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September 17, 2014 / 22 Elul, 5774
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Letters To The Editor

Foxman’s Insult To Nixon

Re ‘Truman Diaries Expose Toothless Watchdog’ (Media Monitor, July):

The insult to Nixon (by the ADL’s Abe Foxman) is much worse than Jason Maoz noted. After Russian missiles virtually destroyed the Israeli Air Force in 1973, Henry Kissinger (following standard State Department protocol from the 1940′s to the present) did not want the U.S. to help Israel. I don’t know Nixon’s exact words, but I understand they were something to the effect of “Get those planes to those Jews fast!”

Richard Nixon saved Israel. Although most idiot Jews (including this one) voted for George McGovern in 1972, it’s a near certainty that McGovern wouldn’t have done what Nixon did. In fact, under McGovern, we probably wouldn’t have had the planes to send.

Edward Friedman
Marblehead, MA


Jason Maoz Responds: Although there still is some dispute over whether Kissinger was totally opposed to rearming the Israelis or simply unenthusiastic about the idea, there is no doubt that Nixon was, as Mr. Friedman writes, the driving force behind the critical week-long resupply effort, which at its peak came to more than one thousand tons of armaments a day.

According to the late Vernon Walters, who served at the time as deputy director of the CIA, “Both Kissinger and Nixon wanted to do [the airlift], but Nixon gave it the greater sense of urgency. He said, “You get the stuff to Israel now. Now. Now.” “

Nixon aide Leonard Garment recalled: “As [bureaucratic bickering between the State and Defense departments] was going back and forth, Nixon said, ‘This is insane…’ He just ordered Kissinger, ‘Get your [behind] out of here and tell your people to move.”’

But that was hardly the end of it. When Defense Secretary James Schlesinger wanted to send just three transports to Israel because he feared anything more would alarm the Arabs and the Soviets, Nixon snapped: ”We are going to get blamed just as much for three as for 300… Get them in the air, now.”

A little later, Nixon was informed of yet another delay because of disagreements in the Pentagon over the type of planes to be used for the airlift. Incensed, Nixon shouted at Kissinger, ”[Expletive deleted] it, use every one we have. Tell them to send everything that can fly.”



Shul That Never Quits

A heartfelt yasher koach to the Landaus’ shul in Brooklyn. The synagogue, well known for its non-stop minyanim throughout the day, is an ongoing center of Torah and tefilla. And so it was, on the Thursday evening of the blackout, when my husband, daughter and I were escaping the intense heat and darkness in our air-conditioned car, that we were approached by Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Landau. His request? He asked if he could use some gasoline from our car to refuel the generator that was keeping the lights on in his shul.

In amazement, we watched as the rav and his brother, Rabbi Yechiel Landau, pumped gasoline from a number of cars on our block in order to prevent prayer services from coming
to a standstill. And sure enough, there were those men, hiking through the blackness of that now famous night – flashlights in hand – to pray at a shul they knew just wouldn’t quit.

(Mrs.) L. Salomon
Brooklyn, NY



Out Of His Mind?

An Israeli citizen was murdered by rockets fired by Hizbullah from Lebanese soil. The Lebanese government is either unable or unwilling to apprehend the murderers. It would make sense, then, for Israel to use force to apprehend the murderers itself, just as the United States used force against terrorists operating out of Afghanistan when the Taliban refused to capture them.

Instead, Ariel Sharon filed a complaint with the United Nations. Yes, the same United Nations that is usually happy when Jews are murdered, the same United Nations that made Syria, which controls the actions of Hizbullah, the chair of its human rights committee.

Is Sharon out of his mind?

Even Shimon Peres acted when the situation in Lebanon required it. But Sharon seems to have forgotten that his primary obligation is to defend his own citizens.

Indeed, he seems more concerned with pleasing George Bush, who would probably be only too happy if Sharon participated in the war on terrorism by wiping out Hizbullah.

