Irene Klass – Truly a Queen
With great interest, I read Naomi Klass Mauer’s “My Mother and Queen Elizabeth” (Dec. 9) in which she wrote that Irene Klass was the true queen. The time I met and spoke with Irene Klass, I found her to be kind, gentle, and truly a queen.
Delray Beach, Fla.
The Proactive Integrity of Dayan Ehrentreu
Rabbi Folger’s tribute to the late Dayan Chanoch Ehrentreu (Dec. 2) is a much better and more factual tribute than some that have been in other papers.
However, just to correct a few errors: The heading has Dayan Ehrentreu born in 1927, while the article correctly states 1932. 1927 was the year the earlier Rav Chanoch Ehrentreu, his grandfather, died, while 1932 is the correct year of the Dayan’s birth.
Thus, the phrase “the future Dayan Ehrentreu established in 1960, aged 33, the Sunderland Kollel” is inaccurate, as in 1960 he was approaching the age of 28. It was remarkable for one not yet 28 to start a kollel.
Rabbi Folger is correct to highlight the London eruv. This was not mentioned by some of the newspaper obituaries, possibly because of connections between those newspapers and the opponents of the eruv. Dayan Ehrentreu’s success is that several other areas, including my own former community, Bushey, now have eruvin, and even part of the North London area, where many of the opponents were based, recently arranged for an eruv. The eruv is one of his greatest achievements in that it has benefited large numbers of people weekly. Requests for an eruv were voiced at least as early as the 1970s, but there was a wish not to rock the boat. When Rabbi Alan Kimche campaigned for an eruv, the Dayan took it up and proceeded bravely, irrespective of the continuous vocal opposition from some of the Orthodox communities.
There are many other occasions when Dayan Ehrentreu made a difference that others in the same position might have shied away from. In the sense that relating these occasions affects others, it is appropriate to generalize by stating that the Dayan acted with what can be described as proactive yashrut (integrity).
Additionally, an aspect of the family has escaped most tributes. Dayan Ehrentreu’s career had a resemblance to that of his maternal grandfather, Rabbi Meir Tzvi Jung. (Many in America will recall Dayan Ehrentreu’s uncle, Rabbi Leo Jung.) Rabbi Meir Tzvi Jung’s rabbinate was considered too Orthodox by some and too “liberal” by others, but neither criticism prevented him from doing all he could for the benefit of Torah observance and the Jewish communities he led. In the relatively short period of his rabbinate in London (he was 58 when he died), Rabbi Jung was proactive, starting a group for young adults called the Sinai League, which kept many young people shomrei mitzvot. Many observant Jews today are grandchildren of Rabbi Jung’s followers. My maternal grandfather was one of Rabbi Jung’s young men.
Just as Rabbi Jung’s vision is relevant over a century later, so will be the effect of his grandson’s vision.
Aveilus Questions are Emotionally Complex
I’m writing in response to the Q&A: Lenient or Stringent Ruling from the Rabbi (Part I) (Nov 25). From experience, this scenario is more complex for the person asking than many other halachic questions. When you ask a question about what is permissible during aveilus, there is obviously a reason behind it. It could be pressure from a family member to attend an event, or a recent weight change making your wardrobe uncomfortable, etc. But when you get an unexpectedly lenient answer, there is an emotional component that isn’t involved when asking a shaila in kashrus. One in aveilus may ask oneself, “Will my parent be hurt that I am taking this leniency? Will they think I won’t go the extra mile for them?”
You don’t get a re-do on this mitzvah. Even if someone has complete faith in their Rav, it may be difficult emotionally to follow his ruling in these circumstances. It was suggested to me that the avel should ask if they “would be able” to do something, rather than if they “should” do something.
Leave Judging to G-d
Regarding Avi Ciment’s series on Modern Orthodoxy – Let’s spend less time with labels and leave the judging to whom we pray. Spirituality is non-quantifiable and is not static. None of us is qualified to examine what’s in the heart and mind of our co-religionists, and those that hate us don’t discriminate among us. Let’s judge ourselves and see the good in our brethren.
Modern Orthodox Realities
In response to comments on my previous letter about Modern Orthodoxy (Dec. 9), I wish to set the record straight.
Many years ago, I attended a Shabbos morning Gemara shiur delivered by Rabbi Avigdor Miller, zt”l. After reciting a piece, he asked those in attendance to repeat it, but no one was able to do so. This prompted the legendary pedagogue to remark, “If such brilliant people (he named two individuals) didn’t understand what I taught, then I obviously didn’t explain it well.”
If such a talented writer and outstanding thinker like Josh Greenberger (Letters, Dec. 9) didn’t grasp what I wrote previously, then I probably didn’t explain my position properly. I certainly agree that it’s tragic that modern Orthodoxy faces a texting on Shabbos problem. And I certainly do not believe, nor did I say, that college should be mandatory for all Jews. What I did say is that college is a given for the Modern Orthodox, and that’s basically an inviolate rule.
Let me illustrate with the following: Baruch Hashem I go to a wonderful shul which is half Modern and half yeshivas and we all get along famously. About a year ago I overheard a conversation between two Moderns about their children: “My daughter’s pre-med at Princeton.” The other said, “My son’s in Harvard Medical School.” And they went on about which high school is best to gain entry into an Ivy League university. They’re nice guys, but Judaism is very low on their totem poles and so they’re not going to change their attitudes about higher education because of Avi Ciment or Josh Greenberger’s statistics.
When making decrees, our Sages always recognized the nature of people. We have to deal with the reality that success is far more important to most of the Modern Orthodox than keeping Shabbos perfectly, and therefore I repeat my suggestion of the initial letter. For those kids who will attend out-of-town colleges, their high school yeshivas should develop programs that allow them to keep in touch with their former students. You must work with the kids, because, from my experience, the parents aren’t really interested. One last point. Raquel Hanon is correct that Modern Orthodoxy isn’t monolithic. There are segments of Modern Orthodox that are even stricter halachically than the chareidi world in many, if not most, areas of halacha.
Wokeism and Antisemitism Hand in Hand at Harvard
It is not surprising that Harvard ranks number one in anti-Semitism on college campuses. Woke indoctrination of our young adults at so-called institutions of higher learning has poisoned the minds of countless students. Diversity, equity and inclusion appear to not apply to Jews. Jews are the alleged oppressors of Palestinian Arabs in the apartheid state of Israel, claim social justice warriors. There is little to no fact-checking or correction being made to this false and vile narrative being propagated on college campuses.
Harvard is one of the most elite universities and it has fallen prey to wokeism, as have most universities. It seems that the higher a university’s ranking, the greater impact the aforementioned insidious ideology has on its students, resulting in greater antisemitism. So, it is only natural that the esteemed Harvard ranks highest in antisemitism. Steps need to be taken to counter this dangerous trend. Our youth must be educated regarding the true facts on the ground in the Middle East to counter the harmful lies being driven into the minds of students. Universities must also be held accountable, by whatever legal means Jewish students can avail themselves of. Jews, Israel and society as a whole will be better off when the demonic specter of wokeism will be eradicated, and schools return to instruction of relevant professional and technical subject matter. In my view, this can’t happen soon enough.