While we shouldn’t politicize the deadly Covid-19 virus, I would suggest that all protective and life-saving equipment, drugs, and devices manufactured in Judea and Samaria should be labeled as such. Let people know where their life-saving equipment comes from.
New York, NY
A Journalistic Disgrace (I)
Joseph Goebbels would have been jealous of David M. Halbfinger’s opening paragraph in the May 7 edition of The New York Times:
“The Israeli Defense Ministry’s research-and-development arm is best known for pioneering cutting-edge ways to kill people and blow things up, with stealth tanks and sniper drones among its more lethal recent projects.”
These words purport to introduce a piece headlined “Israeli Army’s Idea Lab Aims at a New Target: Saving Lives.” Unfortunately, it more effectively exposes the newspaper’s bias against Israel.
The purpose of the Israeli army is not to kill people, but to defend the Jewish nation. As the saying goes, “If the Arabs put down their weapons, there would be peace, but if the IDF put down its weapons, there would be no Israel.”
The New York Times is somehow unable to draw a distinction between armies designed to protect and those designed to inflict harm. The American and British armies in World War II, for example, were very different from the Japanese and German armies.
The paragraph above should never have made it past the publication’s first-level review.
Fort Lee, NJ
A Journalistic Disgrace (II)
There The New York Times goes again! On May 7, it ran a story under the headline: “Israel Army’s Idea Lab Aims at a New Target: Saving Lives.”
Actually, the IDF’s target has always been saving lives – both Jewish and Arab. The article asserted that IDF research and development division “is best known for pioneering ways to kill people and blow things up.” More accurately, it is better known for protecting its perpetually threatened citizens.
Take the remarkable Iron Dome, for example, which has saved countless lives and prevented serial Gaza wars. Israel has always used its technological prowess to avoid civilian casualties among the Palestinians. No army on earth, U.K. Col. Richard Kemp has stated, has more successfully minimized “collateral damage.”
Richard D. Wilkins
De Blasio & the Jews (I)
In an editorial last week, you insightfully noted that Mayor de Blasio “stereotyped” the entire Jewish community.
When Donald Trump commented that Mexico was not sending its “best” across the United States border, some leftists immediately claimed that he targeted all Mexicans. Clearly he didn’t, but de Blasio clearly did stereotype all Jews. Trump, though, is being criticized to this day while the media has already forgotten de Blasio’s comments. As usual, there’s a double standard.
If a Republican had made a statement similar to de Blasio’s, there would be a demand from the left for his resignation.
De Blasio & the Jews (II)
Stereotyping a group based on the actions of a few people is never appropriate, and blaming Jews as a “community” for individual wrongdoing, real or imagined, is anti-Semitic.
It is especially dangerous during a catastrophic pandemic. The coronavirus crisis is stirring anti-Semitism around the world, fueled by centuries-old lies that Jews spread infection through malice or for profit. Politicians such as Mr. de Blasio should quell dark impulses, not fuel them.
Police have been ordered to arrest Orthodox families walking in public parks while others are free to enjoy a relaxing stroll or even gather in large groups. Summonses have been issued to Orthodox Jewish families attending funerals while non-Jews attending more crowded funerals in the same precincts proceed without viral shaming, let alone punishment.
When other demographics have been shown to have a disproportionate number of Covid-19 cases, there has been only sympathy. But Jews are condemned.
As in any population, there are outliers, but Jews overwhelmingly adhere to the guidelines. The media and the mayor need to stop looking for scapegoats.
Brian J. Goldenfeld
Oak Park, CA
When Masks Are Required
In these dangerous times, it’s important to give accurate information. Unfortunately, your recent article on face coverings failed to do this. According to the CDC, face masks are not required whenever one is outdoors. Rather:
“CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.”
Instead of pushing for more onerous rules, The Jewish Press would do more good by emphasizing how to properly wear a mask. More and more, I see people wearing masks with their noses are exposed. This renders them totally useless in stopping the spread of Covid-19.
Kudos to Rabbi Weissman (I)
Kudos to Rabbi Chananya Weissman for his insightful article, “Must We Love Sinners?” He hit the nail precisely on the head. While moral decay has been eating away at society for years, we Jews have been “minding our own business.”
Rabbi Weissman writes about “pride,” obviously referring to the homosexual scourge of our time, and how we have “allowed ourselves to be convinced that it is pointless to object.” But objecting is not pointless at all. How do you think homosexuals attained their victories? By shouting, rallying, and protesting.
Fifty years ago no one, not even homosexuals, dreamed that they would someday be able to “marry” a man. But after making a raucous for many years, not only is their perversion acceptable, but their “rights” sometimes trump other people’s rights.
I believe we can reverse, at least to some degree, the gains they’ve made by using their own tactics – shouting, rallying, and protesting.
New York, NY
Kudos to Rabbi Weissman (II)
Rabbi Chananya Weissman is spot on in asserting that loving Jewish sinners is not a Torah concept. This said, I suspect his fine article did not sit well with many readers.
In the last half century, kiruv has become a dominant force in Judaism, and we are told that unconditional love will bring every Jew into the fold. The sad reality is that this is nothing more than wishful thinking.
Sure, you can get people to attend a Purim party or a Seder, but our religion requires a 24/7 commitment, which most are not inclined to make.
The Gemara (Shabbos 55a) states that those who fail to rebuke sinners are punished along with them, so it’s time we call a spade a spade. Certainly there are many Jews who must be considered tinokos shenishba’im, and, yes, we must do our best to reach out to our disenfranchised brothers and sisters, but at the end of the day a mechalel Shabbos is still a mechalel Shabbos.
I commend Rabbi Weissman for telling it like it is and for his courage in tackling controversial issues.
Remembering Dr. Mark Allen Respler
Regarding the tribute to Dr. Respler that you recently published: We were patients of his, as were our parents and children. He treated us like family.
Whenever we went for a visit, he always asked about our children’s welfare. He was always so happy to hear good news. He always welcomed us with a smile.
We miss him and always will. We wish the family only simchas from now on.
Mr. and Mrs. M. Alter
Remembering Marvin Schick
Few could match the scope of the endeavors of the recently departed Rabbi Dr. Marvin Schick on behalf of Torah education and Jewish communal life in America.
I was privileged to know Marvin from the day I entered high school at RJJ. We spent eight years as classmates through semicha. Later, when RJJ was forced to close its doors on the Lower East Side, Marvin reimagined and recreated RJJ at its new locations.
I trust that the indelible imprint he has left on the yeshiva and Orthodox Jewish world and all those he encountered will be written about and discussed for a long time to come. May his memory be a blessing and his life’s work a model for all who are osek b’tsorchei tzibur b’emunah.