Jewish Press Forum
Kudos to The Jewish Press for sponsoring the recent New York City Mayoral Candidate Forum at the Manhattan Beach Jewish Center.
All of the Democratic candidates were present, and Jewish Press staffers were very professional, treating all the candidates with equal respect and courtesy. Jewish Press editors asked the candidates questions pertinent to the Jewish community and it was quite educational to observe all the candidates up close and to compare their views and personalities.
Residents of the beachfront community of Southern Brooklyn – which is frequently bypassed in favor of other Jewish neighborhoods – were deeply appreciative that The Jewish Press held the forum here.
I look forward to attending more of these Jewish Press forums.
Authors Looking For Stories
We are soliciting stories about personal experiences with intuition, premonition or precognition for a book we are writing.
We invite Jewish Press readers to share such stories with us. The stories we have in mind would involve experiences where people obtained information through any means that defies logical explanation; paying attention or acting on such information may have even changed, or saved, their lives.
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What The Midrash Says
I would like to point out to reader Dr. Yaakov Stern (Letters, May 31) that the Midrash that Rashi refers to does not say the world was created “for” (bishvil) Israel. The Midrash states the world was created “in the merit of” (b’zechut) Israel (Vayikra Rabbah 36:4).
I assume Dr. Stern appreciates the enormous difference between bishvil and b’zechut.
This should also clarify similar midrashim quoted by many: “The world was created for Torah,” “for challah,” “for maaser,” “for bikurim” – in all these midrashim the word is b’zechut, not bishvil (see Bereishis Rabbah 1:6).
Kew Gardens, NY
Susan Rice is President Obama’s choice for national security adviser. She does not have to go through Senate confirmation for that position and thus will not have to face questioning about her five Sunday morning TV appearances where she explained that the attack in Benghazi was the result of a spontaneous protest against a video rather than a planned terrorist attack.
She can, however, be subpoenaed to go before a House Committee – hopefully.
Gay Groups And The Celebrate Israel Parade
When Did The Rules Change?
In the Letters section of June 7, readers Daniel Weintraub and Tova Ross supported the right of openly gay groups to march in the Celebrate Israel Parade.
For the past year, I tried to get Orthodox groups to leave the parade rather than march together with Jewish Queer Youth. The precedent for this was set in 1993, when the gay/lesbian synagogue Congregation Beit Simchat Torah (CBST) sought to march.
Led by Rav Aaron Soloveichik, zt”l, and other rabbanim, the yeshivas declared they would not participate in the parade if CBST were allowed to march. The parade backed down, and for many years the synagogue did not march or marched without signage that mentioned homosexuality.
In 2012, with the parade having been taken over by the Jewish Community Relations Council, there was a policy change, and Jewish Queer Youth was permitted to march, despite the fact that its very name indicates that it promotes behavior antithetical to Torah.
The JCRC went to great lengths to disguise JQY’s participation. Indeed, until several weeks ago, many participating yeshivas were unaware that JQY had marched last year and that the guidelines agreed to in 1993 had been breached.
I can disclose that high-level meetings occurred in a number of contexts during the weeks immediately preceding this year’s parade, with numerous rabbanim maintaining that yeshivas should not march this year. In the end, the yeshivas did march (although some rebbeim and teachers stayed home), with JQY having been warned to avoid provocative signage. (Among last year’s signs: “We are in every yeshiva.”)
Daniel Weintraub noted that “there are many groups comprised of people who violate the Torah that participate in the parade.” As a gay man, he therefore “felt unfairly singled out” by a group of rabbanim who forbade their followers from marching or viewing the parade if JQY were included. However, there is a great difference between, say, a Reform group marching and an openly gay group marching. The Reform groups do not bear signs that state, “Eaters of treif for Israel.”