13 Jul SPEAK YOUR VUES WITH THE VUES MASTER
Please note that the author of Speak Your Vues is in no way affiliated with the publisher of
this paper. The author of this column is an independent third party contributor. The views and
opinions expressed by this author may not reflect the views and opinions of the publishers. If
one has any issues with any of the views, please write a letter to the Vues Master.
PRICE OF GAS
Dear Vues Master:
Isn’t it crazy that gas costs more this summer than it
ever did & there is more traffic on the roads than ever
before? You would think that if everything costs that
much more that there would be less people on the
roads. Congestion on the roads is crazy this summer.
Vues Master’s Note:Last Sunday night it took me
over 4 hours to get back to Brooklyn after visiting
day, and it cost me over $100 in gas, so I hear ya!!
TICKETING UPSTATE THIS SUMMER
Dear Vues Master:
I find it quite amusing that some are complaining
about being or fear being ticketed. To those certain
segments of the frum community who are accustomed
to shmearing their way through the laws in
the City, it comes as a shock to them that Upstate
New York still enforces parking and speeding laws.
Vues Master’s Note: I have no idea what you are
talking about. Who shmears their way through the
law? We need to remember to constantly make a Kiddush
Hashem when we are driving, even if traffic enforcers
are giving tons of tickets this year. Remember
they are just doing their job!
NO UMAN THIS YEAR FOR ROSH
Dear Vues Master:
This past weekend, it was announced that the
Ukraine will not allow visitors to go this year to
Uman for Rosh Hashana. What are all the husbands
that leave their wives every year going to do? With
all seriousness, there are tens of thousands of people
that go every year to visit Rebbie Nachmans grave
and daven there on Rosh Hashana. What are people
going to do this year?
Vues Master’s Note: With the war in Ukraine &
Russia still going on, we all knew this was going to
happen. It still is a big blow. I’m sure there will be
people that will still try to go.
SHOOTINGS IN NEW YORK
Dear Vues Master:
A lot of people are getting shot in New York these
days. Is there anything that can be done? We are living
in a scary world.
Vues Master’s Note: Talk to your mayor & to all the
great politicians out there!
R’ ELI STEFANSKY INTERVIEW
Dear Vues Master:
Ari Hirsch’s interview on R’ Eli Stefansky last week
was fantastic. What R’ Eli is doing in the world of
daf yomi is unbelievable. I can’t believe he doesn’t
even have smicha. I went last week to New Jersey for
the siyum with 1,500 other people & I never experienced
anything like that in my entire life. All different
types of people came. Modern, Yeshivish, Chassidim.
Beri Weber was great also! It was so beautiful.
We love the Country Vues. Please keep up the great
Vues Master’s Note:I was told last week that between
all the different platforms R’ Eli gives the daf everyday
to over 10,000 people. That is unbelievable! Ari
Hirsch put a lot of work into that article & I’m sure
appreciates your compliment.
PARENTS OF MALKI ROTH MEETING
THE PRESIDENT IN ISRAEL
Dear Vues Master:
The family of an Israel-American girl killed in a
2001 Palestinian suicide bombing in Jerusalem is
seeking a meeting with President Joe Biden in hopes
of forcing Jordan to extradite a woman convicted in
the deadly attack. The parents of Malki Roth turned
to Biden this past Sunday asking to meet with him
when he comes to Jerusalem this week. They want
the president to put pressure on Jordan, a close
American ally, to send Ahlam Tamimi to the U.S. for
trial. Do you really think Biden would do anything to
help this family? I know the family has to try, but the
chances of him doing something is very slim. He’s
Vues Master’s Note: Don’t expect anything from
Biden. There is a reason swhy he has the lowest approval
ratings of any president.
PLAYERS IN THE OBBL
Dear Vues Master:
I’ve been playing baseball on Sundays in the OBBL upstate for over 20 years & I don’t understand why the next generation is not playing. I’ve made so many friends & it’s a great workout. I really hope we get new ballplayers soon otherwise the league is going to fall apart.
Vues Master’s Note: It’s really a shame. I remember watching my father play every Sunday. The entire family would route him on & we all loved it. Kids these days are a lot more lazy. They like to play on their phones & play video games. If they play a sport, it’s usually basketball, not baseball.
BIDEN GOING TO ISRAEL
Dear Vues Master:
I wish President Biden didn’t go to Israel this week. I think it’s a big mistake.
Here are my reasons.
1. The Israeli government is in transition. There’s a reason U.S. presidents generally refrain from visiting or hosting Israeli prime ministers in election mode. Israelis head to the polls on November 1 for the fifth election in three years. Caretaker Prime Minister Yair Lapid is not in a position to embark on major diplomatic initiatives or policy changes.
