Letters to the Editor 6/25/2010


Issue of June 25, 2010/ 13 Tammuz, 5770

The price of being naive

To the Editor:

As a 7-term Congresswoman, serving a district in which thousands of Jewish families reside, one would think Representative Carolyn McCarthy is aware of the political realities in the State of Israel. Yet, in clarifying her misplaced sympathy for terrorists killed by Israeli commandos aboard the Gaza flotilla, she seems surprised at “how quick[ly] the world looked to blame Israel.”

I’m surprised she’s never noticed that, regardless of facts and proof, Israel is denounced as the aggressor whenever she defends her borders and people.

Rep. McCarthy says that her understanding that Israel attempted to “resolve the situation peacefully, and in accordance with international law,” became clear only after “details emerged.”

It’s hard to fathom that this is the first time she’s realized that details ALWAYS emerge about Israel’s attempts to resolve matters peacefully, and, when driven to military solutions, Israel’s adherence to international law is always above and beyond requirements? Why did the benefit of the doubt go to the terrorists?

Being for the Gaza flotilla before she was against it doesn’t necessarily mean Rep. McCarthy is biased against Israel. It means that she is inexcusably naïve.

Howard J. Kopel

The writer is the Nassau County Legislator for District 7.

Not truly a friend of Israel

To the Editor:

Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy’s attempt to save face with her constituents with her most recent flotilla press release is “too little, too late.” She needs to show action, not talk.

McCarthy gives meaningless platitudes like “I fully support Israel and their right to keep its people safe.” These utterances mean nothing if they are not backed up with deeds.

Congresswoman McCarthy’s rather pathetic behavior can be contrasted with the robust advocacy of Congressman Peter King, who does not have a large identifiably Jewish constituency, and yet is leading a principled battle in support of Israel. Congressman King has introduced the America Stands with Israel Act (H.R. 5501) that, among other things, calls for the United States to withdraw from the U.N. Human Rights Council, which is run by some of the world’s most despotic regimes and whose reason for existence appears to be to censure Israel at every opportunity. The bill would also prohibit any U.S. taxpayer funding of a United Nations investigation of Israel.

If Congresswoman McCarthy is truly a friend of Israel, then she will support Peter King and the America Stands with Israel Act. If she does not, then her most recent press release merely insults our intelligence.

Jason Elias


Non-profits and politics

To the Editor:

I was surprised that while your editorial in the June 18, 2010 edition congratulated our new Mayor, Martin Oliner, and our newly elected Trustee, Simon Felder, it failed to mention my re-election to a fourth term as Trustee serving the residents of the Village of Lawrence (Editorial, June 18, 2010). As to the thrust of your editorial, in which you criticize the use of shul emails during this election to endorse/promote a specific candidate or candidates and go on to state that “...ultimately all were represented in the various emails and perhaps even in endorsements reportedly made from the pulpit,” I can say with certainty that there was no email from any shul that mentioned me as a candidate or urged support for me, nor would I have permitted that to happen, as this type of communication by a tax-exempt organization would be in violation of U.S. and State of New York laws. I agree with the editor that such emails are inappropriate and all candidates in the future should caution their supporters.

Edward I. Klar, Esq., CPA

Trustee, Village of Lawrence

Demands apology

To the Editor:

While it’s always good to hear the message that all incidences of childhood sexual abuse be reported directly to the police, I respectfully suggest Ohel is not the appropriate organization to be sending it. Sadly, Ohel’s history with this issue is troubling. For years they counseled unreported sexual predators and essentially institutionalized the practice of rabbinical cover-up of childhood sexual abuse with their ineffective “carrot and stick” approach. Many of these unreported pedophiles went on to abuse more innocent children. Ohel owes the Charedi community a public apology for the damage it caused and the decency to stay away from this issue.

Ben Hirsch


The writer is president of Survivors for Justice, an organization that advocates on behalf of victims of abuse within the charedi community.

Stopping the abuse

To the Editor:

Kudos to the Jewish Star for keeping the community up to date on developments in the war against child sexual abuse (“Call the cops”; June 25, 2010), and to Ohel for finally alerting parents to the necessity, no matter how painful or scary it can be for some, to report all abuse to the police.

Special recognition must be paid to Rabbi Moshe Weinberger, who placed himself in the heroic company of Rabbis Yitzchak Eisenman, Rabbi Nochem Rosenberg, and Rabbi Yakov Horowitz as the only charedi rabbis who have publicly supported telling parents to report abuse to the police. While the leading poskim of our generation, including Rav Elyashiv shlita, have ruled that it is a mitzvah to report, very few charedi rabbonim have been willing to show public support for people who keep the halacha of “Lo sa’amod al dam reyecha — Do not stand by idly the blood of your brother.”

I personally know of several recent cases where Gedolim including Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetzky, Rabbi Mattisyahu Salomon and Rabbi Yaakov Perlow have privately told individuals to report abuse to the police. A secret Torah Umesorah memo sent only to school principals (but not to parents), encouraging reporting these crimes, bears the signatures of many more Gedolim.

However, in communities like Baltimore, Lakewood, Brooklyn and Passaic, victims of abuse and their supporters continue to be ostracized and threatened when reporting to the police, and almost no rabbis will publicly back them. As reported in the NY Daily News, many Orthodox Jews still promote the idea that the police cannot be trusted as much as rabbis when it comes to stopping abuse.

Why the rabbis are not more public about utilizing law enforcement was explained by a spokesperson at Agudath Israel, who told the New York Times that it is important for the rabbis not to be viewed as ceding power to the authorities. The need to be seen as having superpowers in crime prevention appears to be somewhat grandiose — even Sherlock Holmes and Batman reached out to the police for help, as does the FBI.

Whatever the reason for their public silence, until the rabbinate can get their act together and stand up for the victims who want to do the right thing, they are allowing a grave injustice to take place, and creating unnecessary danger for children in our community, thereby transgressing “Lo Saamod Al Dam Reyecha” themselves.

Dr. Asher Lipner


Wrong Protest, wrong time

To the Editor:

The Satmar protesters were all upset about moving remains to enable the construction of an emergency room in a hospital (Opinion: Wrong day for a Satmar protest; June 11, 2010). All evidence points to the area as a cemetery from the pagan era. I was just wondering where all these people were when the people of Gush Katif were forced to remove the remains of Jewish people from their “eternal” resting place.

Gizella Elbaz