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Letters To The Editor

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Haredim And The IDF

I fully understand and identify with the great service that young haredi scholars contribute to the state of Israel and all Jews with their intensive Torah study (“Israeli Yeshivas and the Draft,” editorial, March 14).

I strongly believe, however, that their greatest service to Klal Yisrael would be the sharing of their vast Torah knowledge and enthusiasm for study with Jews who are less fervent and knowledgeable than they.

This is the reason I support the government’s move to draft young haredi scholars into military service. I believe these young men would exert a strong positive (Jewish) influence on their fellow soldiers.

Jerrold Terdiman, MD
Woodcliff Lake, NJ

  Traitors Among Us

Sara Lehmann’s monthly column, The Right Angle, is a welcome addition to The Jewish Press. Her most recent piece (“Traitors in Our Midst,” March 14) was on the mark regarding the Jewish fools who align themselves with the enemies of Israel and the Jewish people. The column’s title was perfect, not mincing any words to describe young people who’ve lost not only their way but their moral compasses as well.

Lenin first used the phrase “useful idiots” to describe Russian liberals who were eventually destroyed by the Bolsheviks almost 100 years ago. Those innocents hadn’t much history to guide their actions. Today’s Jewish BDS proponents, by contrast, have seen what Jew-hatred leads to and yet they enable and encourage the anti-Semitic elements (always present) to act with a warped sense of righteousness.

Among the six million martyrs were death camp kapos, forced, under constant threat of death, to perform unspeakable acts. Today’s kapos live under no tyranny and face no threats, thereby making them exactly what Ms. Lehmann called them: traitors.

Myron Hecker
New City, NY

 

J Street’s Dupes

I was in attendance when Boca Raton’s Temple Beth El hosted J Street on March 9. As an Israel-supporting Jew I was saddened at the presentation and by the apparent lack of knowledge on the part of the audience, exhibited by their rousing support of the speakers.

At no point was there any sign of appreciation for the almost insane moves Israel has made in order to appease the Palestinians. Israel’s release of murderous terrorists over the years, its handing over of Gaza to Hamas, its refusal to retaliate with full force to Palestinian terror, and its continually reaching out to those who daily call for its destruction were ignored.

The teaching of hate in Palestinian schools and the slaughter of Jewish innocents were brushed aside with ludicrous statements like “When the Palestinians see signs of hope for the future, all terror on their part will stop.” If I didn’t know any better, I would have concluded, as many obviously did, that Israel was the cause of all Palestinian hatred, terror and resentment.

Until the Palestinians give up their hatred for Jews and until the international community focuses on the Palestinians’ seemingly unquenchable quest for the destruction of Israel, there can be no peace in the area.

Alan Bergstein
(Via E-Mail)

 

BDS Hypocrites

It is very disconcerting, to say the least, that there are countries all over the globe that persecute, subjugate, and kill their own citizens and are completely exempt from any adverse consequences. No ivory tower critics or other irrational dreamers go so far as to clear their throats, much less say something.

There is Syria, with 140,000 dead under its belt; Iran, with prisons and torture chambers for disgruntled citizens and nuclear programs with which to threaten the world; Sudan, with its history of killing non-Muslims; as well as China and now, blatantly, Russia. Have you heard one word from the BDS hypocrites?

Anti-Semitism has become practically PC in some quarters, especially among leftist academics. We have to be vigilant and ready at all costs to do combat with it whenever and wherever it raises its ugly head.

Anti-Semitic talk soon leads to anti-Semitic action; if someone threatens to do us harm, believe him.

Samuel Deitel
Brooklyn, NY

 

The Holocaust In Hungary

Re Dr. Ervin Birnbaum’s important, excellent, and informative “The Holocaust Comes to Hungary” (front-page essay, March 7):

I would like to mention some people who worked to save Hungarian Jews.

On May 15, 1944, Rabbi Chaim Michael Dov Weissmandl sent a map of Auschwitz, with a letter, to Western and Jewish leaders, pleading for Auschwitz and roads leading to it be bombed. He demanded action from the Allied nations and from the Jews of the West.

People working with Rabbi Weissmandl included his father-in-law, Rabbi Samuel David Ungar, and Gize Fleischmann.

Of course there was Raoul Wallenberg, who saved approximately 100,000 Jews by means that included issuing special Swedish diplomatic papers, housing Jews in Swedish diplomatic housing and pulling them off trains headed for Auschwitz.

Among those who worked with Wallenberg was Per Anger, also a Swedish diplomat. Wallenberg worked under the auspices of the United States War Refugee Board. Wallenberg’s activities also inspired Swiss, Spanish, Vatican, and Portuguese diplomats to act to save Hungarian Jews.

Ira Hirschmann, who was recruited to the War Refugee Board by President Roosevelt, also worked to save Hungarian Jews.

And let us not forget Joel Brand and Hannah Szenes. You can see Joel Brand’s testimony at the Eichmann trial on YouTube.

Reuven Solomon 
(Via E-Mail)

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The Journey Back

I am writing in response to the recent articles by Rabbi Eliyahu Safran (“God Loves Our Lost Children – and So Must We,” front-page essay, Jan. 31; andTo Be a Parent Is to Be a Very Special Rebbe,” op-ed, March 14) on young people who go off the derech (OTD).

The articles were written from the perspective of the parents, family and community of that child. Please allow me to offer the viewpoint of one of those children, now well into middle age.

Nearly four decades ago, after being raised in a frum home and having gone to yeshiva for 13 years, I slowly started going OTD and eventually married a non-Jew.

My entire family and almost all my friends wrote me off completely. I was 20 years old at the time.

When I got divorced six years later, my ex-wife called my parents to let them know. They initiated contact with me that would remain sporadic; because of the hurt on both sides the relationship was irrevocably diminished. Both of my parents passed away with barely any reconciliation between us.

A few years ago I started the long journey back to Yiddishkeit. I married a Jewish woman and we have a young son. Though we are divorced now and she is not religious, I am raising my son with strong Jewish values.

Had the ties to my family and community remained open – had I not been thrown out as, in Rabbi Safran’s phrase, “useless garbage,” but been given any support and love at all – I am certain I would have come back many years before I did.

On a related note I would like to comment on the Feb. 28 letter from reader Alex Lapin concerning the difficulty he has sitting in shul on Shabbos, getting dressed up in a suit after wearing one all week at work, sitting through a long service, etc.

I guess we don’t know what we have until we lose it. As a returning Jew, I am overjoyed and sometimes moved to tears to go to shul on Shabbos and Yom Tov. I am lucky to be able to do this again and to pass it on to my child. I too work long hours (although not, like reader Lapin, in a suit), yet I consider it not only a duty but a privilege to daven.

If you put on a suit to show respect for clients or your work environment, surely it can’t be that difficult to do so out of respect for Hashem and your fellow congregants.

Stuart Kramer
(Via E-Mail)

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