24 Aug 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.
Dear Vues Master:
I can’t believe the summer is almost over. My kids are back
from sleepaway camp & there are only two weeks until
Yeshiva starts up again. This Shabbos is already Rosh Chodesh
Elul. This summer has definitely flown by.
Vues Master’s Note:Time flies when you are having fun!
Dear Vues Master:
Last Friday there was a truck that was blocking both sides
of the highway between South Fallsburg & The Four Corners.
I was waiting there on Erev Shabbos for over a half
hour. There was no one giving us any instructions or letting
us know what to do. The local traffic people should really
have. something in place when there is an accident on the
Vues Master’s Note: You are right! The police and waze
should have helped you!
KEN BURNS DISTORTS FDR’S POLICY ON
Dear Vues Master:
If you’re going to make a documentary film about America’s
response to the Holocaust, shouldn’t you at least
know how many Jewish refugees were admitted to the
United States during those years? Surprisingly, filmmaker
Ken Burns appears to be unaware of that basic information—
or is for some reason seeking to misrepresent the
facts. Burns has announced that his forthcoming film will
challenge the “myth” that President Franklin D. Roosevelt
abandoned Europe’s Jews. That remarkable assertion flies
in the face of the historical record that numerous scholars
have thoroughly documented. Nonetheless, in recent interviews,
Burns has claimed that during the Roosevelt years,
the United States “accepted more refugees than any other
sovereign nation.” That’s simply false. Start with 1933,
the year Adolf Hitler and the Nazis rose to power in Germany.
America’s immigration laws would have permitted
the entry of 25,957 German immigrants. But the Roosevelt
administration suppressed immigration far below what the
law allowed. That year, only 1,324 German nationals were
admitted to the United States. Smaller numbers came from
other European countries—961 Poles, 864 Hungarians, 236
Rumanians (and not all of them were Jewish refugees.)
By contrast, the British government in 1933 admitted over
33,000 European Jews to British-ruled Palestine, plus thousands
more to the United Kingdom itself, and small numbers
to other British controlled-territories. In the years to
follow, the contrast between the Roosevelt administration
and the British government was even more stark. In 1934,
the U.S. accepted 3,515 German citizens—less than 14% of
that year’s quota—while the British admitted about 50,000
Jewish refugees to the U.K. and British territories (mostly
Palestine). Later in the 1930s, the British began reducing
Jewish immigration to Palestine in response to Arab terrorism—
but they still took in more European Jewish refugees
than the United States did. And it wasn’t just the British.
Consider 1938, when the Roosevelt administration admitted
17,872 German and Austrian refugees. Both the British
and the Japanese rulers of Shanghai each took in a similar
number that year. France, too, accepted more Jews than the
U.S. that year. During the years 1939-1941, the overall
picture changed, but the United States still did not accept
“more refugees than any other sovereign nation,” as Ken
Burns erroneously claims. From 1939 to 1941, the Soviets
took in an estimated 300,000 Jews fleeing from Nazi-occupied
Poland, according to the website of the U.S. Holocaust
Memorial Museum. That was far more than the number of
Jewish refugees the Roosevelt administration admitted during
those years. In 1942, the numbers admitted by the
American and British governments were similar. In 1943,
however, there was a significant gap between the two. That
year, the United States admitted just 1,286 German immigrants.
