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Posts Tagged ‘Rabbi Weinreb’

Letters To The Editor

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Dreading Purim (I)

I applaud your giving front-page prominence to Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb’s article about substance abuse among Jewish youngsters (“Why I Dread Purim,” front page essay, March 2).

The problem has assumed ominous proportions and has and will damage if not destroy the futures of many of our young people. It is only through thoroughly ventilating the problem with thoughtful discussions that we may be able to move it toward a solution. I hope parents will read, absorb, and take Rabbi Weinreb’s message to their children.

Edward Wishner (Via E-Mail)


Dreading Purim (II)

I enjoyed Rabbi Weinreb’s article. Unfortunately, the fact is that today’s children come by their addictions “honestly.” That is, they are reared by adults who can’t seem to cope with or work through their problems without drugs or alcohol. Children are far from stupid and are much more perceptive and honest with themselves than prior generations at the same age. Parents teach by example and the sad lesson from all too many can be encapsulated into “There is a pill for that.”

I was disappointed that Rabbi Weinreb did not delve into what is meant by the admonition to drink until we cannot discriminate between “Cursed is Haman” and “Blessed is Mordechai.” It certainly is not self-evident that reliance on a mind-altering substance was being urged. Rabbi Weinreb quoted sources who ruled that drunkenness was not what was contemplated. But what still remains a mystery, at least to me, is how those words are otherwise to be interpreted.

Gary Kleinman New York, NY


Playing The Race Card

Re “African-Americans for Obama” (editorial, March 2):

President Obama is only partially to blame for calling on African Americans to support him in November “because I look like you.” Campaigning is the art of getting elected and Obama learned from the 2008 presidential campaign that when it comes to the race card, the media will always give him a pass. Sure enough, his shameless appeal to African-Americans to vote for him has caused barely a ripple in the media.

I wonder, though, what the reaction would have been to a call by Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum for Caucasians to join a project called “Whites for Mitt” or “Whites for Rick.” Actually, I know the answer. The media would have screamed “racism” non-stop.

Reuven Michaels (Via E-Mail)


Opposition To Obama Not Racial

Reader Howard Feinberg’s sweeping denunciation of frum Jews who oppose President Obama is misguided and wrong (Letters, March 2).

One need not read between the lines to discern that Mr. Feinberg is of the opinion that this opposition is grounded upon race. As an observant Jew, I can state with conviction that my opposition to Obama has nothing to do with his race. It has everything to do with the president’s ruinous economic policies that have resulted in the worst American unemployment figures since the Depression.

To add insult to injury, the president appears to be more concerned with moving his radical social agenda forward than with putting Americans back to work. And with gasoline prices approaching five dollars per gallon, the president opposes real alternatives that would alleviate the economic plight of most Americans and kowtows to environmentalists and other special interests.

On Israel, Mr. Feinberg claims the president is simply following his predecessors concerning settlements and the 1967 borders. While that statement is arguable, what is inarguable is that President Obama is the first American president to publicly advocate for borders between Israel and the Palestinians based on the 1967 lines with some undefined swaps of land.

Anyone with an elementary knowledge of Israel’s security and the current state of world affairs knows a return by Israel to its 1967 borders in any form would be suicide and a non-starter.

When an American president repeatedly states that “America does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements,” refers to Israeli “occupation” and cannot differentiate between rocket attacks on Israeli civilians and Israel’s response, Jews, observant or not, take notice. That is why I will join with many of my fellow Jews and millions of other Americans this November in voting against President Obama.

Gerald M. Jacobs Staten Island, NY


Disagrees With Reviewer

This is in response to the Feb. 17 review of the book Girl for Sale by Faigie Heiman. While I respect everyone’s right to voice an opinion and I certainly do not question the credentials and expertise of reviewer Yocheved Golani, I emphatically disagree with several aspects of her conclusions.

First of all, just to set the record straight, the maiden name of the heroine of the story, Miriam Mendlowitz, is undisputedly Miriam Gross, not Miriam Azidowicz, as the reviewer erroneously reported. Nor does she have a middle name, as a reference to Miriam A. Mendlowitz would lead us to believe. Other statements are more subjective in nature and consequently less blatantly incorrect, though I personally disagree with the majority of the criticisms the reviewer cites.

Sound Advice For Troubled Times

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

      The 10th Annual Rebbetzin’s Conference sponsored by the Task Force on

Families and Children at Risk, which took place last week, was one of the best ever. Rebbetzins come from far and wide to participate in this yearly program and leave with newfound strength.


      The concept behind these conferences is that many congregants, especially women, feel most comfortable approaching their Rebbetzin with their problems. The Rebbetzin must be aware of the help she can and cannot give.  The role of the Rebbetzin today is far greater than just lending a listening ear, and therefore the role of these conferences is immeasurable.


    This year’s topic, “Anxiety & Emunah” featured Rebbetzin Faige Twerski and Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb. It has become tradition to open the program with greetings and an overview, by Rebbetzin Esti Reisman, to which everyone looks forward. Stressing the importance of this year’s topic, she mentioned the challenging economic circumstances, the situation in Israel and many more anxiety producing events.


    According to Reisman a person without faith can have plenty, yet act as if stuck in the desert without food or water.  However, she admitted that even with emunah, we have trouble accepting life’s events. 


       So how do we get to the point where we bridge the gap from having emunah to not worrying about our particular problems? And with this question, the next speaker was introduced.


    Rebbetzin Feige Twerski, noted author and lecturer, immediately put us at ease by reminding us that, at the core level, we are believers in Hashem.  Referring to the Shema, she asked, “How can you command someone to love?” The Sfas Emes answers that the Torah can make this command because we already love Hashem.  But we have to overcome the many obstructions to that innate love.


    Rebbetzin Twerski feels we are very hard on ourselves and have to stop beating up on ourselves. She gave an example from the Jews in the desert.  They mourned their behavior of always complaining, of the Golden Calf etc., but we see that when Hashem passes judgment on that period he says: “Zacharti lach chesed n’urayich.”  I remember the kindness of your youth when you followed me into the desert.  He doesn’t comment on the lapses.    


       According to Twerski it’s all in our attitude.  It’s not what you’re given; it’s what you make of it. We should train ourselves to plug into our emunah.  She advises that we forget the words, “It could have been it should have been if only ” These thoughts sap our energy and take away our joy.  Everything begins with our thoughts, and we have to learn which thoughts to get rid of and which to focus on.  We have to clear our heads and make room for positive thoughts, and then when we stop obsessing we will see clearly.  Her final words were that every stage of the journey of our life has beauty and it is for us to find it and enjoy it.


    Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb is the Executive Vice President, Emeritus of the Orthodox Union. His topic was “Psychological and Spiritual Effects of the Economic Crisis.”

Pointing out that man’s self-esteem differs from a woman’s, he stated that he, of course would be talking from the male perspective. Those amusing words, notwithstanding, his speech was quite thought provoking. 


        Loss of self-esteem for a man can mean the loss of his ability to function, even in the most intimate aspects of life. So many men, who have recently lost their jobs, or life savings, are in crisis mode. Weinreb cited the four roles of a father to provide, to protect, to nurture and to sponsor (teach). 


     Rabbi Weinreb feels that we must help people in crisis find alternate forms of self-esteem. We have to ask some of these men to volunteer to give shiurim, mentor young students and other activities.


      We can help by networking for some and ensuring that these downcast individuals don’t feel isolated. We should resourcefully create ways that people can give of themselves and, thereby, improve their self-esteem.


We can take to heart a quote from Abraham Lincoln “People are as happy as they make up their minds to be.” 


     Rabbi Weinreb reminded us that, as Jews, we should always live with hope. Not just “I hope things will turn out ok,” but, “they will turn out ok because I will do things to make it so”.


      Miriam Turk, always gracious even under enormous pressure, ran this year’s conference. And as always, special thanks to the Honorable Speaker Sheldon Silver, for his efforts and care to families in need.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/community//2009/05/20/

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