Adelson Will Be Missed
With a deep sense of sorrow and loss, I must express my sadness to the family and friends of Professor Howard Adelson, a”h, and to all the staff of The Jewish Press.
This reader regularly enjoyed and appreciated his insightful analysis, his sharp efficient writing style, and his mince-no-words approach to the issues he addressed. The pain of his absence will linger, for his uniqueness cannot be replaced.
Speaking as a friend in spirit, I thank you for all you have given us, and may your many friends in spirit pay tribute to your memory.
Ignoring The Issue
I commend The Jewish Press for its refusal to buy into the mass pretense that Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupoliansky is somehow not ducking the upcoming homosexual festival in his city. The issue was not even mentioned in any of the numerous soirees held for him on his recent visit to the U.S. Not at the Agudah Convention, and not at the Boro Park breakfast.
In fact, I understand from someone who was there that it was only at a press conference after the formal part of the breakfast that a representative of The Jewish Press raised the issue – to the visible consternation of both Councilman Simcha Felder and Mayor Lupoliansky
I am sick and tired of these make-nice lovefests. There are serious issues out there, and we have a right to expect that those who want our respect earn it by squarely facing them.
Disagrees On Riskin
Re your Dec. 12 editorial ‘A Shocking Affront’:
There you go again. How is it that you have the chutzpah to challenge the interpretation of a recognized scholar like Rabbi Steven Riskin? Not only is he the officially recognized chief rabbi of Efrat, but he is acknowledged as a spiritual leader by thousands. What entitles the
Jewish Press to challenge that judgment?
And by what right does The Jewish Press dismiss “today’s popular rabbinic discourse” as being presumptuous? Would you deny the modern- day rabbinate the right to share inventive biblical insights? Did creative Torah scholarship end centuries ago?
New York, NY
In With The Modern!
Once again, Neanderthal-like, The Jewish Press has denigrated modern religious scholarship. You seem to be unable to come to terms with the fact that modern Jews think and are not prepared to limit their understanding of the Torah to the thinking of the past, no matter the
source. Please understand that I am not suggesting that we discard or ignore the past, but for the life of me I wonder why The Jewish Press is so down on our current leaders. It’s almost as if you want to see the Judaism of the 21st century held captive to what was taught many years
ago, and that you view those who are committed to those teachings as the only legitimate gatekeepers.
Too Soft On Truman
In his Jewish Press front-page essay purporting to “deconstruct” the Mideast strategy of George W. Bush, Mitchell G. Bard offers readers a bucolic view of former president Harry Truman – a view that, given historical reality, is deeply flawed.
This flaw is most glaring when Bard advances his adulatory theory of a supposedly friendly and sympathetic Truman compelled to make the “difficult” choice between, on the one hand, Secretary of State George C. Marshall and Defense Secretary James Forrestal, both of whom bitterly opposed recognition of a Jewish state, and, on the other hand, presidential advisers Clark Clifford and David Niles, both of whom favored recognition.
The choice facing Truman should not have been difficult in any event, but especially not with the horrors of the Holocaust still so fresh in everyone’s mind. The UN resolution in question was merely to partition the land between an Arab state and a minuscule and truncated Jewish
And when the Jews of the newly created State of Israel needed his help the most, the ‘sympathetic’ Truman embargoed arms essential for their survival. The only means the Jews had of securing arms to defend themselves was through purchases on the open market of surplus military stocks from World War II. The funds came from contributions of Jews around the world, collected at functions, meetings, synagogues, etc.
Truman was actually annoyed to receive many letters from Jews urging him to recognize, and later to arm, the new Jewish state. Yes, Truman worked with a number of Jews, including the legendary Bernard Baruch, Henry Morgenthau, Jr., and others, but he had a dark side when
it came to his views on the Jews – a side Bard ignores.