The British, by contrast, admitted 8,507 Jewish
refugees to Palestine in 1943, as well as small numbers to
other British territories. Those trends continued in 1944
and 1945. Obviously these immigration numbers do not
change the cruel reality of England’s White Paper policy,
which blocked most Jewish immigration to Palestine; nor
do they change the facts about the Soviet regime’s mistreatment
of the Jews in its territory. But the numbers show that
Ken Burns is seriously mistaken when he contends that the
Roosevelt administration’s record on refugees was better
than that of any other country. None of these immigration
statistics are a secret. They all appear in publicly-available
Immigration and Naturalization Service charts, which historians
have been quoting for decades. If Burns has not seen
the charts—or has not read any of the many history books
that cite them—that’s cause for concern. If he knows the
true figures but is choosing to distort them for partisan purposes,
that’s even more troubling. Sheer numbers aside,
there is the problem of the moral relativism inherent in the
argument that Burns is making. The Roosevelt administration’s
response to the Holocaust should not be minimized
or excused just because other countries also did much less
than they could have. Moreover, is it really impressive if the president of a country claiming to represent high ideals of humanitarianism was slightly more generous in admitting refugees than, say, the military juntas ruling in South America? Is that the moral standard by which we as Americans judge our country and our leaders? In fact, the rulers of the tiny South American country of Bolivia—which is only 424,000 square miles—took in more than 20,000 Jewish refugees during the Nazi years. What does that say about the United States, which is nearly 3.8-million square miles? Translating Burns’s point into more contemporary terms, is it really a badge of pride that America’s meager response to the Darfur genocide was slightly better than the response of, say, Peru or Lithuania? We have a right to expect better from our country. We also have a right to expect better from our filmmakers. While a full assessment of Burns’s film must await its release, the inaccurate statements that he has been making about the historical record are cause for concern.
Vues Master’s Note: As always thanks for your History lesson!
Dear Vues Master:
We’re Jews, we judge other Jews. Often you hear people extolling the virtue of not judging other people. They’ll quote the Sage Hillel who taught “Don’t judge another person until you’re in their place.” What right do you have, they’ll challenge you, to judge someone else? There is great wisdom in their arguments. We learn in the Torah that “Justice is G-d’s alone,” and the explanation of that statement is that only G-d knows what is in someone else’s heart and mind. As honest as humans might be, they can never know the entire picture of someone else’s life. Yet Yehoshua ben Parchia taught, “Judge everyone favorably,” which is a directive to judge others – but favorably. Rabbienu Yona taught that we are obligated to judge the righteous favorably, it is a mitzvah (but not obligatory) to judge the average person by giving them the benefit of the doubt, and it is a mitzvah to judge evil people unfavorably, not giving them the benefit of the doubt. The teachings on judging others can be confusing. But human nature is to judge others, which is why Our Sages taught the way you judge others are how you will be judged. Not only is their teaching a lesson about how G-d judges people, but it also applies to the atmosphere you establish for your clique. If they hear you constantly judging others critically, they’ll judge you the same way. Other than judging certain people favorably, there doesn’t seem to be any virtue in judging your fellow Jew, one just like you, without giving them the benefit of the doubt. If we see someone or hear something about someone – even a picture or video online – that defames a person, it’s best to assume the best and not judge them critically. This is especially true about other people’s religious practices. The temptation to judge others harshly, criticize them, spread gossip about them, is strong. It’s an unfortunate and undeniable part of human nature. It is also virtuous to give the benefit of the doubt generously. How we judge others and what we say about them reflects on our character. When we’re critical of others, our audience isn’t impressed with us. They might nod, smile and chuckle along, but they’re judging the speaker with the harshness the speaker is manifesting on others. The same is true when we’re judging others generously. The audience begins to think of the speaker with the same generosity. How would you prefer to be judged?
Vues Master’s Note: I would like to earn the salary of a Judge! The other day, the Court charged me court fees. I told them I have plenty of people who judge me for free so why should I pay!
Dear Vues Master:
I just wanted to take a few minutes to express myself after I read your article this past week in the Jewish Vues. It seemed like Rabbi Weiss was speaking directly to me! Hashem, as always, was so kind to make sure I see the article…it was such syatta d’shmaya! I am the mother of a special needs adult child & I have my mother living with us as well. We always miss simchas, shivas, shopping, friends & I am fine with that. It’s been like that for many years. I am grateful to be zoche to have the strength, means & good health (along with the support of my husband!) to be on the giving end b”h! The hardest part is not being free to spend time with our married children & einiklech. Rabbi Weiss’ words served to strengthen what we already know… that, at the moment, we are doing ratzon Hashem & fulfilling our tafkid. I just have to internalize the message on a daily basis & constantly remind myself to try to do things in the best possible way, with smiles & simcha! I truly appreciate the chizzuk & will definitely save the article for reading when necessary! Thank you so much for understanding our situation & caring enough to address our matzav! Continued hatzlacha, koach & ability to keep helping others, gezunterheit!
AF and LF
Vues Master’s Note: It is so nice to get positive feedback. Sometimes the only feedback we receive is if we make a mistake!
