As a card carrying lifelong Orthodox Jew who graduated yeshiva (JEC and YU) I was very taken aback by Abba Yitzchak’s “A Reform Rabbis’ Prayer for Peace with the Palestinians” (op-ed, May 28). While I don’t agree with Reform Judaism on almost anything, I considered this piece to be nasty, mean-spirited, vulgar and crude. It did not meet with any of your journalistic standards. Temple Beit Shimush? Really? Who were you trying to reach? Reform Jews? The rest of us? Is this kiruv of any sort?
Appalling Satire? (II)
I was absolutely appalled by Abba Yizchak’s article of May 28. From the very first line where he calls Rabbi David’s shul “Temple Beit Shimush” to calling his wife Christina Eichmann. (Did he actually just name a rabbi’s wife after the architect of the Final Solution?)
In the space of a half page he has insulted and denigrated his fellow Jews. His attempt at satire is nothing more than an arrogant display of condescension to Jews whose worship of Hashem is different from his own. I believe his attempt at satire at the expense of belittling Reform Jews belies an insecurity in his own practice of Judaism and devotion to Hashem. He should be ashamed of himself.
Appalling Satire? (III)
I would like to know what The Jewish Press was thinking when they agreed to print this disgraceful article. This article goes against everything that all types of Jews believe in.
Questions? Yes Please
In regards to last week’s question, “Is it presumptuous for a regular frum Jew to disagree (not face to face, obviously) with a great rabbi on a particular matter in Jewish thought or public policy?”
It takes energy and resolve to debate someone, so any rabbi who is interested in the truth will welcome it and appreciate it, as it makes him sharper and keeps him on track.
Actually, disagreeing face to face is preferable, as disagreement is often a result of not hearing the question or the answer directly. The Oral Torah, which is devoted to asking questions, often includes disagreements about what or how something was said.
Every person should feel safe to ask questions to their heart’s content, especially in today’s society where questions are suppressed.
A Rabbi’s Life
When I began reading the article “As The Rabbinate Turns,” I was surprised that, in discussing the rabbis that go “shul-hoppng” to make parnassah, you omitted the essence of the dynamics of a rabbi’s life, which that is the dedication and devotion of a rav to his synagogue and community. That is the reason they study for many years to obtain semicha and reach out to so many people to help make their lives richer. Let us not lose sight of this significant fact.
Rebbetzin Ann (Chanie) Pollack
A Sorry Response
Jews are being attacked on the streets, while dining in restaurants and while on the way to synagogue. Synagogues are being vandalized and fire bombed. Jews are afraid to wear signs of their religion and some are removing mezzuzahs from their homes out of fear.
President Biden was silent for days until public pressure forced him to take what he thought to be appropriate “action” – a mere two sentence tweet, probably written by a staffer. Out of his mouth came only silence. Hardly what a real president would do. Over at the Justice Department, the Attorney General was also silent. The U.S. has a veritable army of investigators, lawyers and prosecutors, yet there has been no announcement of a Justice Department task force against anti-Semitism. American district attorneys have not been directed to make prosecuting crimes against Jews a priority. The office of ambassador against anti-Semitism is vacant. Biden’s nominee to be the assistant attorney general for civil rights is a bigot… Truly a sorry response.
Jews and non-Jews alike must demand that the Biden administration use the full force and power of the US government against these vicious anti-Semites. Right now Biden gets an F grade as he is failing all citizens of the United Stated. Civil rights means nothing in the U.S. if its government fails to protect the group that has had the largest number of hate crimes directed at them.
Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg
Police Protection Appreciated
This is an open letter thanking the New York and New Jersey police and police throughout the United States for all their hard work protecting the Jews in recent weeks.
While talk shows like “The View” continue to criticize Israel, the police have been friends to the Jews. Let’s support the police and let’s stand with Israel.
Nadler is Treif
Congressmember Jerry Nadler’s support for Brad Lander for NYC Comptroller in the June Democratic Party Primary is disappointing. Nadler continues to love playing the class, sex and race card. He said in the television commercial endorsing Lander for Comptroller that “Brad will hold corporations accountable for not paying people of color and woman equitably.” In this day and age, every corporation has a Human Resources Department. Owners, management, supervisors and employees are all aware of anti-discrimination laws on the books that require employees be paid equally regardless of ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation or age when performing the same tasks.
Nadler joined AOC and Public Advocate Jumanne Williams, both of whom extreme left-of-center positions, including taking the side of Hamas vs. Israel in endorsing Ladner. Birds of a feather flock together.
Remember that earlier this year, Nadler endorsed the idea of reparations. Congressmember Nadler is clearly “treif” for Jewish voters. Anyone Nadler endorses is bad news for those of Jewish faith. Nadler doesn’t deserve a financial campaign contribution or your vote when running for another term in 2022.
Dangerous Afghanistan Withdrawal
The planned withdrawal of all U.S. and European troops from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021, will probably allow the Taliban to reconquer Afghanistan and impose a strict Islamist regime within the country and establish terrorist organizations devoted to attacking the United States.
The Taliban followers are terrorists who are aligned with al-Qaeda, and they are the same groups who have launched terrorist attacks in the world over the past 30 years, including the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.
