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    Speak Your Vues


    Dear Editor:

    EpiPens currently cost over $600. People with severe allergies face
    real challenges, but affordable access to lifesaving treatment tops
    the list.

    On Thursday, May 30, the NY Senate passed legislation (S3539)
    sponsored by Senator Rivera and co-sponsored by Senator Felder aimed
    at improving consumer access to more affordable generic epinephrine
    injectors (EpiPens).

    Epinephrine auto-injectors are lifesaving, hand-held devices, carried
    by those who have severe allergies to administer in the event of a
    severe allergic reaction. The bill empowers pharmacists to substitute
    a generic device at a lower cost to consenting patients without the
    additional hassle of replacing their prescription from already
    overburdened doctors. Doctors often prescribe the auto-injector using
    the brand name (EpiPen) that has become an eponym for the device, but
    owing to a cost in excess of $600, most insurance providers will not
    cover it. Compounding the issue, to ensure safety at home and school,
    a severely allergic child will need at least two of the devices, and
    whether used or not, they expire annually and must be replaced.

     “While the steep price of EpiPens climbs at an alarming pace, more
    affordable generics have emerged, but shockingly, they remain
    inaccessible to patients. By simply correcting this technicality we
    can improve access to this life-saving device,” said Senator Felder.

    New York law currently authorizes pharmacists to provide generic
    options to prescription medications. However, the epinephrine
    auto-injector is both a medicine and a device, leaving pharmacists and
    patients in a grey area. Patients have to cover the steep cost alone
    or take a risk for as long as it takes to replace the prescription.
    Patients and pharmacists report contending with the struggle

    A steadily increasing number of New Yorkers with severe allergies rely
    upon the devices to treat anaphylaxis. 15 million Americans, including
    1 in 13 children, are at risk of the potentially life-threatening
    condition. FAIR Health (a national, independent nonprofit) reported a
    377% rise in severe allergies from 2007 – 2016. Within seconds of
    exposure to an allergen, an anaphylactic reaction constricts breathing
    and requires an injection of epinephrine and emergency room follow-up.
    Especially for children, the condition can be fatal without immediate

    “Families shouldn’t be faced with this exorbitant expense and
    dangerous waste of time. This bill puts the choice for more affordable
    health options back in the hands of the patient and family, where it
    belongs,” said Senator Felder.

    Yossi H.

    Editor’s Note:  Great! Thank you for letting us know and if it saves
    one life it is worth it!


    Dear Editor:

    My husband and I are interested in going to Poland this summer to see
    Auschwitz, etc. I am trying to find a tour with a Torah Hashkafa and
    can’t find any such tours. Most  tours are only for single girls, etc.
    I was only able to find one Shomer Shabbos tour that only has 2 other
    people interested in such a tour. They need at least ten more people
    to sign up to or they will cancel the tour. Why aren’t there any frum
    tours? All the frum tour companies are going everywhere else but not
    to Poland.  Is it that people are only interested in having a good
    time on their vacation? What is going on? I know there used to be such
    frum tours to Poland but it seems they don’t go anymore. So what do we
    do? Should we go on a non- Shomer Shabbos tour that travels on
    Shabbos? Should we go ourselves without a tour?(which would be very
    difficult) Should we go on a custom tour with a private guide which is
    extremely expensive? These are my choices. It just seems there is no
    demand for such a trip. Enjoying ourselves on a vacation is great, but
    there is more to life than just pleasure. I am very frustrated that I
    can’t find a tour with a torah hashkafa.

    Shiffy B

    Editor’s Note: Your point is well taken. I hope with more people
    reading your letter you will be successful in putting together a group
    for your worthy vacation.


    Dear Editor:

    To clarify, I did not mean to say anything positive about De Blasio.
    The rigged election system produces bad mayors in general, so choosing
    which mayors are the best is like choosing your favorite type of
    insect infestation.

    Reb Yidel Schwartz

    Editor’s Note:  Phew! It is a good thing you clarified. For a minute I
    thought you were going to vote for him for President.


