The Penkower Family
The Nov. 24 issue of The Jewish Press was graced with a wonderful op-ed article by Professor Monty Noam Penkower, “Jerusalem: A Personal Tribute.” I met Monty when his father was the rabbi of Community Synagogue Center here on 6th Street in Manhattan. Monty’s brother Jordan and I would sit side by side during Rosh Hashanah services more than twenty years ago.
The Penkowers are an exceptional family, and Monty’s thoughts on living in Jerusalem were very welcome. His father, Rabbi Murry Penkower, z”l, was a brilliant man, whose sermons were incisive and wide ranging. The rabbi’s wife, Lillian, a”h, was a wise, warm woman. The parents were mindful of their children and in fact all four of them earned Ph.D.s. How remarkable is that?
I miss all of them and send my regards to Monty and Jordan.
New York, NY
Tzitzis In Or Out? (I)
I enjoyed reading Elliot Resnik’s Nov. 24 op-ed article on tzitzis (“Tzitzis: In or Out?”)
Readers may be interested to know that when asked a question about this, Rav Moshe Feinstein, zt”l, paskened that it is not necessary to wear one’s tzitzis out.
I think it is fine for those who wish to wear them out to do so, as long as they don’t consider themselves more frum than those who tuck them in.
Tzitzis In Or Out? (II)
Kudos to Elliot Resnick for his enlightening op-ed regarding the wearing of tzitzis.
I’d like to expand, if I may, on the verse he touched on in his article. “Ur’isem oso” (and when you see them) is followed by “uzchartem es kol mitzvos” (you will remember all the commandments).
Some elucidation, if I may (Rashi): the numerical value of the word tzitzis is six hundred. Add to this the 8 threads and 5 knots, and we have a total of 613 (number of commandments). In simpler terms, “when you see them [during davening] you will remember all 613 mitzvos.”
The public display of tzitzis is something I never witnessed growing up (as a frum-from-birth woman with strong chassidic roots). I wholeheartedly concur with the author’s ascertainment that our religion espouses modesty, privacy, and discretion. Nuff said.
Editor’s Note: Ms. Weiss is the author of “Forever In Awe” (Feldheim).
Tzitzis In Or Out? (III)
I really liked Elliot Resnick’s article on whether to wear tzitzis out or in. In my community some of the yeshiva boys take great care that their tzitzis are showing at just the “right” lengths. I see it as somewhat of fashion statement or “look at me” type of thing.
I’m similarly confused with people wearing their tallis on the outside, some even on their head, while walking to shul. What is that about? Jewish pride? I don’t think so. I think they are sending a message to others of “look how religious I am.” I’m sure the tallis would disappear quickly under their coat at the slightest hint of anti-Semitism.
Celebrating In Hebron
Your Nov. 17 front-page photo, “Celebrating in Hebron,” picturing of some of the many hundreds of tents erected by hardy participants in Shabbat Chayei Sarah around Ma’arat HaMachpelah (Cave of the Patriarchs) stirred powerful memories among the members of our Americans for a Safe Israel mission who were there, too.
Although physical conditions for many were quite challenging in pup tents and in a wide variety of caravans and vehicles, we could sense the powerful inner force that impelled 30,000 fellow Jews to gather together in the embrace of our Avot (patriarchs) and Imahot (matriarchs).
Together with the increased number of Jews, including haredim, whom we witnessed ascending Har HaBayit (the Temple Mount), we felt a spiritual awakening that could foretell a positive future for Israel.
New York, NY
Trump And China’s Press Restrictions
President Trump refused to take reporters’ questions during his visit to China, succumbing to Chinese insistence that no questions be allowed from the press.
Communist China, along with other Communist countries, prohibits freedom of the press. China is afraid to open up the press to the public because Communist shortcomings would then be exposed, and that could lead to unrest and the pursuit of democratic freedoms.
Unfortunately, Trump went along with the Chinese restrictions on the press as a bargaining chip in his quest to have China eliminate all trade with North Korea.
Trump’s views concerning the press fit in with Communist China’s restrictions on its media outlets, because he would like to control the U.S. press and its reporting on his presidency.
Mr. Trump: Freedom of the press is a hallmark of a democracy.
My Write-In Campaign For The Next Election
Write-in campaigns rarely lead to victory. Sometimes, they are just designed to send a message of frustration and protest regarding the political status quo. In 1968, with a tongue-in-cheek campaign, comedian Pat Paulsen actually received more than 100,000 write-in protest votes for president.
Another example of the write-in protest vote is the use of “None of the Above.” It, of course, expresses the message that all of the listed candidates are unacceptable. In the 1985 movie “Brewster’s Millions,” “None of the Above” actually wins the New York City mayoral election.
The world of politics has been radically changing before our very eyes. Thanks to social media, it is coming to light that we are living in an age where powerful men think they can grope and grab women (or worse) as they please. Because the political climate has changed, there is a need for a new kind of write-in protest campaign.
So if you have had enough with all the grabbers, gropers, and overzealous tactile politicians, do something about it. Let yourself be heard and counted. For the next election, regardless of the office at stake, I am urging everyone to join me with a write-in vote for “Shomer Negiah.”