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September 3, 2014 / 8 Elul, 5774
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We Weep For The Beautiful Children Of Newtown


Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Have you ever asked yourself, “How does G-d look upon us? How does He see us? Has it ever occurred to any of us that He is asking, “For this, you human beings created new technologies; for this you created and sacrificed and spent billions? For this?”

Never mind your new or latest laptop or cell phone. It doesn’t mean a thing. Instead of priding yourself in the new and latest gadget, teach yourself and teach your children to be menschen. For that is what life is all about, and if you don’t have that, you nothing.

(Continued Next Week)

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One Response to “We Weep For The Beautiful Children Of Newtown”

  1. Marc Mermelstein says:

    I think the Rebbetzin's view is a bit off on this. First, she is factually incorrect. She speaks of the easy availability of automatic weapons. First, the weapons used were semi-automatic. Automatic means the trigger is squeezed and every available bullet is fired. Semi-automatic means only one bullet goes for every time the trigger is squeezed. Automatic weapons are hard to get and require special permits from the federal government (ATF) and you must be in one of the few states that permit them. This makes me wonder whether the Rebbetzin was just ill-informed and didn't investigate for herself, or whether she's promoting an agenda and misleading her readers.

    Regardless of this error on her part, I believe the issue isn't guns (which I'll mention some of my views at the end). The issue is that our society has contradictory views on mental health. We think it's important, but we don't want to spend money on it. We don't want to make anyone feel excluded or make them feel bad so we "mainstream" people with mental and emotional disabilities. But we use that same term to get rid of aggressive or disruptive kids from regular classes. Many friends of mine who are special ed teachers tell me that the kids who are disruptive to class or fight get labeled as special ed so the regular teachers don't have to deal with them. I think we just don't accept that there are bad kids or evil people.

    I would suggest the solution to the issue (in general terms) is that we should expand the mental health system in the country. Remove the stigma from it. That means that even if someone goes for treatment, it shouldn't affect their ability to have a job or even own a gun (except, of course, if they are possibly dangerous). If we make it too restrictive, people will skip going for help. We need to address people's issues and help them in society. Treating people with aggressive tendencies as "special ed" can lead to resentment and can lead to people like this shooter in CT.

    The issue, in my opinion is simply that. Not guns. Not video games. There is no culture of violence per se. Improved mental health and parents taking an active role in parenting instead of making it someone else's problem (nannies, schools, after school programs, etc). This will help us avoid these massacres but they will never be eliminated even if guns were removed (See Dunblane, England where a taxi driver with a gun massacred people and China the past two years where there have been numerous school attacks with knives and other sharps objects).

    On the issue of guns, I think it's irresponsible as Jews to suggest removing guns or restricting them. The framers of the Constitution incorporated the right to own guns to protect ourselves from a tyrannical government. As Jews we know the need to protect ourselves. One day the government is our friend. The next our enemy. Even in recent memory, a small country called Germany was friendly to Jews. Then they required everyone to register guns. Then they confiscated the guns from the Jews. We all know what happened next. Jews were unable to protect themselves. We've been kicked out of most every country in some pogrom or another. When will we learn the need to defend ourselves and know how to fight (like Avraham Avinu taught his yeshiva to fight so they were able to go rescue Lot — or if you prefer to take the midrash literally, it was only Eliezer, but none-the-less they knew to fight)? When will we stop believing that the gov't that is our friend now will not always be our friend? If we increase gun control, we only hurt ourselves later. While this may be a mean or heartbreaking calculation, I'd rather the chance of 20 Newtowns and not 6,000,000. God willing, we'll never need guns to protect ourselves against America. In which case the massacred children are a sad loss. If we ever do, it was well worth it.

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