2. Fears of Palestinian terror disrupting the visit.
3. Biden will visit eastern Jerusalem and not the Kotel.
4. Shireen Abu Akleh’s death is still raw. Palestinians are still outraged that U.S. investigators let Israel “off the hook” for the death of the Palestinian-American Al Jazeera journalist.
5. The Israel-Saudi thaw will happen without Biden’s visit anyway.
Vues Master’s Note: The fact that he’s giving Abbas & the Palestinians so much money gets me sick. Let him stay in America & work on the problems we have here.
GIVING MUSSAR CORRECTLY
Dear Vues Master:
Some people, when they are asked why they don’t do a certain Halacha (hat and jacket, washing on pizza or dipping foods), they say: “It’s not my minhag, stop bothering me,” or maybe “it’s not your business.” There is a posuk of Hoche’ach toche’ach Es Amisecha. How do I know when to tell someone a halacha or not? the Chofetz chaim talks about the importance of that posuk, but it sounds like everybody wants to do it when told they are doing it wrong…. what to do?
Vues Master’s Note: I would suggest speaking to your Local Rov.
WHEN THE IRS TARGETED JEWISH ACTIVISTS
Dear Vues Master:
The allegation that then-President Donald Trump may have used the Internal Revenue Service against two of his high-profile opponents has sparked much debate. For the American Jewish community, it’s a reminder of a disturbing episode that took place during the Holocaust era. The Jewish target of U.S. government wrath in the 1940s was the Bergson Group, a political action committee led by Peter Bergson (Hillel Kook), a Zionist emissary from Palestine. The group used newspaper advertisements, rallies, and lobbying to press the Roosevelt administration to rescue Jews from the Nazis. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was unhappy—to put it mildly—about those protests. One senior White House aide reported that FDR was “much displeased” when the Bergson Group brought 400 rabbis to Washington to plead for rescue. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt told Bergson himself that the president was “very upset” about one of the group’s newspaper ads, which FDR felt was “hitting below the belt” because it accused him of turning a blind eye to the Nazi massacres. The State Department, too, was annoyed by Bergson’s campaign for rescue. Assistant Secretary of State Breckinridge Long privately complained that the group’s newspaper ads “made it very difficult for the Department.” Long’s deputy, Robert Alexander, absurdly claimed that the slogan used in one Bergson ad, “Action–Not Pity,” had actually been invented by the Nazis as part of a conspiracy to embarrass the Allies. Beginning in 1942, the Roosevelt administration sent both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service after Bergson. They were looking for evidence of criminal activity, but their motivation was political. An internal FBI memo that I obtained under the Freedom of Information Act bluntly explained the reason for U.S. government action against Bergson: “This man has been in the hair of [Secretary of State] Cordell Hull.” FBI agents gathered background information from what they called “persons in New York City who are familiar with Israelite matters.” They also eavesdropped on the Bergsonites’ telephone conversations, opened their mail, went through their trash, and planted informants in the group to steal documents from Bergson’s office. The FBI hoped to find proof the Bergson Group was secretly assisting the Irgun Zvai Leumi, the underground militia in Palestine that was headed by Menachem Begin. They found no such evidence. The authorities’ second goal was to find a link between Bergson and the Communist Party. One FBI memo approvingly quoted a rival Jewish organization’s description of the Bergsonites as “a group of thoroughly disreputable Communist Zionists.” In a private letter, FBI director J. Edgar Hoover referred to the playwright Ben Hecht and six other leading Bergson activists as “fellow travelers.” But the FBI’s spying on Bergson did not turn up any evidence of a Communist link, either. At the same time, the IRS launched a full-scale inquiry into the Bergson Group’s finances, seeking to revoke its tax-exempt status. For nearly a year, IRS agents repeatedly visited the group’s New York City headquarters, once for a stretch where they stayed from morning until night for more than two weeks. Louis and Jack Yampolsky, a father-and-son accounting team that handled Bergson’s finances pro bono, had to dig out and reconcile every piece of financial information in the group’s records. “There were no photocopy machines in those days, so we had to hand-copy every disbursement and every receipt that was given for every donation,” Jack Yampolsky told me in an interview some years ago. “And because the Bergson Group had enormous grassroots appeal, it received literally thousands of one-dollar or two-dollar donations from people all over the country.” In the end, the IRS investigators were unable to find evidence of any wrongdoing. In fact, as the IRS team became familiar with the group’s work, they came to sympathize with it, and “when they finished, [they] made a contribution between them–every one of them gave a few dollars,” Bergson later told Prof. David S. Wyman. The sympathy expressed by the IRS agents contrasted sharply with the sentiments expressed in some of the FBI documents which I obtained. One FBI report about Bergson activist Maurice Rosenblatt derisively referred to the leftwing Coordinating Committee for Democratic Action, in which Rosenblatt was active, as “this Semitic Committee.” The FBI memo complained that Rosenblatt and his colleagues were trying to “smear” Nazi sympathizers in New York City. “When there is a genuine threat, governments sometimes have to do things like eavesdrop,” Jack Yampolsky conceded. “But in our case, they were doing it for political reasons, and antisemitism also played a role. The fact that we vocally disagreed with U.S. government policy regarding the Holocaust and Jewish statehood was not a valid reason for the Roosevelt administration to enlist the FBI and the IRS in a war against the Bergson group.”
