I am looking for Arthur Kurtz, whose photograph of my late husband, Rabbi Meir Kahane, zt”l, appeared in a Brooklyn College newspaper in 1974. I’d appreciate hearing from him, or anyone knowing his whereabouts, to request permission to use the photo in a book about Rabbi Kahane. I may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Olmert’s Chelm (I)
Chelm beyond Chelm certainly describes Israeli politics today as illuminated in the December 1 issue of The Jewish Press. The front-page essay was a chilling interview by Aaron Klein of a potential suicide bomber. In the main news story on the same page we read that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert can’t wait to give away to our enemies more Jewish land in Judea and Samaria, “to establish an independent and viable Palestinian state with Israel’s blessing.”
Then on page two we read about how Olmert and his defense minister, Amir Peretz, are engaged in an argument about who should get the credit for the latest “cease-fire” in which the fire has not ceased.
Boy, do we ever need Moshiach now!
Olmert’s Chelm (II)
Has Olmert’s Israel become Chelm? The defenseless citizens of Sderot are suffering constant injuries and fatalities resulting from the bombardment by rockets and mortars fired from Gaza. The official response, as reported in The Jewish Press of Dec. 8, (page 46) is to build a new medical facility in Sderot!
In Chelm, the railing had broken off from the walkway of an old bridge and the residents of Chelm were falling off the bridge in large numbers. After much debate, the town elders solved the problem – they ordered a first-aid station to be built under the bridge!
George E. Rubin
New York, New York
In her continuing series on why married women should cover their hair, Rebbetzin Jungreis stated, “The Queen of England will not be seen without some sort of hat covering her head.”
Ironically, the very same issue of The Jewish Press (Dec. 8) featured a front-page photograph in which the Queen is seen, very much bareheaded, accepting a gift of a menorah from the British chief rabbi.
Consider The Source
Professor Yakov M. Rabkin of the University of Montreal last week took to the pages of The Jewish Press to defend anti-Zionism against the charge that it is poorly disguised anti-Semitism (Letters, Dec. 8).
Without even taking a breath he defended at one and the same time the Neturei Karta cult and far-left anti-Zionists as sincere believers in peace. He also cited as a “patriot” Professor Joseph Agassi of Tel Aviv University, citing Agassi’s statement that “As an Israeli patriot, I consider it essential to integrate the discourse of Judaic anti-Zionism into the badly needed public debate about our past, present and future.”
What the good professor Rabkin conveniently forgot to mention in his letter is that he himself is a longtime advocate of the “One State Solution” (also known as the Rwanda Solution) by which Israel will no longer exist as a Jewish state (http://www.one-democratic-state.org/articles/rabkin/html). When he is not turning out anti-Zionist boilerplate for PLO-front websites, Rabkin writes for the extreme left-wing Tikkun magazine.
As for Agassi, he happens to be a far-left anti-Israel radical from Tel Aviv University, which is crawling with such people. No wonder Rabkin writes of him with such fawning approval.
Foxman’s Unconvincing Argument
Last week’s letter from ADL National Director Abraham Foxman was vintage Foxman. He focused on the final paragraph of your editorial of the previous week (“Foxman Hearts Chirac,” Dec. 1), which speculated that given the award Foxman was presented with by French President Chirac, the Anti-Defamation League might, in the future, go easy on France.
But Foxman totally ignored the thrust of the editorial – namely, the damning evidence you presented against Chirac (including some statements sharply critical of Chirac made by Foxman himself some years back) regarding Israel. The substance of the editorial rendered incomprehensible Foxman’s praise of Chirac for his “strength, moral courage and friendship to the Jewish state and people.”
I also found disingenuous Foxman’s account of how he provided a forum for the mother of the young French Jew murdered in a bias attack in Paris and how he called for an investigation into how the police handled the matter. He obviously wants us to think that, notwithstanding his award, ADL will pull no punches where France is concerned. He failed to convince me.
Who authorized Abe Foxman to tell the world on behalf of the Jewish community that Chirac’s ongoing challenges to the U.S. and his continuing antipathy to Israel don’t really amount to much?
Chirac obviously saw Foxman as an easy mark – someone who, in his zeal for the spotlight, could be used as a prop in the French government’s attempts at damage control in the wake of the terrible Halimi killing.
It’s time Foxman got over his delusions of grandeur and realize that the size of his salary is in no way a realistic measure of his importance.
