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