Independence Day
   The celebration of Yom Ha’atzmaut is a declaration that the Nazis failed to obliterate four millennia of Jewish life. But while we’ve earned the right to rejoice, let there be no illusions. Once again, the very nations that stood idly by while millions of innocent Jews were slaughtered are jeopardizing Israel’s survival. The “enlightened” Europeans, supported by self-interested China, are enabling Iran to fashion nuclear bombs intended for use against Israel, God forbid.
   As the pressure on Israel is being ratcheted up, let those who are silent reflect on what looms ahead. Browbeating Israel into additional concessions, kowtowing to Islamic terrorism and ignoring Iran’s nuclear buildup amount to a recipe for disaster. The United States, Britain, Europe and China, even if they were willing (which is debatable), would be unable to stop a determined genocidal on the Jewish state.
   Our determination to survive is based on our faith in the Almighty and in ourselves. Our distrust of the nations of the world has been indelibly seared into our psyche. We who are new olim stand together with all of Israel’s citizens in honoring our sovereignty as a Jewish state.

Israel and Blossom Rubin

Beit Shemesh, Israel


Democrats’ Defeatism
   If the United States leaves Iraq before it is reasonably pacified, Iran will step in to fill the vacuum. We will then be faced with an Iran on the way to nuclear bomb capability and an excellent launching site into Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the Emirates.
   We cannot and must not allow a scenario of that nature to develop.
   Democratic Senate Majority Leader Reid’s defeatist statements and the spending bill with date-certain departure that he is attempting to promulgate in the Senate are pathways to catastrophe.

William K. Langfan

Palm Beach, FL


Anti-Israel Union
   My dictionary defines a labor union as an organization consisting of workers of the same trade formed for the purpose of advancing its members’ interests with respect to wages, benefits, and working conditions. Labor unions are not created to promulgate their presidents’ view of world politics.
   The boycott of Israel by the National Union of Journalists in Britain leads me to believe that NUJ has abandoned its raison d’etre of negotiating optimal working conditions and wages for its membership and instead aspires to represent its membership in the world political arena.
   NUJ’s general secretary, Jeremy Dear, was elected by the National Executive Council of NUJ to lead a labor union and not a political party that creates foreign policy. He was not elected as a foreign affairs critic nor does he posses the qualifications for that position. He should stick to what he does best and was elected to do – run a union – and leave the task of peace negotiator to those with the appropriate credentials.

Harry Grunstein,

Hampstead, Canada



Welcome Conservative Traditionalists
   Your editorial (“Modern Orthodoxy and the Conservative Movement,” April 6) castigating those in the leadership of the Conservative movement who have decided to accept self-declared homosexuals (there is no other kind, as there are no objective “tests” for homosexuality) for training to be rabbis, and by extension condemning attempts by Modern Orthodox adherents to reach out to members of the Conservative movement, conveniently skipped over some important points.
   First, of the two major published reviews (rather boastfully described by some as teshuvot or responsa), the one that passed by a much larger majority was the one authored by Rabbi Joel Roth, the most senior talmudic/halachic scholar of the Conservative movement, whose opinion strongly supported the traditional halachic understanding (i.e non-acceptance) of homosexuality, and saw no place for admitting such students to become potential rabbis.
   Second, given that very clear position it follows that the most likely outcome of the struggle will be a split in the Conservative movement between traditionalists sympathetic to halacha and non-halachic “reformers.”
   Third, it thus makes the utmost sense for Modern Orthodox people reach out to those more traditionally-inclined Conservative members who no longer have a home in their movement and encourage them to affiliate with Modern Orthodoxy.
   We can’t expect them (and don’t want them) to become haredim overnight. But we can show them that there is a comfortable place for them in the Modern Orthodox community. These people, after all, usually come from far more traditional and knowledgeable backgrounds than do most baalei teshuvah. Let’s not drive them away.

