

I actually went to a video of his speech online and confirmed for myself that he said the Supreme Court has always ruled against this type of public assistance. I ran that by a political science professor friend of mine who disagreed with him.

I also saw in the video that Nadler conceded, as you pointed out in the editorial, that some scholars take a different position from him on Supreme Court precedent. Unfortunately, Nadler didn’t give us any guidance concerning what decisions he was talking about, which would have been helpful.

But my bottom line is not who is right or wrong on legal history. I want to know why he would not seize on the opinions that support the legislation in order to ease for all the suffering caused by Hurricane Sandy. Why would he want to discriminate against those who suffered the same damage others did? A roof is a roof is a roof.

Nosson Gold
(Via E-Mail)

Nadler And FEMA Funding (II)

I disagree with your editorial last week criticizing Congressman Nadler. Sometimes it is hard to understand that true leadership is to decide things with the head instead of the heart. Constitutional precedent is not a minor annoyance that can be ignored because of popular sentiment. As a nation of laws, which is in the interests of all Americans, we need more elected officials like Nadler who will not sacrifice principle to the political correctness of the moment.

Arnold Brill
(Via E-Mail)

Editor’s Note: Rep. Nadler explains his vote in an op-ed article here.

 

Divorce Tragedies

In a Feb. 15 op-ed column titled “An Agunah Day Message,” the author asks what a young girl caught in an unresolved divorce situation will eventually think and feel about her father and grandmother. I think the answers to that question are clear.

The first rule of good parenting is not to fight when the children are present and certainly not to blame each other in front of the kids. The same is true for separated or divorced parents. If mother and father and assorted grandparents follow that principle and do not drag their children or the public into their personal disagreement, the child will know that there are two sides to every story.

On the other hand, if one or both parents decide to drag their child into their fight, the child will, at a young age, presumably take the view of only one side – the side that decided to attack the spouse; the side that had more regular custody and time to propagandize.

As the child grows up, she will, as the op-ed article indicates, eventually search the Internet. Most likely in the short run she will unfortunately continue to disrespect the parent who has been badmouthed. But as the growing child further searches online she will then begin to see that who is right is not determined by which side has more Internet hits, more blog entries, or yells louder. She will realize that when a divorce is messy or a get not given, it is typically because the two sides cannot come to an agreement, whether over division of property, alimony, child support, child custody or visitation rights.

If the grown child delves further into the issue of Jewish divorce, she’ll find more. She’ll find that many Orthodox Jewish men and women run to civil court in divorce (and many other) cases, when they should be going to beis din. She’ll also find that the beis din system is often broken, with litigants searching for a friendly judge; with rabbis signing decrees without hearing from both sides; with rabbis who are friendly with one of the litigants; with rabbis who are afraid to oppose their colleagues; and with money often doing the talking.

If this grown child explores still further, she’ll find that many Orthodox rabbis hold that, with very rare exceptions, a women does not have the right, halachically, to initiate a divorce action. She’ll learn that many rabbis believe a women cannot just end a marriage because she is “unhappy.” If she enters the word agunah in a search engine and really studies the results, she’ll see that the term is vastly overused, and that a real agunah is a woman whose husband is missing. She’ll find that certain activists use the term the way pro-abortion advocates use the term “free to choose” – because it sounds better. She will also find that Agunah Day was established in 1990 by the International Coalition for Agunah Rights, not by a panel of gedolim.

When the child is old enough to discover the truth, she’ll read and hear about too many cases of husbands who, in good faith, gave their spouses gitten and then had their ex-wives move to another city or to Israel, with the result that fathers and grandparents were forever shut out of their children’s lives.

We should all use our good offices as grandparents, friends and clergymen to bring both sides to the negotiating table so that such tragedies don’t continue. That is how to help the community and especially its children.

Harold Marks
(Via E-Mail)

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