web analytics
August 3, 2015 / 18 Av, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Neturei Karta’

Rabbi Chanan Porat – The Shofar is Silent

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

“A ‘Sabbath Jew’ he was—not because he showed his Jewishness once a week, but because his entire life was one of Sabbath: serenity, sanctity, and joy.” So said Rabbi Chanan Porat’s daughter at her father’s funeral, held in Kfar Etzion during Aseret Yemei Teshuvah this past year and attended by thousands of mourners.

A profound Torah scholar and man of action driven by a poetic soul and sparkling spirituality, Rabbi Porat succumbed to a malignant growth in his brain—the only thing that could stop his vigorous and vibrant love for God and the “holy triangle”—the Torah of Israel for the people of Israel in the Land of Israel.

As Judea-and-Samaria leader Yisrael Harel noted, Rabbi Porat, co-founder of the Gush Emunim settlement movement who passed away at age sixty-seven, was “one of the very few who was able, by virtue of his personality alone, without holding any public office or position of authority, to inspire thousands of people” to leave their homes, change their lives, and become part of the settlement enterprise in Yesha. This was due, no doubt, not only to his winning smile and remarkable charisma, but also to his sincere enthusiasm, integrity, and leadership abilities. Or in short, as Rabbi Yaakov Shapira, the rosh yeshivah of Mercaz HaRav, wrote, Rabbi Porat was the “shofar of the Land of Israel, without fear.” He broadcast loud and clear throughout the Jewish world the message that the Land of Israel is the home of the Jewish nation and the Torah.

The Early Years
At the age of twenty-four, as an IDF paratrooper, Rabbi Porat helped liberate Jerusalem during the Six-Day War. Shortly after, he led the group that pressured then Prime Minister Levi Eshkol to rebuild his childhood kibbutz, Kfar Etzion. Rabbi Porat had lived there, just south of Yerushalayim, until the age of four, when he and the other children, as well as the women, were evacuated out of fear that the Jordanians would capture the region. The Jordanians succeeded in capturing the kibbutz and destroying the community, as well as nearly all of the other defenders (many of whom had already surrendered), in the process. The Porat family never forgot their home, and when a shadow of an opportunity to return and rebuild presented itself, Rabbi Porat latched on to it and did not let go.

Rabbi Porat was not only one of the leaders of the surviving children of Kfar Etzion, leading them back nineteen years later in 1967 to re-establish the Jewish presence in Gush Etzion after Israel re-conquered the area. As mentioned, he also helped found Gush Emunim, the movement to resettle Yehuda, Shomron and Aza, in 1974, when Israeli society as a whole was feeling down in the aftermath of the Six-Day War. Ironically, despite the amazing victory, a general national malaise pervaded the country after the war and the revelation of Israel’s vulnerability. Rabbi Porat’s goal was to “raise the national spirit” and to this end, he—fresh off severe war wounds—together with others, set about settling the Shomron.

 A Lifetime of Accomplishment
Rabbi Porat’s activities were not limited to building Eretz Yisrael. He founded the Orot Chessed charity organization, worked for Ethiopian and Russian aliyah, and was wholly involved in a “meetings of the hearts” between the religious and secular.

He taught in several yeshivot and was a Knesset member for over ten years. Rabbi Porat later said that his proudest parliamentary achievement was having sponsored and ensured the passage of a law entitled “Do Not Stand by Your Neighbor’s Blood”—rendering it a legal duty to offer assistance to someone in mortal danger. Based on a verse in Vayikra, Rabbi Porat’s law ensures that sanctity of life is a national value not only in word, but in deed.

When Rabbi Porat spoke at the Mercaz HaRav thanksgiving ceremony shortly after the Six-Day War, a secular high school girl who heard him was moved to write some of her questions about Torah and Judaism to him. Rabbi Porat’s responses to her (and later, after she became observant, to her and her husband) over the next several years became a book entitled Et Achai Anochi Mevakesh, My Brothers I Seek. More than just an encapsulation of his love for the entire Jewish people, it deals with issues of life and death, faith and disbelief, religious coercion, rabbinical authority, marriage, and more—sprinkled with quotes from Chazal, from modern Hebrew poets, and from his own profound musings.

The last chapter, for example, describes in picturesque and lyrical detail a visit he made to the secular Kibbutz Ein Harod to pay a shivah call to a family who shared his attachment to the Land of Israel, where he was greeted like an old beloved friend. They talked deep into the night about issues such as the sanctity and lusciousness of the shemittah-year fruits he had brought them, the story of Rabbi Amnon of Mainz who was wracked by guilt for not having refused quickly enough to convert to Christianity, the solemn High Holiday Unetaneh Tokef prayer, and the need for the government to take a confident and independent stand against Israel’s enemies. Rabbi Porat left after midnight, and then, before dawn, nearly crashed into a group of stranded anti-Zionist Chassidim near Jericho whose car had two flat tires. While exchanging some Torah thoughts with them—with their glaring differences constantly in the background—Rabbi Porat lent them his spare tire and accompanied them back to Meah She’arim. He finally arrived home to Kfar Etzion just in time for the morning prayers.

Rabbi Porat concludes his story with an optimistic prayer that symbolizes his life: “Have mercy on the People of Israel,” I thought, biting my lips tightly. “How torn and ripped asunder they are, from one extreme to the other. How tired and wounded they are from their long nightmare of Exile and Holocaust; how confused and bewildered . . . How can we ever connect these ends that are so far apart? How do we build a bridge between the people of Ein Harod who have forgotten the holy Unetaneh Tokef prayer and the Neturei Karta people who turn their backs on and kick aside the State of Israel? Can we yet build something together, or is it too late?”

His answer was inspired by the vision of the Biblical Yosef walking northward along the same route he was then traversing to bring Yaakov Avinu’s regards to his hostile brothers: Yes! Despite all, Yaakov’s and Yosef’s home was not totally destroyed! The brotherly covenant was never broken! Yosef still lives! . . . And as he cried “My brothers I seek,” . . . an echo arose from the mountains: “My brothers . . . my brothers . . . my brothers . . . ”

“As one who grew up in the sheltered greenhouse of the [anti-religious] HaShomer HaTza’ir,” wrote a family friend in a consolation note to Rabbi Porat’s wife and eleven children, “I knew that the name Chanan Porat was a ‘red flag’—an image that the media arduously built up. But I am happy that I had the privilege of knowing your father from up close, seeing his sensitive heart [and] his all-around love for people . . . I am quite sure that my decisions leading me to [become religious] were nourished by the special Sabbaths and the Rosh Hashanah I spent with your family.”

No summation of Rabbi Porat’s life would be complete without noting the fortitude with which he accepted his fatal illness. With his body ravaged by cancer, his speech already slurred, Rabbi Porat remarked at one point, “Thank God! We thank God for every drop of life, for every breath.”

