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Tears and Smiles

I have enjoyed many wonderful articles in The Jewish Press recently, but I wish to make note of two columns that I found especially meaningful.

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The letter to Rachel Bluth’s “Life Chronicles” (August 22) was one of the most moving I have ever read. The emunah peshuta of the chassidish woman and her husband, childless for so many years, who lovingly raised a Down syndrome orphan as their own, was a magnificent testimony to the triumph of both the human spirit and Divine intervention. The article reduced me to tears several times, and was extolled by the many fortunate recipients to whom I forwarded it.

And I have just read the delightful “Real Jewish Unity” by Shmuel Sacket (Sept. 3, online edition). Unlike the aforementioned tear-jerker, it elicited smiles rather than tears, but like the previous article, it contained layers of deeper meaning as well. Whether regarding a chassidish couple struggling with infertility or a tattooed Israeli reciting Kiddush while wearing a napkin as a kippah, both these articles (and countless others) stir the emotions and penetrate the neshama.

Thank you for providing such insightful and worthwhile reading experiences to your readers.

Naomi Gross
Ramat Beit Shemesh, Israel

 

Shidduch Foundations

I’ve been reading your great columns on the Singles page for some time.

Several financial and social factors affect one who dates and why, such as agreeing on what area they should live in, which minhagim they should follow, and how their family feels about who they choose to date.

It is important to build a strong foundation while dating and a commitment to being open and honest in all aspects is important.

Once marriage begins, giving freely of time and money and love will build a stronger marriage as one spends month after month and year after year sharing a life and getting to know their spouse.

Just the act of a wife and husband going to shul or eating dinner together at home, going out for ice cream at the mall or taking long car rides to the beach and walking along the boardwalk builds a strong, religious home which is what everyone in Judaism wants.

Additionally, many poskim advise full disclosure from both sides to ensure there are no surprises after marriage. This includes employment history, level of religious observance, particularly on Shabbos, hashkafa and personal habits (such as, does the person have or watch television, etc.), and family and personal financial and historical background information.

If secrets are revealed later, trust between husband and wife can be ruined forever. Serious issues should be discussed by no later than the second date.

Things to consider for full disclosure include the following: Money and financial debts; smoking or other habits; illnesses or chronic conditions.

If these things are discussed in the beginning it builds trust; if not, it builds distrust. Withholding information and secrets during the dating process inhibit closeness and bring into doubt the possibility of marriage. Deception is a relationship killer that smashes a relationship into a pulp. Once the relationship breaks, it’s hard to repair.

Raquel Hanon
Via email

 

Taxpayers Shouldn’t Foot the Bill

Regarding “Remarks by President Biden Announcing Student Loan Debt Relief Plan” which appears in the “Health and Living Section” (Sept 2).

When I was twelve years old, my family relocated from Chicago to Los Angeles. We lived in the working-class Jewish neighborhood of “Beverly-Fairfax” and I eventually attended Fairfax High School. At the age of thirteen, while still in junior high, my father passed away and my mother had to go to work. Although my grades in high school were pretty good, after graduation I chose to attend Los Angeles City College, our local junior college whose tuition was a fraction of what the universities charged. Every academic course I took at City College yielded full credit at our State College and University of California systems.

After completing my two years at junior college, I applied to California State College as a junior, rather than the University of California since the tuition at State College was also substantially lower.

Four years after graduating from high school, I earned my Bachelor’s degree from California State College. My friends who had attended UCLA or any Ivy League university also earned their BA degrees at the same time I did, and all our degrees were equally accredited. The only difference was that I paid much less tuition than they.

I graduated college with zero debt and I hope that my taxpayer money does not have to repay the debts of any “deadbeats.”

It says in Pirkei Avos: “Who is rich? He who is content with what he has.” When we moved to Los Angeles, we did not live in Beverly Hills because it was out of our price range. We did not demand to live in Beverly Hills and have the taxpayer’s money pay our rent. I find the idea of student-loan forgiveness equally absurd. These loans are not forgiven, they are just paid by us, the taxpayers.

Pesach-Yonah Malevitz
Miami Beach, Fla.

 

Don’t Grab Defeat From the Jaws of Victory

Your editorial of September 2 correctly stated, “We believe in a state of Israel which includes Judea and Samaria, with a united Jerusalem as its capital.”

The haftarah for Shoftim speaks of an Israel redeemed from exile with a mission to be a light unto the nations as we extend Hashem’s salvation to the world.

In 1948, the fledgling Jewish State had a ragtag army of indigenous Jews, Holocaust survivors, refugees and volunteers, speaking tens of languages, mostly ill-trained and ill-equipped. The Air Force consisted of a few light planes and smuggled World War II fighters, with a pilot force of mostly international volunteers.

Yet G-d performed miracles and brought us victory in all our wars of survival, liberating more and more of the Holy Land, Judea and Samaria, the heartland of biblical Israel as well as the deserts of the south to the mountains of the north.

It’s inconceivable that any Jew should even contemplate giving away the gifts which Hashem has blessed us with. Yet there are those who seek to “grab defeat from the jaws of victory.” There are those who fail to recognize both G-d’s hand and the Jewish mission in this world.

