31 Dec Speak Your Vues
My heart shudders at the thought of what must have gone through the
mind of the person who perpetrated the monsey stabbings. Of course we
will find out in the near future that the criminal had mental issues.
Yes, a person does not sin unless he has mental issues. Ein Adam
chotei ela im nichnas bo ruach shtus. His mental issues cannot
mitigate any punishment as he drove a car and fled the scene. In the
court system today we are quick to excuse and not punish mentally ill
criminals. I believe the times should change if you are smart enough
to drive a car and flee a scene you are mentally capable to face your
Editor’s Note: The only illness the guy had was an illness called anti-Semitism!
I am a mispallel in R’ Rottenbergs Shul and live around the corner. We
were at a family Chanukah chaggiga at my sister-in-law down the block
from our house when this all occurred. Clearly this was a shocking
event and we all have been hit with a tremendous sense of
vulnerability. Of course we all know we are in golus, yet we live our
lives and unfortunately don’t always live like we are not living the
What I personally am feeling right now is that this country – and in
fact many others as well – are suffering from the exact ill that got
K’lal Yisroel into this long lasting golus. It is no longer
unacceptable to openly express hatred – the left to the right and then
back in the other direction. No longer is there even an attempt to
work things out, even if they weren’t all that sincere. If in the
“highest” levels of our society it is acceptable to hate, how can we
expect it not to become the norm.
Governor Cuomo spoke on Sunday morning about the “body politic” having
a cancer, but just last week he refused to allow federal judges to
conduct marriages in New York because they were Trump appointees! How
can he honestly say he will combat hate, when he is equally hateful?
Even a small expression like this furthers the hatred that has become
the norm of society.
Editor’s Note: A Liberal is the most intolerant person. It is his way
or the highway!
In light of the several events that took place in recent weeks,
including a shooting attack that killed 4 and last night’s stabbing
spree, is it time our communities step up our approach to self
Rashi in Parshas Vayishlach tells us that Yaakov Avinu prepared for
his fight with Esav in three ways; he davened, he sent gifts and he
made battle plans. This lesson is meant to be taught for all
generations, and it’s especially prevalent today.
Davening – we should all be davening more and everyone already sends
their “thoughts and prayers” after every anti-Semitic incident.
Gifts – I don’t know about specific gifts we give but Klal Yisroel is
always giving back to our hosting countries. We have a low crime rate
and we are model citizens. We have good relationships with our
neighbors and with many of the elected officials in whatever city we
All this is not enough. We are still hated and we are still targets.
It’s time for part three – strategy.
I think self-defense initiatives should be made in all shuls, schools
and community centers. We need to train people to be able to fight
back if the time comes. Shuls should have safety plans in place for
unforeseen situations. Security guards should be made available
We are a peace loving Nation. In our long golus we have never taken up
arms to attack anyone and this will always continue to be the case.
There is nothing we want more than live in peace. At the same time we
need to be able to defend ourselves from those who seek to destroy us.
What are the thoughts of other Jewish Vues readers?
Troubled by the Times
Editor’s Note: Having guns can be a double-edged sword. If we have one
accident it is all not worth it.
CHANGE THE PARTY
As a new “liberal/progressive” REPUBLICAN, I believe that the national
Party must change and evolve in fundamental ways if it is to be at all
competitive with the national Democratic Party in the years beginning
in 2042-2044 when over 50% of the USA will be “non-white.” Here are my
recommendations: The national Republican Party needs to appeal more to
groups that it has little appeal to now, and it needs to care a lot
more about these groups than it does now especially at the national
level. I will fight for the national Party to do a lot more to help
the lowerand middle classes, the poor, the near-poor, and senior
citizens. I will fight for the national Republican Party to be AGAINST
making cuts to federal government social programs including Social
Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, College Student Loans, and
Unemployment Insurance Benefits. I will fight for the Party to stand
strongly against white-nationalism/supremacy and sexism. I will fight
for the national Republican Party to stand strongly in favor of the
total equality of women including being in favor of equal pay for
equal work for women as well as being in favor of heavily-fining and
imprisoning predators who commit harassment and all other forms of
abuse and assault. Lastly, I will fight for the passage of a federal
government national health insurance program/plan that is the same one
that Ontario, Canada has, but not the far too expensive and fiscally
irresponsible “Medicare-For-All.” Please join me in trying to make the
national Republican Party more HUMANE, COMPASSIONATE, and CARING.
Stewart B. E
Editor’s Note: Talk is cheap. I don’t see any change in the street.
IS IT BAKOVODIK?
I noticed that the last two weeks you had on your front cover an ad
from China Glatt in Boro Park in which a piece of sushi is put into a
menorah. How can you allow such a thing in your beautiful, heimishe
Rabbi B H
Editor’s Note: What? You don’t like Sushi in oil?
TONS OF PIZZA STORES
Do we really need another pizza store on Ave M? You can go to a
different pizza store every day of the week on Ave M and not cover
Editor’s Note: If it brings down prices I am all for it. Food is very
expensive these days.
Why didnt the Agudah advertise the Siyum Daf Yomi in the most popular
Jewish publication in Brooklyn? Do they have something against the Jewish Vues?
