Hurray For Hagee (I)
   I had tears in my eyes as I read Pastor John Hagee’s speech to AIPAC (front-page essay, March 30). Why is it that Bible-believing Christians seem to shine with such faith and certainty while even Orthodox rabbis (forget about Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist) tend to speak in muted tones, full of nuance and shades of gray?
   I’ve often said that if it were possible to hook people up to a machine that gauged true faith and religious sincerity, fundamentalist Christians would put Orthodox Jews to shame. Most of us talk a good game, and we’ve got the rituals down pat, but in the face of adversity and trial we tend to become as anxiety-ridden and fearful as any atheist or agnostic. Our faith in Hashem suddenly is revealed for what it is – so much lip service, a necessary prelude to the gossip, schnapps and herring so many of us really come to shul for.

Harold Diamondstein

(Via E-mail)


Hurray For Hagee (II)

   I’m tempted to say that Rev. Hagee’s unabashed, unapologetic, full-throated defense of Israel should be required reading by every pulpit rabbi and Jewish organizational official in America. But then I recall reading in several news accounts of the AIPAC convention that while Rev. Hagee’s speech was generally well received, and at several points drew sustained ovations, his references to Torah and religion were met with mere scattered light applause and even awkward silence.
   Whether it’s an AIPAC conference or any other organizational event dedicated to Jewish or Israel causes, you can be sure the machers gathered there will be the types who are uncomfortable with, if not actually hostile to, religious belief. (I wonder how many of those who attended the AIPAC forum are intermarried.)
   As long as American Jewry remains the most secular religious/ethnic group in the country, devoted to every liberal cause under the sun and proudly disdainful of Orthodox Jews and believing Christians, all the AIPAC conferences in the world won’t help us as we intermarry and assimilate ourselves out of existence.

Miriam Schulweiss

New York, NY


Hurray For Hagee (III)
   Pastor Hagee should be lauded for his speech at the recent AIPAC policy conference. His fervent support for Israel and the Jewish people is most reassuring and appreciated.
   Despite the fact that Pastor Hagee’s speech was met with an enthusiastic reception by the AIPAC membership, when he said there is “the Torah way and then the wrong way,” the remark drew only a lukewarm response from the audience. It appears Pastor Hagee was one of the few people at the conference who actually embraces the teachings of the Torah.
   It’s clear that Pastor Hagee was the shining star at the AIPAC conference. This is a man who is not afraid to intone the name of God, to boldly and courageously call the enemies of the Jewish people evil perpetrators. This is a man who embraces God’s word and reveres the Torah. The AIPAC membership and the Jewish people can learn a valuable and important lesson from him.

Fern Sidman

Brooklyn, NY


Saudi Plan Spells Israel’s Demise


   Re Caroline Glick’s March 30 column (“The Saudi Plan To Destroy Israel”):

   Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saudi al-Faisal has declared that the “Lords of War” will decide Israel’s future if Israel does not accept the Saudi proposal that Israel return to its 1967 borders and that East Jerusalem will become the capital of a Palestinian State. It is reasonable to assume that Saudi Arabia intends “1967 borders” to mean that the Golan would be returned to Syria. The Saudi also said that every Arab country will formally recognize Israel if Israel accepts his offer.
   Sixty-nine years ago (1938), Hitler uttered almost the same words when he said that unless Germany were given the Sudetenland, Europe would face war. After the Munich pact was signed, Hitler’s said there would be decades of peace. Several months later, he started World War II by attacking Poland.
   The Saudi plan will have Hizbullah in its tunnels facing Israel from Lebanon, Syria in the Golan from where it fired artillery into Israel from 1948 until 1967, and the new State of Palestine with a government controlled by Hamas which has promised to destroy Israel.
   We should remember that the Palestine Liberation Organization’s constitution calling for the destruction of Israel was created three years before Israel had the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. In addition, non-Arab Iran has publicly declared on many occasions that Israel must be destroyed.
   If any Israeli government agrees to the Saudi plan, it might as well negotiate Israel’s demise, because the implementation of the Saudi plan is tantamount to Israel’s destruction.

