Chillul Tefila Bifarhesia, as well as halachicly challenged verbiage and dress, are external manifestations of a critical lack of personal yiras shomayim which has lethal consequences.
Whatever Happened To Modesty?
I do not understand what is going on with klal Yisrael. Every few weeks we hear of a new tumult – about Indian hair, bugs in the water, kohanim being on certain roads where there are cemeteries, etc.
Why don’t we hear any tumult about tznius? I walk the streets of Brooklyn every day, I go shopping in Brooklyn stores, and I am sorry to say that the lack of tznius is horrible. Women who are careless about skirt and sleeve lengths; women who favor outfits that are obviously too tight; women who don’t sit tzniusdik in front of other people, especially men; men who openly flirt with married women. Again, why no tumult over this horrible epidemic?
What Balfour Said
In “Facing Up To Painful Reality” (op-ed, Dec. 24), George Topas claims that “The Balfour Declaration of 1917 recognized the whole of Palestine as a designated ‘National Homeland’ for the Jewish People.”
This would seem to be as contradictory to the facts as could possibly be. The following is the relevant part of the declaration:
“His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”
A national home in Palestine, not in the whole of Palestine as Mr Topas wishes us to believe.
Mothers And The Courts
As the co-writer of Dr. Amy Neustein’s From Madness to Mutiny: Why Mothers Are Running From the Family Courts – and What Can Be Done About It, I was gratified to see her article in The Jewish Press (“From ‘Childless Mother’ To Family Court Reformer: My Story,” Jan. 7). It was researching and writing about Dr. Neustein’s personal story that first made me aware of the severity of the problems facing mothers who bring child abuse charges into today’s family courts.
Dr. Neustein and I have studied thousands of cases in which the courts penalized mothers for making such accusations. We hope our book will begin to change the system. But it’s already an important milestone when Dr. Neustein’s story appears in a paper like yours. Thank you.
Michael Lesher, Esq.
Implications Of Peres’s Return
Re: The Return of Shimon Peres (op-ed, Jan. 7):
I agree with Scott Johnson’s condemnation of the Likud for uniting with Labor in a coalition that will return Shimon Peres to a position of power. I feel compelled, however, to register my disappointment with the understated outrage inherent in his closing sentence: “Sharon’s reliance on Peres to retain power and implement his plan provides powerful evidence that something is sorely amiss here.”
You bet it is! That “something” needs to be exposed and broadcast and amplified and hammered home until everybody gets it. This is not a mere political blunder or bad judgment. This is a nasty and destructive perversion of justice motivated by self-interest. Mr. Johnson said it himself: “The country has never had a public accounting for the utter disaster that was Oslo.” That “disaster” translates into very many Jewish lives lost, families wrecked and peace and tranquility destroyed for the whole country. That “something” is criminal negligence of the highest order.
If the Israeli political power brokers cannot see through Peres and remove him themselves, there is nothing anyone here can say that will divert the impending disaster (chas v’shalom).
Kudos to Steven Plaut for his hard-hitting article on the hypocrisy of the Reform movement, which is so quick to condemn even the slightest influence or activism on the part of religious conservatives, but at the same time works so hard to press its own liberal agenda on the country (“Religious Coercion, Reform Style,” front-page essay, Dec. 31).
As someone who was raised in a Reform environment, I can personally testify to the liberal activism of Reform rabbis; I must have sat through hundreds of sermons in the 1970′s and 80′s on such burning “Jewish” issues as gay rights, the nuclear freeze, the evils of Ronald Reagan, the suffering of the Palestinians, the greatness of Bill Clinton, the wonders of feminism, blah blah blah.
What was missing was even a hint of spirituality; of an omnipotent Creator who revealed himself to the Nation of Israel; of the countless miracles and mysteries of God’s creation; indeed, of God Himself. If this was “religion” I wanted none of it, and countless others raised Reform felt the same way; the more fortunate among us found our way to Torah Judaism or at least remained committed to the Jewish people by maintaining some level of observance and refusing to marry out. Too many of us, unfortunately, turned our backs entirely on the vapid pseudo-religion of Reform “Judaism” in which we were raised.
Re Cheryl Kupfer’s interesting Dec. 31 column “Who’s Watching the Kids?”:
While I share the concern of Ms. Kupfer’s friend Sarah about babysitting choices for working mothers, I wholeheartedly disagree with her assessment that working mothers are mostly wives of full-time learners.
Women are pursuing, and continuing in, careers even after they have babies, whether they’re married to lawyers, doctors or full-time learners. They are doing this for self-fulfillment and for economic reasons. You can call it feminism or you can call it being practical.
Young working mothers can be found in Lakewood, Queens, Teaneck and many other Jewish communities. Why blame full-time learners for this phenomenon in society?