Is Sharon worried about Israel being disqualified from receiving financial aid from the U.S.? How much money is a Jewish life worth? If U.S. financial aid is dictating Israel’s defense policy, then Israel should stop accepting that aid. Let the U.S. stop making its taxpayers financially support another country. Taxpayers who wish to support Israel can take the money they save on taxes and use it to buy Israel Bonds directly.

It is better for Israel to stop accepting handouts, anyway. A country’s wealth should come from its own production, not from gifts, just as a person should work for his living and not rely on welfare. The U.S. is the wealthiest country in the world, and it didn’t get that way by taking money from others.

Barry Verstaendig
New York, NY



New Leftist-Fascist Axis

The Rutgers pro- Palestinian Solidarity Conference needs to be exposed as a racist totalitarian group composed of Islamo-fascists and their leftist comrades.

During the infamous Hitler-Stalin Pact virtually the entire Left, the fascists, and the isolationists were united against Churchill’s England and the Jewish people. The Communists and their leftist supporters were silent about the fate of the Jewish people in Europe.

Now a new generation of the Left has united with the Arab Islamo-fascists. They use the slogan of apartheid against the Jewish state.

New generation, same lies.

Israel has thousands of Arabs attending its colleges. How many Jews go to college in the Arab states of Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia? There is no free speech or debate on Arab campuses. The Arab states practice apartheid; some practice slavery. Did Saddam Hussein allow Jews to express themselves or go to Arab schools?

In Israel, Arab newspapers and television stations flourish. Name a newspaper in an Arab country that allows anyone to express a viewpoint in favor of Israel. Arabs sit in the Knesset. Can you imagine the Arab racists allowing a Jewish Zionist to hold office?

Hebrew University gives grants and honors to deserving Arab students – even when it comes to choosing a valedictorian. Have you ever heard of a Jew being honored in a Palestinian school?

The answers to the questions above are No, No, No and No.

Just as we had to fight Hitler and his leftist allies we have to expose the supporters of Islamo- fascism and today’s leftists.

(And never forget that the Palestinians were led by a Nazi - an admirer of Hitler and Himmler. The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem (Husseini) was in power until 1949; his goal was to implement the Final Solution in Israel.

New slogans, but it’s the same old Hitlerian-leftist hate.

Marvin Maurer
Toronto, Canada



Inappropriate Term?

I was reading the Aug. 15 issue of The Jewish Press when I came upon a notice for a soon-to-be-held gathering in memory of Rav Avrohom Pam, zt”l, long time rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Torah Vodaas in Brooklyn, on the forthcoming anniversary of his passing.

Looking closely at the notice, I was taken aback when I saw that there was not even one mention of the appropriate traditional term of ‘yahrzeit’ in it! Instead, a different term, namely ‘hillulah,’ appeared. The latter is a term used in chassidic circles - e.g. for chassidic rebbes. In traditional Ashkenazic/yeshivish/Lit-vish circles, of which Rav Pam was part, the term yahrzeit is used.

Lest one think that I am nitpicking over mere semantics, I will point out to your readership that these two terms have different meanings and connotations. While the traditions of yahrzeit observance stress fasting, introspection and perhaps mussar-type addresses urging people to emulate the niftar, hillulah has a significantly different meaning. It is related to the word hallel – it means a celebration! It is a term used by chassidim on such death anniversaries, based on their beliefs that the soul of a tzaddik attains higher levels in Heaven on such days, thereby being a cause for celebration.

The point is, however, that in the Litvish/ yeshivish world context that term is out of place. Rav Pam was not chassidic, and it is not the custom in Rav Pam’s circles to use the term hillulah and get involved in such Kabbalistic matters in public. Those involved with the upcoming gathering dedicated to Rav Pam’s memory should show that they are indeed following in his ways and honor his great memory by using the term fitting for him - not one that posthumously transforms him into a chassidic rebbe, something he definitely was not.

