Don’t Prove Baker Right

A number of years ago it was alleged that James Baker, at the time the U.S. secretary of state under the first president Bush, made a derogatory remark about Jews, dismissing them because “they don’t vote for [Republicans].”

Whether or not he actually said such a thing, I’m sure that Baker, as well as other Republicans, feels that kind of frustration whenever they consider the knee-jerk Jewish propensity for voting Democratic no matter how good for the Jews a particular Republican office-holder has shown himself to be. (Remember poor Al D’Amato? A finer friend of Israel and the Jews there never was in the U.S. Senate, but the Jewish community rewarded that Republican’s praiseworthy steadfastness by voting overwhelmingly for the liberal Democrat and inveterate publicity hound Chuck Schumer.)

Now we have the case of George W. Bush. He’s maligned by many in the right-wing nationalist Orthodox camp because he hasn’t embraced the platform of Moledet or Kahane Chai. These zealots apparently believe that the president of the United States is obliged to out-Sharon Ariel Sharon; to out-Likud the Likud; to move the White House to the West Bank.

I can’t tell you how many viciously anti-Bush e-mails I’ve received from individuals who would consider themselves to be on the far right of the Israeli spectrum (most of them, however, seem to live in the U.S. – surprise, surprise). These crackpots circulate every unsubstantiated rumor they find on the Internet about the Bush family (never mind that most of those rumors are born and nurtured on far left and pro-Palestinian websites), and blame every decision of Ariel Sharon with which they disagree on unseen pressure from Washington.

And then there are the Jews of the liberal-left – far greater in numbers, of course, than their counterparts in the Orthodox nationalist community. They also hate Bush, and with an almost superhuman intensity. They don’t like his Texas accent, and his attorney general, and his blunt secretary of defense, and his unfeigned belief in G-d and the Bible, and his refusal to put
the interests of the U.S. in the hands of the UN, and his forthright labeling of our enemies as ‘evil’ (oh, how those on the Left also hated Ronald Reagan for calling the Soviet Union an ‘evil empire’), and his turning his back on Yasir Arafat, Bill Clinton’s favorite visitor at the White House.

Among those Jews who are neither right-wing Orthodox nationalists (and I consider myself one, albeit with a realistic view of how the world works) nor narrow-minded leftists, surely there are enough level-headed Jews who will show their appreciation for this administration’s unprecedented support of Israel by voting for Bush next November.

If not, I fear our influence as a community will be vastly diminished. Both of the major political parties will then know, beyond a reasonable doubt, that there is no need to consider the political interests of Jews in any meaningful manner since the Jewish vote, far from being up for grabs, rests permanently in the Democrats? lock-box.

Craig Bergman
Cincinnati, OH

Dumb And Dumber

So Malaysia’s prime minister, Mahathir Mohammad, believes that the Jews are trying to rule the world by proxy, letting other people fight their battles. Someone should give this idiot a history lesson on what happened during World War II, when Allied forces defeated the Japanese army, an army that had occupied Malaysia and other Asia nations with singular
barbarianism from 1942 until 1945. Among the Allied forces were many Jewish soldiers, whose activity by “proxy” was spelled out in Jewish blood.

And then there is that other idiot, President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, who stood up to applaud Mahathir’s remarks, and afterward said that he agreed with Mahathir. It was American and British soldiers who fought so heroically to chase Saddam Hussein out of Iraq and the Taliban out of Afghanistan in order to restore some form of civilized society to those
countries, and it was American policy that helped to install Karzai in the presidency, with the goal of eradicating the vicious religious intolerance of the Taliban.

Last I heard, there were about 1,200 soldiers of Jewish origin in the ranks of the American army serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, many of them exercising their “proxy” of taking over the world by spilling their own blood so that ingrates like Karzai can stay in power and spit out their venom.