Asked how he was able to continue learning and teaching despite his pain and suffering, Rabbi Porat explained simply: “Rav Kook writes that the verse ‘Those who hope for Hashem will renew [lit., switch] strength’ means that they will replace their physical power with spiritual strength.”

Later, just a month before his death when his condition had deteriorated even more, a friend was visiting with him. Rabbi Porat began to recite Eishet Chayil to him, singing with a breaking voice, “Strength and beauty are her garb, she laughed at [her] last day.” Overcome with emotion at the mention of the symbolic words “the last day,” the friend said, “I have to go.”  “And Chanan,” the friend later recounted, “who always knew how to say what had to be said, without fear and without missing a beat, looked at me and repeated my words, slowly and clearly: ‘I have to go.’”

“I cried at the collapse of his body,” wrote the friend, “and stood amazed at the tremendous powers in his soul.”

 

Reprinted with permission from Jewish Action,  the magazine of the Orthodox Union (Vol. 72, no. 3).

Beit Shemesh Becomes Focus Of Growing Outrage Over Violent Religious Extremism

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

JERUSALEM – Several thousand Israelis, from across the country’s religious and political spectrums, rallied in Beit Shemesh Tuesday evening against the growing number of attacks on local women and children by a group of radical haredim affiliated with the Sikrikim, a violent offshoot of Jerusalem’s Neturei Karta faction.

“Free Israel from religious coercion,” read one sign at the rally. “Stop Israel from becoming Iran,” read another.

The protesters came together at the urging of public officials – among them President Shimon Peres – and religious leaders including Rabbi Dov Lipman, a haredi member of the Beit Shemesh City Council, and Shas MK Rabbi Chaim Amsalem.

The incident that galvanized much of the country and concentrated its focus on Beit Shemesh occurred last week when 8-year-old Na’ama Margolis, the daughter of Orthodox American immigrants, was spat on by a member of the Sikrikim who claimed the girl was not dressed “modestly enough” as she walked to Orot Banot, a nearby Religious Zionist school.

Though police arrested Na’ama’s attacker, a Jerusalem judge released him less than 12 hours later. A crew from Israel’s Channel 2 TV News, which arrived in Beit Shemesh to film local reaction to the incident, was subsequently attacked by the Sikrikim.

After the Margolis story aired over the weekend, the dispute in Beit Shemesh became national news and the violence ratcheted up a notch.

On Sunday, haredi rioters surrounded and threw stones at city workers removing signs calling for the separation of the sexes on city streets. When haredi activists put up new signs to replace them, the police who returned to remove them Monday encountered rioting by about 300 haredi men who threw stones at police and burned trash cans.

Meir Dovid Eisenbach (center) was arrested Saturday night for the spitting attack on Na’ama Margolis. He was released on bail.

Beit Shemesh, with its mixed religious and non-religious population and its mushrooming ultra-Orthodox satellite, Ramat Beit Shemesh, is home to more than 80,000 residents, including hundreds of new immigrant families from North America and the UK. During the past five years several dozen Neturei Karta-affiliated families, who could no longer afford Jerusalem’s soaring real estate prices, moved into a new Beit Shemesh housing complex, adjacent to the neighborhood populated by Orthodox American and British immigrants.

Upon their arrival, the radicals attempted to intimidate both religious and non-religious residents by attempting to impose a strict “dress code” in and around their enclave. In recent months, members of the radical faction have become increasingly violent, hurling rocks at young girls who attend Orot Banot, calling them “sluts” and “shiksas.”

The group also began posting signs on public streets against men and women congregating within their enclave.

The mayor of Beit Shemesh, Moshe Abutbol, who was elected on a (haredi) Shas Party platform and who had been widely criticized by residents for caving into the demands of the radicals, abruptly changed course in the wake of the attack on Na’ama Margolis.

“There is no reason on earth for a person to raise a hand – let alone on helpless girls,” Abutbol said on Tuesday. Referring to other recent acts of violence perpetrated by local ultra-Orthodox men, the mayor said “there is no pardon for those who behave provocatively. Rioters should be treated with a firm hand.”

The attack on Margolis also prompted Rabbis Lipman and Amsalem to take action. Rabbi Lipman, who has semicha from Baltimore’s Ner Israel yeshiva and a master’s in education from Johns Hopkins University, made aliyah to Beit Shemesh with his wife and four children in 2004.

Rabbi Amsalem, who has been severely critical of Shas leader Eli Yishai, formed his own political faction, Am Shalem, earlier this year and recruited Rabbi Lipman to support his social activist agenda.

Beit Shemesh City Council Member Rabbi Dov Lipman (far left) and Shas MK Rabbi Chaim Amsalem (far right) light Chanukah candles at the home of the Margolis family on Monday evening. The spitting attack on 8-year-old Na’ama Margolis by a haredi extremist sparked outrage across Israel.

Rabbi Lipman told The Jewish Press he “got involved with local politics and this demonstration because I realized it was the right thing to do. However, I never imagined when I made aliyah in 2004 that this would be my calling. I am a haredi-American who is concerned about the future of Eretz Yisrael. We are against anyone who tries to force their way of life on everyone else. Beit Shemesh is not a haredi city. We, religious and non-religious citizens alike, are demonstrating for unity, not division. We are not here to drive anyone out of their homes. We want people to respect each other.”

Letters To The Editor

Wednesday, January 17th, 2007

Unwelcome Guest
 
   A family checked into the Park House Hotel in Boro Park last week under an assumed name (we now know it was the wife’s maiden name). We did not know the true identity of this family, who paid in cash for their stay through Motzei Shabbos.
 
   On Friday afternoon someone recognized the head of the family as being none other than Mr. Moshe Arye Friedman, who recently traveled to Iran with members of Neturei Karta to attend the notorious Holocaust denial conference there.
 
   When we were informed as to his true identity we asked Mr. Friedman to leave, but he refused. We checked with the police and were advised that since he had paid for his stay, we had no legal cause to put him out.
 
   A demonstration outside the hotel against Mr. Friedman caused great angst to our other guests, to many prospective guests, and to neighborhood residents.
 
   We wish to make clear that had we known who Mr. Friedman was, we would not have taken his reservation, nor would we have accepted him as a guest in our hotel.
 

Israel Tyberg

Manager

Park House Hotel

Brooklyn, NY

 

Sephardic Radicals

   Steven Plaut captured in his “Anti-Zionism, Sephardic Style’ (front-page essay, Jan. 12) what we in the Sephardic community have known for years – that there is a virulent anti-Zionist strain among us both in Israel and the Diaspora.
 
   This was one of those important pieces that expose little-known problems – in this case a problem that few outside the Sephardic community were aware of. The article demonstrated that we Sephardim have our very own political agitators, much like a certain group of Jews who recently embraced the Iranian president.
 
   These marginalized Sephardic dissenters are small in number, but, as is the case with our outspoken Islamic adversaries, they remain dangerous.
 
   Our thanks to Professor Plaut and The Jewish Press.
 

