web analytics
December 3, 2016 / 3 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘letters’

Letters, Postcards, Show a Jewish-Identified, Pro-Zionist Author Stefan Zweig Who Prophesied Rise of Nazism

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

In 1921, Austrian Jewish novelist, playwright, journalist and biographer Stefan Zweig received a letter from a 16-year-old fan named Hans Rosenkranz, who was seeking advice on becoming a writer. Zweig, who was 40 at the time, wrote back, beginning a long correspondence that turned into a mentoring relationship. From 1921 until Adolf Hitler seized power in 1933, Zweig offered Rosenkranz professional, moral, and even financial support.

The 26 letters and six postcards – all previously unknown, have recently been given to the National Library of Israel. They shed new light on Zweig’s personality, his attitudes toward Judaism and Zionism, and his political prophecy, as he alludes to the rise of Nazism 12 years before the harrowing event.

The letters have been donated to the National Library of Israel by Hannah Jacobcon, Rosenkranz’s step daughter, who lives in the coastal city of Bat Yam, Israel. At the time, Zweig gave Rosenkranz, who had become a publisher, the right to print and market the German version of Anatole France’s “Joan of Arc,” translated by Friderike Zweig, the author’s his first wife.

In their correspondence, Zweig discussed Jewish topics, such as his note in his first response letter: “There is nothing I hate more than the self-worship of nations and their refusal to recognize a variety of forms of peoples and the types of human beings and to experience them as the beauty of being. In terms of history, it is simply clear to me that certainly Judaism is now thriving culturally and flourishing as it has not flourished for hundreds of years. Perhaps this is the flare up before extinguishing. Perhaps this is nothing other than a brief burst in the eruption of the world’s hatred. […] The Jew must be proud of his Judaism and glorify in it – yet it is not appropriate to brag about accomplishments you have achieved with your own hands, not to mention the accomplishments of a mass and homogenous body to which you belong. […] Anti-Semitism, hatred, internal strife are all ancient elements of our historical destiny – always problematic. […] We must therefore look for a way out; we must be brave to remain within our destiny. If Judaism is a tragedy, let us live it.”

In response to Rosenkranz’s inquiry about Zweig’s opinion regarding immigrating to the Land of Israel, Zweig, who had never visited then Mandatory Palestine, was not in favor of the idea, telling the younger man about the death of the son of a friend who had immigrated there, which left his father “a broken vessel.”

On the other hand, Zweig admired Theodore Herzl, writing his protégé: “In recent days I have read Herzl’s diaries: so great was the idea, so pure, so long as it was just a dream, clean of politics and sociology. […] We, who were close to him, were hesitant to hand all of our lives over to him. […] I told him that I cannot do anything which is not complete. […] Art and the world as a whole were too important for me to devote myself to the nation and nothing else. […] Go there only if you believe, not out of disgust from this German world nor due to bitterness seeking an outlet through escape.”

However, according to Amos Elon, Zweig called Herzl’s book Der Judenstaat an “obtuse text, [a] piece of nonsense.”

Rosenkranz was unable to fulfill his literary ambitions. In the early 1930s, he married Lily Hyman, a divorcee and mother of a very young daughter. The family immigrated to Palestine in December 1933 and several years later Rosenkranz joined the Jewish Brigade of the British Army as an officer in a unit that fought in Italy during World War II. During the war, he contracted lung disease from which he never fully recovered.

 

Casa Stefan Zweig, the last residence of Stefan Zweig and his wife in Petrópolis (Brazil), where the couple committed suicide in 1942.

Casa Stefan Zweig, the last residence of Stefan Zweig and his second wife in Petrópolis (Brazil), where the couple committed suicide in 1942.

According to the National Library of Israel, which invites the public to come and view the new collection, Hans Rosenkranz committed suicide in 1956, after having immigrated to Israel. Fourteen years earlier, in 1942, Zweig, on the day after completing his memoir, The World of Yesterday, also committed suicide, together with his wife Lotte Altmann. Rosenkranz’s step daughter Hannah Jacobsohn, a retired police officer, told National Library archivists that her stepfather had a very broad education and vast knowledge of literature and art. In addition to his long correspondence with Zweig, she has learned that Rosenkranz also corresponded with writers Thomas Mann, Klaus Mann, and Franz Goldstein, to name a few.

JNi.Media

Letters To The Editor

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

Yaffa Eliach, A”H

I was saddened to read in last week’s Jewish Press about the recent passing of Yaffa Eliach. I had the privilege of taking many of her courses while majoring in Judaic Studies at Brooklyn College. Not only was she a brilliant scholar, author, and historian, she was also a captivating professor whose lectures inspired and educated many on the horrors of the Holocaust.

