Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Boteach And Transgenderism (I)

I take issue with your editorial’s conclusion regarding Rabbi Boteach honoring Caitlyn Jenner.


To withhold recognition of any person’s accomplishments is, in my opinion, a mistake no matter which group the honoree identifies with – even ifs practices are rejected by Torah-true Judaism.

The Torah is very clear on what is right and wrong. These judgments are eternal and unimpeachable. However, great men and women from all circles are honored in our divine scripture. Greatness (as defined by Torah) should be recognized and honored no matter who achieves it.

I understand your concern that Jews (especially youth) might be led astray. However, the real danger resides in our failure to provide a solid Torah-true education to every Jewish child.

Jerrold Terdiman MD
Woodcliff Lake, NJ


Boteach And Transgenderism (II)

I found your editorial on Shmuley Boteach (I have a hard time calling him a rabbi) far too soft. You claimed he gave Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner a “Champion of Israel and Human Rights Award,” but Boteach’s organization itself on several occasions said the award Jenner was given is called the “Champion of Israel and LGBTQ Rights Award.”

Giving any award to someone who serves as a symbol for the most morally degenerate movement in this country is bad enough. But to give him an award for LGBTQ rights is to make a mockery out of the Torah.

Your editorial also didn’t mention that Shmuley Boteach has written numerous books whose titles can’t even be published in your newspaper. One title which can be published but which is just as disgusting as the rest is Kosher Adultery. When someone writes a book with that title, he loses all claim to the honorific “rabbi.” (I’m not even getting into all the inappropriate language Boteach uses in his books [yes, I once read five pages, which was sufficient to disgust me] and the chillul Hashem his TV appearances cause.

Let me end by noting that Boteach is about to publish a book with Pamela Anderson. Enough said. This man is a first-rate shanda who needs to be exposed once and for all. Please don’t accord him so much respect next time you write about him. He doesn’t deserve any.

Joshua Bernstein
Brooklyn, NY


Gun Control

It was neglectful and irresponsible for you to not address the horrific shooting in Florida. Much needs to be said on the topic of gun ownership.

I have no interest whatsoever in seeing the Second Amendment repealed. However, as a proud and active Republican, I say the time for Republican elected officials to advocate for more federal gun control measures is long overdue. Raising the minimum age for purchases, instituting a national waiting period, conducting more thorough background checks, and reinstating the ban on semiautomatic weapons (why does anybody need one?) would go a long way toward saving lives.

The chokehold the NRA has on too many elected officials must end at once.

Arlene Ross
Forest Hills, NY


Rebbetzin Weiss Series

I think I represent many in saying how much I appreciate the beautiful articles by Rabbi Moshe Meir Weiss in memory of his beloved wife, Miriam Libby. Although I did not have the privilege of knowing her, she was surely an eishet chayil and a much loved rebbetzin to her community.

But what I really admire is Rabbi Weiss’s comfort in speaking of the love between him and his wife. He is a Torah scholar and a nightly lecturer and yet he openly shares very personal memories. I think that goes very far in setting an example – much more than preaching would.

I don’t want this series to end.

Amy Wall
Brooklyn, NY


Health Standards?

The front page of last week’s Jewish Press featured a picture of Kretshnif chassidim baking matzos in Rechovot. I can only wonder at the health and sanitary conditions depicted in the picture. None of those shown are wearing gloves, and those with beards are not wearing beard restraints. Surely modern-day health concerns call for both gloves and beard restraints.

Dr. Yitzchok Levine
Brooklyn, NY


Right on AIPAC

I’m in complete agreement with reader Helen Freedman’s letter on AIPAC. As a Jewish conservative, I’ve resented AIPAC’s liberal bias for years. I remember quite clearly the tepid response Vice President Dick Cheney received after addressing the gathering as “my fellow Zionists” and delivering a warm message of support from President Bush.

I also remember President Obama addressing AIPAC on the same day he spoke favorably on the possibility of Israel returning to its 1967 borders in a Rose Garden speech. His reception from the AIPAC crowd after that speech – which I regarded as unfriendly and detrimental to Israel – was as friendly and warm as could be.

I suppose I’d have more respect and feeling of kinship for AIPAC if it just made believe it was as welcoming to Republicans as it is to Democrats, but it doesn’t bother hiding its biases.

I’m not demanding that AIPAC immediately change its spots, but it should take a second look at the party it always assumed was “good for the Jews.” I used to be proud of the strong support for Israel exhibited by people like Henry Jackson, Pat Moynihan, and other Democrats. Today, though, Keith Ellison and Thomas Perez, co-chairmen of the DNC, lead a party that, at best, has turned its back on Israel, and, at worst, has become antagonistic and unfriendly.

“Leaders” like Chuck Schumer, Dick Durbin and Nancy Pelosi lack the guts and the desire to right the ship out of fear that they will lose support if they rein in the numerous anti-Israel elements in their party.

And yet, any of the above Democrats need only come to an AIPAC gathering and speak glowingly of Israel for them to remain heroes in AIPAC’s eyes. I can almost hear them asking their aides after speaking: “Think they bought it? Well why not? They’re Jewish liberals, aren’t they? Tomorrow, when I speak strongly on behalf of a Palestinian state, they’ll be on board like good Jewish liberal progressives always are.”

Myron Hecker
New City, NY


Anonymous Letters

As a longtime subscriber, I am disappointed in your decision to follow the other Orthodox print weeklies by allowing anonymous letters to appear on your pages. When I appear in the news, I know that my thoughts are being discussed by my friends, neighbors, employers – basically anyone who happens to read my words.

With that in mind, I choose my words carefully, back up my thoughts with reputable sources, and make my point in a concise and organized manner. When I read the anonymous letters in other Orthodox weeklies, I understand why their authors choose anonymity.

“Flatbush Anti Vaxxer” earned his or her place as the first nameless letter published in The Jewish Press, but when it comes to my children’s health, a pediatrician’s word is more worthy of being shared on your pages. Maybe this nameless writer is a doctor, or a scientist, or a knowledgeable posek, but we’ll never know.

On the subject of names, I found it noteworthy that your editorial memorialized Rabbi Ralph Pelcovitz, zt”l. The other frum weeklies used his Hebrew name, Raphael. He switched names depending on the occasion, but most of his decades at the pulpit and as an author were under the name Ralph.

My first rav, shlit”a, also belongs to the older generation and is publicly known by his German given name, Manfred. The only folks who know his Hebrew name, Moshe, are either his family or those of us who heard him get an aliyah to the Torah. May he live long!

Sergey Kadinsky
Fresh Meadows, NY