Shelomo Alfassa

Founder

International Sephardic Leadership Council
 

 

Jews Of Color (I)
 
   Thank you for publishing Ita Yankovich’s piece on Orthodox Jews of color (“Minority Within a Minority,” Jan. 12). It’s been hard for me growing up and dealing with some of the same issues addressed in the article. Judaism has made me a stronger person, and I would never trade it for another religion.
 

Reginald Spence

(Via E-Mail)
 

 

Jews Of Color (II)
 
   I found the piece on Jews of color fascinating. Ita Yankovich did a really good job of presenting an open forum for black Jews to express their concerns. As an Orthodox Jew, I totally agree that we need to break away from the conformity that plagues us and embrace Jews of all colors and backgrounds.
 
   I’m a non-chassidish former Boro Parker whose kids often wouldn’t be included in the fold because I don’t wear a black hat and my wife’s sleeves just covered her elbows. We could all learn a lesson from the people interviewed by Ms. Yankovich. Thank you for publishing this great article.
 

Moshe Gross

Riverdale, NY

 

Too Clever By Half

   Reader Esther Fish suggests (Letters, Jan. 12) that Neturei Karta’s meeting with Ahmadinejad was actually “a clever move in securing the safety of Israel.”
 
   Esther, here’s an idea: Why not have Ahmadinejad, David Duke, Abbas, Farrakhan, and some good old Nazis over for tea and crumpets? You could “cleverly” shmooze all night long. Just don’t forget to tell your next of kin where you hide your valuables.
 
   Wake up! Remember Neville Chamberlain and that funny-looking guy with the bad haircut?
 

Avi Ciment

(Via E-Mail)

 

Disappointing Turnout

   I would like to express my outrage at the relatively small turnout at the anti-Neturei Karta rally last week in Monsey. As a frum Monsey resident who was there, I am offended that no more than a few hundred people felt the need to show their opposition to these lunatics who openly consort with the most vicious anti-Semites of our time, in effect lending credence to their sick lies and twisted revisionism.
 
   Even worse, they have the chutzpah to parade themselves in front of the media as authentic representatives of Torah, which makes us all look bad. The least we as Orthodox Jews could have done was show up in large numbers to change that perception.
 
   Why do I have the feeling that if financial losses were somehow at stake, people would be up in arms and rallying by the thousands? Shouldn’t the need to protest against a group of Jews who smear the memory of the Six Million Million kedoshim have equal footing?
 
   Shame on all those who didn’t attend. When will we ever learn?
 

Mordy Chaimowitz

Monsey NY
 

 

Presidents And Israel

   The Media Monitor’s Jan. 12 ranking of U.S. presidents in terms of their relationship with Israel was absolutely accurate, especially the “demotion” of Bill Clinton to a mid-level spot despite his being endlessly and erroneously referred to by his admirers as “the best U.S. president Israel ever had.”

 
   And the Monitor’s choice of Richard Nixon for the number one spot was even more justified in view of Nixon’s rejection of Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s advice and counsel to let Israel “stew awhile” before initiating the crucial shipments of armaments that helped Israel avert catastrophe in the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
 
   Nixon’s recorded anti-Semitic ramblings must be put in context of his coming to Israel’s rescue when its back was against the proverbial wall. His ranking is eminently warranted.
 

Fay Dicker

Lakewood, NJ
 

 

Divine Providence
 
   I must commend Rabbi Isser and Chana Weisberg for their brilliant op-ed article on the ramifications of Saddam Hussein’s hanging (“The Cosmic Significance of Saddam’s Execution,” Jan. 12).
 
   Too often we read and hear of disgraced Israeli politicians, the threat of radical Islam, and the ominous stirrings of anti-Semitism. While we live within the bounds of pragmatism, and world events can at times appear foreboding, we must at all times remain cognizant that the Creator has His own Plan, details of which may be found in Scriptures and the writings of our sages. The Weisbergs succeeded not in deciphering this plan but in redirecting the mindset of Jews who may have lost their religious compass.
 
   Let us hope that the death of this Nebuchadnezzar incarnate serves as a prelude to the imminent arrival of the Moshiach who will cause the glory of Hashem to be recognized by all mankind.
 

Dr. Yaakov Stern

Brooklyn, NY
 
 

 

Smearing The Victim
 
   The editorial “We Can Learn From Rev. Al” (Jan. 12) was right on target in its comparison between, on one hand, the reaction by black community leaders to the New York Police Department killing of Sean Bell, and, on the other hand, the reaction on the part of certain so-called Jewish community leaders to the NYPD killing of Gidone Busch.
 
   Regardless of one’s views on Rudy Giuliani’s political aspirations (I myself happen to be somewhat receptive to the idea of his seeking higher office), there is no denying that one of the Giuliani administration’s strategies to protect the NYPD was to run a posthumous smear and distortion campaign against Gidone Busch, unfairly painting him as a dangerous psychopathic monster and thereby justifying his killing by police officers. Wittingly or not, the so-called Jewish leaders who stood at the press conferences and meetings held by Giuliani and his police commissioner, Howard Safir, served to further the smear campaign.
 
   The presence and participation of those so-called Jewish leaders at the press conferences and meetings in fact served as a sort of hashgacha in the eyes of the news media, which used and continue to use disparaging and deprecatory adjectives to refer to Gidone. Yated Ne’eman referred to him as “mentally deranged” and, nearly seven years after the shooting, the New York Daily News referred to him as a “madman.”
 
   The postmortem slurs against Gidone served to greatly exacerbate the already considerable pain felt by Gidone’s family, friends and acquaintances. The facilitation by those who purport to assert and defend Jewish community interests makes the loss of Gidone all the more painful.
 
   Even at this late date, the pain that Gidone’s surviving family members will bear for the remainder of their lives can still be partially alleviated if those who wrongly participated in Gidone’s posthumous defamation would acknowledge their complicity and tender their sincere apologies. Only then can Gidone Busch’s death even begin to result in a change for the better.
 

Kenneth H. Ryesky, Esq.

East Northport, NY
 
 

 

 Advice On Dealing With Telemarketers

 
   A letter writer (“Browbeating By Tzedakah Telemarketers,” December 29) asks how to handle phone solicitations.
 
   First, ask the caller whether he is a volunteer or a paid solicitor. If a paid solicitor, ask what percentage goes to the charity. You might also ask where he obtained your name, as there is a substantial trade in phone and mail lists.
 
   Before sending a donation, check the organization’s tax return at www.guidestar.org (free registration required). There, you can find every charitable organization’s tax return for the prior three years, except for tiny charities and those claiming to be houses of worship (sometimes inappropriately), which should be considered when donating.
 
   The tax returns will show the amount the charity spends on paid solicitors and consultants, the salaries for the highest paid employees, administrative and fundraising costs, and whether it is hoarding cash. Pay attention to the abusive “joint costs” – which allows a charity to designate a part of its solicitation costs to “education expense” because the mailing asking for a donation contained a letter explaining what the charity does. I believe all “joint costs” are “fundraising expenses.” New York has the nation’s strictest rules for charities, and annual certified financial statements can be obtained from the attorney general. Texas rules are the most lax. So, be aware of the state out of which the charity operates.
 
