Still a Long Way to Go
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman (Jan. 7) deserves our appreciation for a well-written and thoughtful article. Anyone who has ever dealt with victims of abuse – as, regretfully, I have – knows that they are usually scarred for life and those who do not accept their testimony are guilty of further abusing the victims.
We have come a long way in the charedi community, but there are still many who feel, “Shah, Shah, it’s a shanda!” or that it is lashon hara to speak out against the perpetrators, or worse yet, deny and defend the evil doers! They should look more deeply into what halacha says on the subject.
There are too many cases of abuse in the frum community across the board. Rabbi Eisenman rightfully urges parents to be active in protecting their children: predators come with many faces: A meshulach who became friendly with a family and was invited to spend nights, even Shabbos with them. After a while they noticed changes in the behavior of their children and it turned out that each of them had been abused by their guest. In one community the “candy man” in shul was the abuser!
Apparently the final blow to the young victim who took her own life was when she heard a well known leader of his community in Eretz Yisrael refer to Walder with the words zecher tzaddik livracha! Could it be that this is one of the causes of the tragic spiritual loss of so many of our young people who are “going off the derech“? Are they so wounded and disillusioned by the abhorrent behavior of some leaders who themselves are “Off the derech majorly? Hashem Yirachem!
More Important Than a Title
Your editorial staff and Alan Dershowitz’s perspective on Archbishop Tutu’s views of Jews (Dec. 31) provide important reminders that people have to look at the entirety of a world figure, not just their outward persona, to assess their contribution to all of humanity. Archbishop Tutu was an acknowledged leader in the struggle against South African apartheid, but also supported BDS and anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian causes.
In the same vein, Josef Mengele was a “doctor,” Werner von Braun was a “scientist,” Herman Goering was a “pilot,” and Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, and Mao Zedong were “top government officials.” Yet together these professionals were responsible for the murder of over 100 million people, most of them their own countrymen. Additionally for Jews, Henry Ford was an “industrialist,” and Father Coughlin and the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem were “clergymen,” but all were openly avowed antisemites. Even President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was idolized to the point of sainthood by most Jews, doomed six million Jews to their deaths by never lifting a finger to stop their slaughter during the Holocaust.
In more recent times, AOC, Rashida Tlaib, and Bernie Sanders are “members of Congress,” while Louis Farrakhan , Al Sharpton, and Ayatollah Khamenei are “clergymen.” All are avowed antisemites.
The point here is that one must look at the entire person, not just his or her title or position, but also their background, culture, track record, agenda, and self-interest, in order to assess the totality of their actions. Being at the top of one’s field does not guarantee that he or she acts for the best for all of society, or especially for us as Jews.
Highland Park, NJ
Encyclopedic Name Change
I was thrilled to read your article describing the history and accelerated pace of the publications of the Talmudic Encyclopedia (“The Talmudic Encyclopedia Reaches 75,” Jan. 14).
Your readers may find it of interest to know that the publisher of the Talmudic Encyclopedia, Yad Harav Herzog, was originally known as The World Academy. Upon the passing of Chief Rabbi Herzog, the World Academy’s first president, the chronology shows that Rabbi Herbert S. Goldstein, the World Academy’s first chancellor and chairman of the Board of Trustees, posthumously known as the Maverick Rabbi, recommended changing the World Academy’s name to Yad Harav Herzog. For many years, its American office was located in the building annexed to the current West Side Institutional Synagogue, now led by Rabbi Daniel Sherman.
If readers have information regarding any of the other constituent organizations of the World Academy at any point, I’d be very interested to find out. Please email me at Reichelaa@aol.com.
Rabbi Aaron I. Reichel, Esq.
Author of The Maverick Rabbi
Kew Gardens, NY
Although on the whole I enjoyed Rabbi Reuven Chaim Klein’s interesting book review of Jewish Science Fiction and Fantasy Through 1945 (DATE), but it mistakenly sates that Superman was the creation of Stan Lee. Of course, Superman was not the creation of Stan Lee. Superman was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, who met in high school in Cleveland and famously sold their copyright to Detective Comics, Inc. (later shortened to DC Comics) for $130 (worth about $2,570 today). Stan Lee created his many iconic characters for Marvel Comics, a rival of DC Comics.
The Jewish Press Responds:
Thank you for your correction. We have to confess editorial responsibility at our end – Rabbi Klein’s article originally read: “Of course, Superman was the creation of Jewish fantasy writers, and his aboriginal Kryptonian name Kal-El even has a Semitic ring to it.”
Honest Elections Don’t Deny the Vote
President Biden is misleading the American public by saying opposition to his Voting Rights Bill is denying the vote for minorities. That is totally incorrect. For example, his bill would prevent the use of voter identification. People need identification to get a driver’s license, take books out of the library, or visit the doctor. Eighty percent of the American public believes voter identification is necessary for honest elections. Without voter identification, people could vote several times and dishonestly change the election.