Photo Credit: Jewish Press

‘Flatbush Girl’ Should Be Protested

Kudos to the Jewish Press for running Rabbi Levin’s op-ed, “Flatbush Girl’: Leader or Misleading?” What an important and necessary service the paper is performing its readers.


It was only in 1994 that the “Don’t Ask don’t Tell” doctrine was instituted by the Clinton administration in the armed forces. Today, if one dares abstain from celebrating a union between two men, one risks being labeled a hating homophobe.

How did matters deteriorate so quickly? In the words of the famous philosopher Edmund Burke: “All it takes for evil to exist is for good men to stand by and do nothing.”

And then there’s the famous cautionary quote from Martin Niemöller: “First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Thank G-d the Jewish Press is doing something and speaking up. Let us hope others will follow suit.

Regina Israel


Don’t Drive Yourself Crazy

I found Rabbi Yaakov Hoffman’s article on wearing shows on Yom Kippur very interesting. Nonetheless, despite the evidence he marshals that we probably should be wearing only socks (or semi-uncomfortable shoes), I for one will continue following minhag Yisrael, which carries its own kedushah.

We should not be inventing new chumros every generation. Even if they have a strong basis in halacha, a Jew should best follow minhag avos and minhag Yisrael. That is how Klal Yisrael has always acted.

Acting “better” than one’s parents (assuming one’s parents are sincerely frum) is not a Jewish value. In terms of character, there’s always room to improve. But when it comes to ritual, just follow your minhag and stop driving yourself crazy. That is how our mesorah teaches us to act.

Joshua Bernstein
Brooklyn, NY


Choking Lolly Hazards

Baruch Hashem, my family recently experienced a miracle. My son choked on a lolly ball whose stick fell out. Hashem helped me stay calm, perform the Heimlich maneuver, and remove the lolly ball.

B’chasdei Hashem, our story has a happy ending, but not all stories do.
Please, please be careful of lollies whose sticks come out. It is yamim tovim time and many children will have nosh. Please be in the lookout and have a safe and happy yom tov!

Sara Shilcrat


What Are You Thinking, Governor Cuomo?

Governor Cuomo’s executive order to allow 24,000 parolees, including pedophiles and sex offenders, the right to vote at your local polling place makes no sense.  Why risk exposing parents and children to harm?

There is a simple solution to afford these people voting rights while protecting parents and children: Let these parolees request an absentee ballot like thousands of other citizens do and vote by mail.

Larry Penner
Great Neck, NY


You Can’t Just Clean Once

Imagine cleaning your home once a year. With the accumulation of dust, fingerprints, dirt, clutter, and detritus, how thorough would this cleaning be? In all likelihood, the surface would barely be scratched.

Now consider the Yamim Nora’im. If we only review our behavior once a year, can we really do a good job of it? Unlikely. We won’t remember many incidents that require reflection and introspection. And some incidents may be too late to fix as hurt inflicted on others isn’t stagnant; it has a ripple effect. Hurt that festers is less likely to be forgiven.

When we don’t utilize precious days to right wrongs or try harder to do good, we hurt ourselves.  We cheat ourselves of the awesome gift of the Yamim Nora’im.

In secular culture, people make New Year’s resolutions. In our own mesorah, let us resolve to more regularly take stock and review our behavior – with consistency, honesty, and courage.

Margolit Silver