She was a living role model and I am proud to have been one of her many pupils. I highly recommend her book There Once Was a World to anyone who wants to learn more about the beauty of prewar shtetl life.

Ita Yankovich
Brooklyn, NY

 

Same Old Song?

The promise of Donald Trump to move the U. S. embassy to Jerusalem reminds me of the words from a Frank Sinatra classic – “I’ve heard that song before, it’s from an old familiar score.”

Certainly the promise has been made by previous presidential candidates and presidents but has always been reneged on. The old excuse is that such a move would harm negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. That view, endorsed by our State Department, ignores the fact that meaningful negotiations are almost never a factor during any presidential administration.

Nelson Marans
(Via E-Mail)

 

The Triumph Of Arab Lies

As Sara Lehmann so well noted (“The Right Angle” column, Nov. 18), UNESCO has entirely endorsed Muslim claims while totally rejecting Jewish, and by extension, Christian, connections to Judaism’s holiest sites in Jerusalem, the Temple Mount, and Western Wall.

What, though, could possibly have made those sites so special, a full millennium before Christianity, and a further half millennium prior to Islam? How could those diabolically clever Jews have woven such fantastic fables about Jewish kingdoms and two magnificent Temples, planted fake artifacts from these storied periods in anticipation of their much later discovery, and even enlisted the Romans into this scam, with their depicted Temple Menorah on the Arch of Titus?

How were they so able to fool themselves into suffusing Jewish prayer with repeated references to Jerusalem and those Temples, even descending into deep mourning for them every midsummer?

As for Christians, why did they waste so much blood and treasure seeking to capture sites seemingly of no significance to them? Why is there, further, no mention in vast historical records of any background “native” Palestinians, but voluminous references to the Jews in early Common Era histories?

Rhetorical questions all, but highly revelatory, exposing the Palestinian “narrative” for the utter fraud that it is. Absent concerted pushback, however, the Palestinians and their allies have managed to convince too many among the gullible, and have bullied many countries into either supporting or acquiescing in their blatant lies.

With no credible arguments whatsoever, they nonetheless have proven themselves the world’s premier propagandists.

Richard D. Wilkins
Syracuse, NY
 

Alternate Reality

You are absolutely correct (“The Fictive Reality Grows,” editorial, Nov. 11) that “It seems clear…the Palestinians are bent on using their instant majority at the UN and its popular agencies to manufacture a version of reality more supportive of their political narrative than the actual historical record” with their “demand that UNESCO pass a resolution calling on Israel to turn over the Dead Sea Scrolls to the Palestinians.”

Maybe they will next press for a UN Security Council resolution demanding that Jews throughout the world be condemned for using the words “Hama’ariv Aravim” – a “clearly racist” praise of the Almighty that “obviously” means “mixes up the Arabs” – and that contrasts sharply with the “chauvinist” conclusion of the next paragraph, “Ohev Amo Yisrael” (“Who loves His people Israel.”

Martin D. Stern
Salford, England

 

 

When Leftists Supported Israel

To me, one of the most interesting things about the Bergson Group, which did so much for the Jewish people during the years prior to Israel’s war for independence, is how much support they gained from people on the left, liberals as well as radicals.

Those many left-wing supporters included Max Lerner, Pierre Van Paassen, Paul O’Dwyer, Harold Ickes, Adlai Stevenson, Lord Wedgewood, and Eugene O’Neil.

Max Lerner put it this way:

“As it happened I worked with a group…which refused to admit of Jewish powerlessness…. it was led by Peter Bergson and a small group of Palestinian Jews…. the trouble was that the Palestinian Jews were Irgun members who worked with Jabotinsky’s revisionist Zionists. That was enough to damn them in the eyes of the Jewish establishment. I was a gulf apart from them politically. But I thought first things first, and the first thing was to arouse America to action.”

Pierre Van Paassen was so far left that he thought many of the pre-World War II policies of the European powers were aimed at getting Germany to invade the Soviet Union. But he was a champion of the kibbutz in pre-state Israel and was the first national chairman of the Committee for a Jewish Army of Stateless and Palestinian Jews. This was a leftist supporting what was supposed to be a conservative group.

Paul O’Dwyer was a labor lawyer whose politics were not middle-of-the-road liberal but, rather, decidedly leftist. However, in response to an ad Ben Hecht had placed in a newspaper, he got involved with supporters of the Irgun. In fact, O’Dwyer smuggled guns to the Irgun in pre-state Israel.