Dear Vues Master:
I haven’t lived in Brooklyn that long, but I’m amazed with the phenomenon of Jews going upstate/New Jersey for the summer. Traffic is so much better without you guys. If you really love upstate so much, why don’t you do us all a favor and move up there!
Vues Master’s Note: But then you would not appreciate what you have. It is like Hashem reminding us sometimes by breaking a limb to appreciate the limb when it is in working condition!!
Dear Vues Master:
Daas Zkenim on Devarim 8:1: Rashi comments on why Moshe used the word עקב†, “heel,” here
when he could have used numerous other words meaning: “as a result of.” He says that Moses refers here to the kind of commandments which the average person tramples underfoot with his heel, is hardly conscious of, for the observance of which meticulously the Torah promises great reward, even though it takes no effort to fulfill these commandments. According to Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, G–d revealed the reward of only two of all the commandments; one is the commandment, which is the easiest to fulfill, the other is the commandment which is the hardest to fulfill. Honoring father and mother are the easiest commandment to fulfill, it can be fulfilled several times daily without special effort while the other is harder to fulfill. Both commandments are rewarded with the same reward, long life of the person who fulfills them. G–d wanted to show the fallacy of thinking that there are commandments which carry a great reward, and others that don’t because they are so easy to fulfill (Rabbi Eliyahu Munk). Honoring parents is the litmus test to where a person is holding in his Yiddishkeit, and it doesn’t take much to honor one’s parents nowadays as it seems that many parents are happy with the bare minimum and if their children are still speaking to them.
Vues Master’s Note: It is by far easier to be mochel your child and accept what they do as an extra bonus!
Dear Vues Master:
Rav Shlomo Yehudah says: There are mekorot in sefarim that ahavat haTorah stems from kibbud horim (honoring parents). If one honors his parents, he develops an ahavah (love) for Torah and a hunger for learning Torah. Yeshivot must adapt to see each talmid as his own unique entity. The institution should adjust to accommodate the students rather than force the students to fit the institution. Yeshivot have to be malleable because there is no one-size-fits-all solution. We must refrain from telling a bachur that there is Torah that is not for him. That sows doubt and division. It is very important not to stifle a talent that a child possesses. I taught myself how to play the keyboard and I sometimes play after my shiurim. If a child is musical, furthering that talent will expand his mind and allow him to process other things more quickly and is good for hand eye coordination. If you stifle a child’s passion, he will always wonder what would have happened had he been allowed to continue with it. My father taught me not to build buildings but to build people. I would rather give shiurim and meet with people than be busy with running mosdos. I want to build up every person I meet (Ami Magazine). I would like to expand on what his father said, “Don’t build buildings; build people.” When a teacher teaches altruistically then the father can take comfort that his son is learning his aleph bet ( אב†); however, if he teaches ( (אלף
for the building then the son ( בן†) becomes a
stone ( אבן†) and his destiny as a father ( (אב
will fail/fall ( נפל†) because he is a stone ( .(אב≠ן
Vues Master’s Note: As always your letters are about one thing!
Dear Vues Master:
The city says it’s not a money grab, it’s to save lives. Well, I’m all for saving lives too, so here’s a little test to uncover the true motivation. If it’s about saving lives then the city should put up a big sign about a block before each traffic camera saying, “TRAFFIC CAMERA ON NEXT BLOCK”. I can guarantee that drivers will slow down but, nebach, at the expense of the city’s coffers.
Vues Master’s Note: I think this is the second or third ticket letter we received on this same exact topic!
REBBE WAS SAVED
Dear Vues Master:
A wave of relief and rejoicing swept through the Skverer chassidus this evening as news came that the Rebbe was unharmed during a serious collision with his entourage. The Rebbe was in his car on Route 6 in Orange County, returning to New Square from the Satmar wedding in Kiryas Yoel, when an oncoming car swerved into their lane, colliding with the car and another car escorting it. The driver of the oncoming vehicle was pronounced dead at the scene, and there was significant damage to the Rebbes vehicle, but the Rebbe miraculously emerged unscathed. According to reports, some in the entourage did suffer some very slight injuries. He proceeded to New Square in a different vehicle, and has already attended a wedding of one of the chassidim there.