Saul Grossman
Flushing, NY

Israel Needs RICO Laws

When Senator Joseph Lieberman made a recent campaign stop in Dearborn, Michigan, to address the Arab community there, he was booed and heckled for his defense of Israel’s security needs.

Personally, I hold no expectations that any Arabs, in Dearborn or elsewhere, would recognize Israel’s need for security. But Sen. Lieberman is more compliant than I am ? when challenged on the Israeli practice of destroying the homes of terrorists who slaughter Jews, he buckled and remarked that it disturbed him also.

That is where I disagree with Sen. Lieberman. The good Democrat might have noted that our own practices to deter criminals here in the U.S. are far more draconian than the tactics employed by Israel to ward off Arab terrorists. Our criminal laws that deal with roughly similar situations are known as the RICO Statutes (for “Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations”). Under that set of criminal statutes, large numbers have forfeited their properties, even before trial, for even the relatively minor acts of being caught with a small quantity of drugs, including marijuana. Thousands have lost their homes, their bank accounts, automobiles, yachts, and so on, for even low-level infractions that tie them to criminal activities. Surprised? No one should be – the names of those having property confiscated are routinely published in major newspapers.

If Israel had laws identical to the RICO Statutes, the government could legally take over the homes of terrorists and do with them what they wish. That would make it considerably more difficult, even for the Israel-bashers in Dearborn, to scream about the “Jews.”

Is there any hope that Israel will take this avenue of escaping at least some of the knee-jerk, frequently anti-Semitic, criticism directed at it? Maybe one day ? hope does spring eternal, at least in some of us!

Jerry Boris
Philadelphia, PA

Arutz-7 Shutdown

If Israel cannot sustain the free speech of those who propagate right-wing views such as Arutz-7, then surely it must shut down all pro-Arab and pro-PLO voices, including a number of left-wing MP’s.

Closing down a radio station in a democracy is as close to totalitarianism as you could ever hope to get. It is an embarrassment and a shame on Israel’s democracy.

Mark Alan
(Via E-Mail)

Save Arutz-7, Arik

Dear Mr. Prime Minister,

Please be advised that I – a member of the Prime Minister’s Club who buys Israel bonds for myself, my children, my grandchildren and my Jewish country in Eretz Hakodesh – am shocked at the denial of the right of Israelis and Jews to hear the real news. I am shocked by the power of those voted out of office to deny us the Israel that we want to support – a Jewish
state with freedom of speech, religion and life for all.

As Israel Bonds supports the infrastructure of Israel, so is Arutz-7 a foundation necessary for a strong Israel. Denying Jews basic rights to speak out is contrary to the purpose of Israel and to why we buy bonds.

Shutting down Arutz-7 is putting an “iron curtain” up against freedom of the press, speech, religion and tradition in Israel. I cannot buy Israel Bonds if those bonds will support a “Red Israel” – a state that supports bloodletting by the enemies of Jews and denial of free speech and religion to my fellow Jews.

Arutz Sheva is a bond for Jews across the globe. Arutz Sheva is the Jewish voice for survival, reaffirming the old, the traditional, the righteous, the will to live and be. G-d Bless Israel and G-d Bless Arutz Sheva, the voice of the Jewish people.

Mr. Sharon, Labor lost the election. Please do not abandon your mandate. Prosecute those who speak against and compromise Israel and who go against the majority of Israelis who voted against them.

Prosecute Yossi Beilin, Avraham Burg, Amram Mitzna. They lost the election by a landslide and still they would illegally speak against their people with those who are terrorists; they would destroy their country against the will of the people.

Israel needs Arutz-7 now. Please legalize it with the full power and mandate of your office. Hopefully, I will be able to continue to buy Israel Bonds. Hopefully Israel will be faithful to itself so that we can continue to be faithful to it.

Evelyn Haies
(Via E-Mail)

More Feedback On Singles

Your Move, Dr. Stern

If the responses to my most recent submission is any indication, Orthodox Jewish singles are in a serious state of denial (“Don’t Blame Orthodox Singles for Their Predicament,” Letters to the
Editor, Oct. 24).

