Appreciation for Naomi Klass Mauer
Naomi, The Jewish Press is a great paper, thanks to you! (“Celebrating Naomi Klass Mauer’s 80th Birthday,” Aug. 26.) It is such a tough job to run a newspaper every week – never a piece of mind, mamash a mesiras nefesh. Naomi, your parents, Rabbi Sholom and Irene Klass, founders and publishers of The Jewish Press, must be so proud of you continuing in their footsteps. And publishing your father’s great Torah column weekly is giving him an aliyah in Gan Eden all the time.
Naomi, you are a special woman – as I got to know you by corresponding with you over the years it has been an honor. You are always doing such great mitzvahs and maasim and I appreciate your goodness, to me and to Klal Yisroel. I hope Hashem rewards you with arichas yamim v’shonim tovos, good health ‘till 120 years. Happiness, every day – the world needs you.
Thanks for all you do!
P.S. I wish to take this opportunity to congratulate Marc Gronich, The Jewish Press capital bureau chief, on winning a National Jewish Journalism Award, a well-deserved honor. I look forward each week to reading his terrific articles. Wishing you, Mr. Gronich, continued success, and looking forward to many more great articles written by you.
Dressing for the Queen
Disclaimer: I wear a white shirt, a suit, a tie, and black dress shoes on Shabbos.
I lament that too many of my fellow shul community members do not dress for Shabbos.
That does not mean I am of the view they all have to dress like me exactly. But there are two guiding principles that should help:
One is that on Shabbos we greet Shabbos HaMalka. Greeting royalty requires more than the “business casual” you wear to work.
A second is a source I have seen but cannot recall at the moment says that appropriate dress for a wedding is bigdei Shabbos, garments one would wear on Shabbos. The reality is that the clothes that too many of my peers wear on Shabbos are not ones they would wear to a chasana, which by that logic makes them not bigdei Shabbos.
I have no issue with someone who wears a colored shirt with his suit and tie on Shabbos. Many such shirts are suitably elegant to wear to a wedding or to meet a high official.
Rabbi Steven Pruzansky wrote, “People who do not dress like it is Shabbat eventually behave as if it is not Shabbat. They might avoid explicit prohibitions at first but will eventually succumb.” This point is not to be lightly regarded. I have seen it in operation.
What I write here applies to Western countries. Dress for Shabbos in Israel is a more nuanced topic. But I will note for the record that every time I have visited Israel since my children were old enough to spend a year there, I have worn a suit and a tie and black shoes and a white shirt on Shabbos. No matter the weather, that garb enhances the Shabbos atmosphere.
West Orange, N.J.
A Shirt by Any Other Color . . .
This letter is in response to Rabbi Shawn Zell, of Fair Lawn N.J. (“Is It Proper for a man not to wear a white shirt on Shabbat?” August 12.) Rabbi Zell seems to be upset about “the deplorable state of dress at minyanim, not only on Shabbos but on weekdays as well.” He also states that “know before whom you stand” is no longer operative.
All the rabbis quoted in the article seem to be in agreement that as long as the shirt is clean, special for Shabbat and in accordance with the standards of “dress clothing,” other colors would be acceptable. If someone believes otherwise, what source or sources is he is basing his opinion on.
In the spirit of Elul, we should all look at ourselves and reevaluate our behavior during the previous year. We should avoid judging people based on the color of their shirt, which is bound to create sinat chinam (baseless hatred), hurt feelings and ill will. As long as people maintain proper decorum in shul, are dressed in a modest (tzniut) fashion in good clothes, and follow proper hygiene, we should accept everyone with a pleasant countenance, as Pirkei Avot states.
Was Biden Right?
In last week’s editorial, “President Biden and Gov. Hochul: It’s My Way or the Highway,” (Sept. 9), The Jewish Press challenges President Biden’s assertion that the philosophy of MAGA extremists is “like semi-fascism.” Biden also gave a speech on Thursday using similar verbiage, warning of the threat of MAGA extremism. Reasonable people may differ on his tone and the effectiveness of his rhetoric, but The Jewish Press suggests that “these Republicans are only offering alternative policies.” In other words, nothing to see here – Biden is just being overly hyperbolic about mere policy differences!
But The Jewish Press misses the point entirely. Has The Jewish Press forgotten that Trump and his allies attempted to undo the will of the American people for their own political desire in a massive, coordinated effort? Did they not try to use technicalities in court to cancel peoples’ votes and constantly get thrown out even by Trump-appointed judges? Did they not back a catchall attempt to overturn the election via the Supreme Court? Did they not push to nullify America’s choice on January 6? This, before and even after rioters, believing that Trump’s non-existent win was in the process of being robbed from them, broke into the Capitol in a deadly insurrection that the former president summoned, encouraged and is demonstrably responsible for.
Trump and MAGA Republicans continue to propagate this doctrine of a stolen election, the consequences of which include more than two-thirds of Republicans who, polling reveals, subscribe to this notion. So, election deniers and Trump-endorsed candidates are winning big in the Republican primaries, including, disturbingly, for key state election oversight related positions.
Is this all merely about policy differences, as The Jewish Press suggests? Absolutely not. Democracy is indeed being threatened. Where moderate Republicans failed to defeat their more-extreme challengers, many are unfortunately forced to choose between their policy convictions and their love of democracy itself.
Why is Hochul Hiding From Zeldin?
Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul is following the infamous “Rose Garden Strategy” by ignoring underdog Republican challenger Congress member Lee Zeldin and refusing to schedule a series of public debates between now and Election Day. With less than eight weeks to go, Hochul’s surrogates will continue to run out the clock in negotiations. They have the goal of agreeing to one or two debates.
Until the 1980s, candidates participated in numerous television and newspaper editorial board debates. Voters could look beyond the 30- or 60-second TV commercial sound bites to learn about real views and issues among the candidates.
Those candidates who refused to participate in these debates would be subject to critical newspaper editorials. They ended up losing any chance of newspaper endorsements and usually went down to defeat.
In the 1980s, a new Rose Garden Strategy emerged. Incumbents or officially designated candidates of both parties refused to debate lesser-known, under-funded opponents. They had no interest in providing a free forum for challengers to get their message directly out to voters. Too many newspapers and good government groups failed to speak up and shame these incumbents into participating in open forums and debates.
They don’t want to provide their respective unknown and under-financed opponents with free forums to explain their positions on issues of the day. These forums would afford under-financed and lesser-known candidates a chance to communicate their views on issues of the day to voters.
Why not participate in debates sponsored by each of NYC’s daily newspapers and television stations? Let us hope that enlightened newspapers such as The Jewish Press call for an end of incumbents’ use of the Rose Garden Strategy in future elections. Intelligent voters deserve frequent debates prior to the general election, as opposed to canned TV commercials.
If Hochul continues to refuse to participate in a series of debates with her Republican challenger Zeldin, she should be subject to critical newspaper editorials. Hochul should forfeit any chance of endorsements by media outlets.
Great Neck, N.Y.