As a lawyer, O’Dwyer successfully defending people arrested for smuggling arms to both the Haganah and the Irgun. His tactic was simple. He would compare the struggle of the Jews in the land then called “Palestine” to the struggle for American independence in 1776.

In these highly partisan political times, many of us are too quick to forget the contributions made by liberals and leftists to the resurrection of a sovereign Jewish state in Eretz Yisrael.

Reuven Solomon
Forest Hills, NY

Our Readers

Letters To The Editor

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

President Trump

As a supporter of Secretary Clinton, I feel it’s important to state that it is our duty as Jews and Americans to pray for President-elect Trump and his success. May he merit divine inspiration and bring together our nation.

Elections are sacred and the moment they’re over we are united under the leadership of the president-elect.

Ezra Friedlander, CEO
The Friedlander Group

 

Guarded Hope

As readers may recall, over the past year I’ve had several letters published by The Jewish Press that have been highly critical of Donald Trump.

Like a great many people, I was stunned with the outcome of the election. I try to be optimistic and I hope the gracious remarks Trump made in his victory speech and after his meeting with President Obama will signal a more reasonable approach to what our country needs.

But before he can make America great again, as he puts it, he needs to make himself better by focusing on his strengths (amazing stamina, for one) and minimizing his hurtful, outlandish, and at times bizarre statements. I hope the gravity of the office will bring out the best in him and he will surround himself with good people.

Alan Howard
Brooklyn, NY

 

Who’s The Real Trump?

A mere week into Donald Trump’s new role, the president-elect appears to have already turned his back on his supporters.

Over the past year, Trump relentlessly marketed himself as the straight shooter who boldly speaks his mind to power, the non-politically correct warrior fighting for the common man.

This was perhaps most exemplified by his persistent refrain denigrating our current president as a “disaster,” “the most ignorant president in history,” “the worst president in history,” “the founder of ISIS,” and “a catastrophe.”

Yet two days after the election, during their first-ever meeting, Trump sat timidly with Barack Obama, lauding the president as “a very good man,” one whom he has “great respect for,” and from whom he would seek “counsel.”

Has Trump so swiftly revealed himself as someone who will meekly buckle to power when he’s no longer on stage performing his bravado act to his fawning supporters?

Who is the real Trump?

Is he a courageous alpha male who fearlessly speaks his mind, or just another politically correct sycophant who’ll say whatever is convenient at the moment?

It is important to stress that Trump’s behavior at his meeting with Obama had nothing to do with civility or “the smooth transition of power.” Obama was civil, but not disingenuous; he did not shower Trump with undeserved accolades.

Trump, however, acted as if the many years of his disgraceful Obama shaming never happened. If he was “real,” like his supporters claim, he would have done no more than cordially shake hands and simply move on with business. There was no need for insincere and completely unbelievable flattery.

But Trump is a skilled businessman who says what the customer wants to hear to close the deal. If this pattern continues, a thick cloud of disillusionment may soon descend upon his ardent supporters.

Donny Trenk
Via E-Mail

 

Applauds Endorsement

I applaud The Jewish Press for its endorsement of Donald Trump. I believe that not long into his term as president he will justify that endorsement with actions and words.

We’ve heard others who have sought the presidency promise to move the American embassy to Jerusalem only to bend the knee to the State Department once they’ve been elected. It should be clear to all Americans that Donald Trump will not be cowed or swayed by such entrenched elements within our government. They will have met their match in him.

A day after Trump’s incredible upset victory, Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke on

the subject of Trump’s longstanding support for Israel and of the excellent relationship between the two men. I find it utterly amazing to read, in The Jewish Press and other publications, readers and pundits berating Trump for an anti-Semitism on his part that is non-existent.

The decades-old inability of many Jews to vote for a Republican is, to my thinking, obsolete and foolish – and in fact often deleterious to Jewish interests – but to conjure up analogies to Hitler is beyond despicable. To charge Trump with any form of bigotry is to totally ignore the man’s life experiences. His comments about some border crossers here illegally and committing illegal acts weren’t racist but, rather, truthful and accurate. The liberal media, however,  spun that into his painting all Mexicans as criminals.

The bottom line: Give Trump a chance to do the right thing for America, Israel, and the entire world. Save the vitriol for our enemies, not for our president and friend, Donald Trump.

Myron Hecker
New City, NY

 
Golden Opportunity

The polls were wrong, the pundits were wrong, the establishment was wrong. But the people got it right, electing the populist billionaire Donald Trump, while rejecting the ultra-progressive Hillary Clinton, as our 45th president.