Others, including the columnist Sid Zion, have offered a much more realistic assessment of the reason for Truman?s grudging recognition of Israel: It was not so much out of any sense of compassion for the world’s surviving and persecuted Jews, but, rather, as a way to ensure Jewish loyalty in the 1948 election that, at the time, he seemed certain to lose to Thomas Dewey, the popular Republican governor of New York.
Truman was never a friend of the Jews, just another typical political exploiter of Jewish votes. Anti-Semitism flourished in America in those war years, and the White House was no exception.
I enjoy the “Machberes” column by Rabbi Gershon Tannenbaum very much.
However, something about last week’s story “Vishnitzer Shidduch” didn’t seem quite right. The column began by telling us that a gentleman named Dovid Hager became engaged. To whom? He became engaged to “the daughter of Rabbi Yitzchok Yochanan Hager, Williamsburg
The article continued by informing us of the name of the kalah’s grandfather and the names of the chasan’s father and grandfather. What was not mentioned at all in the entire article? The kalah’s name! Is her name not as important as the chasan’s name? In the section of the kesubah where the kalah’s name is supposed to appear, is her name going to be written in, or is it just going to say “HaKalah bas Rav Yitzchok Yochanan?” I don’t think the kesubah will be valid if they do that.
In the future please include the actual name of the kalah so that your readers will know that the kalah is worthy of getting married for reasons other than being the daughter of a chassidishe rav.
Barry J. Koppel
Kew Gardens Hills, NY
Editorial ‘Off The Mark’
Usually, even when I do not agree with them, I find Jewish Press
editorials to be well thought out. Nonetheless, the final two paragraphs
of the Nov. 21 editorial titled “The Number 50” was, in my estimation,
way off the mark from an authentic Jewish perspective. I quote:
“A review of the Forward 50 makes clear that the Forward’s agenda of secularizing Judaism is being pursued with a vengeance. The inclusion of Ruth Messinger – described as the executive director of the American Jewish World Service, “a smaller agency making grants to Third World anti-hunger projects and deploying Jewish volunteers in Peace Corps-style programs to fight poverty and disease” – is but one of many examples.
“In any event, it occurred to us that if the cumulative contributions of them all were as significant as reported, why in Heaven’s Name isn’t the world in better shape than it is? I have no real argument with the editorial’s central point that the Forward was glorifying an overly secular Jewish approach with its list. The example cited, however, is that of a Jewish person dedicated to fighting poverty and disease around the world. What better kiddush Hashem could there be? Doesn’t The Jewish Press itself often highlight and feature (and rightly so) Israeli medical teams and army specialty units that assist other countries in cases of earthquakes or epidemics)? Is not the learning of Torah meant to sensitize us and teach us how to do more chesed for more people, and to refine our morality and ethics?
Unfortunately, this editorial appears to presume as a forgone conclusion that the mission of this person is antithetical to supposedly more authentic Jewish activities (like sitting and learning in one’s arba amot?). I might not have been all that surprised to find this assumption, unfortunately, in other Orthodox publications, but I never would have expected it from The Jewish Press.
Finally, the editorial?s final paragraph is just silly and glib. This question could easily be turned around and asked about our many great rabbanim and teachers today and throughout history. But do we degrade the incredible accomplishments of our Torah leaders throughout the
generations by questioning why, in light of those accomplishments, the world is not ‘in better shape than it is?’
Letters to the Editor
Editor’s Response: The point of our editorial was not to denigrate the good deeds the Forward looked to as qualification for inclusion on its list, or indeed those who performed them. What we continue to object to is any notion that the good deeds
define one as a Jew rather than as a good person who happens to be Jewish. Surely, under that logic, even non-Jews would qualify for the list.
The premise of the Forward list is that if one contributes positively to the common good, it matters not whether one even thinks about the observance of the Sabbath, the laws of kashruth, family purity, etc. We think it does matter – a great deal, in fact
– whether one commits to the observance of mitzvot as mitzvot.
In sum, while everything Jewish is good, not everything good is peculiarly Jewish. Put another way, Judaism is a normative faith.
