Many Thanks


   We must take this opportunity to express our tremendous hakoras hatov to Hakodesh Baruch Hu for performing an open miracle during the terrible car accident that occurred on November 27, 2006, when a city bus collided with our family van carrying two children. We also appreciate all the tefilos and Tehillim that were said in America and Eretz Yisrael over the past several weeks.
   To all the devoted members of Hatzolah Ambulance Corp, the Mikimi Cheer Up Squad with all their famous singers – we say Thank You. To all the volunteers of Chai Lifeline who came to the hospital and our home on a daily basis, with food, toys, and cheer – we say Thank You.
   Our special appreciation to Rabbi Rokeach and the wonderful members of his shul on Avenue P and East 33rd street in Flatbush for their support, friendship, and provision of meals for our family. Achron achron choviv to Lev Bais Yaakov, whose principal, teachers, parents and students came to the hospital and our home on a regular basis, bringing meals and love.
   May these special individuals, as well as all of Klal Yisrael, be blessed with continued good health, nachas and success in all their endeavors.

Witowsky and Ausfresser Families

(Via E-Mail)


Dr. King’s Message

   I have long felt that the Jewish community had an important affinity with the black community – certainly the black community of Dr. Martin Luther King’s day – and so I very much appreciated Rabbi Saul Berman’s Jan. 19 front-page essay “Martin Luther King and the Exodus Narrative.”
   Although later generations of black leaders seemed to pervert Dr. King’s message, jettisoning his eloquent appeal for equal opportunity and replacing it with calls for preferential treatment, the fact remains that we Jews were right to support the Civil Rights movement in the manner we did.
   That people were relegated to the backs of buses, and were refused the right to vote, and were forbidden from eating and drinking and otherwise sharing public accommodations with whites – purely on the basis of the color of their skin – is a notion so shocking and reprehensible, it’s sometimes hard to believe that this was the way things were in parts of America well into the 1960’s.

Moshe Solomon

New York, NY


Hard Advice
   I was intrigued by the advice given in last week’s “Chronicles of Crises” column to an anonymous letter-writer who outrageously explained away her extra-marital affair as having been caused by her husband’s falling out of her favor.
   While the advice dispensed by the “Chronicles” columnist seemed to conform to general Torah standards – i.e., the woman was urged to give serious thought to her violation of Torah law and mend her ways – what was missing was a hard-nosed declaration that because of her infidelity, the writer is ipso facto, incontrovertibly, aasur lebailah – forbidden to live with her husband as man and wife no matter what she does henceforth.
   I hope The Jewish Press is not falling into the trap of political correctness. We need a publication that will call it as the Torah dictates.

Yirmiyahu Farbstein

(Via E-Mail)


Advice For Ahmadinejad
   President Ahmadinejad of Iran has stated that Israel is a cancer that has no right to exist. During Israel’s 58 years of existence its citizens have garnered more Nobel prizes than Iran and all the Arab countries combined. Inventions and medical breakthroughs by Israelis have enriched the lives of millions of people throughout the world.

   Mr. Ahmadinejad, what have your Iranians contributed to enhance people’s lives?

   There are students from more than 70 countries enrolled at Israeli universities. How many students from foreign countries are at Iranian universities? When catastrophes have occurred, Israel is among the first countries to respond. When has Iran contributed to assist these people in distress?
   Iran has been furnishing large sums of money to Hamas, Hizbullah and the insurgents in Iraq. There is no way to determine what percentage is being used to benefit the Palestinians, Lebanese and Iraqis; however, it is not debatable that a significant amount of this money is being used for munitions, digging of tunnels, and training people to wreak havoc.
   If these funds were utilized to make small loans to people to create businesses as the Bangladeshi Nobel Prize winner has done, would not those funds have been utilized more wisely and more beneficially for the Palestinians, Lebanese and Iraqis?
   Mr. Ahmadinejad, please don’t try to live up to the third, fourth and fifth letters of your name. Instead, be a statesman and try to improve the lot of mankind.

William K. Langfan

Palm Beach, FL


A Donkey Named Carter
   Jimmy Carter is widely considered the most ineffective president in the history of the United States – a moniker that certainly will outlive the peanut grower from Georgia.
   There are many things Mr. Carter will be remembered for, none of them useful or enhancing to our beloved country. Despite his pro-Arab disposition he was kicked around by Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini and was unable to secure the release of our hostages. One would assume that Mr. Carter would have learned from his mistakes; that he would, by now, have realized the futility of trying to deal with religious fanatics of this sort. Yet he still meddles in foreign policy, an area he so miserably failed in during his presidency.
   He’s always peddled the Arab line and exhibits an anti-Israel stance that seems to be a family trait. Who can forget Jimmy Carter’s brother “Billy Beer” Carter getting a hefty sum of $250,000 from Libya? When questioned why he was siding with the Arabs, Billy Carter responded, “there are more Arabians than Jews.”
   Early during Mr. Carter’s presidency I was in Israel with my family sightseeing on Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives. We encountered a young Arab offering rides on his donkey to kids for a small remuneration. I asked if the animal had a name. With a big grin he replied, “The name of the donkey is Jimmy Carter.”
   What did that young Arab donkey-keeper know that eluded the American people who elected this peanut farmer to the highest office of the land and the Norwegian committee that picked this inept person for the coveted Nobel Prize?

Joseph Ceder

Far Rockaway, NY





Minority Within A Minority


Importance Of Diversity
      I would like to thank The Jewish Press for publishing Ita Yankovich’s article on Jews of color (“Minority Within a Minority,” Jan. 12).
      Just the other day, my six-year-old biracial, curly-haired son noticed pictures of some child models on the side of a toy box and commented, “Mommy, why do toys always show pictures of kids with pale skin and straight hair?” He was implying that he would like to see more pictures of kids with his own skin tone and hair texture on the marketing material of toys and games.
      Jews of color of all ages would love to see themselves featured more frequently in Jewish publications. Articles about us are a good start, but our inclusion throughout the paper would be an even bigger step.
      Diversity – of faces, expressions, and backgrounds – is just as important in the Jewish media as it is in the secular media.
Sheree Curry


Mistreating A Convert


      As a convert, the “Minority Within a Minority” article really struck home. It’s very hard to be treated like an oddity or a museum piece. I’m a blue-eyed blonde who’s apparently not “Jewish-looking” enough for too many people in the frum community. Converting was tough, and I’ve sacrificed a lot, with no regrets. But I object to the treatment many JFBs (Jews From Birth)  mete out to converts.
      The Torah teaches that we are not to remind a convert of his or her past status. Asking questions like “Were you born Jewish?” or “Was your mother Jewish?” shows an ignorance, or defiance, of Torah. (And it’s bad manners to boot.) Unless you are a shadchan trying to fix up a kohen, you have no right to ask. In fact, even a shadchan shouldn’t ask, but rather simply tell the woman that a prospective match is a kohen. That way the woman can opt out of a date. Not all born-Jewish women are kohen-eligible anyway.
      Please don’t use my last name – it would only cause me more grief. I’d rather the letter not be published than have people identify me as a convert. You have no idea how badly I’ve been treated.

Chavah bat-Avraham

(Via E-Mail)

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