They also gave Trump a Republican Congress, as well as 33 Republican governors to work with. It was a tsunami victory for the GOP.

For more years than anyone can remember, the American people have been saying that the country is headed in the wrong direction and that they wanted change. Serious change.

They found it in the person of Donald Trump, who took his campaign where no Republican had gone in decades – to Michigan, Wisconsin, and other parts of rust belt America – and brought back into the GOP a group previously known as “Reagan Democrats.”

This election may go down as a realigning election because it meets two key criteria: (1) A major political party has been seriously weakened, and (2) a new political leader with new ideas has acquired the reins of power. Certainly, the Republican Party now dominates the political landscape.

In the new year, the new president and the new Congress must begin delivering on campaign promises such as repealing Obamacare, nominating respecters of the Constitution to the Supreme Court, improving border security, and repairing our badly run-down bridges and roads.

For their part, conservatives can offer solutions based on the first principles of limited government, free enterprise, and individual freedom.

As it moves forward, the Trump administration will face many powerful pressures to compromise, to settle for less, and to cut deals with special interests. The historic results of the 2016 election offer a golden opportunity that must not be wasted.

Brian J. Goldenfeld
Woodland Hills, CA

Our Readers

Letters To The Editor

Wednesday, November 9th, 2016

Memories Sweet And Sad

Reading “My Name is Freida Sima” (front page essay, Oct. 28) brought tears streaming uncontrollably down my cheeks as I recalled my Bubbie, who called me “Bubbele,” and how she sewed up my torn pants like new when, as a preteen, I fell off my bike and tore them. And how she said in Yiddish, when I introduced her to the young woman who was to become my wife, “Oy, mein kind, du bist azar dar.” And I remembered the wonderful Jewish dishes she used to cook and bake. So delicious!

And that led me to think of my parents – my father, who taught me the importance of working hard, how to hit a baseball and ride a bike and grow tomatoes in our backyard and pick the lilacs to adorn our home; and my beautiful mother, who tended to my needs and encouraged me to get a strong education.

And then I smiled and actually laughed aloud through the tears as I thought of my wonderful uncles and aunts. My mother was the eldest of nine children. To help support her family, she had to leave school in the 5th grade. I fondly recalled how my Uncle Irving taught me to respect my parents and others; how my Uncle Buddy helped me hone my baseball skills; how my Uncle Harold taught me to work in his drugstore while I was in high school; and how my Uncle Benny set an example for me to gain an advanced college degree.

And I again found myself laughing aloud while the tears still flowed as I recalled the wonderful family Passover Seders, and how proud I was when I found the hidden matzah, the afikoman, for which I was rewarded.

So many wonderful memories, but alas, some sad ones too: The early death of our son, David, in his twenties in a car accident – no fault of his own – while returning home after doing a mitzvah to help a friend. And the premature death of my lovely wife during a surgical procedure. But I was thankful for the 45 years we had together. More tears…

So many memories, thanks to reading “My Name is Freida Sima.” I’ll miss her story after the final installment next month – just after I turn 90.

George Epstein
Los Angeles, CA

 

Shameful Endorsements

It’s shameful that you gave your endorsement to Chuck Schumer and Jerry Nadler for their respective reelection bids (editorial, Nov. 4).

To say that Schumer took “great political risk” to oppose the Iran nuclear deal is ludicrous; it was obvious that President Obama “approved” his vote against the deal in exchange for Schumer’s commitment to forgo trying to convince fellow Democrats to do likewise.

And given his reputation as one who has great rapport with his colleagues and often attempts to influence their votes, Schumer’s silence was particularly egregious.

The claim that Nadler undertook “sincere risk analysis” before voting in favor of the deal is equally absurd. Obama made it clear behind closed doors that there would be grave consequences for Democrats voting against the deal. Phil Rosenthal, a brilliant observant Jew, decided to run against Nadler solely due to Nadler’s vote in favor of the deal. Why wouldn’t you give him your endorsement?

Arlene Ross
Forest Hills, NY

 

Quick To Judge?

Although I was disappointed with your Nov. 4 endorsement of Donald Trump, I realize it is your prerogative to recommend to your readers whomever you see fit. What bothered me, however, was the following sentence:

“It is inconceivable to us that the [FBI] investigation [into Hillary Clinton’s e-mails] would have been reopened so close to the election absent the discovery of evidence of serious wrongdoing.”

