Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.
Jimmy’s ‘Final Solution’
Your Dec. 5 front page article on Jimmy Carter’s speech in Geneva neglected to mention his most chilling sentence.
‘Had I been elected to a second term,’ said Carter, ‘with the prestige and authority and influence and reputation I had in the region, we could have moved to a final solution.’
His choice of words showed, at best, his gross insensitivity to Jewish sensibilities and, at worst, his true feelings towards us.
In either case, Carter really should go back to his peanut farm where he belongs.
Secretary of State Colin Powell met recently with a left-wing former member of the Israeli parliament who, in defiance of the Israeli government, negotiated a “virtual peace treaty” with
Palestinian Arab officials in Geneva. In response to critics of his decision to hold the meeting, Secretary Powell asked: “Why should we not listen to others who have ideas, such as the ideas that were presented in Geneva…?”
One wonders how Powell would react if Howard Dean traveled to Baghdad to negotiate the future of Iraq, and afterwards was publicly praised by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and
invited to meet with him in Jerusalem.
Morton A. Klein
Zionist Organization of America
Although I’m not a big fan of Sen. Joe Lieberman, I really feel for him now that he’s been so shabbily treated by perhaps the biggest phony in American politics today, Al Gore. Here
Lieberman had been so unfailingly loyal to Gore, declaring that he would not run for president in 2004 if Gore chose to pursue the office, and actually putting off his entry into the race until Gore finally made up his mind not to run. And how does Gore reward him? By endorsing for president Howard Dean, a man with whom Gore has nothing in common politically, save for a seething hatred of President Bush.
Even the Gore-friendly New York Times characterized Gore’s endorsement of Dean as ‘odd’: ‘Mr. Gore’s decision put him in the odd position of supporting an insurgent candidate who has built his campaign attacking the centrist Democratic positions that the former vice president has espoused for two decades.’
Gore has revealed himself to be a hollow man with no principles or loyalty. Analysts already are speculating that Gore made the move in an attempt to distance himself from Hillary
Clinton, who more and more has been talking like a centrist, and who voted for the Iraq war. By ingratiating himself with the party’s left-wing antiwar activists, Gore knows he’ll have a leg up on potential opponents (like Hillary) if he seeks the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.
Now more than ever, I’m very pleased that I voted against Gore in 2000.
New York, NY
Disliked Tone Of Column
I was somewhat taken aback by Y.E. Bell’s thoughts on homosexuality in his Dec. 5 ‘Traditional Corner’ column. In general, I agree that homosexuality is against Torah, and it’s
obviously against Torah to legitimize it. On the other hand, Jews who have been given the test and challenge by G-d to harbor these desires certainly are deserving of our compassion and our love.
I also take issue with putting quotes around the word Rabbi before Shmuley Boteach’s name. As far as I know, the man isn’t Conservative or Reform but got his s’micha from Orthodox rabbis. I admit to being ignorant of his remarks about Michael Jackson, but unless his s’micha was taken away, Boteach is still a legitimate rabbi.
Taking Jihad Seriously
Here we are more than two years after 9/11 and, unbelievable as it might seem, the vast majority of the Judeo-Christian world still cannot comprehend the sad reality of the savage and inhumane jihad, or religious war, being waged against it by the Muslim world.
Even if they’re not engaged in actual combat and violence, the majority of Muslims the world over are sympathetic – and give financial and political support - to this jihad. Without worldwide Islamic sympathy, this jihad could never exist.
Despite their surface differences, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Fatah, Hizbullah, the Chechnyan rebels and Al Qaeda all have the same basic radical Islamic goal: the demise of the Christian- dominated Western world. These terrorists have a common core belief that only an Islamic- dominated world is acceptable. They believe that all must be subjugated to those of their sympathies. They are devoutly against all the basic Jeffersonian freedoms we sometimes take so lightly, particularly freedom of religion, freedom of speech and freedom of the press.