   I consider anything over 20% for fundraising (including joint costs) excessive. Almost every mass mail solicitation nets far less than 50% after expenses, and should be ignored. Lots of organizations, such as synagogues, yeshivas, and many that serve the poor and sick, have virtually no fundraising overhead (unless they employ a “development director”).
 
   In my CPA practice, I see many non-Jews who tithe in a single check to their church. Jews prefer donating to many organizations, and that requires homework.
 

Jay Starkman, CPA

Atlanta, GA

Letters To The Editor

Wednesday, January 10th, 2007

Uncomfortable Truth

   The Palestinians under Yasir Arafat supported Iraq in the first Gulf War. Recently declassified documents record that they were complicit in the killing of American diplomats. They publicly rejoiced in the 9/11 atrocities. They worked hand in glove with the murderer Saddam Hussein against American interests in the Middle East. Indeed, the Palestinians saw Saddam as their champion.
 
   And today the Palestinian government, such as it is, refuses to acknowledge the legitimacy of Israel and does nothing to stanch the constant rocket attacks on Israeli towns and cities.
 
   Yet there are those in the administration and Congress who seek to pressure Israel into negotiating with these Palestinians they dub “peace partners.” At first blush, it all seems so strange. But then one remembers that Israel is a Jewish state and it all starts making sense.
 

   (By the way, I discovered The Jewish Press two years ago and devour every issue. You do such an enormous service in telling the uncomfortable truth. The Jewish weeklies here in California are so bland and politically correct – and from what I’ve seen when visiting friends and relatives, the same can be said for Jewish papers all over the country. Keep fighting the good fight.)

Harris Gollub

(Via E-Mail)
 
 

 

Dicker’s Confessional
 
   It seems very clear to me, after reading last week’s editorial “A Political Reporter’s Confessional,” that we simply cannot trust what political reporters tell us about how we are governed.
 
   As a longtime reader of Fred Dicker’s columns in the New York Post, I invariably came away – as I suspect others did – with the feeling that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver spent his days trying to block all the wonderful proposals and policy initiatives put forth by that tireless public servant, George Elmer Pataki.
 
   Now, after misleading his readers for years as to the real cause of Albany’s dysfunctional government, Dicker is saying, in effect: Hey, I was just kidding; for 12 years Pataki was really an empty suit and certainly not somebody anyone could work with.
 
   Dicker should be ashamed. And the Post ought to be condemned for its routine use of snide references – direct and inferential – to Silver’s Orthodoxy.
 

   Dicker and the Post owe us all an apology.

Binyamin Raskin

(Via E-Mail)
 
 

 

Clever Move?
 
   As an Orthodox Jew who happens to be pro-Israel, I see no problem with representatives of Neturei Karta visiting Iran and holding talks with President Ahmadinejad. I seem to recall that Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan stopped attacking Judaism after he met with some Neturei Karta members.
 
   As far as I’m concerned, the meeting with Ahmadinejad was a clever move. What better way to secure the safety of Iranian Jews and of Israel? By not burning our bridges to the government of Iran, we leave open a door to negotiations in future times of crisis. 

Esther Fish

Brooklyn, NY

 

Broken Promise

   Former Gaza farmers are not the only ones to be shortchanged by the forced evacuation of Gaza (“Gaza Farmers Want More Compensation,” news story, Jan. 5). The Israeli government not only victimized most of the Jews of Gaza by evicting them – in the name of some incomprehensible geopolitical calculation – from the homes they were encouraged to establish by previous governments, but now the present Olmert government has scandalously reneged on its commitment to compensate the evacuees at least for their financial loss.
 
   If Mr. Olmert were to do this to Palestinians, he would be accused of war crimes. 

Karen Diamond

New York, NY

 

Role Model

   Re “Rachel Factor’s ‘Not Even Normal” (Jewish Press Magazine, Dec. 22, 2006):

   When I saw Rachel Factor’s first show two years ago, I felt she was the perfect role model for my own daughter who was struggling with the desire to dance and perform while remaining true to the tenets of Orthodox Judaism.
 
   I am glad to say they have become very close, as my now 15-year-old daughter Lexi attended Rachel’s first summer teen program. She also has done volunteer work at Machol Shel Bnos Miriam and continues to take classes there. 

Laura Ben-David

Gush Etzion, Israel
 

 

Informative Articles

   I found both the front-page essay (“Orthodoxy and Practical Pluralism in American Judaism”) and Media Monitor column (“Presidential What-Ifs”) in the Jan. 5 issue particularly informative and insightful. I learned many new things I was able to use in the current-events groups I lead in senior centers.  

Gisele Strauch

Brooklyn, NY

 

 

Our Own Worst Enemies

      Just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get me. At least that’s what I tell my more trusting friends when they scoff at my habit of checking websites that might be considered hostile to Jews.
 
      So it was with the usual tightness in the stomach that I surfed on over to JewWatch.com the other day to see what variety of slander and out-of-context quotations the anti-Semites were dishing out. Ho-hum, the Jews own the media, Hollywood, the universities (which if true would be quite an accomplishment for a people that make up less than one-half of one percent of the world’s population).
 
      Wait, what’s this? A headline from Haaretz? A woman on Jerusalem’s Number 2 bus (the one that goes from Har Nof to the Kotel by way of Mea She’arim) was severely beaten because she refused to move from her seat in the front of the bus to the rear section where women are supposed to sit! Unbelievable. I clicked the link.
 
      There it was, Haaretz Online, December 26 edition. I quote from the second paragraph:
 
      Miriam Shear says she was traveling to pray at the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City early on November 24 when a group of ultra-Orthodox men attacked her for refusing to move to the back of the Egged No. 2 bus. She is now in touch with several legal advocacy and women’s organizations, and at the same time, waiting for the police to apprehend her attackers.”
 
      The article goes on to detail how she was pulled from her seat, thrown to the floor, beaten and kicked. Eyewitnesses are interviewed, corroborating her story. In the service of completeness I will add that the victim was not exactly polite, nor did she follow the unwritten custom that relegates women to the back of the bus on certain routes. But the violence resulting from her perceived transgressions defies justification.
 
      We know that sinas chinam, senseless hatred, has been the cause of many disasters in Jewish history. Do we not have enough enemies propagating lies, libel and Holocaust denial – in addition to their terrorism and so many other anti-Semitic horrors – without our providing them true instances of crimes of Jew against Jew? The last thing we need is to fuel the machine of anti-Semitic hatred with factual accounts of our own misbehavior.
 
      What we do need to do is address our middos and guard our behavior when the inevitable challenge to our comfort zone appears. Are we going to rise to the challenge and meet it with grace and dignity, or will we allow our animal instincts rule the day and give the victory to our enemies, who wait like hyenas for us to make a mistake?
 
