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Opinion: Letters
The views in opinion pieces and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of The Jewish Standard. The comments posted on this Website are solely the opinions of the posters. Libelous or obscene comments will be removed.

Peace talks or building plans?

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Your editorial, “ A dangerous move on talks” (August 16) is based on a false premise. Your call for Israel’s government to decide between peace talks or building plans is incorrect. Building plans will not cause the ending of negotiations. They can only be used as an excuse to end them. You blame the wrong government. It is not the Israeli government that must decide between peace talks or building plans. It is the Palestinian Authority who must decide between peace talks or an excuse to end them. Remember when Netanyahu was forced to agree to a ten-month building freeze in order to get the P.A. to the table to talk peace? It took the P.A. nine months to find their seats and then end talks after month number ten.

The P.A. has friends in the White House and U.S. State Department who forced the freeing of the released terrorist prisoners by the Netanyahu government. They did not care about the families of those killed, only to build up Abbas’ standing in the eyes of his populace. The only exception was the report of the State Department objecting to the release of a terrorist who killed an Israeli with dual U.S. — Israeli citizenship. His killer was left on the list to be freed. It would have been costly for Netanyahu to publicly fight the terrorists’ release. It seems to be only Israel who must make the painful concessions. Why not concessions from the P.A. side? Just for Abbas to sit down to negotiate with the Israelis is not a concession.

Beginning with the Armistice Agreements ending the fighting in 1948-49, negotiations were to take pace between the warring parties, Arabs and Israelis. The resolutions ending the ‘67 War also called for negotiations between the fighting parties, not their surrogates.

Perhaps the Israelis should demand concessions of their own before they sit down with the P.A. They could start with the recognition of Israel as the Jewish state. They could move on to the demand that the P.A. end the demonization of Israel and Jews by their government. Israel also can demand that any Israelis currently living in areas that will be ceded to the new Palestinian Arab state be allowed to continue to do so on the land they own.

We are told that to accede to these concessions, Abbas would be signing his own death sentence. If he cannot agree to a peace agreement and live, how can one seriously expect any signed peace treaty to last? The choice is not between building and peace talks. It is just whether each state is willing to recognize and live in a lasting, secure peace with the other.


Howard J. Cohn
New Milford

Thank you – and remember!

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The Jewish Historical Society of North Jersey wishes to acknowledge and thank the Jewish Standard for publicizing the Society’s mission to the Jewish communities of North Jersey (“Help all of us remember,” August 16). The Standard, founded in Jersey City over 80 years ago, has been an important part of North Jersey’s Jewish heritage. The Society has microfilmed the first five years of the paper’s issues. Anyone wishing to contact the Society can do so by calling 862-257-1208 or emailing us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) Any Jewish records or memorabilia relative to the Jewish communities of North Jersey will be greatly appreciated. Please send them to us before they disappear


Jerry Nathans

President emeritus

Jewish Historical Society of North Jersey


Questioning the facts of He’Atid

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Had the writers of the letter (Yeshivat He’Atid Responds, August 16) simply stated their facts, I would have apologized.

Because I was personally accused of being “motzei shem ra,” I am obligated to respond to such an insult.

It just so happens that this past week’s Torah portion, Ki Tetze, is my bar mitzvah parshah; in includes the prohibition of “motzei shem ra,” which translates as slander. That accusation is very hurtful and uncalled for.

Anyone who knows me knows that slander is the furthest objective from my intentions.

Further, mentioning “Mr. Hochman” not once but six times in their reply further shows that the letter writers are making this discussion very personal.

I also must respond to the writers’ “facts.” To their #2 (“We absolutely do have both enrichment and a resource room”) — I received an unsolicited email from a parent: “The entire blended/differentiated learning model did not seem to be implemented in pre-K; In our experience, not only weren’t there resources for enrichment or remediation, they were unfamiliar with even the current industry standards for modifications in a regular classroom setting, calling it ‘special treatment’, which they were unable to address. This was also reflected in their grading system, in which behaviorally, students with remediation needs were graded as “not showing respect” for tefillah, teachers, etc. because they couldn’t sit still. Academically, gifted students were not recognized for abilities that exceeded grade-level expectations and they were not given additional exercises or guidance in such areas to build on their strengths beyond what was taught to the entire class”.

Re: their statement #3 (“To state that other schools are forced to take students we reject is motzei shem ra, pure and simple”): I never used the word “reject.”

Re: their statements # 4 and 5: The writers distort my point to make it easier to respond. I clearly meant they should have approached other schools with their insights and methods before opening a new school that would further tax community resources. Their response is that they invited other schools to learn from them after they opened the new school. The day schools I spoke with all have blended learning as part of their education curriculum.