Dr. Rafael Medoff
Vues Master’s Note: As we say at the Pesach seder, “in every generation, there will always be antisemitism.”
BEN & JERRY’S
Dear Vues Master:
Don’t Listen to the Naysayers -Ben and Jerry’s Settlement is a Victory. The Jewish people spent two thousand years pining to return to their land. While they might not have used a term coined hundreds of years later, Zionism, the Jewish people’s desire to return to Eretz Yisrael is consistent with the values of the modern political movement called Zionism. The intimate connection the Jewish people share with their historic homeland is more than just a feeling, it is a historic fact and provides legal standing for the Jewish people’s claim to their land. When opponents deny the Jewish people’s connection to the land of Israel, they reject historic fact. After last year’s operation between Gaza terrorist group Hamas and Israel, Vermont based Ice Cream company Ben and Jerry’s announced it would no longer allow its ice cream to be sold in Judea and Samaria, the area the world calls the “West Bank.” Their announcement created a large controversy that saw American states divest its investments from Ben and Jerry’s parent company, Unilever. Many American states have laws against allowing state funds to be invested in companies that boycott Israel as part of the anti-Israel BDS movement. In July 2019, The American House of Representatives passed a resolution against the Boycott, Sanction and Divest movement (BDS). It stated that BDS, “Targets Israel and is a campaign that seeks to exclude the State of Israel and the Israeli people from the economic, cultural, and academic life of the rest of the world; demands concessions of one party alone and encourages the Palestinians to reject negotiations in favor of international pressure; and the founder of the Global BDS Movement, Omar Barghouti, has denied the right of the Jewish people in their homeland, saying, ‘We oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine. No Palestinian, rational Palestinian, not a sell-out Palestinian, will ever accept a Jewish state in Palestine.’ The global BDS movement targets not only the Israeli government but also Israeli academic, cultural, and civil society institutions, as well as individual Israeli citizens of all political persuasions, religions, and ethnicities, and in some cases even Jews of other nationalities who support Israel; and it does not recognize, and many of its supporters explicitly deny, the right of the Jewish people to national self-determination; The House of Representatives opposes the global boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement targeting Israel.” Besides the American objection to BDS, there is a perception that BDS’s refusal to recognize the Jewish people’s connection to the land of Israel and to recognize the right of the Jewish people to national self-determination, to be antisemitic in nature. Ben and Jerry’s refusal to sell ice cream in Judea and Samaria was perceived by many as antisemitic. Multiple lawsuits were filed against Unilever and Zionists around the world stopped eating Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. In Israel, where the Ben and Jerry’s distributer refused to comply with the boycott against Israel, Israelis doubled down and bought Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. Israeli towns held Ben and Jerry’s ice cream parties to object to the Ben and Jerry’s opposition to their existence. This week Unilever announced it was overriding Ben and Jerry’s boycott and had come to an agreement with Ben and Jerry’s Israel distributor. Unilever sold its Ben & Jerry’s holding in Israel to Avi Zinger, the Israeli manufacturer and distributor of Ben and Jerry’s. Zinger and his company also bought the exclusive rights to the Ben & Jerry’s logo in Hebrew and Arabic. Ben and Jerry’s responded by tweeting, “While our parent company has taken this decision, we do not agree with it. Our company will no longer profit from Ben & Jerry’s in Israel. We continue to believe it is inconsistent with Ben & Jerry’s values for our ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.” While most of the Zionist community saw the Unilever reversal as a significant victory for Israel and the forces that counter the BDS movement, there were some naysayers who focused more on the Ben and Jerry’s announcement and understood the boycott as continuing. They argued that without Ben and Jerry’s reversing their decision – as opposed to being overridden by their parent company – the boycott’s purpose is still being achieved. I disagree with this negative position. I see Unilever’s reversal as a major victory for Zionists. In its letter explaining its decision to override Ben and Jerry’s boycott, Unilever CEO Alan Jope wrote, “I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate how proud we are of our business in Israel, which remains an important market for us. I would also like to make it exceptionally clear that Unilever rejects completely and repudiates unequivocally any form of discrimination or intolerance. Antisemitism has no place in any society. We have never expressed any support for the BDS movement and have no intention of changing that position.” Jope’s letter demonstrates that in the face of an antisemitic attack on the Jewish right to Israel, rational positions prevailed. When the “children” (Ben and Jerry’s) took immature positions, the “adults” (Unilever) stepped in and corrected the mistake. Zionism, the movement that stands for the Jewish right to self-determination on the Jewish people’s historic homeland, is a just movement and isn’t dependent on other people’s approval. At the same time, it’s important to make sure Israeli companies and individuals aren’t hurt by those who practice economic warfare using discriminatory measures against Israeli companies simply because they are Zionists. The Israeli ice cream consumer should celebrate this week with a pint of their favorite flavor and recognize they can eat delicious ice cream knowing that antisemites aren’t getting a Shekel from Zionists. I can’t imagine a better win-win scenario.