Reader Eliezer Weitz makes the preposterous assertion that Hashem is responsible for the
“singles crisis.” His argument is simple: since Hashem controls the world, whatever occurs,
including the absence or delay of shidduchim, is His will. Mr. Weitz in one fell swoop eliminates the concept of free will. Singles, in this construct, are reduced to marionettes manipulated by a Grand Puppet Master. For a more realistic explanation I direct readers to “The Dating Primer” column in the October 24 issue of The Jewish Press. The authors, acknowledged experts on the matter of shidduchim, contend that thousands of singles are
suffering from the Peter Pan Syndrome – not seriously interested in marriage, preferring to use
the post-graduate years for La Dolce Vita.

Judah Stein, taking exception to my basic thesis that singles must look to correct their flaws
rather than placing the blame elsewhere, is guilty of hyperbole bordering on fabrication. He states, “Dr. Stern should be criticizing the often obnoxious shadchanim upon whom we must rely as the only vehicle to find our soulmate.” Is he kidding? The only way to find one’s zivug is through a marriage broker? In fact, there are weekends, Shabbatons, singles mixers to name but a few. Rebbetzin Jungreis, in her latest Jewish Press column, noted the formation of ad hoc shidduch committees. And there are still those old standbys – shul introductions and workplace meetings.

Tzipora Krieger claims that I offered no tangible suggestions to ameliorate the plight of singles. I beg to differ.

For one, I warned both shadchanim and singles about toxic daters who abuse the system for
self-gratification. Some 15 years ago I met a fellow who was, as they say, a “prize catch.” Perplexed by his single status (he had already passed 40), I asked him why he had eluded the chuppa. I can still quote him verbatim: “I’ve got plenty of women to satisfy my body; I’ll get married when I find someone who satisfies my mind.” All these years later he’s still looking. Such guys and their female equivalents should be avoided at all costs.

My second suggestion was to expand one’s dating base by eliminating non-essential items
from the ‘must have’ list. You can find what you want by employing the strategy of “creative
settling.” For example, if you’re a woman seeking financial security, you may consider a fellow
somewhat older than yourself. Be receptive to out of the loop suggestions, for there is often nothing wrong with them other than one’s biased perceptions.

Finally, I found Esther Blachman’s criticisms valid; she is correct in stating that there are a
number of singles who are sincerely seeking their mates and despite making the proper hishtadlus have not been successful. I fully sympathize with these individuals and pray that Hashem will assist them in finding their basherte soon and in the proper time. I also agree that the tone of my letter could have been more conciliatory.

Surely there’s enough blame to go around, but playing the blame game reinforces the belief
among many singles that they are destined not to find their soulmate. The yetzer hora will remind you of the “one” who got away, that special someone who was clearly your basherte. He’ll try to deflate your self-confidence by harping on your concessions to the ravages of time.

While I’ve been portrayed in a negative light by some readers, my message is unremittingly
positive. In many ways it’s never been a better time to be single. The dating pool has been
expanded due to a variety of factors. Modern technology allows singles from around the globe to meet. And despite protestations to the contrary, Judaism as a whole is far more accepting than in years past. Ashkenaz-Sephard marriages no longer raise eyebrows, and one reason that divorce is now more commonplace is that the involved parties believe they will do better the second time around – a perception that did not exist in previous generations when divorcees were deemed damaged goods.

Attitude adjustment is not easy, but those who battle their demons will succeed and reap the
greatest reward the building of a bayis neeman b’Yisroel.

Dr. Yaakov Stern
Brooklyn, NY

Two-Step Solution

Some problems faced by singles might be reduced if shadchanim were professionally trained
and singles acquired formal education about dating and marriage.