Vues Master’s Note: Boruch Hashem we need the Rebbe!
Dear Vues Master:
A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is the grief of his mother. Proverbs 10:1 – The Malbim writes, The father is the source of discipline so the credit goes to him when the son is wise. The mother, on the other hand, who protected her son from his discipline gets the credit when her son is foolish. There are two important points to take away from this Malbim. First, look at the result, the facts, when judging if the cause was good or bad and don’t look at the cause independently, and out of context, based on how you feel about it. Rabbi Miller would always ascribe good children to a disciplining father. Rav Schneebalg says, “Every bochur between the ages of 13 and 20 has faced various challenges
and the question is in whose hands he falls into: a genuine mechanech or a shochet.” At this critical juncture a teacher, professional or mother can take a nonconsequential incident, from the child’s past, and twist it out of context to use it against the father. Rabbi Miller said that society is dumbing down fathers; today it is considered normal to give over a child to a shochet. Secondly, the father should be given the benefit of the doubt and especially when the child is well adjusted. There is no reason for a father to have to prove his innocence and good intentions because someone doesn’t like his parenting style. I didn’t come to make machlokes but to set things straight. The good news is that we are free to have this discussion; however, once there is no discussion, there is no freedom.
Vues Master’s Note: Wow! You are relentless against your son’s Yeshiva! Are you trying to win him over or for the Yeshiva and your son to dig in deeper?!
Dear Vues Master:
My son, hear the mussar, discipline, of your father, and do not forsake the Torah of your mother.-Proverbs 1:8 – Mr. Aron Tennebaum father was summoned for slave labor but Aron, his oldest son, knew that his father wasn’t strong enough to withstand a day of forced labor so he went in his place. He would endure seven concentration camps. When the US Army liberated Mauthausen-Gusen in May 1945, they found hundreds of dead bodies. The compassionate Americans soldiers fell over themselves to give their food away to these walking musselmen. Weakened, starved, and sick, Aron fell asleep and in his dream, his mother said, “Ess nisht gurnist (Don’t eat anything).” Night after night, she appeared in his dreams, repeating the same warning. Aron obeyed her command and all around him, fellow prisoners became sick from the suddenness of ingesting rich foods, some died but he survived. I think the mother merited to visit her son in dream because she did not get in between him and his father and to protect him at the expense of her husband.
Vues Master’s Note:What a story!
Dear Vues Master:
Last Wednesday, Governor Kathy Hochul signed a legislative package to honor and support Holocaust survivors in New York State. The legislation addresses Holocaust education, Holocaust art stolen during the Nazi era, and the requirement of the state’s Department of Financial Services to publish and annually update a list of banks which voluntarily waive transaction fees for Holocaust reparation payments. The new legislation, sponsored by Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein and Senator Zellnor Y. Myrie, will require that the NYS Department of Financial Services publish a list of banks which have agreed to waive their processing fees, post the list publicly on its website, and update it annually. This will ensure that survivors, many of whom live in poverty, can choose to avoid paying these fees which can add up to substantial amounts. Additionally, this will persuade the banks that have yet to agree to waive these fees to do so. “As New Yorkers, we are united in our solemn commitment to Holocaust survivors. We will never forget,” said Governor Kathy Hochul. “These are individuals who have endured unspeakable tragedy but nonetheless have persevered to build lives of meaning and purpose right here in New York. We owe it to them, their families, and the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust to honor their memories and ensure future generations understand the horrors of this era.” “We can’t heal the trauma that elderly Holocaust survivors endured, but we can take steps to help them make ends meet,” said Senator Zellnor Myrie. “I’m grateful to Governor Hochul for signing this bill into law and to Assembly Member Eichenstein for his partnership. I encourage all state-chartered banks to voluntarily waive these transaction fees for survivors and look forward to seeing them on the state’s list next year.” “Our Holocaust survivors are a precious gift and it is incumbent upon us to assist them in any way we can,” said Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein. “This bill, which I sponsored with Senator Myrie, will make sure that our Holocaust survivors are aware of which banks are waiving fees on reparations payments, fees that could add up substantially. Thank you Governor Hochul for recognizing the significance of this bill and signing it into law today.” Assemblyman Eichenstein represents a district with the largest number of Holocaust survivors in the nation. As such, he is keenly attuned to their needs. “Our elderly survivors who have endured so much should not be charged corporate transaction fees for payments that are rightfully theirs,” he said. “They deserve better.” New York State Department of Financial Services Superintendent Adrienne A. Harris said, “New York is taking a critical step to support Holocaust survivors by waiving transfer and processing fees associated with reparations payments. I thank the Legislature and Governor Hochul for passing this important bill and signing it into law, so that survivors have access to 100% of their payments to meet their everyday needs. Through the Holocaust Claims Processing Office, DFS will continue to work with state, federal, and international counterparts to serve as a meaningful resource to provide long overdue justice for Holocaust survivors, victims, and heirs.”