Finally, our “silly and glib” observation about the sad state of affairs was a reaction in kind to the sophomoric, feel-good aura surrounding the Forward’s list.
Gore, Dean, And The Zeitgeist Of The Democratic Party
While Al Gore’s recent endorsement of Howard Dean for the Democratic presidential nomination created a media feeding frenzy, I sat back and said to myself, “No big surprise here.”
What shocks me is the number of pundits asking how Gore could have done this to poor, loyal Joe Lieberman. Again, why the surprise? When did the Clinton/Gore team ever reward loyalty unless there was something to be gained in return?
The bigger story is that this just validates all the op-eds I’ve written suggesting that Orthodox
Jews do not belong in the Democratic party. When Lieberman was selected by Gore in 2000, I wrote that his role was two-fold: to make the party kosher and, as one Democrat strategist put it, to “take G-d back” from the Republicans.
Well, three years have gone by and I guess the Democrats don’t need G-d anymore.
When Gore needed an image makeover after eight years of sexual misconduct and other bad
behavior in the White House by President Clinton, he picked a man who is a Sabbath observer, eats kosher, and is not uncomfortable talking about his faith.
Three years ago, Lieberman was applauded by many for speaking of the importance of G-d and faith. Now, Democratic front-runner Howard Dean says we should ignore “issues like G-d, gays, guns, and abortion.”
This total reversal in Gore’s mind as to who better represents the hearts and minds of
Democrats should help answer the question voters have been asking for two years, namely: “I wonder how Al Gore would have responded to 9-11 had he been president?”
It was just prior to the impeachment hearings on President Clinton that Senator Lieberman
announced from the Senate floor that President Clinton behaved inappropriately. For this he was lionized as “the conscience of the Senate.”
It seems now that neither conscience nor honor is a qualification required by the Democratic
I wonder whether those Jewish voters who say that a candidate’s support for Israel is
paramount will vote for a Democrat like Howard Dean (assuming he wins the Democratic
nomination) – a man who has called for even-handedness in how the U.S. views the
EDITOR’S NOTE: Mr. Skorski is a Republican activist and frequent op-ed
contributor to The Jewish Press.
Defending Israel’s Borders
Clinton Championed ‘Greater Israel’?
I found Joseph Schick’s article (“Defending Israel’s Right To Secure Borders,” Dec. 12) to be a valuable historical lesson. But while few would deny the wording and intent of Resolution 242, the sad fact is that not a single American administration since 1948 has embraced the idea of a “greater Israel.” At the risk of sounding heretical, Bill Clinton came closer than anyone. President Bush is not even a close second. And Mr. Schick does not offer anything to counter the apparent reality that the U.S., as far as Israel is concerned, is the only game in town.
What About The Palestinians?
Given the length of Joseph Schick’s article, it would have been nice if he spent a few lines
focusing on the dilemma that has confronted every Israeli government: what to do with the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who live there. Perhaps the Pereses and Beilins of the world are more in touch with reality than the Schicks. Certainly they deserve better than to be portrayed as craven appeasers.
Joseph Schick is like many of us in the Jewish community. We seem to think that the world is the Jewish people writ large. It may surprise us that out there in the boonies, there is scant support for Israeli triumphalism even as there is support for Israel as a home for the Jews. We mix the two notions at our peril.
New York, NY
Worth The Wait
At long last a carefully presented, cogent statement of Israel’s rights in Judea and Samaria. We should all now resolve to bring this message to Washington and our elected officials: We will not be misled by political and diplomatic chicanery. Thank you, Joseph Schick, for a well-researched, well-written article. I’ve waited for something like this for a long, long time and e-mailed it to several friends and relatives.
Armed with Mr. Schick’s vast arsenal of quotes taken straight from the mouths of so many
diplomats, leaders and other notables, I already have forced several of my leftist friends to
reconsider their cherished little myths. Articles like Mr. Schick’s are what make The Jewish Press stand out.