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

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Josh Greenberger
Brooklyn, NY

Editor’s Note: Mr. Greenberger is the author of The V-Bang: How the Universe Began (Cambridge International Science Publishing).

 

The Post’s Shameful Headline

A family mourns today. A community mourns today. And I, as a New Yorker, mourn today.

I do not mourn for a man I did not know. I mourn for the family he leaves behind.

I mourn for the children who will grow up not only with the knowledge that their father was brutally murdered amid suffering and degradation, but with the shame and pain of knowing that people were able to treat his death lightly.

I mourn for the generations of human beings those children will bear who will be scarred by the callousness of a newspaper.

The New York Post’s irresponsible reporting, suggesting that the cold-blooded murderers of Menachem Stark did society a favor, encourages a callous attitude toward the value and sanctity of human life.

[See news story, page 3; op-ed article, page 6; editorial, page 7.]

The Post’s coverage alleged that Max Stark put his own greed ahead of the welfare of others, that he didn’t care what happened to anyone who got in his way as he pursued the almighty dollar.

But isn’t that just what the New York Post did with its shameful headline in a bid to sell newspapers?

I challenge all of us to rage against this insensitivity, not merely by letting the New York Post know you’re offended, but by determining not to fall into the same trap.

I challenge all of us to be sensitive to those who are suffering and not to pass judgment on them and say “they got what they deserved.”

Judgment is reserved for God, but if we want to play God let’s do it by emulating Him through forgiveness, compassion, and sensitivity.

Let’s show the world that the Post’s heartless attitude doesn’t accurately reflect what New Yorkers are made of. We are kind; we are sensitive; and we are not afraid to sacrifice some our own success for the benefit of others.

Shea Rubenstein
Brooklyn, NY

Editor’s Note: Mr. Rubenstein is executive vice president of the JCC of Marine Park.

 

Torah And Vegetarianism

This is an open letter to Professor Steven Plaut, in response to his December 27 op-ed article, “Judaism and Eating Meat: Letter to a Vegan Animal Rights Activist.””

As president emeritus of Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA), I assure you, Prof. Plaut, that we are not telling you what to eat. We recognize that Jews have dietary choices. But we believe these choices should be made after considering the inconsistencies between animal-based diets and agriculture and basic Jewish teachings.

Your arguments about health are way off base. There are many articles in respected peer-reviewed medical journals indicating the negative health effects of animal-based diets.

We believe Jews should (should, not must) be vegetarians (and preferably vegans) to be most consistent with Jewish teachings on preserving human health, treating animals with compassion, protecting the environment, conserving natural resources, and helping hungry people.

We also believe that shifts to plant-based diets are important to help reduce the current widespread killer diseases that are afflicting so many Jews and to help avert a looming climate catastrophe and other potential environmental disasters.

Please note that the late Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel Shlomo Goren was a strict vegetarian (he became one after visiting a slaughterhouse), as are Shear Yashuv Cohen, former chief rabbi of Haifa; Lord Jonathan Sacks, former chief rabbi of the UK; and David Rosen, former chief rabbi of Ireland, among many other Orthodox Jews. So abstaining from eating meat is certainly not contrary to Jewish values.

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