      We pray every morning, “And allow us to elicit, today and every day, grace, kindness, and mercy in Your eyes and in the eyes of all who see us.”
 
      If we bring ourselves to apply these simple instructions to ourselves and to our people, not only will we bring a higher peace to Am Yisrael, we will spare ourselves the chillul Hashem of giving our enemies truth, God forbid, in addition to lies to gloat over. 

Laura P. Schulman, MD

Seattle, WA

 

 

 

 

Empathy For A Hurting Mother

 

      Yasher Koach to Rebbetzin Jungreis for publishing the letter from “A Single Mother Who Is Hurting” (Jan. 5). Such women and their children often are invisible in a community, so I applaud the Rebbetzin for making this family more visible.
 
      Twenty years ago I was in virtually the same position as this unfortunate mother, which is why I feel her pain so keenly. It can be difficult for a parent to be assertive with teachers, particularly if that parent is a single mother – and if her children are receiving tuition assistance, she may not want to rock the boat.
 
      Nevertheless, if I were that mother I would speak up and tell my children’s teachers exactly what she has described in her letter. Their consciousness needs to be raised so that single mothers and their children do not stay invisible. The Torah commands us not to oppress a widow or an orphan; by extension, this includes anyone in a similarly vulnerable position. Teachers with the proper hashkafa will welcome the opportunity to fulfill this mitzvah more consciously and conscientiously.
 
      There is an organization that did not exist when I was a single mother – MARCH (Mothers Alone Raising Children). MARCH can be contacted by e-mail at MothersAlone@aol.com or by conventional mail at 1214 Broadway, Room 406, New York, NY 10001, or by phone at 1-866-769-2311. The organization specializes in various types of emotional and financial support for single mothers.
 

      I hope the lady who wrote the Rebbetzin will contact MARCH. I have been thinking of her and mentioning her in my davening every day. Of course, she too can pour out her heart to Hashem.

 

      Maybe she will be heartened to hear that my own children have grown into resilient, resourceful adults, and that Hashem gave them wonderful, loving spouses. Four of my children live in Israel, which itself attests to their courage and faith in Hashem.
 
      Sometimes adversity – though no one would wish it on themselves and certainly not on their children – fortifies a person and helps him or her weather the storms of life with greater facility than those who have grown up with ease and advantages. 

Phyllis M. LaVietes

Dallas, TX

Letters To The Editor

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2007

Truman’s Anti-Israel Policies

 
   Jason Maoz is correct that Harry Truman was a most “ambiguous” friend, and not just because of his anti-Semitic diatribes (“Harry Truman Without Fanfare,” front-page essay, Dec. 29).
 
   Just before the ’48 war ended, the Israelis went on the offensive and captured a large chunk of the Sinai Peninsula. The Truman administration joined the British in pressuring Israel to withdraw immediately, without demanding that Egypt sign a peace treaty in return.
 
   At the time, Egypt was ruled by King Farouk, an obese playboy whose family roots were in Albania. Farouk was no Arab nationalist; with the right amount of pressure, a land-for-peace deal could have been concluded – and the whole Arab-Israeli conflict might have been nipped in the bud. The Palestinians weren’t the only ones who missed opportunities.
 
   Worse still, after the Israelis left the Sinai, the U.S. refused to support Israel’s demand that Syrian forces withdraw from three small pieces of Israeli land. In other words, the Truman administration only supported the withdrawal of Israeli forces, not Arab forces (despite the fact that the Arabs started the war). The battle for these three pieces of Israeli territory continued until the 1967 war.
 

Uri Kaufman

(Via E-Mail)
 

 

Dewey And Dulles
 
   In his article about Harry Truman, Jason Maoz writes that Thomas E. Dewey was a friend of the Jews and campaigned as a supporter of Israel. But we should not forget that Dewey’s foreign policy advisor in his 1948 campaign was John Foster Dulles. Based on this, it’s safe to assume that if Dewey had been elected in 1948, Dulles would have been appointed secretary of state.
 
   Dulles, of course, did eventually become secretary of state under President Eisenhower and he maintained (and possibly aggravated) the anti-Israel policy of the State Department that existed in the Truman years. During his seven years as Eisenhower’s foreign policy architect, Dulles made several visits to Arab states but one token visit to Israel. Furthermore, it was Dulles who in 1956 threatened Israel with sanctions if it did not immediately pull back from the Sinai.
 
   Truman’s relationship with Israel was far from perfect. But there is no guarantee things would have been any better with Dewey as president.
 

Joseph A. Levy

Rego Park, NY

 

 

Kudos To Bush
 
   Saddam Hussein killed hundreds of thousands of people, bombed Israel, paid suicide bombers $25,000 to murder Jewish children, and polluted the earth when he blew up oil wells.
 
   The United States stopped him. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and company stopped this Hitler-type tyrannical, maniacal dictator. They put him on the run, captured him, and turned him over to his own people, who did the normal thing: they tried and executed him. How good it would have been had Hitler been stopped before he could do what he did.
 
   President Bush deserves praise and thanks for doing pretty much what the U.S. did in World War II, only sooner.
 

Robert Harris

Chicago, IL

 

Ineffective Sanctions

   Last week’s page 3 news story “Iran Hit With Sanctions – Sort Of” makes clear the fallacy of sanctions as an effective tool in dealing with the profound threat posed by the Iranian regime.
 

   Not only is it clear that stiff sanctions will never be adopted by the world community, but it should be more apparent than ever that there is no effective alternative to military action. The differing agendas of the various world powers guarantee both watered-down sanctions and ineffective implementation.

Thelma Gordon

Los Angeles, CA

 

Palestinian Prisoners

   My stomach turned when I read last week that Olmert’s Cabinet backs the release of Palestinian prisoners. It is not for me, a private citizen of the United States, to decide the cost of securing the release of Gilad Shalit. Nor is it my place to criticize the Israeli government’s decision. It’s a heartbreaking situation all around.

 
   However, if the Palestinian prisoners in question merited incarceration, the reality doesn’t change simply because an Israeli soldier was kidnapped. And I fear that freeing Palestinian prisoners en masse will just tell terrorists they have little to fear in the long run, because even if they’re apprehended, they’ll likely be freed in some future prisoner release.
 

Irving Snow

(Via E-Mail)
 

 

Rude Telemarketers

 

   Reader Leibel Gross accurately depicted the frustration and even anger felt by so many of us at the “browbeating” we are subjected to by telemarketers for tzedakah (Letters, Dec. 29).
 
   It is ineffably sad that this ordeal is experienced by too many hapless people ready to give tzedakah but completely turned off by the crude and boorish tactics of some charity telemarketers.
 
   We must all stand firm and hang up on them if they persist in this manner and hopefully they will be summarily dismissed if their results are deemed inadequate.
 