1) Professionalization of shadchanim. A communal organization (such as the Orthodox Union or the National Council of Young Israel) in conjunction with a college (such as Touro) should
develop a certificate program for shadchanim. Participants would be mental health professionals, such as clinical social workers or pastoral counselors, who have experience working with people. The program would provide education about halacha regarding dating and matchmaking, resistance to commitment, personality problems, lashon hora, working with special populations, and professional ethics.

Certified shadchanim should limit the number of clients they serve. They should participate in clinical supervision. They should be credentialed, and be required to periodically renew their credentials based upon continuing education credits and ethical behavior. Credentialed
shadchanim should be compensated on a fee for service basis, like other professionals.

2) Marriage education for singles. A social service agency (such as Ohel) or college should
sponsor a program, leading to a certificate, which focuses on various aspects of dating and married life. Modeled on a college course, classes should include assigned readings, a term paper, examinations, and a final grade. Singles who complete a marriage education program would be offered participation in a professionally led ongoing discussion group regarding dating and marriage issues.

Robert Ness
Brooklyn, NY

Heart Of The Community

Angels In Manhattan

Recently there have been letters in The Jewish Press about Jews not greeting each other on Shabbos. I would like to share a recent experience that illustrates a very different face of being Jewish in New York today – a face that is sensitive, wonderful, and caring.

On Chol Hamoed Sukkos, I discovered that I would need to be admitted to Mount Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan. I was immediately thankful for Ezrath Cholim D’Satmar, an organization that maintains an apartment near Mount Sinai for use by family members who need to be with patients, and which so graciously provides Yom Tov food to all who need it.

We live far away from Mount Sinai, and my wife and I thought that we would be virtually alone in the hospital over Yom Tov. The idea of not being able to attend the Yom Tov davening and Hakofos was very upsetting – we felt sad at the thought of missing that special uplifting feeling of being with friends and family in shul as we all dance and happily celebrate the annual renewal of reading the Torah together.

Little did we realize that G-d would be sending angels to our side – very special Jews who
lived on both the East Side and West Side of Manhattan, who made it their business to walk to Mount Sinai on the nights and days of Yom Tov. They took from their own time and lives in order to ensure that there was a minyan and proper davening at Mount Sinai, and they brought with them an atmosphere of joy. They created for us a community of warmth and support within the sterile walls of the hospital.

On the night of Simchas Torah, for example, we gathered for Hakofos in the shul at Mount
Sinai, but there were only nine men. One of the neighborhood residents put on his jacket, went out into the cold night, and walked to a local shul – coming back with another neighborhood resident so that we could have davening and Hakofos with a minyan.

The next morning, several people walked from the West Side with their children and other family members in order to enliven our spirits and to make sure that, despite the absence of our own children and grandchildren, we had a happy davening and Hakofos, supported by the warmth of this surrogate family and cheered by the smiles and laughter which come so naturally when Jews celebrate together.

These selfless acts of chesed, of bikur cholim and caring for other Jews, impressed us as true
hallmarks of Judaism. These people, completely unknown to us before last week, miraculously
transformed our gloom at the thought of spending a bleak holiday in the hospital. They made our Yom Tov a true Yom Tov, and we thank them from the bottom of our hearts for their kindness, their caring, and their dedication.

Heshi Fischman
(Via E-Mail)

True Chaveirim

My husband recently had surgery in a hospital on the Upper East Side, and late at night when my son went to his car he found it had a flat tire. Being a little overwhelmed from the whole
day, I had the audacity to call Chaveirim and ask if they could come and fix the tire.

Under normal circumstances I would never have had the chutzpah to ask them to come to
Manhattan. But they said they would try to send someone. They did not ask what kind of Jew I was, haredi or Modern Orthodox. I could just as well have been non-Orthodox for all they knew. Yet within thirty minutes two wonderful young chassidic men showed up, fixed the tire and refused to take any money.

Mi k’amcha Yisrael.
Ruth Greenstein
Brooklyn, NY

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