Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Re-thinking Obama

I would like to take this opportunity to rescind a prior letter I wrote challenging the criticism of Obama by weekly columnist Saul J. Singer, Esq. Obama’s statement(s) after the October 7 Hamas Cossack-esque pogrom are vituperative and disgusting. His statement that “nobody’s hands are clean, that all of us are complicit to some degree” is preposterous. Close to 30 Israelis were killed by Arab terrorism between January 1 and October 6, 2023. Thousands of Israelis have been killed since the September 1993 Oslo Accord. The terrorist leader, Arafat, turned down an absurdly generous offer by Ehud Barack in 2005 for a Palestinian state. It is not land they want; it is the death of as many Jews as possible. Hence their offensive worldwide chants, which need not be repeated here.

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Chatati.
Jeffrey M. Goldman, Esq.
Paramus, N.J.

 

Is It Really Better Here?

Regarding the young lady who desires to make aliyah but whose future fiancé has opted out due to the war, it’s important to inform her of statements found in the Mishna and Shulchan Aruch:

“All may force their family to ascend to Eretz Yisrael, i.e., one may compel his family and household to immigrate to Eretz Yisrael, but all may not remove others from Eretz Yisrael, as one may not coerce one’s family to leave” (Mishna, Ketubot 13:11).”

“If he [the husband] proposes to ascend to Eretz Yisrael and she does not want to, he can divorce her and not honor the Ketubah…If she [the wife] proposes ascending [to Eretz Yisrael] and he does not want to, he must divorce her and give her the Ketubah” (Shulchan Aruch 75:4).”

Another vital point to consider is that even though (B”H) missiles are not raining down on American soil, rising Jew-hatred is becoming more of a concern. There has been a marked increase in American Jews buying guns for protection. One need only view the violent protests all over the country, all over the world, and on university campuses. If you’re nervous about wearing your kippah outside, having a mezuzah on your doorpost, or wearing a Magen David then America is no longer safe for Jews. The young lady’s boyfriend should seriously contemplate this.

I personally suffered from a rabid Jew-hating Arab woman who lived in the apartment next door when I was living alone with my aged mother, a”h, in Jersey City, a heavily Muslim-populated area. In brief, one Shabbat, at a time when my elderly mother, a”h, was sick and even had trouble walking, this woman tried to kick in our door. It was frightening! She actually called the police on us, screaming at the top of her lungs that we scribbled anti-Muslim graffiti on her door. I was afraid for our safety and ran to the neighbor across the hall for help. But the police came and interrogated us in our apartment. The officer realized the situation – our sincere innocence – and then went next door to rebuke her. However, weeks later, as I was leaving the building, this woman was stepping out of her car and began screaming at me in Arabic. I ignored her. This was nearly 20 years ago. Years before that neighbor moved in, our mezuzah was stolen. Complaints to the housing office were futile.

I also witnessed a pro-Palestine rally in Jersey City. The mosque of the “Blind Sheikh,” associated with 9/11, was only a few blocks away. (Unfortunately, we couldn’t afford to move.)

Baruch Hashem, I now live in the Orthodox section of Passaic, New Jersey, but I worry about nearby Paterson and Jersey City, with their ever-growing Muslim populations. Around October 7, Passaic witnessed Arabs riding through the streets declaring their jubilation at the brutal massacre. Shuls have armed guards.

If this young lady’s boyfriend thinks it’s safe here, then he should buy a gun and learn how to use it.

Certain areas in Israel are safer than others. Someone I know who grew up in Pardes Hanna (Northern Israel) and attended yeshiva in nearby Hadera, told me that Pardes Hanna (B”H) never suffered a terrorist or missile attack. His American granddaughter is currently in a Jerusalem seminary. When he asked her about returning home to the States, she replied that no – he should be coming “home.” And she was in Ashkelon with her uncle on October 7 during the bombings! I’ve heard similar comments from parents about their children preferring to stay in Israel despite this existential war.

The aliyah application is a long process and can be temporarily suspended (which is what I was forced to do, for financial reasons).

This young lady has a difficult decision to make. These are just some considerations for her (and her possible chatan) to weigh.

G-d-willing, may we hear only good news and shalom in Israel very soon.

B’Ahavat Yisrael,
Hindishe Lee
Passaic, N.J.

 

Is Islam an Abrahamic Faith?

Far be it from me to contradict Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, zt”l. However, I believe his column in the October 13 Jewish Press needs updating to reflect events that have occurred since it was written. Islam is nominally an Abrahamic faith to the extent that it is monotheistic and genealogically stems from Yishmael, but that is where the similarity ends.

While Christianity seeks to raise disciples of all nations, it has for centuries foresworn its onetime penchant for forcible conversion, and evangelicals are among Israel’s strongest supporters. It is the lapsed Christians who are most likely to be antisemitic. As my parents were once told by the vice-chancellor of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, at a time when they came to seek advice about the antisemitism we were experiencing, “Your problem isn’t that you are Jews. Your problem is that they aren’t Christians.”

It is a widespread belief among Muslims, on the other hand, that non-Muslims are to be offered a choice between conversion and death, which is amply evidenced by its depredations in sub-Saharan Africa. As for Jews, the Koran and Hadith have many statements calling for genocide, the most famous of which says that when the time comes that Jews hide behind trees and rocks, the trees and rocks will cry out, “O Muslim, there is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him.” The World War II alliance between the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and Hitler speaks volumes, not only about antisemitism but that Islam and Nazism share the view, “Everything inside the race, nothing outside the race.”