Especially now that FBI Director James Comey has one again said there was nothing found in the e-mails that indicate any need for further action, it seems you were a bit unseemly in your haste to declare it “inconceivable” that the investigation would have been reopened had there been no “evidence of serious wrongdoing.”

As a friend of mine said to me, “If there was something all that damning about the e-mails, WikiLeaks would have released it already.” I don’t know much about these kinds of things, but one thing I feel very strongly about is that in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave we withhold the stain of absolute certainty of guilt before the examination of evidence is completed.

I would think Jewish law also works that way. We as Jews should be very sensitive to the dangers of ‘knowing” someone is guilty just because he or she is being investigated.

Alan Howard
Brooklyn, NY

Children And Shul

Rabbi Steven Pruzansky (“The Joy of Torah,” front page essay, Oct. 21) cautions one not to take a child to shul only on Simchat Torah and Purim. I agree, but I come at it from the perspective of someone raised in a three-day-a-year Jewish household, as were the other Jews I grew up with.

It is more important to take children to shul on Simchat Torah and Purim than Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur if one is not so frum so that they can see the truth of Tevya’s observation in the song “To Life” from Fiddler on the Roof: “God would like us to be joyful even when our hearts are panting on the floor. How much more can we be joyful when there’s really something to be joyful for?”

Well, there is always something to be joyful for.

When I was young we rarely went to shul. When we did attend, it was a traditional Conservative synagogue on Long Island. This was a common experience among my peers. On the High Holy Days we went to shul. The rest of the year we hardly went at all, until a year before a bar or bat mitzvah. Then we were told we had to. I guess that was so we would not feel out of place there. But we did feel out of place.

Two or three days a week we came home from school at 3 p.m., did our homework, rushed dinner, and were picked up by a carpool to attend two hours of Hebrew school. And when we were taught something at Hebrew school, and asked our parents why we didn’t do what we had been taught, the stock answer was, “When you grow up you can do it.” Yes, but how? We really didn’t know. We went to Hebrew school so that we could have a nice party and get presents at the end.

Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur were the prototypical Jewish holidays for us, and they were not joyful at all. We spent a short time learning about Sukkot, so we knew we were supposed to live in a sukkah, and then they’d parade us through a dark, dingy sukkah decorated by someone else (we never participated in putting it up or decorating it). We would looked at each other mystified, wondering why anyone would want to live in that!

As young children on Simchat Torah, we were brought to shul at night, given flags, and marched around while all the adults looked on proudly. I never understood why. We never went during the day – we’d miss school! After we passed the age of cuteness, we did not have to go at all.

Our Readers

Letters To The Editor

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016

Presidential Election (I)

A Nov. 1 op-ed column by Errol Louis (certainly not a Donald Trump fan) in the New York Daily News should give observant Jews pause.

Mr. Louis reported on a letter delivered to Mrs. Clinton this week by black ministers affiliated with COGIC, an evangelical Christian domination with more than six million members.

The column noted that last year Mrs. Clinton declared to the National Association of Women: “Far too many women are still denied critical access to reproductive health care and safe childbirth…. Laws have to be backed up with resources and political will. And deep seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed” (emphasis added).

The anti-abortion COGIC noted that “In New York City, more black babies are dying in their mother’s womb than are being born… How do you [Mrs. Clinton] justify your unconscionable silence in the face of such destruction of innocent black life? Don’t black lives matter?”

The letter also declared: “A well-financed war is now being waged by the gay and lesbian communities in the U.S. and abroad on the faith of our ancestors. Furthermore, there are some in your party who seek to criminalize our biblical texts as hate speech.”

The letter tells Mrs. Clinton that “… the importance of our freedom to operate in accordance with our faith cannot be overstated.”

It would seem to me that one needs to distinguish immoral and despicable words and even actions by politicians on both sides of the political fence from their views of what public policy should be on the great moral and social issues of the day. The latter is what will determine the laws that are proposed to Congress and the individuals who will be nominated to serve on our courts.

Harold A. Marks
Brooklyn, NY

 

 

Presidential Election (II)

In the absence of easy insight and clear perspective apropos choosing a candidate for president, we might turn to our Jewish legal tradition for some answers and inspiration.

I am sure in some sectors of the Orthodox community where there is greater centralized authority this is already being done, given their reliance on what is known as Da’as Torah, namely the superior intellect and reasoning of sages and scholars who possess a unique ability to sense what must be done in meta-halachic realms, not the least of which are matters surrounding an election.