The writers disregard the obvious intent of working to improve existing institutions, working together with professionals and lay leaders who have years of experience leading Jewish day schools, rather than creating an additional one.


William Hochman
Fair Lawn

Kingship is just human

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Rabbi Orenstein seems to be oblivious to the history of the Jewish people (D’var Torah, August 9). Has she forgotten that Samuel had to plead with God regarding a king for the children of Israel? There was no thought of Israel having a king in the time of Moses. As for God being our king, the idea of kingship is man’s, not God’s. God is our world’s creator, much greater than the concept of kingship.

We, according to our prophets, are not royal in nature, and God is the God of all human beings, not just the Jews. The only power we have is that given to us humans by God. All sources of power were and are given to us by God’s creation.

I would tell a child that the words of the Prophets are the key to a Jewish life.

God’s words, through his prophets, have greater import than the words of man in any of man’s written works in our lives and the lives of others. We relegate the haftorahs to a minor role in our prayer services, but their messages are of as great or greater importance and relevance than even reading the words of the Torah or the Talmud.


Shel Haas
Fort Lee

Eric Cantor’s deficits

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Once again Representative Eric Cantor shows he has no Jewish values. We are supposed to care about others. He is leading the fight to take food out of the mouths of the needy by cutting back on food stamp allotments. They already are limited.

I find him a constant embarrassment to the tribe.


Ilana Kantey
Fort Lee

Rethinking intermarriage again

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Please let me state my opposition to two articles in the August 9 paper.

First of all, the idea of intermarried clergy should have been nixed immediately by Rabbi Panken (“Aaron Panken chosen to head Reform seminary”). Rabbis, regardless of denomination, are supposed to stand for Jewish continuity. Even under the best circumstances, an intermarriage is a disruption of that continuity. Hence, an intermarried rabbi would be an oxymoron.

Secondly, the unqualified welcome to intermarrieds discussed in “Now what?” would be an absolute disaster. The traditional wing of the Conservative movement and Orthodoxy understand this, notwithstanding the comments that the article took out of context. To unconditionally welcome intermarrieds into the Jewish community would water down Jewish identity to the extent that it would become meaningless, as the non-Jewish spouse would bring his Christian or other non-Jewish heritage into the mix.

The far better approach is the partial open door, which would allow such couples to enter the Jewish community only when they adopt an exclusive Jewish identity. It may well be that most intermarrieds will leave the Jewish community but Jewish identity would remain intact.

This is the message of traditional Conservative and Orthodox Judaism.


Alan Mark Levin
Fair Lawn

Eleanor Roosevelt: A story of growth

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I always love reading Warren Boroson’s articles. His story, “Eleanor Roosevelt and the Jews” (July 26), provided great insight into Eleanor Roosevelt’s anti-Semitic sentiments. His column gave us a look at who Eleanor Roosevelt was, and it was a learning experience. I always admired Eleanor Roosevelt and was surprised by her disdain for the Jews. Her husband was most beloved by the Jews but we now know he didn’t do as much as he could have to save the Jews from the Nazis. It is difficult to estimate how many of the six million murdered Jews could possible have been saved had there been a determined Allied rescue campaign!

During her husband’s leadership during the Great Depression and World War II, when anti-Semitism was rampant throughout the United States, she did not support Jews and their causes. In retrospect, her actions were neither courageous or passionate.

However, Eleanor Roosevelt’s views of Jews changed over time. She learned by living and she became a wonderful humanitarian. She led women’s organizations and youth movements and fought for consumer welfare and civil rights. Under her leadership, the United Nations approved the U niversal Declaration of Human Rights.

I admire all the good she did and forgive her views of Jews, which she changed over time. As Boroson notes, she changed because of Kristallnacht, which “galvanized Mrs. Roosevelt into action.” Also, as noted, she changed because “she became close friends with some remarkable Jews, including Bernard Baruch and Elinor Morgenthau.” By her actions, she showed the Jewish concept of tikkun olam, or healing the world.


Grace Jacobs
Cliffside Park

Thank you to our soldiers

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Your lead editorial called “They also serve,” (August 8) was poignant and on point. Our military personnel and our diplomats, as well as those people who work for other agencies of our government, deserve our gratitude and our prayers.

As I reflect back from the perch of six weeks into retirement, I am grateful that I was inspired by the overseas assignments of two young men from our synagogue to add to our Temple Avodat Shalom worship a prayer for our soldiers and foreign service personnel, along with our prayers for Israel and America. I am equally proud that this addition continues to be recited by my successor, Rabbi Paul Jacobson.

As we approach the Days of Awe, may all of us remember with gratitude our fellow Americans who risk their lives for our right to live in freedom with security.


Rabbi Neal Borovitz

Rabbi emeritus, Temple Avodat Shalom

River Edge

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