    Dear Editor:

    Are the sometimes-eligible, scanned pdf’s on HebrewBooks more holy to
    learn from than the texts on sefaria? Is learning from an actual sefer
    holier than both?

    Yaakov F

    Editor’s Note:  I would ask a Rov. I am sure they are all holy to some degree.


    Dear Editor:

    I am in need of a new Shas . There are b”H many to choose from.

    I am looking for a medium size shas, not giant volumes that are too
    difficult to lug around and are more for show than use, nor small ones
    that strain the eyes .

    There seem to be many “nice” print available Oz Vehadar, Shas Vilna
    Hachadash etc. Which do you recommend and why (my local seforim store
    is a bit skimpy on their selection and doesn’t carry much in stock).


    Boruch H

    Editor’s Note: Why don’t you search online as to what you like and
    then have your local Judaica store order it for you.


    Dear Editor:

    Self checkout is the term that means that you will be checking out
    your goods, at the store, by yourself (rather than have a cashier scan
    your items or “ring them up” and check you out).

    Do you think that self-checkout will take over completely like self
    serve gasoline did in every U.S. state besides NJ (AFAIK)?


    Berel J

    Editor’s note: Only time will tell.


    Dear Editor:

    We think we may be at the start of a bedbug infestation in our small
    attached house in Brooklyn (Midwood / Boro Park area). Two weeks ago I
    was bitten more than a dozen times one night. Nobody else got bitten
    for a week and a half, but then one of the kids got bitten several

    Not having any knowledge on how to treat this problem, or even how to
    determine if we really have a problem, I’ve been doing extensive
    Google research. Unfortunately, the results of my research are
    inconclusive and even contradictory.

    -Some recommend heat treatment and say that sprays and chemicals may
    be worse than useless since bedbugs will just find refuge from
    chemicals in walls.

    -Some recommend sprays and chemicals and say that heat treatment may
    be worse than useless since bedbugs will just find refuge from heat in

    -Some recommend hiring a bedbug-sniffing dog to see if you actually
    have them, while others say dogs miss finding the bugs and it costs
    about $600 for a false sense of security while the bedbugs
    proliferate. (This is well worth every penny if it’s accurate, but we
    don’t know if it is.)

    We called a company that is highly-rated on Google, but they came,
    charged $100 for checking, stripped two of our beds, didn’t find
    anything, then told us it would be $3,000 to treat the bedrooms.

    At this point we don’t know what to do. We realize that it will
    probably be expensive and a tremendous amount of work to solve our
    issue, but we’re not even sure which method to try and/or which
    exterminator to use.

    We’d greatly appreciate any helpful info from anyone who either had
    this problem themselves or knows someone who has, such as:
    -Did you use a dog to check for bedbugs? If so, were you satisfied
    with its accuracy? If you were happy, who did you use?
    -Which exterminator did you use? Which method did that exterminator
    use? Were you happy with the result?
    Did anybody successfully get rid of bedbugs on their own? If so, how?

    Any information is helpful and appreciated.

    Sori N

    Editors Note:  I hope your problem gets solved quickly! It’s been
    bugging me ever since I read your letter.


    Dear Editor:

    My siblings and I are planning my mother’s z”tzl unveiling, and have
    hit a huge brick wall when it comes to her family relationships. The
    easy ones are “beloved wife, mother, sister, grandmother…” then she
    was affectionately known by her great-grandchildren as Bubs.
    Some want that on there, others don’t think it is appropriate for the matzeva?

    Brachy U

    Editor’s Note: It would seem you should take a vote among the oldest
    survivors of the family.


    Dear Flatbush Neighbors,

    NO – this is not a fundraiser. I am not asking for money. I am writing
    this letter out of true sadness and perplexity over the recent Mikvah
    Yisroel campaign that is taking place.
    The mitzvah of Mikvah is not an easy one, to say the least.  It is a
    mitzvah that has been given to us women, and one that should be
    treated with the utmost respect – not from us women – but from the men
    of the community.  Do men not feel that their wives deserve a nice
    respectable and beautiful Mikvah?To be completely honest, I do not
    always use the Mikvah on Ave L (I use the Syrian one sometimes), but
    at the same time I recognize that this Mikvah certainly is the
    Ashkenazic Mikvah in Flatbush, and throughout my married life my
    husband and I have never donated any money to this Mikvah (outside of
    a usage fee).  When we first got married, we lived in an out of town
    community and the local Mikvah was the one institution that everyone
    understood was critical for each and every family to support.