Dr. Joseph Berger

Toronto, Canada




Proposed Maryland Get Law

Had Wide Support


      I write to address the misconceptions in reader Gloria Miller’s letter to the editor (April 13) regarding the proposed MarylandGet Law, and the Jewish community’s unconditional, and unusually united, broad and principled support of this measure.
      Ms. Miller questions Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb’s “profound disappointment” and suggests that the legislation would have created aget meusah or possibly forced someone to perform a religious ritual.
      The current law in New York (and the proposed one in Maryland would have been the same) does not compel anyone to grant aget and it does not compel any religious ritual. New York’s law has never been successfully challenged and Maryland’s attorney general opined that the Maryland version was also fully constitutional.
      The proposedGet Law in Maryland was based on New York’s law, now in effect for almost a quarter century. Drafted by noted constitutional lawyer Nathan Lewin, and carried successfully in the Legislature by Sheldon Silver, now the Assembly Speaker, the law had the blessing of the major rabbinic figures of the day, including Rabbi Moshe Feinstein,zt”l, the most turned to and respected decider of Jewish law in the United States. None of them felt, and no rabbis of such stature today feel, that the New York law makes aget meusah.
      Maryland’s law, moreover, had the wall-to-wall support of the local Jewish leadership, including the two Orthodoxvaads in Maryland, in Baltimore as well as Greater Washington. The acknowledged leader of Maryland’s Orthodox Jewish community,Ner Israel’s Rabbi Naftoli Neuberger,zt”l, was the primary force advocating this relief andNer Israel, as well as the wide spectrum of the Orthodox rabbinate throughout Maryland, supported it again.
      The OU proudly joined with Agudath Israel of America to lend our voice on this measure to alleviate the desperate suffering caused by unscrupulous spouses.
      In addition, as readers of The Jewish Press know, the secular Jewish community has long been staunch guardians of church-state encroachment. Yet the united voice of Maryland’s Jewish establishment, the Maryland Jewish Alliance (a partnership of the two community relations arms of both Jewish federations) as well as the non-denominational Baltimore Board of Rabbis strongly backed the bill.

Howie Beigelman

Deputy Director of Public Policy

Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America




Taking Issue With ‘Baseball Insider’


Cubs Face Dreary Season


      I look forward to Irwin Cohen’s monthly “Baseball Insider” column, though I was shocked that he picked the Cubs to win the NL Central and to make it all the way to the World Series. Lou Piniella is an overrated manager and the Cubs have too many very real question marks. The team’s bad start, I’m afraid, presages a long, dreary season at Wrigley Field.

Alan Hertz

(Via E-Mail)


Fix That Crystal Ball


      Irwin Cohen’s baseball articles are a great addition to The Jewish Press, but I think his crystal ball is in need of some repair. The Cubs in the World Series?! Come on, Irwin!
      Maybe you’ve got some mishpocha in the Chicago area, Irwin, and you were hoping they’d score you some freebies to Cubs games after you wrote such a glowing report on the Cubbies, baseball’s perennial sad sacks. But you must know the Cubs have about as much chance of playing in the World Series in 2007 as I have of winning the Cy Young award.

Michael Schwartz

(Via E-Mail)


Watch Out For Those Cubs!


      As a long-suffering Cubs fan, I commend Irwin Cohen for braving the scorn of Cub-haters everywhere by not only picking the Cubs to win their division, but to appear in their first World Series since 1945 – when my father was but a mere infant.
      But Mr. Cohen is wrong on two counts – it won’t be the Yankees the Cubs will be facing in the Fall Classic but his own Detroit Tigers, and the Cubs will win it in 6.

Larry Hollander

Chicago, IL



Don’t Sell NL Short


      I’m a big fan of Irwin Cohen’s baseball column, but I resent his suggesting that if the Mets were in the American League they would be somewhere in the middle of the pack.
      I seem to remember that American League aficionados like Mr. Cohen were tripping all over themselves last year to proclaim that whoever won the AL pennant would cream the NL winner because the AL was just so superior.
      But I don’t think a fan like Mr. Cohen needs reminding that when the World Series actually rolled around, the Cardinals, who compiled a very mediocre regular season record in winning a very mediocre division, humiliated his beloved Tigers, who’d rampaged through the AL during the regular season.
      The lesson of the story is: Don’t sell the National League short! The Mets, the Braves, the Dodgers, and the Phillies (despite their bad start) would match up well with the best the American League has to offer.

Hershel Lewitter

New York, NY

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