But others not usually so inclined might see this year’s election, which continues to confuse and confound, as different and at least seek some means of a p’sak, a religious ruling or insight. One Talmudic observation might assist this exercise. In Tractates Ketubot 12b and Bava Kamma 118a, the rabbis state: “bari v’shema, bari adif” – in a case of certainty against that which is unknown, we favor that which is known and established.

Hillary Clinton might come with much baggage and concern but we have a record to work from and a modicum of legislative accomplishment, especially her record as a U.S. senator from New York, to go on.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, is a deep black box, full of mystery, mania, and intrigue. In my humble opinion, it is best to work from a place of knowledge, experience, and certainty and hope the person who is tried and tested will marshal learned lessons, victories and defeats, errors and achievements, in ways that might surprise and please her greatest detractors.

Rabbi Lawrence S. Zierler
South Fallsburg, NY

 

Presidential Election (III)

In a lengthy letter (Oct. 21), reader Alan Krinsky argued that Donald Trump’s character is in dissonance with numerous Jewish values.

For example, he claimed Trump habitually lies and cites “the respected fact-checking website Politifact” to back up his claim. Respected by whom? Liberals might hold this website in high esteem, but conservatives certainly do not. And for good reason. Politifact – like the mainstream media – is a thinly disguised leftist operation, claiming the mantle of objectivity.

It also lacks any sense of humor or appreciation for figures of speech. For example, Trump said in August that Obama and Clinton “founded” ISIS. Any child over 10 knows Trump didn’t mean that Obama and Clinton held a secret meeting with leading terrorists in the basement of the White House at which they conspired to found an organization to kill Americans. He obviously meant that the Middle East policy of Obama and Clinton led to ISIS’s explosive growth – which it did. Yet Politifact took Trump’s words in a straightforward sense and declared that Obama and Clinton did not, in fact, found ISIS. No kidding!

Here’s another – more pernicious – lie from Politifact: Trump, it states, made fun of a disable reporter in November 2015. This lie has been repeated as undisputed “fact” by basically all media outlets and numerous Trump haters for a year now. Here are the real facts: Trump flapped his hands at a campaign rally to mimic a flustered reporter. The reporter turned out to be handicapped. Trump adamantly denied knowing the reporter was handicapped, but no one paid attention. “Trump Mocks Handicapped reporter,” headlines ran.

Well, Catholics4Trump recently did some investigating and discovered three other videos of Trump making nearly identical hand-flapping motions. In one video, he is mimicking a flustered general, in another he is mimicking a flustered Ted Cruz, and in a third he is mimicking… himself. The evidence is available for all to see on Catholics4Trump.com, yet Politifact continues to report that Trump mocked a handicapped reporter.

In general, there seems to be no depth to which the media and Trump haters will go to discredit him. No lie is too dastardly. No misrepresentation is beyond bounds.

People sometimes ask me why I support Trump. The answer is simple. He’s smart, he’s competent, and he loves this country – unapologetically. He’s a Clint Eastwood-like figure – tough and plainspoken.

He also is a supremely kind man. Here are two reports of his kindness that even his enemies admit are true: 1) Trump flew a sick Jewish boy for special care on his private plane when he heard no commercial airline would agree to accommodate his medical equipment. 2) Trump sent $10,000 to a bus driver after seeing a news story about him saving a woman from jumping off a bridge.

The fact that Trump has such good children – whom even Hillary Clinton admires – testifies to his character as well, I believe. As Mike Pence put it, “You can’t fake good kids.”

In an interview with The Jewish Press in July, Jason Greenblatt, chief legal officer of the Trump Organization, had this to say about his boss: “Having worked here for twenty years as a frum person, I can tell you that Donald has been enormously respectful of my being Shomer Shabbos. He has bent over backward to help me…”

He also testified to Trump’s smarts: “I’m always amazed when I come to him with an issue on a deal – just how quickly he gets it and how quickly he proposes not just one but often several possible solutions. Some of them are super creative.”

With our country falling apart within and under attack from without, this is the kind of man we need as president. Someone smart, someone who understands the world, someone who has no illusions about the dangers of radical Islam.

Our Readers

Letters To The Editor

Thursday, October 27th, 2016

Vote On Election Day

Election Day, November 8, is less than two weeks away. It is crucial that we not take our obligation for granted. In fact Rav Yosef Soloveitchik, zt”l, said that a Jew “fulfills God’s will in working for the public good…” and concluded that Jews must vote in elections.

There is much at stake this year. In addition to the presidency, the entire House of Representatives, 34 Senate seats, 12 governorships, and many state and local offices are in play.