In conclusion, until such time as Islam reforms itself, it is inappropriate to designate it as an Abrahamic faith. Abraham was a man of such chesed that he pleaded with G-d to spare Sodom and Gomorrah and their sister cities if some righteous people were found there. By contrast, the most prestigious Muslim university, Al Azhar of Cairo, often called the “Muslim Vatican,” has issued a decree asserting that Israelis are not civilians but “occupiers of the land, usurpers of rights, deviators from the straight path embodied by the prophets, and blatant disregarders for the sanctity of the historic city of Jerusalem, which encompasses the city of Jerusalem’s respectable Islamic and Christian heritage.” Consequently, all Israelis are to be seen as enemy combatants and must be killed. Is this the doctrine of an Abrahamic faith?

As an enlightening postscript, Raymond Ibrahim’s article in the Zionist Organization of America’s The Stream, from which the above quotation is taken, observes that in 2009 Barack Obama spoke from Al Azhar to the Islamic world, proclaiming that “For over a thousand years, Al-Azhar has stood as a beacon of Islamic learning … As a student of history, I also know civilization’s debt to Islam. It was Islam – at places like Al-Azhar University – that carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe’s Renaissance and Enlightenment.”

Is it any wonder that so many in Obama’s party are turning hostile toward Israel?

Richard Kronenfeld
Phoenix, Ariz.

 

The Pivot to Jew-Hatred: A Matter of Math and History

The current Gaza war was precipitated by the surprise savage attack by Hamas against Israeli civilians, claiming over 1,200 Jewish men, women, children and babies, and the taking of over 240 hostages. Hamas also proudly paraded their depravity for all the world to see. This was the largest massacre of Jews in a single day since the Holocaust. Even the Nazis, who ran the most barbaric criminal regime in modern history, tried to hide their atrocities. The sheer barbarity of the Hamas terrorists instilled such revulsion in most civilized human beings that the initial reaction was overwhelming sympathy for the Israelis.

However, this outpouring of world support lasted only a few days. Predictably, the old specter of traditional antisemitism began to rear its ugly head, and sympathy started pivoting towards the Hamas-led Palestinian side.

Many rational human beings express amazement that so many people could support such evil monsters. The answer is quite simple. Most people believe what they want to, or are conditioned to, believe. Thus it comes down to a matter of math and history.

In terms of numbers, the worldwide population today consists of 1.8 billion Muslims, 2.4 billion Christians, and only 16.1 million Jews. Even though all three religions have a common origin in our Torah, can there be any doubt that the Arabs will get more and better overall media coverage than the Jews?

In terms of history, Muslims have been discriminating against or trying to destroy the Jewish people for 1,200 years, and Christians have been discriminating against, or trying to destroy, the Jewish people for 2,000 years. Again, can there be any doubt that sympathy for the Jews will wane very quickly?

In the public relations arena, Jews and the Jewish State must always remember to factor in the millennia of systemic world antisemitism.

Max Wisotsky
Highland Park, N.J.

 

Antisemitism Pairs With Ignorance

How sad that this past Thursday thousands of high school and college students around the nation continued their ongoing protests against Israel. They continued their call for a cease-fire, burned Israeli flags, and included chants such as “free Palestine” and “from the river to the sea” (code words for the elimination of Israel), and tore down posters of hostages and accused President Biden and America of committing genocide against the Palestinian people.

These same demonstrators were silent on and immediately after October 7, when Hamas invaded Israel. No protests against the Hamas reign of terror, the murdering of 1,200 people and kidnapping of 240 Israel and American citizens.

Perhaps the demonstrators were not aware that November 9 is the 85th anniversary of Kristallnacht. On that date in 1938, German Nazis conducted a pogrom. The Nazi persecution included burning and looting of Jewish homes, stores and synagogues.

Isn’t it time that Kristallnacht and the Holocaust that killed six million Jews be taught in all high school and college history classes? Why not also show the recently released film Bearing Witness, which documents the recent atrocities committed by Hamas? It was shown last Wednesday at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles.

Too many pro-Palestinian protestors have no understanding of past history. This has resulted in their ignorance and antisemitism.

Larry Penner
Great Neck, N.Y.

 

Horrors Revisited

In response to David Israel’s article entitled “85 Years after Kristallnacht Jewish Survivors Again Feel Unsafe,” I am writing about my friend William R., the son of Holocaust survivors, and my own impressions of Kristallnacht and October 7, as elucidated in my poem “Visions of Kristallnacht Again.”

Before the anniversary of Kristallnacht and October 7, William revealed that as the son of Holocaust survivors, he has been traumatized since childhood. Having listened to their harrowing stories of unbearable suffering and evil and witnessing their anguish-filled lives, he developed secondary trauma. In other words, their Holocaust stories were passed on to him, insidiously invading his mind and body.

And now, with the October 7 slaughter of Jews in Israel and the mammoth rise of antisemitism world-wide and in America, his traumas, fears and nightmares have increased exponentially, metastasizing across his wounded being.

He is shocked, horrified and terrified by the flagrant hatred of Jews in New York City. He is fearful that violence will break out in Brooklyn. A loner, he has become more withdrawn, retreating further into the world of books and scientific articles, as he holds a doctorate in biology. His atavistic nightmares haunt him.

Dr. Mel Waldman
Author of “I Am a Jew”
Via Email

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