Raising well-adjusted healthy children requires a lot of davening, hard work, and mazel, whether the mother works outside the home or inside the home. While it may not be ideal, it seems that more young mothers are working outside the home than ever before. Perhaps Jewish mothers of all types should add a new personal bakasha to their daily prayers: “Hashem, please help us find caring and compassionate babysitters for our children and grandchildren.”
Health, Diet, Environment
I want to commend Rabbi Menachem Genack and the Orthodox Union for their swift movement to correct the situation at the Postville, Iowa glatt kosher slaughterhouse and for their laudable public commitment to do all that is halachically acceptable to ensure the most humane slaughter conditions possible in all plants that it certifies (“Setting The Record Straight On Kosher Slaughter,” op-ed, Dec. 31).
As president of Jewish Vegetarians of North America, however, I wish to point out that since, as Rabbi Genack reminds us, “any slaughterhouse, whether kosher or non-kosher, is by definition a disconcerting, blood-filled and gruesome place,” we should consider that its products are having devastating effects on the health of Jews and others and on the environment.
We should also consider the many violations of Jewish teachings related to animal-based diets and modern intensive livestock agriculture.
When Judaism mandates that we treat animals with compassion, can we ignore the cruel treatment of animals on factory farms, where they are raised in cramped, confined spaces without sunlight, fresh air, or opportunities to fulfil their natural instincts?
When Judaism stresses that we must diligently protect our health, can we ignore that animal-based diets are major contributors to the epidemic of heart disease, many forms of cancer, and other killer diseases and ailments afflicting the Jewish community and others?
When Judaism mandates that we be partners with God in protecting the environment, can we ignore the significant contributions of animal-centered agriculture to air, water, and land pollution, species extinction, deforestation, global climate change, water shortages, and many other environmental threats?
Richard H. Schwartz, Ph.D.
College of Staten Island
Staten Island, NY
Remember The Christian Zionists
The following are excerpts from a letter written to President Bush during my stay at the Renaissance Hotel in Jerusalem:
“Yesterday I spent the entire day with opponents of the road map disengagement peace plan. The news media declare that most Israelis favor disengagement from Gaza. (The same news media, sir, that according to their exit polls had you losing all day long on Nov. 2.) It would appear to them that the only opposition to this road map-disengagement plan comes from the 8,000 Jewish settlers who will be uprooted from their homes, a handful of Israeli ‘right-wing extremists,’ and a few Christian Zionists in America.
“Mr. President, most of these so-called settlers I was among yesterday are religious, idealistic young families struggling to make ends meet. They live quietly and peacefully. They haven’t smuggled any weapons, blown up buses or hotel lobbies, or launched rockets against their neighbors. (Nor have they cut anyone’s throats and drunk their blood – as Islamists did in the Ivory Coast where our son is a missionary.)
“Mr. President, those ‘few Christian Zionists’ are 40 million of we folk who say we are ‘born again’ Christians. And, sir, it is time you remember our ‘political capital’ in your reelection and listen to the concerns we have about this little nation of Israel, the physical inheritors of this land, according to the God of the Bible, the God of Israel whom you and I and these other 39,999,998 Christian Zionists in America worship.
“Day before yesterday, a leftist news media type questioned me. ‘Don’t you want to see the end of the cycle of violence by the renewal of the peace process?’ My reply was, ‘The peace process has very little to do with peace for Israel.’ To the news media, the road map disengagement plan means Arabs killing Jews and Israel doing nothing to stop them.
“Sir, if nothing happens to prevent it, your road map peace plan will take them to exactly that spot. Contrary to the belief of the news media and the politicians, the Gaza Strip is not ‘Palestinian land.’ Most of the Arabs living there are not indigenous. From 1948 to 1967 Egypt illegally occupied Gaza and used it to stage terrorist attacks against Israel. Those 19 years are the only period in history when Jews were completely barred from living there.
“The ‘peace-loving Palestinians’ say that as soon as the ‘Israeli occupation’ ends, Gaza will become a peaceful, secure democratic Palestinian state. Mr. President, there is not a single democratic state in the entire Arab word! Why will this one be different?
“Hamas will take over control of Gaza when the Israelis leave, sir. And then ‘Gaza-hamas-stan’ will become the largest protected terrorist camp in the world. Innocent Israeli women and children will continue to die. Why? Because the Islamists (who attacked us on 9/11 with Arafat’s favorite choice of weapon – hijacked airplanes) are not one bit interested in ending the so-called cycle of violence – not their part of the cycle, anyway.”
Pastor Jim Vineyard
Windsor Hills Baptist Church
Oklahoma City, OK
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parently an affront to J Street’s worldview, the focus of which appears to be the creation of a Palestinian State, whether or not that will bring peace.
