A Radical Candidate in Queens
I have been watching the Queens DA race with great interest. One frontrunner candidate in particular – Tiffany Caban – has been making campaign pledges that challenge the very foundations of law and order in this city.
For example, she has promised to not prosecute many serious offenses, including drug use. She has also committed to giving shorter sentences to felons because there is “no evidence harsher sentences make communities safer; all they do is keep more people in jail longer and waste resources.” (Yep, that’s a direct quote from her website!)
Even worse, she has “proudly” accepted the endorsements of Linda Sarsour and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, both of whom are BDS supporters. Caban herself has refused to condemn BDS and has accepted an endorsement from the Democratic Socialists of America, which believes in the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state.
Imagine my surprise, then, to learn that Comptroller Scott Stringer has excitedly endorsed this woman for DA. Stringer, who claims to be a supporter of Israel and New York’s Orthodox Jewish community, hasn’t even officially announced his candidacy for mayor and he’s already showing that he will throw us under the bus if it means getting the support of his precious progressive friends.
Spineless Stringer blows in whichever direction the wind does. If he’s endorsing Tiffany Caban’s insane, anti-justice ideas, I’m scared to think about the progressive idiocy he would implement as mayor.
The Best Candidate
How often do you see both the New York Daily News and New York Post agreeing? And yet, they both have endorsed Judge Greg Lasak, which means he must be the best qualified candidate running for Queens District Attorney.
Indeed, Lasak is a voice of reason and common sense. All other candidates in the race pander to political correctness. They all support closing Rikers Island, eliminating cash bail, and shutting down ICE. Their extreme views are too extreme for most Queens residents.
The worse comment was made by State Assemblyman Rory Lanceman who said, “If Donald Trump was president when my Iranian-born wife came to America, she would have been put in a cage.”
Great Neck, NY
Homosexuals Have No Choice? (I)
Reader Sergey Kadinsky complains that Rabbi Avrohom Gordimer does not cite sources for his opposition to ordaining open homosexuals as rabbis, and cites liberal/Open Orthodox “Rabbi” Daniel Landes’ claim that homosexuals do not have free will in reference to their orientation.
It would be nice if Kadinsky held himself and Rabbi Landes to the same standard to which he holds Rabbi Gordimer. Why doesn’t Rabbi Landes or Kadinsky cite sources for the notion that homosexuals have no free will to change? As a matter of fact, there are no such scientific sources.
According to an article on the American Psychological Association’s website, “There is no consensus among scientists about the exact reasons that an individual develops a [homosexual] orientation.” “Most scientists agree,” states the Science Daily website, that “it is unlikely that there is a single ‘gay gene.'” And HealthyPlace.com quotes a list of psychological reasons from Avert.com for why a person may be homosexual. The bottom line is: There is no definitive scientific evidence that shows homosexuals have no choice.
I’m not that familiar with the halachic rules of “duress,” which Rabbi Landes appeals to, but my guess is it does not allow a person to act as he wishes. When I pass by a restaurant and see someone eating a juicy ham sandwich with a side order of my favorite ice cream, and my mouth starts watering, I’m under extreme duress. May I go in and order the same dish?
My guess is no – although I wonder what “Rabbi” Landes would say.
Homosexuals Have No Choice? (II)
I was flabbergasted to read that a “rabbi” claims homosexuals may commit sexual sins because they have no choice but to sin.
Really? So older single men and women may commit sexual sins too? How about married men and women? After all, the desire can be so strong – especially if encouraged by so-called rabbis who celebrate immoral desires rather than condemn them.
Have you ever read about modern-day Americans involved in extra-marital affairs? “I don’t know. It just happened,” they often say. Indeed, if a person has no moral compass and no G-d telling him what’s right and wrong, succumbing to immoral desires really does just happen, just like a dog mindlessly devours meat thrown before him.
But if a person believes in G-d and has a brain, he can control his actions. No one is ever forced to sin, and to believe that man has no choice but to sin is to reject free will – a pillar of Judaism – and to condemn man to the life of an animal.
Mesechta in a Month?
I am at a stage of life where I find myself going more often to a house of mourning than to a house of feasting. At such houses, I am frequently faced with a dilemma: Do I sign up to learn mishnayos l’zecher the niftar/nifteres or not?
The source of my dilemma is rather simple: I find that the one month allotted to learning a mesechta goes by rather quickly – too quickly. There isn’t sufficient time to properly complete a mesechta unless I change my learning schedule, which I am loathe to do.
I have discussed this issue with friends who have told me they don’t sign up to learn mishnayos for precisely this reason. Perhaps, then, in the future, families should extend the time to finish learning a mesechta to the yahrzeit.
Rego Park, NY
Jexodus – Bipartisan?
In “Jewish Leftists Don’t Particularly Like ‘Parochial’ Jews,” Jeff Ballabon and Bruce Abramson claim that Jexodus is a non-partisan movement. However, among other things, the organization launched at CPAC – a major conservative conference – and one of its most prominent spokespeople, Elizabeth Pipko, said that “we left Egypt and now we’re leaving the Democratic Party.”
The premise of the movement is that anti-Semitism is being normalized in the Democratic Party. Yet, every single Democrat governor in the nation has officially declared his or her opposition to the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement. Many states have also passed anti-BDS legislation. Additionally, the Senate recently unanimously passed a resolution condemning anti-Semitism.
On top of all this, many freshman House Democrats will soon be visiting Israel. It’s true that a couple of House Democrats support BDS, but they isolate themselves from their colleagues.
To ditch the Democrats now is unnecessary. The small divergent camp in the party should be contained, not strengthened by inflating its importance.
