Rabbi Klass’s Legacy
Naomi Klass Mauer’s article, “My Father, Rabbi Sholom Klass 20 – Years Later,” was extremely moving. It captured Rabbi Klass’s founding of The Jewish Press on a Torah and personal level and highlighted the tremendous chesed in everything he did.
I would like to add another perspective. Rabbi Klass was a man of incredible courage and conviction. If he felt something was the right thing to do, he pursued it. Many businessmen won’t rock the boat for fear of losing customers. Rabbi Klass was different. He used his newspaper to inform and help his people.
Of course, he understood a business must make a profit, but he wouldn’t compromise on his ethical obligations. He gave Rabbi Meir Kahane a platform. He was the first to highlight certain medical interventions in the Jewish community, such as organ transplants. He went to bat for agunot, a group whose anguish had been widely ignored in the past.
He allowed for discussions that had previously (and unfortunately) been swept under the proverbial rug: Jewish spousal abuse, drug addiction, and alcoholism. His combination of incredible Torah knowledge, common sense, and fortitude was amazing. He was one of the greatest Jewish figures of our times.
Registering as a Democrat? (I)
I respectfully differ with those who have argued that New York Jews should register as Democrats to influence the direction of the Democratic Party from within. To do so would be to put a band-aid on a gaping wound.
The Democratic Party is rapidly lurching leftwards; retarding that movement in the manner suggested would only mask the full extent of its unfortunate change.
I don’t mind having radical leftists in office if it opens the eyes of the general electorate to the state of the Democratic Party today. Those voters might then tend rightwards, seeing it as the only viable option remaining.
Registering as a Democrat? (II)
The argument about Jews joining the Democratic Party to blunt the inroads of radical leftists has reached the silly phase. Everyone is talking about the problem, but they are talking past each other and talking about different aspects of the problem.
Obviously there are different ways to look at this matter, but the fault ultimately lies entirely on existing Democrat Party members for not stopping the radical left from co-opting their platform. To ask non-Democrats to join the party in order to rescue it from its own failures makes no sense to me.
Highland Park, NJ
Registering as a Democrat? (III)
Should New York Jews join the Democratic Party? As a longtime political operative, let me tell you how it works. To accomplish anything, you must get elected. If only Democrats get elected in your district, then, yes, you must be a Democrat.
Now let’s look at the three Congressional districts you highlighted in your first editorial last week. In the 12th congressional district, Carolyn Maloney is both unbeatable and pro-Israel. Leave her alone. In the 14th congressional district, you would have to defeat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The radical world will be working for her. Don’t waste your time.
That leaves the 9th congressional district. Incumbent Yvette Clarke is anti-Israel. In the last election, she beat back challenger Adem Bunkeddeko by less than 2,000 votes. He is running again. His website lists his positions, which are as leftist as those of every other Democrat. But he makes no mention of Israel.
Can you register more than 2,000 voters before the registration deadline? If yes, meet with Mr. Bunkeddeko. Tell him you can deliver 2,000 votes. Then do it, hopefully putting him over the top. It doesn’t matter whether he promises you anything. If you can swing the election, you are a power broker. He must listen. If you can put him in, you can take him out.
Macchiavelli said it’s better to be feared than loved. If you can’t muster 2,000 voters, keep writing editorials and letters if you want, but it’s a waste of time.
Fair Lawn, NJ
Pelosi’s Unprecedented and Childish Behavior
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s temper tantrum – ripping up her autographed copy of President Trump’s State of the Union address – was unbecoming. None of the previous 53 Speakers of the House in U.S. history ever resorted to such theatrics. Any guest of the president or member of Congress would have been more than happy to take her copy. Pelosi could have also donated it to a museum or charity.
Just as bad as Pelosi were the several members of her Democratic House Caucus who either boycotted the speech or walked out in the middle. Their respective constituents, or one of Trump’s 62,979,879 deplorable voters, would have loved a ringside seat to this historic event.
Republican Speakers Newt Gingrich or Dennis Hastert, who served with President Clinton, and John Boehner or Paul Ryan, who served with President Obama, never would have destroyed a copy of the president’s speech. Nor would members of their respective Republican caucuses have boycotted a State of the Union address.
I never believed Democrats could be so partisan and childish. They reached a new low last week.
Great Neck, NY
It’s Not Negotiable
Israel’s government needs to immediately enact legislation that would prohibit Arab parties from voting on national and/or Jewish issues. The justification would be the same that underlies the policy not to draft Israeli Arabs into the IDF. Those who openly oppose the existence of a Jewish state cannot be in a position to enable its destruction.
In addition, Israel’s religious Zionist parties must proclaim “Not One Inch” as their precondition to forming a unity government.
You reported last week that Rabbi Dov Lior, Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, and Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu of the religionist Zionist movements have all spoken out vociferously against President Trump’s peace proposal, as have many others. They join the Lubavitcher Rebbe, who always reminded us that no one has the authority to give away Jewish land that doesn’t belong to him or her. Eretz Yisrael is a gift from Hashem that belongs to the Jewish nation eternally.
Rabbis Lior, Aviner, and Eliyahu all cite the Jewish commandment to conquer, build, and dwell in the Land of Israel in all generations. Unfortunately, not all Jews yet observe all the mitzvot. But living in the Holy Land – all of it – is as essential and non-negotiable as brit milah.
What About Rav Moshe?
Reader Joshua Bernstein was absolutely correct to argue last week that the last two Lubavitcher Rebbes cannot be given sole credit for saving Orthodox Judaism in America. But his list of people who also deserve credit omitted a rav who, to my mind, was more influential and important than any other rabbi of his age.
I am referring to Rav Moshe Feinstein. He arrived in New York City in 1936, four years before the Lubavitcher Rebbe, and started Yeshiva Tifereth Jerusalem. Many sought his opinion on Jewish law, and he wrote many sefarim that remain important to the observant Jewish community.
A Peace Plan Going Nowhere
After all these years, it’s quite apparent that the Israeli-Palestinian peace plan is going nowhere. The Palestinian leaders will not share any part of Israel. They proclaim and teach their children, “All the land from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea belongs to us.”
How many times have they walked away from opportunities to negotiate a peace agreement? They don’t want a two-state solution. They want one state, a Palestinian state. Jews are not welcome. They have made it clear: “It’s my way or no way. Take it or leave it.”
I believe there is only one solution: Use the “big stick”! Israel and the free world should promptly respond to any Palestinian terrorism by increasing retaliatory actions without advance warning. Additionally, Israel and the West should cease supplying the Palestinians with water, electricity, and money so long as they resort to violence and reward terrorists.
Los Angeles, CA
Why I’ll Vote Trump
I intend to vote for President Trump in November. I know some of the things he says are far from presidential. However, when I look at the economy, the military, the rationalization of regulations, urban tranquility, and foreign policy, I firmly believe none of the Democratic candidates can even come close to matching the president’s accomplishments.
The economy is simply great. Millions of Americans have come off welfare and food stamps. The economy, instead of growing at one percent growth per year as it did under President Obama, is more often growing at three percent. The people earning the least have seen the largest increase in their salaries.
Our military strength has gone from deficient because of underfunding to excellent. Draconian regulations on drilling for petroleum and natural gas are now realistic, and America has become the largest energy producer in the world. Environmental Impact Statement rules are also more reasonable now.
Urban racial riots are a thing of the past as reckless promises have been replaced with excellent results. The police are no longer disrespected by the Oval Office.
In foreign affairs, our allies are now contributing to their defense, international trade is fairer, and the United States is being given more respect. In addition, President Trump is the best friend Israel has ever had while the attitude of Democratic candidates to Israel range from mediocre to hostile.
Fort Lee, NJ