Boruch M. Selevan
Brooklyn, NY




Environmental Concerns

The recent unprecedented heat wave in Europe and the massive power failure in parts of the United States and Canada should be a wake-up call for the Jewish community and all of humanity. It is essential that the saving of the global environment become a central organizing principle for society today. Synagogues and other religious institutions should make tikkun olam (the mandate to heal and repair the earth) a central focus.

At a time when there are almost daily reports of heat waves, severe storms, flooding, droughts, rapid depletion of species, destruction of tropical rain forests, coral reefs, and other valuable habitats, widespread water shortages, and many other societal threats, it is urgent that Jews apply Judaism’s splendid teachings on the preservation of the environment to moving the world to a more sustainable path.

As the Talmud states, “The time is short and the work is great.” I will be pleased to send a complimentary copy of my book Judaism and Vegetarianism (which discusses how Jewish teachings can help us respond to current critical issues, including the energy crisis and global climate change) to anyone who will contact me (rschw12345@aol.com) and let me know how he or she will use the book to help get Jews more involved in efforts to apply Jewish values to current threats.

Richard H. Schwartz
Professor Emeritus of Mathematics
College of Staten Island
Staten Island, NY



Hospitality Outside The Home

In his “Senior Forum” column of August 15, Alan Magill describes what happened to him once when he went to an early minyan. He writes: “Bleary eyed, before 6 a.m., I walked into a shul, found a seat at a table and began to take out my tallis and tefillin. Then I heard a booming voice: “That’s my seat! Sit somewhere else.” I told him I would sit somewhere else ‘at another synagogue,’ and I walked out and went to another shul in the neighborhood.”

The same experience happened to me, more than a decade ago, when I went for a Shabbos to a city renowned for its Torah life. I went to a local shtiebel which had tables and chairs. Since I came early, I took a sit and started davening. Suddenly, I heard the booming voice: “Stand up; this is my place.”

The voice came from a young chassid ? one whose movement is dedicated to kiruv! I couldn’t believe what I was hearing and the way it was said. For a split second, I had to think. Should I give some Mussar or should I just move away.

I would have given him some Mussar for the sake of others - in the hope that he wouldn’t repeat his behavior. But I decided to move without any comment.

Many years have passed. I still have a vivid recollection of the scene.

In the morning davening we say (taken from the Talmud Shabbos 127a): “These are the precepts whose fruits a person enjoys in this world but whose principal remains intact for him in the World to Come. They are: the honor due to father and mother, acts of kindness, early attendance at the house of study morning and evening, hospitality to guests….”

If somebody ever takes my seat in shul – and I do keep a fixed place – I will say it’s my honor and offer my seat.

(Dr.) Elie Feuerwerker
Highland Park, NJ



What Hashem Expects From Us

In the Aug. 8 issue of The Jewish Press, Elisha Cohen extols the virtue of reciting Perek Shira as a segulah for both benefits and maladies. He writes that Rebbe and Rabbi Eliezer the Great thought it good to recite this perek. Mr. Cohen, however, neglects to quote the source of this claim. Many readers might be inclined to assume that this is written in the Mishna or Gemara. I have searched these texts and cannot find a reference to Perek Shira. It is incomprehensible that Rebbe, the redactor of our Mishna, would leave out such an important idea from the Oral Law. It also seems strange that none of the Taanaim or Amoraim discuss this in all of the Gemara.

In Mr. Cohen’s article he tells many stories of how Perek Shira helped people in different ways. In Parashat Eikev, Hashem tells us what we need to do to prevent infertility and other illnesses from coming to us. In just the first five pesukim (Devarim 7:12-16) Hashem tells us that if we follow his mitzvot, He will fulfill the covenant of our forefathers. He will bless our children and produce, we will be blessed among the nations, there will be no infertility, He will remove sickness, and any malady that occurred to us in Egypt will be removed from us and placed on our enemies.