The Jexodus movement is dangerous. Even if the “Corbynization” of the Democratic Party is around the corner, playing partisan games will only accelerate the process. The White House will eventually turn blue, and it is crucial that pro-Israel, pro-Jewish representation remain in both parties.
The Palestinians Want War, Not Peace
Thank you so much for your editorial, “Ambassador Friedman Jolts The Palestinians.” Your statement – “If [the Palestinians] want to get on board, fine. If they don’t, that’s fine too” – could not be more correct.
The PA is obliged by the Oslo Accords to disarm and outlaw terrorist groups, extradite terrorists to Israel, and halt all anti-Israel and anti-Jewish incitement. Everyone knows the PA has never done any of this.
Yet, the Obama administration never acknowledged or protested these violations. By contrast, the Trump administration and Ambassador Friedman know full well that Abbas has used the Palestinian Authority news media and schools to raise an entire generation of Palestinian Arabs to hate Jews and Israel.
We need to be clear about this: If this is how the PA acts now, we do not want to find out how it will act if given a sovereign state.
Herut North America
The reading of P Is for Palestine in the Highland Park Library in New Jersey must be canceled. Since the author and her followers have already gained much publicity, perhaps they might be willing to cancel it for the sake of good will.
The “Palestinian people,” incidentally, is a historical fiction, born after the Six-Day War. In the words of one man, “One day we were Jordanian citizens, and they promised us the war would be over and we would win. The next day, the war was over and we had lost. They took the star out of our flag and told us we’re not Jordanians anymore. We’re Palestinians.”
Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg
Re-Enter the Iran Deal?
You reported last week that Pete Buttigieg said that if he became president, he “would recommit the U.S. to the Iran nuclear deal.” He acknowledges the deal may have “imperfections,” but he overlooks their significance and magnitude.
Yes, Iran pledged to cease developing nuclear weapons – but only for 10 years. That’s a very short period of time. What happens after that? In exchange for signing the deal, Iran’s leaders received many billions of dollars – with no limits on how it would be spent. And all sanctions on Iran were lifted.
Of course, President Obama said the sanctions could be restored if Iran failed to abide by the agreement. But Iran already has the money it wants – which it is now using to support terrorism throughout the world and gain influence in other countries while its own citizens suffer economically. It is also likely using this money now to develop missiles with nuclear warheads.
Several other Democrats vying to become their party’s presidential candidate have adopted the same positions as Pete Buttigieg. I’m anxious to learn what they think about this very important and volatile issue.
Los Angeles, CA
Submit, or Else
The social environment of America is changing for the worse. In the past, freedom of speech at universities was a given and never a reason for violence. In 2017, however, a controversy at the University of California at Berkeley resulted in protests that caused $100,000 in damage. At The Evergreen State College, students brought clubs and bats to prevent a speaker from voicing ideas they didn’t agree with.
Now the violence and the threat of violence has entered libraries. A children’s book titled P Is for Palestine is supposed to be read at a New Jersey public library. This book claims the word “Intifada” means “to stand up for what’s right.” Clearly, that’s false. In actuality, the Intifada in Israel brought suicide bombings and death to Israelis.
Yet, a planned public meeting of the library’s board of trustees to discuss the appropriateness of having this book read had to be canceled because of the threat of violence. How sad. And how sad that the reading of such a book in such a forum is even being considered.
Fort Lee, NJ
Stop Talking in Shul
Something is terribly wrong in our shuls. We come to stand before G-d in His holy house, but somehow we seem to forget that fact once we walk through the door. We act as if socializing during prayer is proper and acceptable etiquette. What’s happening to us?
We have become desensitized. We’re not bad people; we just forget that other people can’t concentrate because of us and – more importantly – that G-d is watching us and we are being disrespectful.
If we truly understood the awesome privilege of being able to speak directly to our creator – the one who made us and sustains the entire universe – what joy and overwhelming awe we would feel. That should be our focus as we enter shul. Hashem is there waiting for us, His beloved children. Shouldn’t we maintain proper decorum in His house?
So let’s fix the problem. Make a commitment. Smile when you see your friends, but don’t start a conversation until services end. If you can’t control your urge to talk, leave the sanctuary and talk outside.
If you really want to make a difference, try to discourage others from talking with a gentle “shhh” or an “Excuse me, but I can’t concentrate.” None of us feels comfortable acting in the face of peer disapproval. Please help me bring holiness back into our shuls.
A Concerned Jew
Skin Cancer Screenings
I was so glad to read your article, “Tips For Healthy Aging,” and its recommendations on preventative measures people can take. As a dermatologist whose focus is skin cancer prevention, however, I was disappointed that annual skin cancer screenings was not among the recommendations. Skin cancer, after all, is the second-most common cancer in American women.
Annual skin cancer screenings are painless and can potentially save lives. Everyone should get them.
Elizabeth Konecky MD
New York, NY
The New York Times has done it again. In a recent front-page article, it criticizes Birthright for painting the Arab-Israeli conflict in a manner that is partial to Israel.
Omitted from the article is the fact that Birthright funding comes from individuals who desire to present a positive picture of the Jewish state, its history, and its continued struggle for existence. Those who indulge in tearing down Israel can pay their own way. They need not go on Birthright’s free trips.
The number of oil tankers attacked by Iran has now climbed to six. We, and other impacted countries, should put an end to the Iranian attacks by conducting mine-sweeping operations in the Gulf of Oman, Strait of Hormuz, and the Persian Gulf.
If necessary, Iranian naval forces should be neutralized, and, while we’re at it, we can take out Iran’s strategic weapons systems.