To them, Israel is merely an outpost, a scout, an advance post for the Christian West, Islam’s real archenemy. They cannot believe that tiny Israel has, all by itself, defeated them over and
over again over the past six decades. Because they cannot accept the idea of Islamic weakness (and instead of looking to correct the ills in their own medieval authoritarian societies), they choose to believe in bizarre plots and conspiracies to explain their failures.
As for the Judeo- Christian world, our failing is largely that we refuse to accept the fact of the Muslim world’s antipathy. We have fallen prey to their incessant, clever propaganda thanks to
misguided liberal sympathies that are totally out of place in this atomic age when any lunatic terrorist with the right weapon can inflict death and destruction on an unthinkable scale. Even Israel has allowed itself to be deluded far too many times
Luckily for us, President Bush may prove to be the first Western leader to really comprehend the danger we all face.
Jonathan A. Herbst
Port Chester, NY
Not Just A Modern Orthodox Problem
As a working mom who identifies with the Modern Orthodox, I am offended by negative comments in last week’s Letters to the Editor section to the effect that Modern Orthodox mothers are pursuing careers at the expense of their children’s upbringing.
Perhaps those who feel that way have not heard about the countless kollel wives who have been forced to work - and at run-of-the mill jobs, at that. Is the effect on their children any
different? Are their children not essentially raised by low-paid, non-Jewish baby-sitters? At least my high-paying job allows me to be very choosy about who takes care of my kids.
I have no way of knowing whether kollel wives are any less interested in working outside the home than the Modern Orthodox. Nor do I know whether most would have to work to
make ends meet even if their husbands entered the workplace. What I do know is that not all kollel members are equal and that we now have generations of children entrusted to people they would not otherwise even allow to enter their homes.
The Enemy Within
I found the response of reader Sandra Froemm to Cheryl Kupfer’s op-ed column ‘A Time to Hate’ very disappointing but hardly a surprise (‘The Reform Perspective,’ Letters, Dec. 5). It’s
interesting that Froemm’s rabbi preaches universal brotherhood, which apparently does not include her own brethren, whom she calls “Nazis in sheitels and shtreimels.”
I would like to understand what it is that makes Ms. Froemm different from all the anti-Semites who hate the ‘Nazis in sheitels and shtreimels’ with equal venom. What can we possibly expect of the world at large, if our own think of us this way? What she doesn’t seem to understand is that regardless of how modern she looks, or how much she tries to ingratiate herself to the rest of the world, she, as a Jew, is hated equally.
It so happens that our non-religious brethren - George Soros, Henry Kissinger, et al – are much more visible, have a seemingly greater effect on the world, and as a result are much more hated and blamed for everything than are the chassidim whom the likes of Ms. Froemm love to hate.
But I would also like to point out to her that regardless of how we look, or how much or little we observe the Torah, we’re the same in the eyes of those who hate us. In Auschwitz my bearded grandfathers and my sheitel-wearing grandmothers burned side by side with the so-called enlightened and completely assimilated Jews. To the anti-Semites, there is no difference. We are all Jews.
It is a sad commentary on the Reform movement that in its emphasis on universal brotherhood there is room for everyone – except the religious Jew. It just proves again that today, as
throughout our history, our worst enemies came from our own midst. May G-d save us from all our enemies.
Sign Online Petition For Noam Federman
I was extremely happy to read the letter to the editor last week regarding Noam Federman, 34 years old, married and the father of 7 (bli ayin hara) who has been incarcerated under the pretext of “administrative detention” without being charged, without knowing what the crime is and without due process.
Actually, in Noam Federman’s case, it is not simply without due process. His incarceration has
been accompanied with the equivalent of emotional, psychological and physical torture If
your readers were not familiar with this travesty of justice, that letter at least raised their awareness.
There is an online petition to protest the treatment of Noam Federman
(www.petitiononline.com/federman/petition.html). As of December 6 there were only 1,761 signatures. It is such a simple thing to do! There should be thousands and tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of signatures.
If you are reading this letter, please approach your rav or your rosh yeshiva or your rebbe and
ask him if he is aware of what’s happening with Noam Federman. If he is aware, then ask him to announce - in his yeshiva, his shul, his yeshiva or shul newsletter – that each and every person should sign this petition.