Hashem is clear what we need to do. Nowhere in our Torah does it say that reading some pesukim will remove affliction from us. All we need to do is follow His will and keep His Torah. Rambam in the his Yad Hackzacha (Sefer Mada, Hilchot Avodat Kochavim 11:12) says that one who is ill and says pesukim to heal himself is a kofer baTorah (one who denies Torah).

Instead of relying on Perek Shira or chassidish rings, it would greatly benefit Klal Yisrael if we learn from the Torah and keep Hashem’s mitzvot as He commanded us at Sinai.

Mark Roth
(Via E-Mail)



Life-Saving Vests

We think Saul and Rose Weiss voiced an excellent suggestion in their letter to the editor of June 20 (‘Save a Soldier’).

Why not start a grass-roots organization to purchase bulletproof vests for the IDF? An all-volunteer effort would mean that every penny goes toward saving the lives of Jewish soldiers defending our homeland.

If interested, please call (718) 769-1138.

Gerty and David Skolnick
Brooklyn, NY



‘Making Friendly’: Rachel Weiss Answers Her Critics

Until I opened up to page 68 of last week’s Jewish Press, I was under the impression that the intent of the paper’s astute editors was to afford us readers a forum in which to sound off in civilized fashion.

But there – for all the world to read – was Devora Leogrande, leaping off the page and coming in for the kill, with a vengeance. (Hmmm,Leo-Grande…) After a startled moment, I regained my equanimity and rationalized that she must have had a hard day. Or a hard life. Or – more likely – had never lived in Boro Park. In all fairness, it seems that in smaller Jewish communities scattered about the U.S. and other countries, greeting one and all seems to be a common practice. And, really, the logic is quite simple. An analogy comes to mind. If there is a gathering of 10 to 20 people in a small setting, versus 100 and up in a larger one, isn’t it
reasonable to deduce that the smaller group would be more apt to ‘make friendly’ and bond than the considerably larger one?

My previous letter on the subject took on a moderate tone with a middle-of-the-line stance. I humbly question both my assailants, Devora Leogrande and Sol Zeller: Do you deem to compare yourselves to our gedolim, such as Harav Moshe Feinstein, zt”l? As leaders, teachers and mentors to the community at large, our rebbes are the shepherds of their flock and guides to both male and female alike. In Mr. Zeller’s narration, it is obvious that Rav Moshe Feinstein was fulfilling the mitzva of bikur cholim – which entails not only visiting the sick, but inquiring of their welfare – as well as offering prayer on their behalf.

My quote concerning man/woman greetings is equally obvious - to anyone who opens a Gemara or Shulchan Aruch. I did not take upon myself to interpret, expound or construe. I simply quoted verbatim. And yes, there are people out there who strive to live by the dictates of our Torah. Even in small communities. To cite just one of many, take a stroll through the picturesque village of Vizhnitz in upstate Spring Valley (hold your fire – I didn’t say Satmar [Monroe], New Square or Kashau - decidedly more insular), and you will witness friendly exchange amongst all the Shabbos and Yom Tov trekkers. But never will a lone male and
female exchange greetings (with the exception of family members, of course).

“…a tangent of lashon hara…”, Ms. Leogrande? It is starkly apparent to anyone who has read my letter that you have blatantly quoted me out of context. For instance, by citing the beginning and end of one sentence and glaringly omitting the middle, you have twisted the connotation of my words to suit your raging agenda. I will defer from elaborating further and/or going on the defense. I simply appeal to readers to refer to my earlier submission and judge for themselves.

As for the preposterous lashon hara allegation, all I can say is – I find myself in good company. See Rebbetzin Jungreis’s columns of June 13, June 20 and July 25.