Vues Master’s Note: It is a shame that there are so few left!!
LET’S DO IT
Dear Vues Master:
I am the child of Holocaust Survivors and I have a favor to ask. My mother is looking forward to her 100th birthday on September 20, 2022. One of the simple pleasures she enjoys is receiving cards on holidays and special occasions. She particularly loves getting birthday greetings! My father passed away in October, 2020 at the age of 100! My mother (and father) grew up in Radom, Poland, a town of about 100,000 people of whom about 30,000 were Jews. My mom and her family had a comfortable and happy Jewish life in the Random Shtetl. Radom is about 60 miles south and slightly east of Warsaw, the biggest city in Poland. They began to suffer from discrimination and anti semtism around 1933. This grew in scope and intensity and got particularly bad with the occupation of their town by the Nazis in 1939. Radom was attacked on September 8, 1939 and occupied on September 9. Edith survived the onslaught and also, her time in the bigger of the 2 Radom ghettos. With the liquidation of the ghetto came a selection process. Her parents and grandparents were marched to a train and loaded onto a boxcar bound for the Treblinka death camp where they were murdered in the crematoria. The chaos, screaming, and sheer terror were impossible to describe. There was no opportunity to say goodbye to family and friends. Fortunately, Edith’s 2 sisters remained with her throughout the war and they were liberated together by the Russian army. They survived the horrors of Auschwitz and other smaller camps. They also spent time in Bergen Belsen. After liberation, they lived in a DP (displaced persons) camp in Stuttgart, Germany. They were granted visas to come to the US in 1947 as they had family ‘sponsors’ here. Edith reconnected with Marvin Kozlowski when he arrived in Michigan in 1949. As he had promised, he asked her to marry him and they were wed on January 15, 1950. My mom raised us in a loving and nurturing environment. She enjoyed cooking but loved to bake and everything she made was infused with love. A dear friend of hers helped create and publish a small cookbook with our favorite recipes. She would often bake 20 to 30 honey cakes around Rosh Hashanah to help friends and family usher in a sweet year. She continues to love knitting and has knit at least one scarf for almost everybody she knows well! My mom was always home when we returned from school to help with homework, prepare dinner and shower us with love and attention. My dad was a tailor and as I was starting my senior year in high school, he opened a small clothing and tailor shop. My mom was his helper and partner in the business. My mom gave all of her love, kindness, sensitivity and energy in raising us. She and my dad had many habits and customs that they brought from the ‘old country,’ their native Poland. They both spoke with heavy accents as English was their 3rd or 4th language. They were different from the parents of my friends but they were incredible and literally lived their lives for us. Nothing was more precious to them than bringing new life to this world. My mom is blessed with 3 children, 6 grandchildren, and 2 great grandchildren. She is not able to get out much these days given her frailties and the constraints of COVID. She anxiously awaits the arrival of the mail carrier every day. Nothing excites her more than receiving a card on a special occasion! She would be thrilled to receive a birthday card (written in POLISH or ENGLISH) on the occasion of her anticipated 100th! PERHAPS, this email could be shared with others. Thanks for your consideration. Please consider sending a card to: and adding a personalized message if desired Edith London Kozlowski c/o Jay Kozlowski 3950 Maple Hill Street W. West Bloomfield, Michigan 48323 Thanks… and be well!
Vues Master’s Note: Let’s see if we can kick in as Jewish Vues readers!