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September 22, 2014 / 27 Elul, 5774
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Letters To The Editor

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Has Iran Won? (I)

My answer to the question posed by last week’s lead editorial – “Has Iran Already Won?” – is a resounding yes. No rational person can believe Iranian leaders are thinking about abandoning their nuclear weapons program, no matter how many speeches President Obama and Vice President Biden give.

As long as Obama keeps pulling back the goal posts as to when he will resort to military action, the Iranians know they have nothing to fear. And they are right.

Carl Greenberg
Haifa, Israel

Has Iran Won? (II)

I am disappointed that The Jewish Press has apparently thrown in with those who have misread President Obama’s continuing efforts to avoid war with Iran, as last week’s editorial “Has Iran Already Won?” suggests.

All reports indicate that the sanctions have devastated the Iranian economy. Even if they don’t produce an agreement with Iran on halting nuclear production, I concur with the president that the Fail-Safe point is still distant and pressing ahead with diplomacy – and maybe not having to use the military option – makes the most sense.

Stephen Miles
New York, NY

Obama’s Israel Visit

President Obama will no doubt utilize his visit to demand that Israel renew two-state surrender talks. However, the president surely knows that two states for two people effectively existed from 1949 to 1967. The Arabs had total sovereignty over every inch of disputed East Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, Gaza, and the Golan. Instead of peacefully living side by side with the Jewish state they launched hundreds of murderous attacks against innocent Israelis.

Mr. Obama also knows that presently a twenty-two state solution exists: twenty-one Arab states surrounding one tiny Jewish state. Despite such a disproportionate situation the Arabs refuse to live in peace with Israel. So to pilfer Israel’s heartland to create yet another Arab state is madness.

Rather, President Obama should offer Israel the option of becoming an American protectorate, as Puerto Rico, or the fifty-first state. Such a pact would leave the Arabs scant choice but to finally cease their belligerence.

Henry J. Moscovic
Flushing, NY

Nadler And Sandy Relief (I)

I was blown away by reader Robert Markovitch’s rebuttal (Letters, March 8) of Congressman Jerrold Nadler’s March 1 op-ed explanation of why he opposed the inclusion of religious institutions in federal post-Sandy funding programs. The arguments were devastating and I hope the congressman will at some point respond.

If anything, all the examples of religious accommodation Nadler cited in his op-ed article as being appropriate – such as those relating to shechitah, bris milah, zoning laws, etc. – demonstrate that we go the extra mile in this country to accommodate religious needs.

Burton Ziegler
(Via E-Mail)

Nadler And Sandy Relief (II)

The real issue underlying Congressman Nadler’s opposition to including most religious institutions in post-Sandy relief programs is not whether it is consistent with examples of government making exceptions for religious institutions, as Robert Markovitch seems to think. I think reader Shirley Gold (whose letter nicely offset Mr. Markovitch’s) and Congressman Nadler have the better of the argument.

With government money comes strings and that is not a good thing for the independence of religious institutions.

Beth Jacobson
(Via E-Mail)

‘Some Radical Ideas’…And Responses

Highly Recommended

I was impressed with Dr. Rivkah Blau’s ability to so closely analyze what goes on in our celebrations of simchas (“Some Radical Ideas,” front page essay, March 8). I think she has identified all of the components and this can be helpful in avoiding the pitfalls associated with each.

I can recall in my own family’s celebrations some of the mishaps she writes about. I would highly recommend her article to all those who would like to maximize their enjoyment of happy family events.

Malkah Weissman
(Via E-Mail)

Encouraging Stultification?

I think Dr. Blau’s theme was fine as far as it went. However, I am a big believer in serendipity and surprise as important parts of celebrations. To dwell on ever-so-careful planning in order to avoid problems that have probably characterized our simchas for ages can only rob such events of their spontaneity and encourage a rote stultification.

Eli Finer
(Via E-Mail)

Rav Breuer’s Wisdom

Dr. Blau makes a number of suggestions she feels would go a long way toward improving our present-day simchas. I find it surprising that she does not include what Rav Dr. Joseph Breuer, zt”l, wrote in the August/September 1966 issue of Khal Adas Jeshurun’s Mitteilungen. There he says:

There are certain practices that might be interpreted as a deviation from the characteristic atmosphere of our Kehilla. We are concerned with the custom that calls for vigorous “mitzvah dancing” during the festive wedding meal but does not provide an opportunity for a single D’var Torah (either under the chuppah or during the meal). This practice directly contrasts with the admonition of our Sages, which characterizes any meal, particularly a festive one, as a “meal of the dead” if it is not accompanied by words of Torah (Pirkei Avos 3:4).

Indeed, when was the last time you attended a “frum” chassunah at which a d’var Torah was given? Have we lost sight of the spiritual aspect of a chassunah at the expense of good eating, lively dancing, loud music and who knows what else?

Dr. Yitzchok Levine
Brooklyn, NY

Editor’s Note: Dr. Levine writes the popular “Glimpses Into American Jewish History” feature that appears in the first issue of each month.

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