We as a people have been graciously blessed by our Creator with benevolent natures, warm hearts and gentility. Unfortunately, the stresses and strains of today’s world and personal circumstance can lead some, at times, to behave out of character. When a neighbor spurts forth with 20 questions as to a newcomer’s personal life history – before the moving truck has even had a chance to unload, that is called being “nosy” (to put it nicely). Yet perhaps, as I indicated previously and hereby reiterate, such mannerism sits well with some. By no means do I (or did I) condone scowling, or scrutinizing one rudely top-to-toe, or snubbing a friendly overture. Congeniality need not even be conveyed verbally. A “pleasant countenance” by way of an acknowledging smile or nod can communicate more effectively than words.

To all those who are overly preoccupied and obsessed with the ‘greeting’ issue, when is the last time you called on an elderly parent or grandparent, aunt or uncle, to greet and to offer some comfort and warmth? And have you spent some genuine quality time with your child(ren) today, demonstrating a sincere interest in what is important to her/him? Charity, after all is said and done, begins at home. So you’ve been there and done that, you say? Well, then, you can always call on your neighbor. But should s/he fail to receive you with the enthusiasm you seek and expect, you can always take a walk and feel at home when you find someone to
greet.

Our Avos admonish “al tadin es chavercha ad shetagiya limkomo” — “Do not judge your fellow until you have reached his place.” The sage words speak volumes – loud and clear.

Rachel Weiss
(Via E-Mail)


Still More On Treif Survivors Conference Better Way To Commemorate Martyrs

The letter-writers who decried aspects of the Holocaust business left unasked the overriding question about Holocaust memorials and museums: What purpose is served by patronizing these testaments to man’s inhumanity to man?

While matriculating at dental school, I worked for a Wall Street insurance company. One day, an underwriter of British extraction; with whom I had a good relationship confided,” I’m bloody well sick and tired of Jews harping on the Holocaust. It’s been more than 30 years; when will you people move on with your lives?”

So much for compassion from the outside world. There are those who claim that the museums serve as a permanent record and give lie to the Holocaust deniers. But anyone with the gall to whitewash the most horrific crime in the annals of man is an anti-Semite and will not be deterred by what they would describe as ‘so-called facts.’

Others argue that the museums provide a sense of Jewish identification, as even the most disenfranchised will feel a bond to those who perished. Consider the apocryphal story of the rabbi who was seeking a position in pre-war Europe. Boasting impeccable credentials, he could be selective but he was approached by a plucky gabbai representing a rather nondescript village.

“Rabbi,” he began, “we can’t pay you as much as a big rich city, but I know that your chief concern is Torah, and in our town we have buried Rabbi Akiva Eiger, the Chasam Sofer and many other Torah giants.”

Duly impressed, the rabbi immediately accepted the post. It wasn’t long, however, before he realized his folly. The rabbi returned to his recruiter in quite a huff. “You lied to me,” he said, “telling me about the gedolim who are buried here.” Unperturbed, the canny conniver responded, “Dear rabbi, I never said they lived here, but they certainly are buried here because we have no interest in studying their works.”

Those who build memorials to European Judaism believe halachic Judaism is dead, so it should come as no surprise that they do not care to serve kosher food at one of their functions. Let them use these institutions for photo-ops while we commemorate the martyrs by rededication to Torah and mitzvos.

(Dr.) Yaakov Stern
Brooklyn, NY



No Meaning Apart From Torah

The issue of the lack of religious content in Holocaust-related projects has troubled me for a long time. I consider myself a traditional Jew but observe some, not all, of the mitzvot I grew up with. However, I cannot understand the word “Jewish” to have any meaning separate and apart from the concept of a special set of Divine commandments, even if they are honored in the breach.

Lowell Garbus
Los Angeles, CA


Second-Class Survivors

Shame on Benjamin Meed. A kosher menu for his Holocaust event would not disenfranchise the non-religious, but a non-kosher one does signal that kosher survivors are second class.

I never understood the criticism that observant Jews seek to elevate the importance of the suffering of the religious victims of the Holocaust when they object to secular observances of the Holocaust by Holocaust groups. To the contrary, it is they who are being inclusive rather than those who would deny them equality.

Hanna Wylie
New York, NY

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