Also inconceivable are those readers of The Jewish Press who still think that voting for Biden or any other Democrat is still an option. The Democratic Party has abandoned G-d and has abandoned love of America and its Judea-Christian heritage of free speech and equal protection under the law. Is there even one Democratic in public office who will acknowledge that the Holy Land belongs to the Jewish Nation because G-d gave this land to the Jews? The overwhelming majority of Republican office holders have no problem supporting a Jewish state steeped in Jewish values, shining its light of freedom and justice for all the nations to see and grasp. By contrast, the values of the Democratic Party increasingly reflect a communist ideology of atheism, immorality, and shameless hypocrisy.

David Ferster
Great Neck, NY

 

Responding To Caregiver

In Letters to the Editor (Aug. 26), “A Caregiver Speaks Out,” the writer, a caregiver himself for 12 years for his 95-year-old mother living in Whitestone, Queens, complained about “the lack of awareness, apathy and indifference” that plague the Jewish community concerning particularly his apparent lack of community support.

He stated that they are only a 15-minute drive from Kew Gardens, a vibrant large frum community, certainly one that supports the elderly.

There are probably day programs if she is up to it. Although moving the elderly to another location is difficult, perhaps he can move with her to the more major center for better care.

To cast the aspersion of “indifference” upon the community is not justified. Practically every family has their difficult situations and cannot be expected to resolve issues, such as eldercare, if they are not trained in this field. There are many singles, divorcees, widows and widowers in communities that beg a modicum of attention and are nevertheless left as social outcasts. Communities are stretched to their limited resources to resolve these issues, including eldercare.

The situation may be similar to two communities: one with exactly ten men for a minyan – everyone is responsible to be present on time. A second with eleven, when one or two or more do not show up, and they pass the responsibility away from themselves. Large communities face the same situation, in which one member assumes that the other is taking care of another in need.

Certainly, each of us is responsible for our brethren’s well-being and must try to help when possible.

As Rabbi Weiss’s informative articles on caregivers suggests, it is a sensitive issue that requires professionals for the optimum attention, with as much support from family and friends and community according to their sensitivities and abilities.

G-d willing, the writer will find a reasonable solution.

Rabbi Chaim Tzvi Tanny
Montreal, Canada

 

The Trump Card President

It’s been obvious for years that while Democrats claim to fear and loathe Donald Trump, they really can’t live without him. They need him around, they want him around, because they think he’s their ticket to remain in power.

Any doubt about that proposition vanished with President Biden’s Thursday night speech that had a single political purpose: Elevating Trump to the center of the fall campaign. Forget all the high-minded talk about saving democracy, which is hardly in danger in a midterm election in which Trump isn’t even on the ballot. Democrats want to pretend the former president is on the ballot to campaign against as the great Democratic foil.

The strategy is especially helpful for Biden, whose main (and perhaps only) utility to Democrats is as the man who defeated Trump. Without Trump to kick around, the unpopular 79-year-old president will likely be nudged, or perhaps elbowed, aside by younger Democrats in 2024. But if Trump runs again, Biden has a raison d’etre.

That’s why Biden has so pointedly goaded Trump and his followers with the “MAGA Republican” label. His escalating rhetoric is intended to smear the GOP as under Trump’s sway as “semi-fascist.” If voters believe the stakes in November are the future of democracy, the autumn debate will shift from inflation, rising crime and woke ideology. More Democrats might vote, and the party might hold Congress.

All of this is deeply cynical and divisive. It contradicts Biden’s pledge, during the 2020 campaign and in his inaugural address, that he would unite the country. He repeated that claim of “unity” on Thursday but by now it is a throwaway line.

His strategy is to out-Trump Trump by polarizing the electorate around the former president because he thinks a majority will come his way. Even as we write this, his own party is running ads in New Hampshire to support the most MAGA Republican in the GOP Senate primary. A group allied with Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell is supporting the other main GOP candidate.

In his broadside, Biden is maligning half the country and the 70 million Americans who voted for Trump. He includes a line that “not every Republican, not even the majority of Republicans” are MAGA, but that too is a token gesture. He quickly moves on to say that “there is no question that the Republican Party today is dominated, driven, and intimidated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans and that is a threat to this country.”

Yet the people who really saved American democracy after the 2020 election and on Jan. 6 were Republicans:

It’s possible this will work for Democrats in November, especially if Trump keeps taking Biden’s bait. Trump did precisely that on Thursday night with a typically ad hominem rant in response to the speech, which is exactly what Democrats want.

But we wonder if the voters will be as gullible. They’ve been able to observe over the 20 months of the Biden presidency that Democrats have their own authoritarian temptations and have acted on them when they can.

Biden forgives half-a-trillion dollars in student debt without the assent of Congress. White House aides collude with tech platforms to silence dissenting voices on Covid. His regulators stretch the law beyond previous understanding to impose more control over the private economy. And that’s before they get the votes to break the Senate filibuster, add new U.S. states, override 50 state voting laws, and pack the Supreme Court.

Biden has become his foe’s polarizing mirror image. It is exactly what he promised as a candidate he wouldn’t do.

Brian Goldenfeld
Oak Park, Calif.

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