The Meaning Of Israel (I)
Naomi Klass Mauer’s “From Joy to Sorrow and Back Again” (op-ed, April 26) beautifully expressed what Israel should mean to us. She encapsulated the joy that wells up in every thinking Jew’s heart when he or she thinks about Israel – joy tinged with the bittersweet realization that so many young Jews have paid the ultimate price in ensuring Israel’s survival.
Particularly galling to me is that a significant number of Orthodox Jews still refuse to see what a miracle Israel is and scorn the wondrous gift God gave us after 2,000 years of homeless wandering and on the heels of the greatest devastation in Jewish history – the murder of six million Jewish men, women and children by the Nazis and their eager enablers and helpers.
It never fails to amaze me that a Jew can claim to be religious and yet not see the Hand of God in the birth and survival of Israel. Biblical prophecies unfold before our eyes as a weak and powerless people comes home after two millennia, resurrects Hebrew as a working language, astonishes the world with feats of military valor not seen since the days of the Maccabees, creates a society that quickly takes its place among the world’s leaders in scientific, medical and technological innovation, and allows for Torah to flourish on a level unparalleled since the destruction of the Second Temple, with yeshivas thriving and students learning in numbers greater than was ever the case at any time or in any country in Europe.
I fear what awaits those who, despite having been privileged to witness miracles the likes of which our grandparents never could have conceived, continue to downplay the transcendent importance of Medinat Yisrael and, even worse, curse its creation.
The Meaning Of Israel (II)
I just opened my Jewish Press e-edition and read Naomi Klass Mauer’s very moving April 26 op-ed focusing on her recent visit to Israel and highlighting Yom HaZikaron.
Suffice it to say that tears were coursing down my cheeks as I visited the graves of Israel’s unforgettable heroes, Hy”d. Although I had heard and read of these incredible young men and women whose lives and deaths represent the pinnacle of Kiddush Hashem, your very personal perspective enhanced my appreciation for them and their ultimate sacrifice.
In the zechut of the tens of thousands of kedoshim who gave their lives so that I and millions of others can enjoy the precious gift of living in Israel, I pray that HaKadosh Baruch Hu will speedily bring peace to His land and His people.
Thank you for the inspiration.
Ramat Beit Shemesh, Israel
FDR And Jews (I)
Kudos to Dr. Rafael Medoff and The Jewish Press for exposing Franklin Roosevelt’s hatred of Jews (“FDR’s Jewish Problem – and Its Japanese Link,” front page essay, April 26).
When it came to his feelings about racial equality, FDR was nothing more than a patrician David Duke.
FDR And Jews (II)
The letter from four survivors of the St. Louis, which Rafael Medoff included in his article on FDR’s racial attitudes, shows in dramatic fashion how determined Roosevelt was, at least at one point, to keep Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany out of America.
As the survivors wrote, “We saw Coast Guard planes that flew around the ship to follow its movements. We saw the Coast Guard cutter that trailed us and made sure that the Saint Louis did not come close to the Florida coast.”
Roosevelt was an expert on matters relating to the sea. He had been assistant secretary of the navy under President Wilson. It is both admiralty law and maritime custom to help a ship in distress or people who are drowning.
In the documentary “Who Shall Live and Who Shall Die,” Peter Bergson said that Jews who had visas from other countries could get out of Germany up until October 31, 1941. Bruno Bettelheim, who was in two Nazi concentration camps in 1938 and 1939, reported that at that time Jews with visas to other countries were able to get out of the camps. So the incident of the St. Louis was perhaps one of the turning points leading up to the implementation of the Final Solution.
Censoring Pamela Geller
Sad to say, reader Michael Brenner totally missed the point in his letter last week. The issue surrounding Pamela Geller was not, as he claims, whether she had other outlets to reach the public than a shul in Great Neck where outside pressure forced the cancellation of her scheduled talk. Nor is it whether she is entitled to speak. The issue was that she was forced out after being invited.
Is Brenner suggesting it is not censorship when someone is denied an opportunity to speak because of the content of her speech? I underscore that Ms. Geller was invited by the shul and then disinvited because some outsiders didn’t want her to speak.
I also take issue with Brenner’s defense of a member of the Nassau County Human Rights Commission and former president of a local mosque who led the outside opposition to Geller. Contrary to Brenner’s assertion, he did, in fact, communicate with others using his official e-mail. And that is unpardonable. Who is he to take a position on who should speak in a synagogue? Why doesn’t he urge mosques to disinvite jihadists who exhort their listeners to violence?
Expression Of Gratitude
Hakoras Hatov, gratitude, according to Rav Bahya ibn Pekuda in Duties of the Heart, is the foundation of all Jewish ethics. We therefore want to express our gratitude for the dedication and significant accomplishments of Dr. Simcha Katz of Teaneck during his recently concluded tenure as president of the Orthodox Union, and for his decades of leadership in the kashrus department.
Simcha helped set the stage for the phenomenal growth, both qualitative and quantitative, of OU Kosher. As president he initiated the OU’s expanded efforts to confront the yeshiva tuition crisis. He shunned the photo-op and focused his efforts on real progress in this daunting challenge, as in his other communal activities. We know him to be a person of extraordinary integrity, altruism, vision and ability.
We would also like to extend our best wishes to our new president, Mr. Martin Nachimson of Los Angeles, who has been an influential and dynamic leader within the OU for many years. We also acknowledge the leadership of Mr. Harvey Blitz, former president of the OU and the current chairman of OU Kosher, for his dedication to the klal and concern for the individual, and his devotion to setting high standards in all areas of his avodas hakodesh.
Rabbi Yisroel Belsky
Rabbi Hershel Schachter
Rabbi Menachem Genack
Poskim, OU Kosher
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