William K. Langfan

Palm Beach, FL


Thrilled With Glick

   I love the addition of Caroline Glick’s monthly column. I read her Jerusalem Post columns all the time, and was thrilled when she began writing columns especially for The Jewish Press. Her latest was carefully argued and, unfortunately, all too accurate in its assessment.
   One would have thought that after Oslo and the second Intifada, Jews, in Israel and elsewhere, would no longer be such suckers for Arab double talk and false promises of peace. Sadly, we are proving that the idea that Jews are smarter than other people is just a myth. For every Einstein, Freud and Salk, we have a thousand Olmerts, Beilins and Foxmans.

Paul Steinemann

(Via E-Mail)


Recognizing Mistakes
   I know it’s very difficult for both governments and people to admit they’ve made mistakes. So while a public admission by Israel that it made a mistake in Gaza is still not forthcoming, everyone now realizes that the forcible removal of thousands of Jews from Gush Katif and the four settlements in Samaria was a horrible error.
   The government itself now is trying to do things differently. The organizers of the recent march on Homesh succeeded in demonstrating to the good people of Tel Aviv, Hadera and all the areas in between how vulnerable they would be even to a non-nuclear rocket attack from Homesh – which dominates the area so completely that any rocket launching from the area could perhaps annihilate the entire coastal plain.
   Things have changed in Israel. What people could not comprehend two years ago they now seem to fully understand. There can be no peace at any price. The people of Israel are brothers. The divisions that separate us are not as important as the fact that we are all marching together in this great historical journey of the Jewish people.

   Our destiny is to be together, even if we march under our own separate banners as the Tribes of Israel did. We must never separate. We are the children of Israel and both this season of freedom and the hope of Eretz Yisrael should unite us as never before.

Toby Willig




Moment Of Silence


   I was impressed with Rabbi Shea Hecht’s article on the importance of a moment of silence being implemented in public schools (“A Silent But Effective Crimebuster,” op-ed, March 23). Aside from the halachic directive to promote fulfillment of the Seven Noahide Laws, Rabbi Hecht quotes evidence that this indeed seems to have made a difference in juvenile behavior in the states where it is mandated.
   I would like to congratulate The Jewish Press for carrying the article, and for covering this issue.

Rabbi Shmuel Lew

London, UK



Torah Without Derech Eretz


      There’s an Orthodox shul two houses from my home. When congregants enter the shul, their parked cars occasionally block access to my driveway or the driveways of my Jewish and gentile neighbors. The halachas that are trampled on by such behavior are too numerous to mention in this short letter, but here are a few that come to mind: breaking the law of the land; committing a chillul Hashem; and causing a sakanah because injury or even death can occur if someone can’t get his car out in an emergency.
      What if a driveway is that of a Hatzolah member who has to rush to an emergency, or a man who has to rush his child to the hospital, or just a person needing to drive to work to earn his parnassah? Do these congregants want to wait until someone dies before they repent?
      Additionally, the mitzvah of prayer that they are so eager to pursue is nullified, since a mitzvah cannot be obtained though an aveirah. Halachically, they would be better off if they both didn’t daven and didn’t block people’s driveways.
      When illegal parking occurs, I contact the police. I also perform the mitzvah of rebuke by telling congregants how sinful it is to illegally park their cars this way. They respond by mocking me, laughing at me, and even accusing me of not having a Jewish heart because I called the police.
      This is not just an issue between a congregant and God, it’s also an issue between people. This is not just an aveirah that can be forgiven by prayer on Kol Nidre night, as a sin against one’s fellow man must first be forgiven by the aggrieved party before it is forgiven by Hashem.

      These congregants not only lack the decency to speak up to fellow congregants to stop this illegal parking, they don’t have the fiber to defend the halacha they profess to follow.

      So what is one to do? I can only speak for myself – to stay close to Hashem I must stay away from shuls like this (which, unfortunately, are quite numerous) and from the people in them.

Harvey Bookman

Brooklyn, NY

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