Imagine if Agudas Yisroel, Agudas Harabbanim, each and every chassidic rebbe and rosh yeshiva, the RCA, Emunah Women, Young Israel, every Sephardic congregation, every Bais
Yaakov, every yeshiva gedolah and yeshiva ketanah – imagine if all of them appealed to their
students, members and congregants to please sign the petition.
Yasher koach to NCSY and Women in Green for speaking up. Isn’t this an issue of pidyon
shivuyim? But of course, it’s a much greater issue for which Noam Federman is praying and fasting. He wants to raise consciousness among Am Yisrael that Eretz Yisrael is relevant for all of us in our day.
How can we not sign the petition? By not signing, do we not make a statement about our
indifference, not only to an individual who is suffering in jail but to Eretz Yisrael and Torah?
Each one of us can help free Noam Federman. We are presently fighting a milchemet mitzvah in the public relations forum where every man, women and child is capable and obligated to fight. Our silence sends a message that we are indifferent to the Torah and to Hashem’s promise to us.
Hold The Criticism Of Shorefront JCC
The letter to the editor regarding the Shorefront JCC and affordable housing for Orthodox families in Brighton Beach (Nov. 28) does not take into account the complex dynamics
involved in changing the quality of a neighborhood.
Affordable housing in itself never guaranteed an influx of Orthodox families to any neighborhood. In the past there were plenty of cheap and even subsidized apartments available, and much talk about attracting the more observant community to the Brighton area, but it didn’t happen. Generally they are attracted to areas that are overwhelmingly populated by similar families and have available ample one- or two-family homes.
With the recent explosion of real estate values and new construction of expensive condos in
Brighton, it is indeed very difficult to find affordable housing unless we convince some of the
private landlords to subsidize housing with below-market rentals. I don’t think that would work in any neighborhood.
The Shorefront JCC, under the leadership of Rabbi Moishe Wiener and Mrs. Tatiana
Schlomovich, is doing a superb job in helping all Jews with their needs - including those that are regulars in the area synagogues. Let us show appreciation to an outstanding organization that helps even many of our own shul people, although it may not be known to their fellow congregants.
Shorefront’s assistance to the immigrant community is a great kiddush Hashem and does much to impress upon them the beauty and nobility of Torah. We certainly don’t want them to
turn to others - including missionaries - who stand ready to take advantage of the situation.
The real challenge is to turn our Russian immigrant brethren into shul regulars. To this effect the shuls and outreach organizations of the neighborhood are working beyond their means, often with some assistance from the Shorefront JCC, to have an effect on our neighbors. We have
here one the biggest concentrations of Jews in the world; through them we can turn Brighton Beach into a beautiful Jewish neighborhood.
Rabbi Baruch A. Zushe Winner
Sea Breeze Jewish Center
Taking Issue With Sieger Editorial
Decision Was Technical
I hope readers of The Jewish Press will not be led astray by the editorial on the dismissal of
Chayie Sieger’s heter meah rabbonim case (The Sieger Case: Lesson To Be Learned, November 28). The decision was basically about such technical things as how far a secular court can second-guess a religious court and the legal sufficiency of the evidence submitted to prove a case. People in the real world will and should base their decisions upon what they know. I agree, though, that there is merit to your cautioning that they not go public until they hear both sides.
New York, NY
The Problem Is Real
If your editorial on the Sieger case meant to suggest that one should not jump to conclusions,
then it is welcome. If, however, it was designed to challenge the perception that there is not a crisis in confidence in our batei din system, then it was as malicious as some of the horror stories I have heard from people victimized by it.
Confused By Editorial
I am at a loss to understand the idea of an “appellate bet din” which is raised in your editorial
on the court decision on the Sieger case. I know of no halachic precedent for setting one up.
Editor’s Response: Our suggestion was not a statement of halacha. It was rather a
call for considering ways consistent with halacha to encourage people to go to bet din
to resolve their differences. We note that an unsuccessful party to a din Torah can, in any event, appeal to the courts to nullify a decision.
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