    Two nights ago, my husband and I sat down and decided that this was
    one of the most integral institutions in our community, and we chose
    to support it to the best of our financial ability.  However, before I
    decided to write, I did a bit of research as to the need and why this
    renewal campaign is happening.  So allow me to share with you some

    The Mikvah (which was state of the art 25 years ago) is now in
    desperate need of an upgrade. It needs a new waterproofing system, to
    fix many years of water damage, new boilers, and new computer system
    just to name a few major costs.

    Aesthetically, the Mikvah is extremely outdated and many of the
    preparation rooms are beginning to fall apart due to the extensive
    wear and tear.

    The Mikvah still services between 1,800 and 2,000 tevilos per month.

    Although I do not have details, I was told that the “wealthy” members
    of the community already gave extremely generously to this project.

    Is this not reason enough?

    I took a look at the online campaign this morning (it has been going
    on for the last 48 hours), and I cannot believe that only about 215
    families thought this was important enough of a cause to donate to.
    Can the Flatbush community, with all the money we have been blessed
    with, only muster up a little over $100,000 for this campaign?  It is
    beyond embarrassing!!!!

    We spend so much money on our homes, cars, simchos, vacations, etc.
    and good for us.  We should!  I am not complaining at all about how
    much money we spend and on what we spend it on, but to see how little
    we care about this precious institution saddens me to no end.

    If the mitzvah of Mikvah was given to men, I have no doubt that the
    community would raise $5 million overnight and it would be the most
    spectacular, updated and modern facility possible.  The men of the
    community that have deleted the campaign e mail without donating
    should be ashamed of themselves, and should really take a moment and
    think about what their wives go through to perform this mitzvah and
    how little they value it.  The men spend millions of dollars a year on
    trip to kevarim all over the world, yet when it comes to their wives
    Mikvah, zero!

    In talking to my friends about this, I quickly began to realize that
    people who don’t want to give have every excuse in the world.  “I use
    the Syrian Mikvah”. “Who needs it to be nice?”. “The parking stinks”.
    If you want excuses, there are plenty out there.

    When you walk into the Mikvah now, there is wall of what looks like a
    thousand names of people that generously gave so the Mikvah could be
    built 25 years ago.  These are our parents (and in some cases
    grandparents), yet we either ignore it or give a small token donation.

    Think about the size, wealth and generosity (to every other
    organization) of our community.  Only 215 families chose to donate to
    this. Yes 215! Millions of dollars are given out each year on Purim to
    everything under the sun.  Yet for our own Mikvah, 215 families were
    able to give a little more than $100,000.

    As I’ve said, I’m saddened, perplexed and dismayed by the respect the
    men of our community have for their wives and for their taharas
    hamispacha. I guess this isn’t going to make a difference, but at the
    very least I had to vent about my disgust at our priorities.

    Name withheld upon request.

    Editors Note: I am speechless. I have not seen nor heard about this
    campaign. I believe that your premise that this is not a fundraiser is
    misleading though.


    Dear Editor:

    With Shavous coming up I would like to remind everyone who leaves
    their stoves on for three days to make sure they have proper
    ventilation so there should not be any gas leaks etc.

    Sadie N

    Editor’s Note: Thank you! We need this reminder every year.


    Dear Editor:

    Why is Israel wasting their money and having another election? It is a
    shame that they could not put together a Government. It is pathetic
    that the whole country will go through with another color war like in
    camp. It is time to ditch the British system.

    Yoram L

    Editors Note: I am not so knowledgeable in the British System but
    there was never a re-election right after an election so obviously
    Israel is doing something wrong.