The importance of the caucus on organ harvesting in China, sponsored recently by the Liberal Lobby in the Knesset, cannot be exaggerated.
My mother, the eldest daughter of Reb Yaakov Kamenetsky, zt”l, was niftar last month at the age of 92. She took her last breath in her home in Efrat, Israel, next door to the shul that was my father’s for 24 years before his passing in 2007.
Following the Boston Marathon bombing, one crucial point will likely remain overlooked. The most loathsome aspect of this or any other terror bombing attack on civilians will always lie in the inexpressibility of physical pain. While all decent people will abhor the idea of bombs expressly directed at the innocent, whether here or in other countries, none will ever be able to process the very deepest horrors of what has been inflicted.
It’s only natural to see increasing evidence of Jerusalem’s glorious Jewish past being unearthed, quite literally, under modern Israeli sovereignty. The new archaeological finds are also very timely – as the Arab onslaught attempting to detach Jerusalem from its Jewish roots gains steam, the facts on the ground, or “under” the ground, show quite otherwise.
The Talmud (Berachot 26b) says, “tefillot avot tiknum” – “prayer was established by the avot.” The Talmud then uses the following verse (Bereshit 19:27) to prove how Avraham established prayer: “Vayaskem Avraham baboker el hamakom asher amad sham et pnei Hashem” – “And Avraham got up early in the morning to the place where he had stood before God.”
Nearly 13 years ago, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak journeyed to Camp David to end the conflict with the Palestinians. With the approval of President Clinton, he offered Yasir Arafat an independent Palestinian state in almost all of the West Bank, Gaza and in part of Jerusalem. Arafat said no.
The news that the Internal Revenue Service unfairly targeted conservative groups has brought renewed spotlight on a 2010 lawsuit filed by the pro-Israel group Z Street, which alleges it was also singled out by the IRS when applying for tax-exempt status.
In an editorial last week (“Circling the Wagons”) we noted the efforts by the administration and its supporters to dismiss allegations that the government’s spin on the Benghazi attack was designed to shield the president and that the IRS was improperly used to stifle opposition to Mr. Obama’s reelection.
As the controversies besetting the Obama administration continue to grow in number and intensity, the prospect that President Obama would seriously consider military action against Iran, should that country continue its drive to become a nuclear power, becomes more and more remote. So we welcome the current enhancement of sanctions against Iran on the federal and New York State levels.
To his parents’ friends, he was “Mrs. Greenberg’s disgrace,” but to sports fans he is one of the greatest – if not the greatest – Jewish baseball players of all time. Long before Sandy Koufax, Hank Greenberg excited Jewish sports fans with his prowess on the baseball diamond.
To eat is to live – to keep our physical bodies alive. For without the body, there is nothing. No experience. No memory. No joy and no hardship. But man, unlike animals, eats to live and to enjoy. So how should a Jew respond when he is challenged as to why he imposes upon himself not just ceremonies dedicated to the enjoyment of eating but even more to the limiting of what he can eat?
Let’s think what OUR interest is, and act according to it.
This past Friday, I went shopping at a local supermarket and noticed a piece of paper on the floor with what looked like Hebrew lettering. On closer examination, I was shocked to see that this small pamphlet with some form off advertising contained the full text of “Krias Shma al Hamitta,” (the Shma Israel recited [...]
Dear Editor, I read with interest Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu’s February 24, 2013 article entitled, Women of the Wall Rabbi Calls Knesset Achashverosh. In 2003, the Israeli Supreme Court issued a decision that allows Women of the Wall to pray at the Kotel once a month on Rosh Hodesh. That is why Women of the Wall only [...]
Today is my brother’s second yartzheit and a Torah was dedicated in his memory.
I know that some people in heterosexual families see themselves as underdog victims harassed by threatening gays.
In Praise Of Marc Shapiro (I) I thoroughly enjoyed Elliot Resnick’s interview with Professor Marc Shapiro (“Things Once Taken For Granted Are Now Considered Unacceptable,” April 27). It’s a real credit to The Jewish Press that the article ran at all, which is a sad commentary on the state of Orthodoxy today and the fearful, [...]
Correct Distinctions Kenneth Levin’s April 20 front-page essay (“The Empty Rage of Jewish ‘Progressives‘“) makes precisely the correct distinctions between Alvin Rosenfeld’s monograph and the responses of his detractors. If they don’t want to be lumped together with self-styled progressives who delegitimize Israel, they should watch the company they keep. Richard Sherwin(Via E-Mail) No Debate Lately there [...]
Independence Day The celebration of Yom Ha’atzmaut is a declaration that the Nazis failed to obliterate four millennia of Jewish life. But while we’ve earned the right to rejoice, let there be no illusions. Once again, the very nations that stood idly by while millions of innocent Jews were slaughtered are jeopardizing Israel’s survival. The [...]
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