We need to keep adequate military forces in the region outside of Afghanistan to counter Taliban and al-Qaida moves in Afghanistan and to keep them off balance to prevent attacks against us. Approximately 3000 U.S. troops should be based on the Arabian peninsula in case they are needed as a quick reaction force. U.S. Special Forces in the region will probably have to be beefed up.
We need ground assault aircraft available in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Additionally, a squadron of B-52s should be based in the region.
A U.S. Navy carrier battle group and an amphibious assault force must be deployed in the region to provide the capabilities for air bombardment and missile attacks as necessary.
The Taliban are the enemy and must be treated as such.
From the Rabbi to the Chancellor
Open Letter to:
Chancellor Lester Willis Young, Jr., EdD
Member At Large, New York State Board of Regents
Dear Chancellor Young:
This is a highly personal letter from me to you, man-to-man.
I am writing you on a topic that is dear to my heart: traditional Orthodox Jewish education.
Reviewing your life story, I see that you rose to the top of your profession despite great personal obstacles. Your father Lester Willis, Sr., was a musical genius, an idealist who cared very much about his people, and an alcoholic. He went through three marriages, and it was only in his third marriage that he had his two children – you and your sister Yvette.
Notwithstanding the odds, through hard work and discipline, you rose to the top of your field, and your sister also earned a doctorate in education, probably because you had a mother who did an outstanding job of motivating both of you for success.
I also see that you’re a kind person. You volunteer, without pay, for such idealistic groups as My Brother’s Keeper and the Workgroup Improve Outcomes for Boys and Men of Color.
So you’re my kind of guy!
My history is not so different from yours. I was born during the Holocaust in Europe, and I too had a heroic mother, who saved my life under impossible circumstances. I came to America as a refugee after the war and had to overcome many challenges to arrive at the point that I am today.
I want to talk to you about the regulations that your Regents wish to impose on our yeshivos this coming fall. I have a background in the field of education, having served as both teacher and principal in the yeshiva system.
Your proposed new regulations are based on Education Law No. 3204, enacted in 1894, which states that sectarian schools should provide an education that is “substantially equivalent” to that of the public schools. For many good reasons, this law has never been taken literally and it has not been enforced by the Education Department—until now. So, why now?
The reason is clear. A hate-filled anti-Orthodox Jewish group, named Yaffed, purporting to “improve” Orthodox Education, brought three lawsuits against the New York Department of Education to force them to undermine traditional Orthodox Jewish education in New York State.
Educational Law 3204 was the ideal vehicle for their purposes, because, as the legislative history of this law reveals, it was intentionally designed to kill “sectarian education” (non-public schools).
The prime mover of this law was a very prominent and powerful Harvard-trained Republican lawyer named Joseph Hodges Choate. Let me be blunt. Choate was an unrepentant Protestant bigot. He despised the Irish Catholics, who were greatly expanding their parochial schools with the aid of then-available government funding. So Choate schemed to sabotage the Irish schools by cutting off their access to funding and entangling them in onerous regulations, which would provide many opportunities for sabotage. “Substantially equivalent” meant equivalent to the Calvinist Protestant-dominated public schools.
In that same year, Choate also managed to pass a “Blaine-Style” amendment to the New York State Constitution, denying state aid to all “sectarian” (Irish Catholic) schools.
So, you now understand, that this “substantial equivalency” baloney is nothing more than a euphemism for blatant religious bigotry, which the Yaffed organization have expropriated to ram their anti-Orthodox agenda through the Board of Regents. In legal terminology, it is the “fruit of the poisoned tree,” the fruit of evil religious bigotry
Your father despised bigotry, and so, I believe, do you.
So I urge you to cancel this despicable stealth effort to sabotage our traditional Orthodox yeshivos through regulation by your Board of Regents.
Our traditional Orthodox Jewish schools are doing just fine. We Jews invented education. We are known as “The people of the book” for good reason. We’ve been doing it for 3333 years, ever since we received the Ten Commandments directly from G-d, who spoke to us all at Mount Sinai.
At that monumentally-important historical event, G-d designated us as his “Chosen People,” chosen to serve, to carry his message to all the nations of the world, to “be a light unto the nations.”
We now have no choice in the matter. We were sworn into service by G-d at Mount Sinai to carry out this mission, and we have done so faithfully through all these years, despite the many attempts of pagan atheist regimes, of Hitler, Stalin, and their ilk to destroy us and silence our voices.
Our yeshivos today proudly carry forward this G-dly mission, and we have no intention of allowing the Education Department of New York State, or anyone else to sabotage us.
Come visit our community. I’ll be glad to give you a tour. Walk our streets; Visit our shops; Stop into our yeshivos. You will see a happy successful community, teeming with life; People with values and purpose; People on a G-dly mission of Virtue, Brotherly Love and Peace, all looking forward to that great day, inscribed on the “Isaiah Wall” of the United Nations: “They shall beat their swords into plowshares…nation shall not lift up sword against nation” (Isaiah 2:4).
The Bible clearly states that Israel has been charged with a mission, to be “A kingdom of priests and a Holy Nation” (Exodus 19:6). And, indeed, that is who we are!