Editor’s Note: I don’t know. Why don’t you write to Agudah and ask them?
LOVE THE PAPER
I just wanted to tell you how much we loved the Jewish Vues Chanukah
edition. We loved the Country Yossi interview, we loved the divrei
Torah, we loved the recipes and my family looks forward to the fun
question every week. Keep up the good work!!
Editor’s Note: Why thank you. We look forward every week to bring you
the best reading material out there.
ALL DAF APP
I recently downloaded the new OU All Daf app because I read the
article in the Jewish Vues article and I just want to tell you that
this app is really a game changer. I’m enjoying the Daf so much more.
Thanks for the great article on the All Daf!
Editor’s Note: It is still not even complete. Just wait for the
finished product and then you will see greatness.
WOW! WOW! WOW! What an awesome Siyum Daf Yomi edition you had last
week. You had great interviews. I especially liked the interview with
Rabbi Rosner & Rabbi MM Weiss. They are such big TalmIdei Chachamim.
Editor’s Note: We always strive to get the best interviews etc.
It is unfortunate that proposed legislation that enjoyed broad,
bipartisan support fell victim to the hyper partisan climate of
Washington. Now enacted by a presidential executive order, and signed
at a White House Hanukkah party in the presence of mostly Republican
friends and supporters, what had been known as the Anti-Semitism
Awareness Act will make an important but modest contribution to
addressing the problem of anti-Semitism on the nation’s college
This executive order calls upon the U.S. Department of Education to
take into consideration the International Holocaust Remembrance
Alliance (IHRA) working definition of anti-Semitism when determining
if Jewish students are facing hostility or discrimination. Under Title
VI of the U.S. Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination on the
basis of race, color or national origin by recipients of federal
funds, the Department of Education has the authority and
responsibility to take steps, including the withholding of federal
funds, if the schools do not address these problems.
Because Title VI does not bar discrimination on the basis of religion
(as many colleges are themselves religiously based), it has been
determined that Jews (and Muslims and Sikhs, for example) are covered
by identifying them as having shared ethnic characteristics. This is
referenced in the executive order. It is not, as some critics have
charged, some new step by the Trump administration to redefine Judaism
as a nationality rather than a religion. It merely restates what has
already been the standard practice since the Obama administration.
Without it, Title VI wouldn’t be able to address anti-Semitism in any
Still, if the Department of Education is to examine and evaluate the
presence of anti-Semitism on a college campus, it ought to know what
it is. Anti-Semitism can appear in various forms — as hatred and
discrimination against Jews, through stereotypes and conspiracy
theories, as Holocaust denial and, more recently and most
controversially, in ways relating to the State of Israel. Hence, the
recommendation to “consider” using the IHRA definition, which offers
clear examples of all these forms.
I was part of a small team of experts and advocates that worked 15
years ago with the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and
Xenophobia, or EUMC, to draft and employ the definition. At the time,
when anti-Semitic incidents surged throughout Western Europe, the EUMC
monitors themselves had no clear or common definition of
anti-Semitism. The definition was developed to help governments
understand the nature of the problem so they would be better able to
Much attention then and today has focused on examples in the
definition relating to Israel. There have been situations in Europe
where Jews are held responsible and even physically targeted for the
perceived misdeeds of Israel. We also have seen examples where someone
merely substitutes “Zionist” for “Jew” and thereby claims the most
obvious of anti-Semitic statements is a form of acceptable “political”
speech. There is general agreement that these are forms of
anti-Semitism and should be condemned.
More difficult may be the accusations directed at the State of Israel
itself — calling it a racist state, drawing analogies to the Nazis or
holding it to unfair double standards. These are largely rhetorical,
which lead critics of the working definition and the executive order
to claim they will stifle free speech on campus.
They may. Even the most useful tools can be misused, and guarding
against it will be imperative.
There is no clearly defined line where all might know that extreme
animus toward Israel has become more than criticism and instead is now
a form of anti-Semitism. But it happens. Take the example of British
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, whose extreme anti-Zionism is understood
by the vast majority of British Jews — and many non-Jews — to be only
a thinly disguised form of anti-Semitism.
In America, free speech and hate speech are not mutually exclusive.
Racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic speech may be protected by the
First Amendment, but they have consequences. In particular, and within
the narrowly defined contours of Title VI, the presence of hate speech
can contribute to a hostile climate or a pattern of discrimination
against any protected minority group. It’s not proof in and of itself,
but it must be considered. Thus, a comprehensive definition of
anti-Semitism can be a useful tool in determining if and when an
extreme anti-Israel environment on campus undermines the security and
well-being of Jewish students.
Of course, there are serious and lethal threats from other sources, as
seen in attacks on our nation’s synagogues and in a kosher market.
Critics of the president’s executive order have rightly noted that it
does nothing to address this problem. But, however flawed the
messenger may be, we should be clear-eyed and objective when
evaluating the message. While many of us may have preferred
congressional legislation to an executive order, the results are the
RABBI ANDREW B
Editor’s Note: Amazing! We are lucky that we have a President who
tries to fight Anti-Semitism.