Fay Dicker

Lakewood, NJ

 

 

Belated Outrage

 

   Why the sudden outrage, the talk of cherem, the upcoming demonstration against Neturei Karta? This group has for decades brazenly broadcasted its vitriolic message of hatred for Israel. Joining together with an archenemy of the Jewish people is normal behavior for Neturei Karta members, who on several occasions were photographed embracing and kissing Yasir Arafat and who attended Arafat’s funeral.
 
   This fall at a rally in Manhattan in support of Israel and against the prime minister of Iran (who’d been invited to speak at the UN), a large contingent of Neturei Karta demonstrated on behalf of the Iranian leader and against Israel. Years ago they marched with Israel’s enemies in Washington on Shabbos Kodesh, promulgating their well-known anti-Zionist message through the news media.
 
   Why has the entire Torah world only now erupted in such outrage and disgust? Even those who agree with Neturei Karta’s anti-Zionism are sickened and angered that the group publicly trampled and desecrated the memory of our six million kedoshim.
 
   Maybe we all waited too long to stand up and shout: Enough.
 

Caren V. May

(Via E-Mail)
 

 

Enlightening Article
 
   With the hectic Chanukah season finally over, I can sit down to write. I wanted to let you know that Rachel Weiss’s Chanukah front-page essay “From Light to Shining Light” (Dec. 15) was truly an inspiring and heartwarming article.
 
   In this busy world it is nice to know there are still people such as Mr. and Mrs. Weiss, who devoted a substantial portion of their lives to caring for their parents. And to write about it with such compassion takes a tremendous amount of character and is further testament to Mrs. Weiss’s middos.
 
   Once again, kudos to Mrs. Weiss. I look forward to seeing more of her inspiring Yom Tov-related front-page essays gracing The Jewish Press.
 

Rose Bernath

(Via E-Mail)

 


 

 

Unjustified Portrayal Of Day Schools

 

      Re Chananya Weissman’s December 22 front-page essay “Rethinking Standards in Jewish Education”:
 
      I cannot understand why the author wrote so negatively about the day school system. We should be very proud of what has been accomplished in just fifty years and work together to guarantee the continued growth of our school programs.
 

      To write in such denigrating terms about the quality of the teachers in our yeshivas is unacceptable. While there may be a very small percentage of faculty members not suited for the job, the great majority are men and women dedicated to the education of their students.

      Of course these teachers deserve higher salaries, and everything possible should be done to accomplish that goal. However, many are the factors that prevent these dedicated individuals from earning the salaries available in other fields. And while money is certainly appreciated, recognition in other forms should – and often is – extended.
 
      I myself, as someone with many years of experience in the field of Jewish education, both in the classroom and as an administrator, have written at length about the high cost of day schools. I have offered some solutions but to date they have not been acknowledged by the community at large. I believe we should consider our day schools to be at least as important as the public school system, which is free to students and underwritten by taxpayers. I feel we should, and could, provide similar free tuition but apparently there are many other pressing needs on the community’s agenda.
 
      But all that does not give us the right to assume there is anything even approaching serious mismanagement of funds in our yeshiva and day school systems. Yes, we must continue to demand the highest standards of educational achievement in these schools and must strive for constant improvement. But we also must appreciate the fact that the challenge to make significant Jewish education a top priority has been met here in the U.S.
 
      It is not a perfect system, but it isn’t nearly as bad as Rabbi Weissman seems to imply.
 

Rabbi Simcha A. Green

Santa Barbara, CA

Letters To The Editor

Wednesday, December 27th, 2006

Insensitive Tabloid
 
   Kudos for calling out the New York Post on its habit of topping stories involving Jews with headlines that are at best insensitive and at worst borderline anti-Semitic (editorial, Dec. 15). But you left out one of the worst examples – the “NYPD JEW” headline the paper splashed across its front page last July.
 

   Yes, I have a sense of humor and yes, I realize it was a play on “NYPD Blue,” but it was jarring nonetheless – and the accompanying story made no mention of the long and colorful history of Jews in the New York Police Department, giving the average reader the impression that a Jewish cop is rarer than a snowstorm in August.

 
David Millstein

New York, NY

 

Superb Manifesto
   Phyllis Chesler’s superb “Manifesto For Survival” (op-ed, Dec. 15) is both timely and well crafted. She is able at once to pinpoint the forces that have loomed large in the nullification of Israel’s case in the court of public opinion while proposing much needed solutions for combating Israel’s setbacks in that vital arena.
 
   The Arab oil weapon undoubtedly motivates many in the media and the international community in their false portrayal of Israel as aggressor and the Arab world as victim. It is impossible to credit the inaccuracies in the media’s reporting to mere ignorance, or the positions taken by leading politicians to sheer bias. True, there are anti-Semites among them, but they surely constitute a minority among the huge numbers of those who would deny the Jewish people their birthright while rewarding the Arabs for their vile acts of terrorism.
 
   Ms. Chesler’s article deserves widespread publication as her fears are far from exaggerated.
 

Alex Rose

Bet Shemesh, Israel

 

Bush’s Deceptions
   Rabbi Shmuley Boteach says all the right things about Iraqis (and all other oppressed people) deserving a life free of tyranny (“The Iraq Tragedy and the Death of Idealism,” op-ed, Dec. 22), but it’s time he admit that President Bush lied in his reasons for waging this war.
 
   While global intelligence – and leading Democrats – all agreed that Iraq was a problem, no one but those in the upper echelons of the Bush administration said it was an imminent threat and connected to 9/11. The CIA discredited the Nigeria nuclear material story before the war, yet it was one of Bush’s main justifications.
 
   To invade Iraq while the war in Afghanistan was far from resolved, while bin Laden was on the run but still free, while Iran’s nuclear program was being whispered about and the Iranians, along with Syria and Saudi Arabia, were known as the real sponsors of terrorism, was beyond foolish.
 
   While Bush has some admirable personal convictions in line with traditional Judaism, we shouldn’t be blind to the fact that his going to war based on deception is directly related to the war’s colossal failure.
 
Jack Rosman

Montreal, Canada

 

Beyond Debate
   Though I agree wholeheartedly with reader Henry Adler’s condemnation of Neturei Karta (Letters, Dec. 22), what concerns me greatly is his writing that “Denying the legitimacy of the government of Israel is one thing” – which seems to imply that such an opinion is acceptable.
 
   Neturei Karta may not be affiliated with Satmar, but the noxious opinions of Neturei Karta stem from a theology and philosophy that indeed rejects the legitimacy of the State of Israel. Are there not numerous anti-Semites who couch their hatred of the Jewish people in the cloak of “legitimate” discussion and debate as to the legitimacy of the State of Israel? These people of course are not anti-Semites, they are “merely” anti-Zionists [sic].
 
   There are certain things that are beyond debate – such as the reality of the Holocaust and the earth’s revolution around the sun. People of good faith can argue over the quality of Israel’s leadership, but the legitimacy of the state is beyond debate.
 
   Half the Jewish nation now lives in Eretz Yisrael and is led by a Jewish government. The official language of the state is Hebrew, the army defending the state and its people is Jewish and the essential operations of the government are affected and influenced by Jewish tradition.
 
   What government on the planet is more legitimate than one elected by a people who, having maintained their religion and culture for millennia, returned home to their land and resuscitated their ancient language? If we expect the nations of the world to accept the legitimacy of the Jewish state, then we must expunge from our own ranks this so-called debate over the legitimacy of Israel.
 
   While I do not believe for a moment that Mr. Adler meant to deligitimize the State of Israel, words do matter and once someone believes it is acceptable to “debate” the legitimacy of Israel, I fear it is a slippery slope and a natural progression leading to the positions expounded by Neturei Karta.
 
   One can only hope and pray – in the face of Ahmadinejad’s threats, his Holocaust denial conference, the anti-Israel positions of the radical left and Neturei Karta, and the stated desire of millions of Muslims to destroy Israel and the Jewish people – that any “debate” about the legitimacy of the State of Israel, at least among Jews, will cease once and for all.
 

Daniel A. Lindenfeld, Esq.

Woodmere, NY

 
 
Read, Then Discuss
 
   Reader Chaim Weissman engages in the game of guilt by association (Letters, Dec. 15). Rather than discuss the content of my book (A Threat from Within: A Century of Jewish Opposition to Zionism, Zed Books, 2006), which explains the phenomenon that has attracted so much attention in the wake of the recent visit by Jewish anti-Zionists to Iran, Mr. Weissman attempts to besmirch its author and even more so the veteran Israeli philosopher Joseph Agassi who praises my book.
 
   Indeed, I believe in promoting dialogue, and this is why my writings can be found in a broad range of religious and secular publications. Incidentally, the article in Tikkun that Mr. Weissman cites as “incriminating evidence” has an instructive history. I had written it in Hebrew at the invitation of Aqdamoth, a Jerusalem-based national-religious journal, which printed it in a special issue devoted to the 50th anniversary of the State of Israel. It was only a few years later that I rewrote it in English for Tikkun.
 
   Mr. Weissman, apparently an immigrant to Israel, may learn a thing or two about freedom of debate in his adopted country from the Israeli-born Professor Agassi. The English version of my book is now available in Israel. Mr. Weissman can buy it, read it and only then discuss it. By resorting to guilt by association and insinuation, Mr. Weissman exposes the vacuity of his accusations.
 

Yakov M Rabkin

Professor of History

University of Montreal

 

 


 

 

Browbeaten By Tzedakah Telemarketers

 

      It was a phone call I get over and over again on an almost nightly basis. Here’s how it went:
 
      “Hi there, Mr. Gross, my name is Leah -. I am calling on behalf of -, an organization that helps poor families in Israel. I would like to thank you for your past support. In the past you helped us with $36; can we count on you again this year for the same amount?”
 
      “I don’t pledge amounts over the phone, but please send me an envelope and I will see what I can do,” I responded.
 
      I hardly got the words out of my mouth when she continued, “Can we at least count on you for $18 – these poor families are really relying on your help.”
 
      Again I responded, “I told you, I would love to help, but I cannot pledge an amount over the phone. Please send me an envelope.”
 
      She persisted, “If you don’t give us an amount we can’t help these families until your check comes in. If you pledge at least $10, then we can help these families now based on your pledge. Can we at least write you down for $10?”
 
      At this point I was losing my patience – not at her specifically but at the dozens of other telemarketers who over the past few weeks had subjected me to the same shpiel, refusing to accept the fact that I won’t pledge over the phone.
 
      I told her firmly but respectfully, “I do not pledge over the phone, even $1. If you will be so kind as send me an envelope, I will, b’li neder, add it to the ever growing pile of envelopes on my desk and, b’li neder, respond when I get a chance.”
 
      At this point, I heard a loud click. Not “Thank you, Mr. Gross, I will send you an envelope,” but a click! She had hung up on me (as do most other tzedakah telemarketers when they realize they won’t be getting a pledge amount out of me.)
 
      Is it so hard to respect someone’s wishes and not try to wrench a pledge out of him? Is it so difficult to simply send an envelope?
 
      I feel as if these people care less about helping “these poor families” and more about making their commissions. I wonder how much of the money they do convince people to donate even ends up going to “these poor families.”
 
      I ask my fellow readers: Am I right to feel this way? Or am I wrong in not pledging over the phone? How do others handle this situation? What is the right thing to do?
 

Leibel Gross

Lakewood, NJ

 

Letters To The Editor

Wednesday, December 20th, 2006

Ben-Gurion No Model
 
   Assemblyman Dov Hikind’s column on Ehud Olmert in last week’s Jewish Press quoted David Ben-Gurion saying “We chose a Jewish state without the entire land of Israel.” What was the Jewish character of the state chosen by Ben-Gurion? Ben-Gurion’s “Jewish” state took Yemenite children from their parents, cut off their payos, and raised them as secular Jews. Ben-Gurion’s “Jewish” state was state without Torah.
 
   Also, how was Ben-Gurion any better than Olmert with regard to dealing with the Arabs? In 1956, after Israel conquered the Sinai peninsula, Ben-Gurion caved in to American pressure and returned the entire Sinai, thus setting the stage for later confrontations. In 1967, Ben-Gurion, retired but still influential, opposed the preemptive strike that enabled Israel to win such an overwhelming victory in the Six-Day War.
 
   Mr. Hikind ought to know better than to hold up Ben-Gurion as a model for true Jewish behavior.
 

Jay Grossman

Spring Valley, NY
 

 

Time For Action

 

   Dr. Phyllis Chesler’s “Manifesto for Survival” (op-ed, Dec. 15) needs to be understood and acted on pronto. A first course of action would be for each of us to contact every political official and demand that our government issue a non-negotiable ultimatum to the Arab states that are identified beyond any doubt as a declared and dedicated enemy seeking our destruction.
 
   The ultimatum would clearly state that we take their threats seriously and that those threats constitute an act of war. The only civilized, moral consideration we will extend these governments as an opportunity to protect their civilian populations will be this one-time offer to cease and desist further aggressive threats, publicly sign a non-aggression pact and cease the development and production of nuclear and chemical weapons. Failure to respond to this offer will render those governments responsible for all the terrible consequences we will bring upon them.
 
   In the name of sanity, we must do it.
 

Norman Shine

Brooklyn, NY
 

 

Trivializing Observance?
 
   Rabbi Mordechai Weiss (“Diversity: The Uniqueness of Our People,” op-ed, Dec. 15) correctly points out that it is unwise to judge people based on external criteria. Each person has something to contribute to society. However, I disagree with what I view as his attempted trivialization of the guidelines and principles essential for authentic Torah observance.
 
   In support of permissiveness, he cites the talmudic maxim koach d’heterah adif, which actually pertains to talmudic discussions; in particular, in the event one disputant has a mesora from his rebbe (a tradition from his mentor that a particular approach has its origins in the revelation at Sinai.) In that case, such an authority can argue by virtue of such knowledge in favor of a more liberal position. (This option is for the tannaim, the rabbis of the Mishna.)
 
   One classic case involves Beis Shammai and Beis Hillel in Masechta Beitza 2. This might surprise Rabbi Weiss: The liberal position does not prevail. (Also see Chullin 58)
 
   It is ironic that many of the most popular practices in Judaism stem from chumras. Without getting too technical, I’ll cite one timely example: Kindling the lights of the Chanukah menorah. The universal practice involves a mehadrin min hamehadrin ceremony, which is a super-orthodox lighting extravaganza. Every night an extra candle is lit to commemorate the triumph of freedom to believe in God and to proclaim that the Word of the Lord is from Zion and Jerusalem, and that this Torah will never be exchanged for any new man-made doctrine.
 

Chaim Silver

(Via E-Mail)
 

 

We Stand Corrected
 
   The tagline for writer Irwin Cohen (“The World Series That Wasn’t: Post-Season Musings of a Veteran Baseball Scribe,” op-ed, Dec. 1) describes Mr. Cohen as the only Orthodox Jew to have earned a World Series ring from a front office position. In fact, Joel Mael, an Orthodox Jew from Lawrence, Long Island, is the vice-chairman of the Florida Marlins. He held his current position in 2003 when the Marlins beat the Yankees in the World Series and he received a World Series ring at that time. Kindly correct this oversight.
 

Rhonda Younger

Brooklyn, NY

 


 

 

 

Neturei Karta Breaks Bread
With Holocaust Deniers
 

In Their Element

 

      I commend The Jewish Press for publishing the front-page photograph of Neturei Karta members being greeted by the president of Iran at that conference in Tehran. I hope those letter-writers who recently defended Neturei Karta now realize that the group’s agenda has gone way beyond anti-Zionism and has become plain old-fashioned anti-Semitism.
 
      By actively participating in a conference that questioned whether or not the Holocaust took place, Neturei Karta members hung their hats together with the likes of Iran’s Ahmadinejad and the former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. Those gentlemen are not just anti-Zionist, they are anti-Semitic.
 
      As a firm believer in the concept of midah k’neged midah – a person is punished in a manner similar to the sin he committed – I can only imagine what Hashem has in store for Neturei Karta members who associate with those who wish to wipe the Jews off the face of the earth.
 

Barry J. Koppel

Kew Gardens Hills, NY
 

 

Enough Is Enough

 

      Although initially outraged and disgusted by the picture of Neturei Karta representatives being greeted by the Iranian president at the Holocaust deniers meeting, I applaud The Jewish Press for putting it on the front page. We constantly prod moderate Muslim groups to speak out against their extremists, yet we allow these evil people dressed up as chassidic Jews to repeatedly disgrace our religion without vociferous protest from the rabbinic and lay leaders of our community.
 
      The vicious anti-Israel behavior we have witnessed in the past from this group has been swept under the rug as political – i.e., anti-government or anti-Zionist – but enough is enough. They’ve now become Holocaust deniers. If they can’t listen to reason here, there are six million souls waiting to set the record straight for them.
 

Dr. Marvin Brody

(Via E-Mail)

 

No Shame

 

      How low can they go? Have they lost all sense of shame? Those photos of Neturei Karta operatives openly consorting with notorious Holocaust deniers and arch anti-Semites in Tehran were absolutely sickening. They were “honored” with front row seats by their new associates, led by the proto-Hitler, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who denies past genocide against the Jews while eagerly anticipating a future one.
 
      While Neturei Karta is entitled to its odious opinions concerning the legitimacy of the State of Israel, such a gross display of chillul Hashem crossed all remaining red lines. What these so-called rabbis lack in ahavas Yisrael is more than made up for by their sinas chinam.
 

Richard D. Wilkins

(Via E-Mail)

 

No Laughing Matter

 

      Just look at those costumes! You have three clowns dressed up like Orthodox Jews shaking hands with a beast masquerading as a human being, while two other similarly costumed beasts approvingly look on.
 
      I’m being facetious, but the reality is that this is no laughing matter. This goes deeper than Neturei Karta’s mere rejection of the State of Israel, as wrong-headed as that may be. (And how difficult is it to understand that Israel exists to this day only because God wishes it to exist and has foiled all efforts to destroy it over the past 58 years? To reject His great miracle is to deny His very existence). These lunatics are actively legitimizing haters of Jews by their presence at this so-called “scholarly conference” and by their claims to represent religious Jewry.
 
      Does Neturei Karta “Rabbi” Yisroel Duvid Weiss actually think that fellow conference-attendee David Duke would not gladly toss him into a fiery oven if he could? Believing that a Nazi or a Muslim jihadi would spare him because he is not a Zionist Jew is as foolishly naive as the belief of liberal “Jews of the Mosaic persuasion” in Holocaust-era Germany that the Nazis would spare them because they were not like those odd-looking religious Jews.
 
      We should keep the so-called rabbis of Neturei Karta in mind when we recite the verse in the Amidah calling on God to punish informers, heretics and other such arrogant sonnei Hashem and sonnei Yisrael.
 

Paul Deckelman

Far Rockaway, NY
 

 

See No Evil

 

      I must express my dismay over the front-page photo in last week’s Jewish Press. Publishing that picture gives publicity to an insignificant group that represents nobody but themselves and that has been condemned by all segments of Jewry. I feel your paper owes an apology to its readers. Please don’t even mention these traitors to our people any more – they are not worthy of it.
 

Shlomo Philipson

Monsey, NY
 

 

New Depths

 

      I thought Neturei Karta could not reach new levels of chillul Hashem, but they’ve raised (or rather lowered) the bar again. Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s Holocaust denial gathering in Tehran drew some of world’s leading Holocaust deniers – and right there, present in the front row, were members of Neturei Karta.
 
      Apparently, this conference, which had been denounced by such friends of the Jews as Germany, England, France, the EU and the Vatican, is just fine for Neturei Karta.
 

Zachary Gorden

Brooklyn, NY
 

 

Al Tehi Tikvah

 

      Concerning those Neturei Karta representatives who met with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the Holocaust deniers conference I can only say: Caesar had his Brutus, America had its Benedict Arnold, and we Jews have our traitors, too.
 
      Denying the legitimacy of the government of Israel is one thing. Expressing that view by legitimizing the potential murderer of millions of Jews and by tacitly denying the Holocaust is quite another. Let me suggest that while waiting for Mashiach to come and redeem us, Neturei Karta settle in Iran where I’m sure they’ll be warmly hosted by their friend Ahmadinejad.
 
      “And to slanderers let there be no hope.”
 

Henry Adler

(Via E-Mail)

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/letters-to-the-editor/letters-to-the-editor-168/2006/12/20/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: