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Basic Respect

Why are pride parades allowed in Jerusalem?


We wouldn’t allow the Ku Klux Klan to march in Harlem because it would offend black (and white) Americans. So why are Jews silent when G-d and His Torah are so flagrantly disrespected in our Holy City?

David Ferster


Trump – A Traitor?

Last week, letter writer Jake Pickering called President Trump a traitor. Perhaps he needs to look up the meaning of the word in a dictionary.

A traitor would not renegotiate unfair trade agreements with Mexico and Canada as Trump did. A traitor would also not take on a major trading partner such a China over its highly unfair trading practices as Trump did.

Trump also greatly improved the American economy, which boasted record levels of unemployment before the pandemic – hardly the work of a traitor.

Lastly, comparing Trump to Hitler is ludicrous. Hitler dissolved the Reichstag and did away with civil liberties. Last I checked, Congress is still functioning, as are all the courts.

Steve Katz
West Palm Beach, FL


Returning to the Dinkins Era?

What happens to public safety when elected officials overly indulge criminals? The answer, based on past, bitter experience, is obvious.

New York’s extraordinarily successful “broken windows” strategy in the 1990s was key to transforming a formerly dysfunctional city into a safe, thriving one. This policy is now being undone by Mayor de Blasio and District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. The city’s windows are once again breaking.

William McGurn noted in a recent Wall Street Journal article that Vance has declined to prosecute three individuals who defaced St. Patrick’s Cathedral during the recent riots. Such a misguided move is symptomatic of “progressive” social justice initiatives to decriminalize “low level offenses,” broadly defined.

Particularly chilling for the Jewish community, McGurn writes, “[B]uildings have long been a frequent target of graffiti attacks. Is it now open season for defacing synagogues and yeshivas?”

New Yorkers may not have to wait long for an answer.

Richard D. Wilkins
Syracuse, NY


Do Blacks Believe Black Lives Matter?

“Black lives matter.” That’s the mantra of a movement sweeping around the globe like a tsunami. Every black life is precious, the movement’s leaders tell us. I wish they believed that.

Since the barbaric Roe v. Wade decision, some 20 million black lives have been extinguished through abortion. Dr. Martin Luther King’s daughter, Alveda King, a mother of six and the director of African American Outreach for Gospel of Life, has noted, “In New York City, more black babies are aborted than born.”

Almost 40 percent of all babies aborted are black even though blacks comprise only 13 percent of the population. Black babies are aborted at four times the rate of white babies.

If black lives really mattered to Black Lives Matters, it would address this wholesale eradication of black lives and help pregnant African American women who are contemplating abortion reconsider.

Carl Jaffe


The Limits of Sympathy

I couldn’t agree more with Rabbi Uri Pilichowski’s recent article calling upon Jews to reach out to the less fortunate black community. The problem is that Orthodox Jews in New York were brutally attacked hundreds of times this past year. The perpetrator in practically every case was black. The black community’s response was dismal.

Every decent Jew wants nothing more than to have a peaceful relationship with African-Americans. But that’s a pretty tall order when someone’s punching you in the face.

Michael Zeller
Teaneck, NJ


Moshiach Is Close

I believe we are experiencing the birth pangs of Moshiach. It’s not business as usual anymore. We need to spiritually strengthen ourselves in whatever area needs shoring up – lashon hara, davening, middos, emunah, etc.

We need to make ourselves a proper vessel to be able to receive the light of Moshiach. May we do so, and may the geulah come soon and peacefully.

Sharona Kamiel
Los Angeles, CA


On Psychology (I)

Mr. Joshua Bernstein’s letter two weeks ago about Ruchama Bistritzky-Clapman of MASK and the field of psychology was horribly off base.

His attack on psychology was not only irresponsible; it assumed common myths as fact. Psychologists do not alienate children from their parents, nor does any other mental health professional.

A true mental health professional does not provide direct advice in that sense. Nor is there a belief that parent-free children are happier or healthier. But just like some marriages don’t work, some parental relationships don’t work. If you knew a child who was abused by his parents, would you push that child back into the abuser’s arms? I hope not.

The referrals for therapy generated by MASK are primarily to professionals who are Torah-based. There are sizable and growing groups of professionals who are constantly guided by gedolei Torah. If you wish to see a sampling of them, visit a conference of Nefesh International or check out the Mental Health Track at the Agudath Yisroel Convention.

Mr. Bernstein assumes these professionally-trained Torah Jews have abandoned Torah morality. Nothing is farther from the truth. Kibud av v’em is a sacred mitzvah, and no mental health professional I know dismisses it the way Mr. Bernstein dismisses an entire profession.

Mr. Bernstein, if you found your home being burglarized, would you calmly discuss it with your rav or would you call the police? But how can you call the police when we are reading about a bad officer who killed a suspect who was resisting arrest?

The answer is that we all understand that there are bad apples everywhere. I suspect you have been on the receiving end of intervention by a therapist and were unpleased with the results. Does that taint your entire picture of a helping profession?

Rabbi Benzion Twerski, PhD


On Psychology (II)

Ruchama Bistritzky-Clapman was correct in writing in her letter to the editor last week that I am not intimately familiar with the work of MASK. But MASK heavily utilizes the services of psychology, and my point was this:

The Torah focuses on G-d, morality, and obligations while psychology focuses on feelings and the self. If a person concentrates on himself and his feelings rather than on his obligations, he will be more likely to cut ties with his parents – and feel justified in doing so.

That was my sole point.

Joshua Bernstein
Brooklyn, NY


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