Photo Credit: Jewish Press

What’s Truly Despicable

A spokesman for Gov. Cuomo called reports of a bar in Long Island taking bets on who would have more shootings over Labor Day weekend – New York or Chicago – “despicable.” It certainly is despicable. But what’s even more despicable is having the ability to stop many of these shootings and not having the moral fiber to do so.

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Has Cuomo condemned governors for not putting an end to the violence ravaging their states? No he hasn’t.

Instead, he’s had the audacity to blame Trump. Trump has offered federal help repeatedly, but his offers have been turned down every time. It’s absolutely disgraceful that Democrats put politics before human life.

It’s in Trump’s political interest to allow the violence to continue – to demonstrate the ineptness and corruption of Democrats. But Trump puts human life before politics. It seems the battle between Republicans and Democrats these days is not so much about politics anymore; it’s becoming more and more about good versus evil.

Josh Greenberger
Brooklyn, NY

 

Fair Criticism? (I)

Re the articles by Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel and Rabbi Yaakov Dovid Homnick (“Agudath Israel and Politics – A Follow-Up,” September 4):

While organizations like Agudath Israel and OU may have made errors, we must remember that dealing with non-Jewish governments has always been difficult. That’s why we generally look to our greatest rabbis – the gedolim – for guidance in this area.

It’s possible that occasionally these rabbis may have had to choose the lesser of two evils. It’s also possible that they may have been misinformed at times or, for various reasons, did not truly understand important details of a particular problem.

I know that the rabbis whom I have personally consulted – Rav Shimon Schwab, zt”l, and Rav Feivel Cohen, shlit”a – both maintained that we should vote for the candidate whose views better represent Torah morality and views.

OU and Agudah leaders consult with rabbinical figures. Since we don’t know the details of what goes on behind the scenes, we shouldn’t criticize them. And if we disagree with them, we should do so politely and respectfully.

We must be especially careful not to tell lashon hara about them. If we’re certain we know of some wrongdoing on their part, it is our halachic obligation to tell them privately, not via a newspaper.

David Isaacson

 

Fair Criticism? (II)

Saying lashon hara is permissible when it can produce some to’eles, but I don’t see what possible benefit can result from Rabbi Yaakov Dovid Homnick’s op-ed against Agudath Israel and some of its leading lights.

Rabbi Homnick argues that Agudath Israel has compromised its core values by deciding that it will, above all, aim to secure funds for yeshivos. He believes, as a follower of Rabbi Avigdor Miller, that the primary concern of any Jewish organization should be morality, not money.

While Rabbi Homnick is entitled to his opinion, it would be nice if he acknowledged the major role Agudah played in the exponential growth of Torah Judaism since World War II. To ignore this fact and to allege that Agudah has sold its soul is unconscionable.

Dr. Yaakov Stern

 

Fair Criticism? (III)

It’s not surprising that Rabbi Yaakov Dovid Homnick’s source of political and moral dismay in 1980 was Rabbi Avigdor Miller, zt”l. To his followers, Rabbi Miller remains a voice of moral clarity and straightforward guidance in a turbulent world.

But he was just one voice of leadership, and the harsh tone and divisive language he used turned many people away. He called those who burn the Israeli flag “brave,” described Democrats as “dead rats,” doubted the science of evolution, and described certain non-observant Jews as “wicked.”

In Europe, Agudath Israel interacted with governments to advocate for Orthodox Jewish interests. Why shouldn’t it do so in this country, regardless of which party is in the White House?

Sergey Kadinsky
Fresh Meadows, NY

 

The Stakes Are Truly That High

Every four years, we hear the same thing: “This is the most important election in our nation’s history.” Most times, it’s just hyperbole. This time, it’s absolutely – and chillingly – true.

If Joe Biden is elected, the American way of life as we’ve known it for 250 years will change drastically. A dystopian nightmare will unfold because Biden, effectively, won’t be our president if he wins on November 3. Filling that position for all intents and purposes will be Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Nancy Pelosi, Al Sharpton, Black Lives Matter, and Antifa.

They will use their “expertise” in governing America, starting with implementing the Green New Deal, which will destroy the middle class. Freedom of speech will be deemed obsolete, Congress will pass a $4 trillion tax increase, and the Second Amendment – and surely a few other amendments too – will become relics of the past.

The mobs will decide what rights we have, and Sanders’ “democratic socialism” will make room for communism, Marxism, and bolshevism. Think I’m being paranoid? Just research a few of the people and groups mentioned above. Listen to their plans, their fervent desires.

And open your eyes and understand that should the radical left take control, Jews will be the first to be purged. I lack Ze’ev Jabotinsky’s eloquence, but I urge my brethren to shed their blinders. These people mean business.

When Gerald Ford replaced Richard Nixon, he said: “Our long national nightmare is over.” The election of Biden, G-d forbid, would be the exact opposite: the beginning of a national nightmare that may never end.

Myron Hecker

 

Open New York’s Restaurants

It is pure class warfare by Mayor Bill de Blasio to claim that only wealthy people can afford to dine out. Millions of middle-class people ate out several days a week before the pandemic.

After six months, it is becoming more and more difficult for restaurants to remain in business. Many have already closed and hundreds more – small, medium, and large –will permanently close their doors if de Blasio doesn’t permit them to serve customers indoors.

New York should follow the New Jersey model and allow restaurants to reopen on October 1 at 25 percent capacity. Wait four weeks. If there is no significant spike in Covid-19 cases, proceed to 33 percent on November 1. If there is no significant spike, move to 50 percent on December 1, and then pause at 50 percent until the Covid-19 vaccine comes out.

Larry Penner
Great Neck, NY

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