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August 3, 2015 / 18 Av, 5775
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Letters To The Editor

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Fruits Of The Asifa

I have to admit that from the time plans were first announced for the Internet asifa I was just another skeptic, a non-believer trying to understand the point of such enormous resources being thrown into an event that seemed designed to preach only to the converted at best.

It’s not that I disagreed with the notion that the Internet presents inherent dangers to our community or with the calls from gedolei Torah admonishing us to safeguard ourselves from a type of technology so powerful that it threatens our very essence as a people mandated to be holy – to be a light unto the nations.

What I did doubt was that a gathering at Citi Field for an evening of divrei hisorreros would offer much of a real solution.

I am no longer a skeptic, but in fact a true believer. In the weeks since that amazing gathering we have seen a virtual explosion across the religious spectrum, in various Jewish newspapers and individual kehillos, in terms of practical advice and debate on how to best deal with the dangers of the Internet.

I consider it an awesome accomplishment for the asifa to have inspired a myriad of solutions to what is perhaps one of the gravest threats facing our generation, and I offer my thanks to our gedolei Torah.

Joey Aron Brooklyn, NY

Non-Orthodox Rabbis In Israel (I)

I was somewhat troubled by the news that the Israeli government will now be paying the salaries of non-Orthodox community rabbis in addition to those of Orthodox rabbis (“Israel to Pay Salaries of Non-Orthodox Community Rabbis,” news story, June 1).

It’s not that I have anything against non-Orthodox Israelis being able to choose their religious leaders. It is only my concern for the old slippery slope – in this case that such a move may lead to official recognition for marriages, divorces and conversions performed under non-Orthodox auspices. This would inevitably lead to further erosion in our unity as a people because while Orthodox standards are accepted by most non-Orthodox Jews, non-Orthodox standards are unacceptable to those who adhere to Orthodox standards.

Berel Schiff Jerusalem

Non-Orthodox Rabbis In Israel (II)

I’m glad that Israel seems to have begun to realize that it cannot ignore Conservative Jews like me who are passionate in our support of the Jewish state but are dismayed by the official non-recognition of our movement. This anomaly is unnatural and will not last forever.

Need I remind anyone that non-Orthodox philanthropists, politicians and intellectuals are the backbone of support for Israel in America?

Stuart Farber (Via E-Mail)

What About Pollard?

Re your endorsement of Rory Lancman (editorial, June 1):

I’m disappointed that The Jewish Press failed to include Jonathan Pollard’s continued incarceration as an issue raised with Congressional candidate Lancman. It may not be the most important issue out there, but I think it is a significant one. Indeed, The Jewish Press has addressed this on countless occasions.

Hazel Levin New York, NY

Palestinian Numbers

At long last our government is paying attention to the ongoing fraud of Palestinian refugee claims (“Counting Palestinian Refugees,” editorial, June 1).

The Arab world refused to help those who chose to flee their homes during Israel’s defense against the Arab onslaught in 1948. After Israel prevailed, the Arab governments refused to resettle the Palestinian refugees because they wanted to use them as a propaganda pawn, specifically to preserve the issue as the basis for the “right of return” claim.

It’s about time the truth came out.

Harold Herman (Via E-Mail)

Unfair Criticism

It was unfortunate that The Jewish Press editorial page would criticize President Obama for providing wholly innocuous links to administration achievements on the biographical sketch pages of several presidents.

You went so far as to suggest, completely incorrectly, that the president was violating the law. And no, no one who has common sense would agree that it violated the spirit of the law either, because the law you cited is the federal embezzlement and theft statute and has nothing to do with this.

Let’s be honest about what we’re talking about here. On the bottom of several biographies of modern presidents, the White House added a Did-you-know tidbit about something Obama had done. Calvin Coolidge was the first president to broadcast a speech over radio. President Obama was the first to hold a virtual town hall meeting. President Eisenhower created the Council on Physical Fitness. The First Lady’s big issue is childhood obesity, and the page has a link to her program.

This is what you’re so upset about? This is the basis of accusing the president of committing a crime? No one is changing history here, and none of this is anything a Republican president would not do (were he as Internet-savvy as Obama and his administration is).

Editorials like this speak to a larger issue in the frum community, where some seem ready to dispense with any notion of fact or fairness when talking about this president. Wholly false stories about the president’s citizenship and religion are culled from far-right blogs and websites and presented as fact. The president is deemed a socialist, an authoritarian, and worse – and everything is always presented in the most alarmist tones imaginable.

This must stop immediately, and not only because it is longstanding practice in our community to be respectful when discussing elected officials because, after all, they are the ones we must work with to accomplish our goals. The uncivil dialogue is a chillul Hashem whether it is directed at a Democratic or Republican president.

No one is out to get us, and we do ourselves no favors by adopting the hyperpartisanship that, like a disease, has infected our public discourse to the point where the federal government can barely function, the accuracy of information is always suspect, and people live in irrational fear. It’s hurting our country.

Michael Brenner Woodmere, NY

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