Vues Master’s Note: Is Ben & Jerrys ice cream really that good? We all know Ben & Jerry themselves are self hating Jews. So why patronize them? I don’t understand why people can’t just ignore them & buy products from hundreds of other ice cream companies in the world. There are plenty of companies that make delicious ice cream.
BAD REVIEWS AND THEIR
Dear Vues Master:
Here’s a synopsis of “Going Off My Derech” by Rabbi Ari Wasserman: Many of the private sellers on Amazon are frum Yidden trying to make parnossah, including many private label products. Before you leave a negative review on a seller or product you should consider the consequences of hurting a Yid’s livelihood. Unfortunately, some frum sellers are using the review system on Amazon not only to dishonestly boost their own sales but to also harm the sales of other sellers. My relative sells a non-kosher snack on Amazon as a private label product. His main competitor is a heimishe Yid from Brooklyn who somehow has many 5 star reviews left by heimisher yidden about how great his (non kosher) product tastes. That would be dishonest but that’s his cheshbon, now he’s begun leaving 1 star reviews on my relative’s non kosher product stating how bad it tastes left by heimishe people. Obviously, these are all false reviews left by a scam service or WhatsApp group run by frum Yidden that promote & destroy Amazon listings by leaving false reviews. Chaim & Moishe aren’t buying non kosher snacks on Amazon to snack on, they are buying them to leave a bad review & then return the item. I’m being dan l’kaf zechus that they don’t realize they are hurting a fellow Yid, but even to an Aino Yehudi this is terrible behavior. I hope the Yidden engaging in this behavior do Teshuvah & refrain from this Hashchosah.
Vues Master’s Note: Wow! Here we see the koach of lashon Hora and rechilus
and motzi shem ra.
ONEG SHABBOS WITHOUT CHILLUL SHABBOS
Dear Vues Master:
Nowadays, it is common to find snacks, both frozen and non-frozen, individually wrapped and packaged eight, ten, or twelve to a box. On some, the wrappers are nondescript and are not a problem. However, other wrappers are completely filled with print, to the point that it is impossible to open them without tearing any of the print. This poses a problem for Shabbos, when it is forbidden to tear through letters. The frum manufacturers of these products are being machshil the frum Oilom with this kind of packaging. And there is absolutely no rational justification or excuse for it! The manufacturers can put all of their advertising on the outside of their boxes, in order to entice customers to buy their products. But once the customer has the snack in his/her hand and is ready to open it, (s)he has already purchased the product, and now the product has to sell itself, so that the customer will want to buy it again. All of the print completely covering the snack is doing nothing at all to get the customer to want to buy it again, and, in fact, it is turning the customer off, when (s)he cannot open it on Shabbos as (s)he would like to! There is one ice cream company that produces a frozen pareve treat that I used to serve as a dessert at the end of the Shabbos seudah. It used to have a colorful wrapper, with no lettering whatsoever. Well, that has suddenly changed. Now each bar has a wrapper that is completely covered with print, leaving no way to open it on Shabbos without tearing through lettering! I have decided that I will not purchase any of this company’s products as long as they have no problem being machshil frum Yiddin with chillul Shabbos. It’s time for all of us to take a stand on this issue of chillul Shabbos and make our voices heard through our pocketbooks. (I did try contacting this company and I voiced my concern, but they did not bother to respond. Another snack company (nonfrozen) did respond in a positive way, and told me that they were working on correcting the problem.) I think manufacturers should start advertising on the outside of their boxes: Kedushas Shabbos-compliant wrappers.
Vues Master’s Note: Just remember it is a consumer driven business if there would be enough people demanding this the companies would comply as they are in this to make money. Start a grassroots campaign to educate the Jewish Public and you will be successful.