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June 27, 2016 / 21 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘letters’

Letters To The Editor

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

Rabbi Cardozo’s Take On Judaism (I)

I  must question Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo’s take on Judaism as portrayed in your interview with him (“Judaism Beyond the Commandments,” June 10).

While I think his inquisitiveness is stimulating in many ways, in my opinion it is also well beyond the pale of authentic Orthodoxy. He seems oblivious to the fact that each generation looks to the preceding one for direction as to what God expects of them as revealed in the halacha – and that this is based on the belief that earlier authorities are superior in knowledge and wisdom to later ones.

I find it astonishing that Rabbi Cardozo acts as if he operates on a blank slate. Obviously he knows there were tannaim, amoraim, rishonim, and achronim that came between the Chumash and him. How then can he possibly suggest a meaning to a biblical verse that was construed otherwise by all of them?

And while I don’t challenge his bona fides, I get the uncomfortable sense that at least some of his views border on what non-Orthodox groups have urged for years. I am particularly disturbed by his position on codes of Jewish law, like that of the Rambam’s, because they tend to suggest finality as opposed to what he says is supposed to be a process.

I also find hard to understand his railing against any resort to the so-called Shabbos goy. Where is the evidence that this practice is resented by non-Jews? Rabbi Cardozo offers none. In fact, the opposite seems true. Former Soviet premier Nikolai Bulganin was a “Shabbos goy,” and so was former New York governor Mario Cuomo. Both spoke of their experiences with great fondness – a sentiment shared by many other prominent non-Jews who helped Jewish friends and neighbors in similar fashion.

Yisroel Graubard
(Via E-Mail)


Rabbi Cardozo’s Take On Judaism (II)

What a breath of fresh air, much needed today for the good of the future of Judaism. Bravo to Rabbi Cardozo.

Edward Cohen
(Via JewishPress.com)


Rabbi Cardozo’s Take On Judaism (III)

Rabbi Cardozo’s words are those of a brilliant Jewish thinker and great rav. That there are so few voices like his is the tragedy of our time.

Rashi Kuhr
(Via JewishPress.com)


Prisoner Exchanges

Stephen M. Flatow’s June 3 op-ed article, “The Terrorist Defender and the Democrats’ Platform,” brought up a painful secondary theme – namely, Israel’s prisoner exchange dilemma.

While I know of no Jew who wouldn’t want to see an Israeli soldier released from Arab captivity after having defended his country, the Arabs released by Israel are avowed terrorists.

If Israel agrees to future prisoner exchanges, why not one for one instead of a thousand for one; in addition, whatever happened to not releasing terrorists with “blood on their hands”?

Pesach-Yonah Malevitz
Miami Beach, FL


Cuomo And BDS

Kudos to Gov. Andrew Cuomo for taking a stance against the vicious, bigoted, and hateful BDS movement against Israel (Jewish Press, June 10).

The BDS movement is nothing but economic terrorism. The movement’s purpose is to destroy Israel, and BDS activists echo the false and malicious accusations against Israel spewed by just about every Palestinian terrorist murderer.

The fact that there is such a massive Arab population in Israel that has the freedom to leave at any time yet chooses to stay in Israel rather than move to Arab countries puts the lie to the claims of Israel’s “mistreatment” of Palestinians.

Josh Greenberger
Brooklyn, NY


‘Odor’ At The Times

That The New York Times detects the “strong odor” of hypocrisy in a 20-year-old accommodation for separate women’s swimming hours in Williamsburg is just the latest in a pattern exposing the precipitous decline in the journalistic integrity  of the Times (editorial, June 10).

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Letters To The Editor

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

Eban’s Eloquent UN Speech

I am glad The Jewish Press published Abba Eban’s great speech to the United Nations Security Council during the Six-Day War (“Peril For Israel Wherever It Looked,” front page essay, June 3).

At the time of that address, my father, Sidney Solomon, z”l, said it was the greatest speech he’d ever heard. A friend of mine pronounced Abba Eban the greatest spokesman for any cause.

In addition to his eloquent defense of Israel before the international community, Eban did more than any other person to try to prevent the Six-Day War. Please read his book Personal Witness: Israel Through My Eyes.

Reuven Solomon
Forest Hills, NY


Angry Man In The Baseball Cap’

Reader Myron Hecker is entitled to his rosy view of Donald Trump (Letters, June 3) but day after day the angry man in the ridiculous red baseball cap demonstrates anew his ignorance, instability, and dishonesty.

When I hear Mr. Hecker and others of like mind wax rhapsodic about trusting Trump or about how Trump tells it like it is, I can only respond: what hour of the day are you referring to, since the man changes his positions in the blink of an eye and then denies he ever said anything at all different from the position he just adopted ten minutes ago.