Terrorists In Paradise
In Aaron Klein’s Dec. 1 front-page essay (“Face to Face With My Potential Killer”), the potential Palestinian suicide bomber understates the fact that his driving force is sexual gratification in paradise.
The Gemara (Sanhedrin 63a) says that Jews fell for the sin of meaningless idolatry because it was used as a pretext to engage in sexual promiscuity. By the same token, the suicide bombers – young men with raging hormones – are using wars in which Muslims are the supposed victims as a cover for their real motivation: the reward of bedding 72 virgins in the afterlife, as they have been indoctrinated with this nonsense.
Re: “The Menorah Controversy” (news story, Dec. 8):
I am pleased to report that in late November the Fair Lawn, New Jersey municipal council voted 4-1 to include a Chanukah menorah as part of the town’s holiday display. The lone vote against this was cast by the borough’s Jewish mayor. This brings to an end nearly thirty years of controversy, petitions, and adverse publicity for the town regarding the erection of a Jewish holiday symbol near a municipally sponsored Christmas tree. In a town whose population is close to 45 percent Jewish, these citizens can finally feel equally represented.
Kudos to Rabbi Levi Neubort and Dr. Scott D. Lippe who advocated tirelessly for this cause over these past many years. Fair Lawn now joins approximately 28 other municipalities in New Jersey – as well as the White House, the State House, and the Great Wall of China – in including a Chanukah menorah as part of their festive holiday displays.
Rabbi Dr. Avi Kuperberg
Fair Lawn, NJ
Your columnist Rabbi David Hollander implies that those who demand conferences on issues such as the plight of agunot are arrogant, uninformed rejecters of Torah and halacha.
I am only concerned about the welfare of my daughters as they approach marriageable age. Shall I recommend to them a ketubah document that protects them for only 200 zuzim and could subject them to literal imprisonment by some mean-spirited man? I want rebbeim to step up to the plate and assure me it’s safe to have a ketubah. People are scared. Let’s have a conference.
Forest Of Signs
There seems to be a widespread need to plaster throughout the Orthodox Jewish community advertisements promoting various causes and/or individuals. I have long questioned whether we should be using public property such as lampposts or trees to promote distinctively Jewish causes. Even if the letter of the law is observed in terms of ad size and timely removal, it still constitutes, in my humble opinion, inappropriate advertising of purely religious institutions and causes in less than ideal settings.
Among other things, signs fall down, purposely or otherwise, and the faces of our gedolim are trampled on by many who mean us no good. Also, notices of lectures addressing problems in our community serve to tell the world that all is not well in our midst. Do all of the residents of the Midwood/Flatbush and Boro Park communities have to know about our children at risk, our developmentally challenged persons, our shalom bayis problems, and other unfortunate situations?
I think the answer is obvious.
To the best of my knowledge, virtually every adult in the Orthodox community has at least one phone as well as access to e-mail, either at home or at work (or both). There must be a way (phone, e-mail) by which anyone who needs to know about an event can be notified. I know The Jewish Press has a community calendar, as do other publications reaching our communities.
There is no reason why every event or visit by an important person has to bring with it news of the event or pictures of rabbinical leaders stuck to every second lamppost or tree. In my opinion, no event promoting kavod haTorah (honoring of the Torah) justifies a situation that leads to zilzul haTorah (degradation of the Torah).
Chazzanim In A Hurry
I get very frustrated when I cannot keep up with the chazzan in shul. I try to say my prayers word for word and sometimes would like to look at the English, but I don’t have time. Isn’t the chazzan supposed to represent all the congregants? Doesn’t he know the law is not to rush, but to give us a chance to keep up?
I realize there are congregants in the morning or afternoon who have to get going – so why can’t the services start five minutes earlier? This rushing is also done on Shabbos, when we are not supposed to be in a hurry.
The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (14:2) states that Pesukei Dezimrah are not to be said hurriedly and (14:7) that “If the worshiper sees that even if he begins with the benediction Yotzer Or he will not be able to read the Shemoneh Esreh with the congregation unless he reads the prayers very quickly, then it is best that he pray by himself, according to the prescribed order, slowly and meditatively.”
Because of this rushing, many worshipers do not find davening with some chazzanim very meaningful. On the other hand, if a chazzan says the prayers with more feeling, it may inspire others to join him.