Government policy makers at every level are keenly aware of voting patterns and election district turnout levels. They are aware which precincts have a heavier Jewish population. In many instances post-election legislative cooperation is a response to voter turnout. We can ill afford to be complacent.

We urge you to use your vote for the candidate for public office whose beliefs best reflect your own beliefs, and who you feel will best support the state of Israel and your local communities.

Yosef Poplack
First Vice President
National Council of Young Israel

 

           

‘Outrageous’ Scenario

When Donald Trump would not confirm if he would accept the election results, I had a thought on what he could have meant. He may have been imagining a scenario where he would win the election only to realize that Hillary Clinton would make a better president and therefore immediately offer the job to her.

Sounds outrageous, right? But is it any more outrageous than any of the many shocking statements he’s made in this long, sad, soul-sapping election season?

Alan Howard
Brooklyn, NY

 
Trump’s ‘Fraud’ Claim

I am highly disappointed with Republican voters across the United States. Evidently, according to national polls, over 70 percent of Republican voters believe the propaganda being put out by Donald Trump and his campaign staff that the upcoming election is rigged in favor of Hillary Clinton. And my disappointment emanates from being a registered Independent for decades.

If Trump and his supporters actually believe the election is rigged, then they believe that fraud will occur in the balloting across the country in state after state, county after county, city after city, and town after town. How absurd and un-American are these beliefs.

If someone is really worried about this, it means he or she believes our voting system is subject to the same systemic fraud that occurs in Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, Syria, Cuba, and other totalitarian countries. Unlike those counties, however, we have thousands of responsible, unbiased, and honest election officials processing ballots.

Trump and his supporters are setting up Trump’s loss to be blamed on a fictitious and salacious conspiracy theory. And now he is saying he might not be willing to accept the results of the election if he loses. This is preaching anarchy.

Donald Moskowitz
Londonderry, NH

 
Orthodoxy And Trump

Reader Alan Krinsky (Letters, Oct. 21) wonders why so many Orthodox Jews support Trump when Trump’s values are not exactly in line with “fundamental Orthodox values.”

First, the term “fundamental Orthodox values” is a misnomer. There are “Torah values,” and all Jews are required to adhere to them. Those who do are generally referred to as “Orthodox.”

Mr. Krinsky cites a fact-checking website which claims that of 250 statements it researched, Trump lied 97 times while Hillary lied only 27 times. This supposedly shows that Hillary is more honest than Trump. The logic fails me. Is someone who robbed five banks more ethical than someone who robbed 15 banks?

Has Mr. Krinsky forgotten about some of Hillary’s positions? She is pro-choice (and also supports late-term abortions). The left has a way of sugarcoating the most dastardly and despicable acts with euphemisms that make those acts seem benign and even benevolent. The proper term for pro-choice should be pro-torture and murder.

Hillary is a strong supporter of gay marriage. Homosexuality is called an ”abomination” by the Torah. To institutionalize this abomination and make it an accepted norm, and then to have the gall to condemn those who oppose it, is probably the lowest point of depravity.

How can even a secular Jew sink to the level of supporting a candidate who has no regard for biblical ethics?

At least Trump will leave it up to the states, knowing full well that some states will ban gay marriage, which is better than nothing.

Mr. Krinsky claims that “We have no idea what Trump’s Israel policy is or might become.” Yes we do. We see that with just about every issue Trump has spoken out on, he is almost invariably on the side of logic and reason. I don’t see how Trump will view Palestinians who are reared to hate and murder Jews, and then grow up to carry out the most barbaric acts, as the ones who  want peace.

Josh Greenberger
Brooklyn, NY

Our Readers

Letters To The Editor

Thursday, October 20th, 2016

A Long And Storied Life

You know how to get to my heart and soul. The outstanding Oct. 7 In Memoriam reflections on the life of Arthur Federman by his grandchildren brought uncontrollable tears running down my cheeks. And then Naomi Klass Mauer’s Oct. 14 op-ed tribute to Mr. Federman made me choke up once again.

At my age (I’ll be 90 next month), I can easily relate. And I can readily appreciate Mr. Federman’s toils and troubles, and his boundless courage and determination to succeed in what was a long and storied life.

Thanks for sharing.

George Epstein
Los Angeles, CA

 

Learning From Saul Singer

Saul Jay Singer never ceases to amaze me with his weekly “Collecting Jewish History” columns and his occasional front-page essays. His Oct. 14 front-pager, “The Art of Sukkot,” was an enjoyable and educational tour de force of history, culture, and the arts.

I learn so much from each of Mr. Singer’s articles.

Paula Altman
(Via E-Mail)

 

Kindness To Animals

Many Orthodox Jews seem not to know or care that the Bible and Jewish law are full of admonitions and commandments to protect animals, nature, and the environment. Indeed, such teachings are fundamental to Judaism and its traditions.

Kindness to animals is even required in The Ten Commandments, wherein God forbids us to make our farm animals work on the Sabbath; we must give them, too, a day of rest (Exodus 20:10; 23:12).

When God made his promise to Noah and generations to come never again to destroy the earth with a flood, He included in the Covenant “every living creature….the fowl, the cattle, and every beast of the earth…” (Genesis 9: 12-17).

Psalm 36 states, “…man and beast thou savest, O Lord. How precious is thy steadfast love…” And Proverbs 12:10 suggests there are two types of people: “A righteous man has regard for the life of his beast, but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.” Truly, in the words of Psalm 145:9, “His compassion is over all His creatures.”

Indeed, Jews invented the concept of kindness to animals some 4,000 years ago. There is an entire code of laws (“tsa’ar ba’alei chaim,” the requirement “to prevent the suffering of living creatures”) mandating that animals be treated with compassion. Jews are not allowed to “pass by” an animal in distress or animals being mistreated, even on the Sabbath.

It is hard to imagine that abuse of animals would be pleasing to a merciful God Who repeatedly prohibited cruelty to animals and Who instructs us to allow our animals an entire day of rest on the Sabbath; to leave some crops in the fields for the wildlife; and to allow oxen to eat while working.

Lewis Regenstein
(Via E-Mail)

 

Trump And Jewish Values

Re Sara Lehmann’s Oct. 14 “Right Angle” column, in which she makes the case for supporting Donald Trump:

Although non-Orthodox Jews overwhelmingly support Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump, Orthodox Jews overwhelmingly side with Trump over Clinton. No one should be surprised that so many Orthodox Jews disapprove of Clinton, but maybe we should be astonished at the number and percentage who support Donald Trump’s campaign for the presidency.

Is Trump at all in line with fundamental Orthodox Jewish values, whether Modern Orthodox, haredi, or otherwise? I believe the answer is a clear no:

 

* Character. Trump has repeatedly demonstrated a lack of basic decency in how he treats his fellow human beings, frequently insulting and shaming people. Our tradition emphasizes the gravity of embarrassing someone by comparing doing so to committing murder.

* Business Practices. Trump justifies his fitness for the presidency on his supposed business acumen and success. Yet he has a troubling history of failing to pay what he owes to contractors and workers, even when he walks away with millions.

* Disregard for Truth. One of the most widespread criticisms of Hillary Clinton is over her lying and deception. Yet, after evaluating more than 250 statements from each candidate, the respected fact-checking website Politifact rated 27 percent of Clinton’s statements as Mostly False, False, or Pants on Fire – not even close to Trump’s 71 percent rated as Mostly False or worse.

* Arrogance and Narcissism. Trump’s obsession with poll numbers, popularity, and winning show his narcissistic self-absorption. He defines as a loser anyone who does not support him. He has made the preposterous claim that he knows more about the ISIS terrorist group than “the generals.” In Judaism we value modesty and humility.

* Tolerance of Anti-Semitism. Trump has a number of times re-tweeted items from far right anti-Semitic writers, and he has refused to quickly and unequivocally distance himself from avowed anti-Semites and racists.

* Racism. Trump’s stereotyping of Mexicans as rapists and murderers should offend all Jews, who have too often been victims of vile characterizations.

* Sexism. Trump repeatedly belittles and demeans women, calling them dogs and pigs and focusing on their weight and appearance. Recent revelations seem to indicate that Trump’s attitudes have at times translated into predatory behavior toward women.

* Lack of Self-Control. Trump gets irritated easily, lashing out in response to the merest of perceived slights. Despite repeated promises from some supporters that Trump would start acting more presidential, we have seen that he cannot maintain such an act for long.

* Demagoguery. Despite promoting himself as a “law and order” candidate, Trump appears to have little respect for the rule of law and democratic norms, as can be seen from his praise of Russia’s Putin and his support of waterboarding and killing family members of terrorists.

* Israel Policy. We have no idea what Trump’s Israel policy is or might become. There’s almost no political issue on which Trump has not changed his position over the years.

How can someone committed to Jewish tradition, law, and values vote for, let alone support enthusiastically, a candidate who exhibits the character traits listed above? Any one of those traits ought to give pause to any voter, let alone to Orthodox Jews.

Our Readers

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/letters-to-the-editor/letters-to-the-editor-428/2016/10/20/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: