Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Self-Serving Palestinian Leaders

President Trump has formally announced U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. As a consequence, and not at all surprisingly, PA boss Mahmoud Abbas said his people would refuse to cooperate with the U.S. in any future peace process and threatened that there will be “no peace or stability” in the region until Jerusalem is recognized as the Palestinian capital.


I respectfully ask: “So what’s new?” Abbas has been saying this and pursuing that path for many years, as did his predecessor, Yasir Arafat, before him.

Why is this so? First of all, the Arabs/Muslims/Palestinians have clearly stated that they want all of the land – from the ocean to the sea. They declare that is all Arab and, as such, there is no place there for Jews.

There is no doubt another motivation for such behavior on the part of Palestinian leaders: Pure greed. So long as they keep their people suppressed and downtrodden, countries will continue to donate billions of dollars to their coffers. We can only guess at how much of that money finds its way into the pockets of self-serving Palestinian leaders.

George Epstein
Los Angeles, CA

World Hypocrisy On Jerusalem

President Trump’s declaration that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital (“Parsing the President’s Jerusalem Declaration,” editorial, Dec. 15) has brought out the worst of humanity’s nature – greed, envy, hypocrisy.

It is shocking to see the worldwide condemnation by Christian and Muslim countries of this acknowledgement of reality. Without Judaism, there would be no Christianity and even more so no Islam. So much of the Koran and Hadith (second most important source of Islam) are based on Judaism.

Without Jerusalem being a Jewish holy city, Christians and Muslims would never claim it as a sacred city. While Catholics already honor Rome (Vatican) as their sacred city and Muslims sanctify Mecca and Medina as their two holiest ones, both faith groups demand that the Jews share sovereignty of our holiest city with them.

Meanwhile, it is perverse that as Muslims watch the butchery of their fellow Muslims in Syria, Yemen, and Rohingya in Burma, their violent protests are only over Jewish Jerusalem.

Jacob Mendlovic
Toronto, Canada


Why The Delay In Moving The Embassy?

Stephen Flatow once again hit the nail on the head with his Dec. 22 op-ed, “U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem As Israel’s Capital: Going Beyond the Symbolism.”

President Trump’s statement was so full of loopholes that it’s easy to envision the U.S., whether under Trump or some other president, insisting on compromises and givebacks from Israel during some future negotiation.

As for the unseemly delay in actually relocating the embassy, one must ask what in heaven’s name is so difficult about immediately slapping a shingle with the words “U.S. Embassy” on any available building in Jerusalem and using that as a temporary location until a more permanent one is constructed?

Yerachmiel Strauss
Via E-Mail

The Rubashkin Celebrations

President Trump is to be congratulated for his commutation of Sholom Rubashkin’s sentence. The government not only prosecuted Mr. Rubashkin, it persecuted him as he was given a sentence way above what others have gotten for similar crimes.

I do have a problem, however, with the wild celebrations that occurred upon Rubashkin’s release. Rubashkin is still a convicted felon. After all, President Trump only commuted his sentence, he did not pardon him. Those celebrations were shown on the news and I believe they caused a huge chillul Hashem. A small, private celebration would have been much more appropriate.

Barry Koppel
Kew Gardens Hills, NY


Patton’s Anti-Semitism

Re “Gen. Patton’s Appalling Anti-Semitism” (front-page essay, Dec. 22):

My dad fought (as a medic) under Patton. He never mentioned this aspect of him, so this is new to me. I used to think Patton’s fatal car accident so soon after the war was unfortunate. No longer.

Mark Melnicoff

* * * * *

Responding To ‘A Pained Mother’

Blaming The Rabbis

I was very surprised at the one-sided letter from “A Pained Mother” titled “The Yivanim Within” (Letters, Dec. 15).

Why is she blaming rabbis for non-vaccinated children not being admitted to yeshivas? Even public schools won’t admit students who don’t bring proof of vaccination. I’m sure the rabbis explained why they could not admit a non-vaccinated student.

Yehudah Leib Fleck
(Via e-Mail)


Schools Must Protect Students

As I have made clear – most recently in an Oct. 13 letter to the editor – in detailing my two-year struggle to recover from Whooping Cough (due to the resurgence of this formerly eradicated disease), the “pained mother” whose letter appeared in the Dec. 15 issue must realize it is the duty and responsibility of schools to protect their students – just as it is hers to protect her children who unfortunately have their own serious situation.

I wish her berachah v’hatzlacha in raising her children in the best of health and happiness, but please be open enough to understand both sides of a double-sided painful equation.

Penina Metal
(Via E-Mail)

Contempt For Others

I must express my dismay at the “pained mother” who vented her vitriolic anger at rebbeim who refused to allow her children to go to yeshiva unvaccinated. Isn’t she aware that the city makes the laws for yeshivas to follow for the safety of their students?

Her insistence on not having her children inoculated shows her contempt for the lives of all the other students whose parents follow the rules. And of course her reference to the rebbeim she dealt with as “Yivanim within” is the ultimate obscenity.

Since the letter-writer signed her name “A Pained Mother,” please allow me to sign off as:

A Pained And Incensed Grandmother
(Via E-Mail)

* * * * *

Thanking Our Local Firefighters

On Thanksgiving morning last month, the Young Israel of Memphis brought more than 50 adults and children together to say “Thank You” to our local firefighters. Rather than spending Thanksgiving at home with family and friends, those hard-working heroes were on duty keeping our neighborhood safe.

The children presented their eight shul-made pumpkin and sweet potato pies, as well as their handcrafted Thanksgiving cards to the very appreciative – and noticeably touched – firefighters. (See photo below.)


The firefighters gladly treated our entire group to a tour of their fire station, gave us a close look at their equipment, and even let the children climb through one of their trucks.

During our visit, an actual call came in (thankfully, it was nothing serious) and we were able to see some of the firefighters quickly gear-up and take off in one of their fire engines. Witnessing our local firefighters in action on Thanksgiving helped the children gain an even deeper appreciation of our local heroes.

Rabbi Akiva Males
Memphis, TN

Editor’s Note: Rabbi Males is the spiritual leader of the Young Israel of Memphis; he can be reached at