Just last week he was caught holding back on the money he’d promised America’s veterans. Many of the checks started going out to veterans’ groups only when the Washington Post published an expose revealing that none of those groups had seen any of the promised money in the months since Trump’s much publicized “fundraiser” on their behalf.

And when the press called him out on this, Trump nastily assailed reporters for daring to tell the truth.

As if that weren’t enough, he not only attacked the legitimacy of the U.S. district judge presiding over the “Trump University” case but tried to denigrate him as “Mexican.” (The judge, Gonzalo Curiel, was born in Indiana.)

I just can’t comprehend the mindset of anyone who has watched this man over the past year and still supports him.

Michael Buchsbaum
(Via E-Mail)


Kudos To Gov. Cuomo

Governor Andrew Cuomo should be praised for issuing an executive order directing New York state agencies under his control to oppose companies and organizations aligned with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

Mr. Cuomo described the BDS movement as an “economic attack” on Israel.

“We cannot allow that to happen,” the governor said, adding that “If you boycott Israel, New York will boycott you.”

According to the executive order, Gov. Cuomo has directed the commissioner of the Office of General Services to devise a list over the next six months of businesses and groups engaged in any “boycott, divestment or sanctions activity targeting Israel, either directly or through a parent or subsidiary.”

The list will be compiled from “credible information available to the public,” according to the order, and subject to appeal by the companies and entities included on it. Once the designation process is completed, however, all executive-branch agencies and departments (which make up a large portion of state government) as well as public boards, authorities, commissions, and all public-benefit corporations will be required to divest themselves of any company on the list.

The New York Jewish community applauds the leadership taken by Gov. Cuomo.

Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik
Executive Director
Rabbinical Alliance of America


Orthodox Jews Behaving Badly


Not An Image To Be Proud Of

Re Avi Ciment’s unflinchingly honest June 3 op-ed article “The Power of a Kippah, for Better or Worse”:

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Letters To The Editor

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

French Connection

Your May 27 front-page photo of a copy of the Eiffel Tower being built on Jaffa Road in Jerusalem made me think of the Synagogue des Tournelles, the second largest in Paris, led by my father, Rabbi Dr. David Feuerwerker, from 1948 to 1960.

The synagogue was built in 1876 and Gustave Eiffel (1832-1923) contributed to its ironwork.

Dr. Elie Feuerwerker
Highland Park, NJ

French Initiative

Prime Minister Netanyahu is eminently correct to have rejected French President Francois Hollande’s invitation to participate in a multilateral French peace initiative (“Netanyahu Rejects French Initiative but Offers to Meet Abbas in Paris,” front page news story, May 27).

History has shown that allowing other countries to prescribe for Israel their view of the appropriate course to peace is a prescription for failure. Anything other than face-to-face discussions between Israel and the Palestinians cannot work because it permits Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian cohorts to live in a fantasy world in which other countries’ ideas and political interests act as a buffer between them and Israel.

The Palestinians must be made to understand that Israel’s repeated successes in beating back Arab genocidal wars of aggression and forcefully countering continuing Palestinian terror has established a new reality for Israel as to its security needs.

George Berman
(Via E-Mail) 


Lack Of Menschlichkeit

Re Dr. Michael Salamon’s May 13 op-ed article “Whatever Happened to Ethics and Menschlichkeit?”:

On a recent Shabbos I was a guest at a shul whose rabbi seemed to be intelligent, sensitive, spiritual, etc. – until he got to the part of his speech where he began to rant about how “we [Jews] are not like goyim, chas v’chalila!” One could almost see the shudder run through his body as he said the word “goyim.” Talk about an utter lack of menschlichkeit!

I wanted to stand up and shout: I know a lot of non-Jews whom I would much quicker trust with my money, my family’s well-being, etc., than I would all too many frum Jews whose “religion” seems to consist of mouthing empty platitudes while trying to impress people with fancy tefillin and talleisim, outrageously high-priced sheitels, obscenely expensive Shabbos and Yom Tov cutlery, and all manner of outwardly impressive but spiritually meaningless “Jewish-themed” baubles, trinkets, and ritual objects.

And don’t even get me started on the illegal and/or unethical financial shenanigans that have plagued our community for years now. How dare any rabbi, any Jew, cast aspersions on 99.9 percent of human beings simply because they were not born Jewish?

Michoel Bernstein
(Via E-Mail)

Trusts Trump

No American in recent years has commanded the attention of the American people in the way that Donald Trump has. Love him or hate him, he is the elephant in everyone’s room.

I like him. That doesn’t mean I agree with every statement or pronouncement, but I do agree with the majority of them. I wholeheartedly support “the wall” on the Southern border and completely agree with the concept of a fine-comb screening of Muslim refugees, particularly those from Syria.

Who among us is so bold (so liberal) that they would, in good conscience, open the borders and “hope for the best”? Is that rational? Is that sane? Comparisons to refugees from Hitler-occupied Europe are disingenuous and make no sense. Trump is totally correct when he states, “We either have a country or we don’t.” Borders are the defining points of any country.

Only Hashem knows the future, but at this time in our nation’s history, I trust Trump with the future of both America and Israel.

Myron Hecker
New City, NY

Injustice Of Jury Duty

If you commit a crime, you have the right to a fair trial in which the court decides whether the government has the right to lock you up. But if you don’t commit a crime, the government has the right to “lock” you up (in a jury room) against your will and force you to render a decision as to whether the government has the right to lock up some one else who has committed a crime. Is there something wrong with this picture?

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Letters To The Editor

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

Trump And Taxes (I)

Re “Trump’s Taxes” (editorial, May 20):

The New York Times once again displays blatant hypocrisy with its heavy handed focus on Donald Trump’s yet-to-be released tax returns – and its simultaneous silence on Hillary Clinton’s refusal to release copies of her speeches to Wall Street companies like Goldman Sachs.

That observation does not make me a Trump partisan. In fact, Trump’s victory in the primaries precludes a presidential vote on my part in November, although I will definitely vote for Republicans on the congressional level.

I cannot in good conscience vote for a vulgar egomaniac whose modus operandi is insulting, vilifying, acting like the schoolyard bully to his opponents, and treating the voters like morons. I will not join the lemmings rushing to jump over the cliff.

But neither can I, under any circumstances, support Hillary, who has been lying ever since she’s been in the public eye.

Fay Dicker
Lakewood, NJ


Trump And Taxes (II)

I for one am reveling in the knowledge that we finally have a major political candidate like Donald Trump, who couldn’t care less about what the politically correct crowd thinks about him.

I also just love the priceless expressions on the faces of those harrumphing reporters who are aghast that he thumbs his nose at their criticism of him for not bending himself into a pretzel to do what they say he has to do. His attitude seems to be “If the voters don’t like what I say or do, they should vote for someone else.”

Eli Glaser
(Via E-Mail)


Trump And Taxes (III)

I will never understand why some people think that because in recent years presidential candidates have taken to releasing their tax returns, there is something fundamentally wrong when one balks at doing so. Big deal. Is showing a tax return the only way to inform voters about a candidate? I mean, really.

I actually applaud Donald Trump for  standing up to the demands of our self-important media windbags. It is a refreshing example of leadership that is all too rare these days.

I would have liked to know more about Barack Obama’s health and education records than the paltry tidbits he released over the years, but no one in the media seemed all that interested. Why then this obsession with Trump’s taxes?

Irving Becker
(Via E-Mail)


Trump And Taxes (IV)

I am disappointed that The Jewish Press seemed to dismiss Donald Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns. Honesty, charitableness, and cutting corners are all key attributes that can be gleaned from a tax return. If he has nothing to hide, why doesn’t he just release the returns?

Cheryl Mann


Obama’s Stubborn Vision

It’s time we all acknowledged that Barack Obama is not a run of the mill politician (“A Lame Duck With Unfinished Business,” editorial, May 20).

He came to the Oval Office with a real vision of how he wanted to change America and he has stubbornly stuck to it. From the beginning of his first term he said he wanted to reach out to the Muslim world. Unfortunately, because of how the U.S.-Israel relationship has developed over the years, outreach to the Muslims cannot but result in a diminution of the U.S.-Israel bond. It has to be so by definition.

Therefore, I am not surprised he has not abandoned his efforts to bring about that change – even if those efforts won’t bear fruit before he leaves office.

David Russo
(Via e-Mail)


Golan Hypocrisy (I)

Rafael Medoff faintly praises the U.S. for being the only country to barely support Israel’s position on the Golan Heights (“Hypocrisy on the Golan Heights,” op-ed, May 20).

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Letters To The Editor

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

Silver’s Sentence (I)

I was very saddened by the harsh sentence given to former New York Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver (“A Disappointing Lack of Compassion,” editorial, May 13).

For 40 years he worked on behalf of all of us. And for most of those years the print media, with the exception of The Jewish Press, never stopped attacking him. Those of us who lived in his district knew he was working hard on our behalf. As for the numerous Jewish organizations he helped, I waited in vain to see them rally to his side.

So I thank you for the editorial that enumerated some of the many ways we benefited from his years as speaker. A good friend of mine certainly knows this, as she got her Get as a result of the New York State Get law that Silver was responsible for enacting.

I share your hope that he will be exonerated upon appeal.

Amy Wall
New York, NY  

Silver’s Sentence (II)

Sheldon Silver certainly did a lot of good things for the Jewish community and others. As Jews, we were all proud of him for holding the second most important political position in New York State.

Regardless of whether the crimes he allegedly committed are the whole truth and nothing but, a person holding such a high position in government – even more so an Orthodox Jew – should be beyond reproach.

I am neither judge nor jury but hearing the charges against Silver was enough to make one’s blood go cold and, more so, it was an embarrassment for the entire Orthodox community. I am very sorry this happened, but I do believe that where there is smoke there is fire.

Perhaps it was because of Mr. Silver previous good deeds that the judge did not impose the far longer term she could have under sentencing guidelines.

This is a very sad story, for the community but mostly for Silver’s family.

Hindy Kierman
(Via E-Mail)

London’s New Mayor

Re “London’s New Muslim Mayor Attends Holocaust Memorial” (news story, May 13):

I know nothing about the background of London’s new Muslim mayor. However, if, as I suspect  is the case, he is not an anti-Semite, I suggest his election is a good opportunity to try to work with and cultivate someone who can open bridges to London’s Muslim community.

Certainly, that his first official act was attending a Yom HaShoah ceremony shows he is willing to go up against those Muslims who deny the Holocaust. This is a very good beginning.

Yocheved Weiss


Source Of Confusion

Yes, Palestinians sure are confused (“Those Poor, Confused Palestinians,” op-ed, May 13).

What confuses them is that although their side decisively lost several wars designed to exterminate the Jews of Israel, they were not made to understand that they would have to accept whatever they could get as the losers and build their state accordingly.

The promises the international community made to the Palestinians that Israel would not be allowed to take full advantage of its military triumphs – which would be consistent with the lessons of history – is what made the Palestinians a confused lot indeed.

Mel Aronson
(Via E-mail)


Selling The Iran Deal (I)

Reading your May 13 editorial “Netanyahu Was Right on Iran Deal” together with the front-page news story “Key Obama Adviser: We Misled Nation to Sell Iran Nuclear Deal,” it becomes clear there was a huge abdication of responsibility by members of Congress who had misgivings about the deal but did not press the issue and seek all the facts.

It is also clear that many in the liberal media blended news and opinion in presenting the agreement as the best deal possible while rejecting the notion that it would be a disaster.

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Letters To The Editor

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

Israel’s Birthday

As we mark Israel’s 68th birthday, I think it behooves us all to consider the importance of aliyah.

Yishuv ha’aretz has never been easier. The Ramban left Spain to Eretz Yisrael in a rickety boat. When he arrived in Acco he found the Holy Land in total devastation and had difficulty finding a proper minyan on Shabbos. Nevertheless in his letter to his son in Catalonia he writes that he finally found “eretz chemda” (the desirable land).

Today, there is more Torah learning in Eretz Yisrael than in all other countries of the world combined. More than 300 sefarim per month are published in Israel. The Israeli economy is number one in the world to invest in – just ask Warren Buffett. It is a country thriving on miracles.

Happy birthday, Israel – 3,000 years old, 68 years young.

Shmuel Knopfler
(Via E-Mail)


Leftist Academics

Re “Jewish Academics and the Trashing of Israel” (op-ed, May 6):

Of course those professors are anti-Israel. They’re leftists.

Speaking of leftists and Israel, a lot of us need to put a cap on the ridiculous nostalgia for the days when Israel and Zionism were “kosher” for people like the leftist folksinger Pete Seeger.

There is no leftist justification for the Return of the Exiles. There is no secular justification. It is in its entirety a Divine Commandment and a work of Heaven.

And please – stop trying to defend Israel by reciting liberal mantras about human rights. Moses did not use these arguments and neither should anyone today.

The farther and faster Jews run from their destiny as a people chosen by God, the more tragic the consequences will be, God forbid.

Roy Neal Grissom
(Via JewishPress.com)


Sad For Our Country

When I heard the news that Senator Ted Cruz had withdrawn from the presidential race my soul was saddened by what that meant – that our country just might no longer be good and decent enough for the outcome to have been different.

I take responsibility for the role, however small, I could have played and didn’t to stop us from this slide into the abyss. We used to be a country that was – or aspired to be – a beacon of hope for the world. Now we may be too wrapped up in fear and hate to be a beacon of hope for anything.

I hope I am wrong. And in hoping, I think back to another national nightmare for us – the Civil War, when President Lincoln voiced his fervent hope that once again “the better angels of our nature” would prevail.

Alan Howard
Brooklyn, NY


Pollard’s Ongoing Ordeal

Your editorial calling for the end of restrictions on Jonathan Pollard’s travel to Israel was well put (“It’s Time to End the Pollard Inquisition,” April 29).

As an American, I am very disturbed at the spectacle of an individual who by any measure has more than paid for his crimes continuing to suffer for acts committed more than thirty years ago and for which he sat in prison since that time.

While he pleaded guilty to the crime of mishandling secret documents, he was sentenced to more prison time than those convicted of even full blown espionage. And this on top of the fact that it is unheard of that spying for an ally should draw a life sentence.

I have no doubt that Pollard’s sentence was politically motivated. Moreover, the full story of the damage he did or did not cause has never been disclosed by the government.

The U.S. government has an obligation to release all the facts. We are not a country that simply locks people up and throws away the key.

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An Exchange Of Letters For Yom HaZikaron

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

Each year on Yom HaZikaron (which coincides this year with May 11) we remember the brave men and women who have fallen in defense of Israel. This year, one brave Israeli soldier’s recent death struck very close to home for me.

On February 18, IDF Staff Sergeant Tuvia Yanai Weissman, 21, who had been on leave from the army, was shopping for groceries with his wife, Yael, and their infant daughter, Netta. Suddenly, he heard screams from a different aisle as two Palestinians began stabbing other shoppers. Even though he was unarmed, Tuvia Yanai ran to help. Tragically, he was mortally wounded in the ensuing scuffle.

Tuvia Yanai and his wife were childhood friends who grew up in the town of Ma’ale Mikhmas and were married two years ago. During her husband’s funeral at Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl Military Cemetery, Yael said: “If you had not raced to help, you would not be the Yanai I know, the one I fell in love with.” She added, “We were waiting for your discharge from the army. We had so many plans. To travel, to hike, to work, to study, and, most important of all, to be together.”

As soon as I read the details of this terrible incident, I reached out to my brother Josh and his family, who live in Ma’ale Mikhmas. I learned that not only do my brother and my sister-in-law, Sarah Devorah, know Yanai and Yael’s families well, but that Josh planned to recite the HaGomel (thanksgiving) blessing at shul that Shabbos, as he was shopping in the same grocery store at the time the attack occurred.

On behalf of my shul, Kesher Israel of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, I reached out to Yael to express our deep condolences upon her loss, sending her the following letter (along with a grant from KI’s Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund) – via my brother and sister-in-law in Israel:

Dear Yael,

All of us at Kesher Israel Congregation in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (U.S.A.) were terribly saddened when we learned of the tragic death of your beloved husband. At the same time, we were greatly inspired by his love for the people of Israel – which led him to put himself at risk in order to protect others.

Your determination to provide your beautiful daughter with a healthy and happy future has also made a positive impact on us – and on Jews all around the world. We pray that Hashem will continue to bless you with the strength that only He can provide.

Please accept this gift from our community. We hope that it can help you and your daughter during this difficult time.

With sincere condolences, Rabbi Akiva Males

My brother and sister-in-law told me how touched Yael and her family were by KI’s condolences and warm wishes. On the intermediate days of Passover, I received the following e-mail (translated from the original Hebrew) in return:

To Rabbi Akiva Males and the Harrisburg Jewish community,

I would like to thank you for the encouragement, condolences, and sympathy you sent to me after the death of my dear husband, Tuvia Yanai. They have strengthened and encouraged us greatly.

Every letter I receive from people I do not know reinforces my feelings that we are an amazing nation that does not forget its sons, warriors, and heroes. We are a people with a sense of mutual responsibility – as you too have shown. I am confident that this encouraging sense of mutual responsibility will ensure that the legacy of our dear Tuvia Yanai will continue.

The generous gift of support that you passed along to young Netta and me was extremely thoughtful – and provided me with the awareness that we are not alone, that good people think of us, care about us, and are at our side.

“Everyone helped his neighbor and said to his brother: ‘Be strong.’ ”Isaiah 41:6

Yasher Koach, and continue to be strong,

Yael and Netta Weissman

On this Yom HaZikaron, may God remember the heroic sacrifices made by Tuvia Yannai Weissman and the brave men and women who have fallen in defense of Israel. May God look after and comfort their families who miss them so much. Finally, may God bless Israel with true peace and security – so that none of us will have to send any more condolence letters to families mourning the loss of their loved ones.

Rabbi Akiva Males

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/an-exchange-of-letters-for-yom-hazikaron/2016/05/11/

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