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October 1, 2014 / 7 Tishri, 5775
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Letters To The Editor


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Marvelous Encounter

I am writing in response to Rebbetzin Jungreis’s beautiful June 8 column (“The Gift of Unity”) in which she wrote of our chassidic family’s tribute in a Connecticut hotel to our beloved grandmother, a 90-year-old Holocaust survivor.

The Rebbetzin focused on the hashgachah pratis that led to her meeting our extended family as we honored our grandmother in the same hotel where the Rebbetzin’s Hineni organization was holding an event of its own.

The pleasure was mutual, and our marvelous encounter with the Rebbetzin left us all with a feeling of fulfillment that will linger for a long time.

The Rebbetzin wrote of the beautiful kingdom (close to 400 descendents) of a modest and faithful queen, our grandmother, and the impact we made on Hineni members. But the Rebbetzin made her own strong and lasting impact on us.

All through Shabbos, wherever the Rebbetzin was walking, you would spot little groups from our family gathered around her, drinking in her words of Torah, emunah and chizuk. She helped raise a special occasion to an even higher level. And what a sight it was when the Rebbetzin joined our grandmother hand in hand behind the beautifully adorned Torah amid the lively singing and dancing.

Thank you, Rebbetzin.

Miriam Biederman
(Via E-Mail)

Obama And Settlements

Re: “Once Again, Settlements” (editorial, June 15):

If President Obama is really serious about peace talks in the Middle East, he need only apply real pressure on the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table. I realize that Mahmoud Abbas wants to get Israel to make concessions on settlements as a precondition for any resumption of talks. Why wouldn’t he? Didn’t Obama initiate that position before abandoning, at least for now?

What part of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s call for negotiations without preconditions doesn’t Obama get? It is incumbent on him to persuade the Palestinian leader that the U.S. will never go back to pressuring Israel to suspend construction, even in a second Obama administration. Unless, of course, Obama has every intention of restarting that pressure if he wins another term.

David Bruce
(Via E-Mail)

Double Standard

I wonder whether supporters of Charles Barron (“The Importance of Voting,” editorial, June 15) would view support for someone like David Duke as racism. I also wonder why the relatively low support for President Obama among white voters is viscerally attacked as racism while the almost universal adulation he enjoys in the black community is viewed as something else.

Shlomo Bartel
(Via E-Mail)

Practical Suggestion

Kudos to Drs. Eliezer Jones and David Pelcovitz for their informative and articulate May 25 op-ed, “Teaching Children to Act as Their Own Internet Filters.” I would like to suggest a practical way to address the greatest challenge described in the piece – that of making sure our children completely separate at times from the Internet.

I suggest we take a page from the shmiras halashon campaigns that encourage individuals to set aside short periods of time of their own choosing during which to be extra vigilant in that area of their lives.

By setting aside specific periods each day to refrain from Internet and electronic device usage, we will become more accustomed to spending time away from these distractions and begin to develop appreciation for activities more beneficial to our psyche and spiritual fiber.

Ruchie Akerman
Brooklyn, NY

Jewish Holy Sites

Michael Freund’s June 15 column, “Take Back the Holy Sites,” touched a deep chord in me, since my AFSI Chizuk mission was in the ancient synagogue in Naaran in April of this year. We had stopped in the Jordan Valley, close to the area where Joshua crossed into Jericho, and then drove into a beautiful nature preserve. We walked through bountiful banana fields in order to reach the beautiful synagogue. We were overwhelmed by the setting, the mosaic floor, parts of which were still intact, the beautiful pillars, and the spirituality of the holy place. We were escorted there by a group of soldiers, many of whom joined in the Minchah prayers that were said at the site.

You can imagine our distress when we read about the desecration of the synagogue.

We felt that same distress when we read about the destruction of Joseph’s tomb in Shechem by marauding Arabs, immediately after the holy place had been turned over to the Arabs for “protection.” Kever Yosef had been one of our regular visiting sites on our AFSI Chizuk missions. The last time we were able to go there, it was only at midnight, on a specially arranged bus, with military escort.

The Temple Mount in Jerusalem is another holy place on every AFSI Chizuk itinerary. The shameful, humiliating treatment we receive when we arrive there, escorted by Rabbi Chaim Richman, is disgraceful. But we usually manage to ascend the Mount, followed by Arab Waqf members who walk closely behind, checking to see that we don’t move our lips in prayer. Israeli police follow us also, to reinforce the Waqf’s demands.

At the Cave of the Patriarchs, in Hebron, we must also usually suffer the indignity of having most of the rooms closed to Jews throughout the year. Jews pray in an open courtyard, covered with a tarpaulin that is fails to keep out cold, heat, rain and snow. We will be visiting this November 10 to commemorate Abraham’s purchase of the tomb for his wife, Sarah. On this special Shabbat, Parashat Chayei Sarah, the cave is entirely open to Jews. How tragic it is that in the Jewish land of Israel, Jews suffer so much intolerance and degradation when it comes to our holy sites.

Freund is absolutely right. Israel must take back sovereignty over its holy sites.

Helen Freedman
Executive Director Americans for a Safe Israel/AFSI

Point/Counterpoint

I told Aaron Klein (Quick Takes, June 15) that I had no knowledge of Obama’s being a member of the New Party or “signing a contract’” or that the New Party was “socialist” (it was not) or that it was “far left” (the far left in Chicago all opposed the NP for being too reformist).

Yet Klein cited my name to back up all these claims.

Carl Davidson
Field Organizer
Committees of Correspondence for
Democracy and Socialism

Aaron Klein Responds: Utilizing a tactic popularized by his ideological comrades at the controversial Media Matters for America, Carl Davidson denies statements that were never actually attributed to him in the first place.

In my column last week I reported on evidence from the New Party’s own literature listing President Obama as a member. I also reported that Stanley Kurtz at National Review Online dug up Obama’s signed contract with the New Party.

The only mention of Davidson in my entire column was the following factual statement: “This reporter also conducted an exclusive interview with Marxist activist Carl Davidson, a founder of the New Party, who recounted Obama’s participation with the party.”

Nowhere in my column did I cite Davidson’s name to back up any of the information he misleadingly mentions. I only wrote that Davidson recounted, as a New Party founder, Obama’s participation with the party.

My column was a shorter version of a longer article of mine for WorldNetDaily.com in which I posted Davidson’s full quotes reminiscing on Obama’s participation. Unfortunately, due to space limitations (I must squeeze three Quick Takes news briefs into 900 words), I was not able to include Davidson’s full quotes, although the paraphrase was accurate.

For trivia purposes, here is my report, in full, of what Davidson told me:

“A subcommittee met with [Obama] to interview him to see if his stand on the living wage and similar reforms was the same as ours. We determined that our views on these overlapped, and we could endorse his campaign in the Democratic Party,” Davidson said.

Davidson said that to his knowledge Obama was not a member of the New Party “in any practical way” – using qualifying language.

Asked whether Obama signed the New Party contract, Davidson replied there was “no need for him to do so” – information now contradicted by Kurtz’s discovery.

“At the end of our session with him, we simply affirmed there was no need to do so, because on all the key points, the stand of his campaign and the New Party reform planks were practically the same,” Davidson said.

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