We’d like to add our voices to the many who’ve praised the life of Rabbi Manfred Gans. We met him 40 years ago in the early years of Otsar, were impressed then, and continued to be deeply moved from afar by his maasim tovim and rabbanus in all those subsequent years. Yehi zichro baruch.
Glenn & Lenore Richter
I read Sergey Kadinsky’s article about Rabbi Manfred Gans z”l (dated 8/13).
Over the years, I have dropped in to daven at Congregation Machane Chodosh mostly because of joining the Central Queens YMHA next door. The current Rabbi is very warm to passersby such as me.
Until now, I did not know the rich history of the shul and the legacy of Rav Gans, of blessed memory. Of particular note was the impact that the elder shul members had on Mr. Kadinsky himself. As a social studies teacher, I have an appreciation for Mr. Kadinsky’s articles that often include insightful elements of history.
Now, Mr. Kadinsky explained where he drew some of his inspiration to write informative articles as well as improving his own midos: from his interactions with the elders of Rav Gans’ congregation.
At the Democratic National Convention, five Republicans crossed the aisle to speak and endorse Joe Biden for President. They included John Kasich (former Ohio Congressmember, House Budget Committee Chairman, and Ohio Governor), Susan Molinari (former Staten Island Congressmember), Colin Powell (former Secretary of State), Christine Todd Whitman (former federal EPA Administrator and New Jersey Governor), and Meg Whitman (former CEO of eBay and Hewlett-Packard). Biden promised, if elected President, to have the most diverse cabinet and administration in history, representing the gorgeous American mosaic. He also promised to appoint the first female African American Supreme Court Justice. He promised a female African American running mate for Vice President and delivered California Senator Kamala Harris. Republicans represent a significant portion of America. How many will be invited to serve in his cabinet and administration? Will any of these five Republicans be offered a job in a Biden Presidency? Will Biden make a public commitment on this issue of inclusion for Republicans prior to election day? Voters want to know.
I would like to reply to the response of Warren Hecht to me in the August 19 edition of the Queens Jewish Link. Warren states that “the Democratic Party’s Platform is neither anti-Israel nor supportive of BDS.”
The platform reads, “Democrats will restore US-Palestinian diplomatic ties and critical assistance to the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza, consistent with US law.”
Trump cut off funds to the PLO because they were using the money to fund suicide bombers and terrorism. The Democrats will restore that funding. They will give lip service to opposing terror but they will still fund it. How can any Jew support a party that is funding murder of Jews? Maybe Warren can explain to the victims of terror that supporting the Democratic Party is more important than their lives.
The platform reads, “We oppose any effort to unfairly single out and delegitimize Israel, including at the United Nations or through the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement, while protecting the Constitutional right of our citizens to free speech.”
This is double-speak. The Obama-Biden administration supported an anti-Israel resolution at the UN by refusing to abstain as past administrations have done. Trump would never allow such a resolution to see the light of day. The platform is, on one hand, opposing BDS; and on the other hand, they are supporting it as free speech. BDS is anti-Semitism; it is not free speech. Rashida Tlaib calls for BDS and compared Israel to Nazi Germany. The Democratic Party refused to condemn her vicious slander. Warren Hecht does not seem to find this a problem. I invite him to look at the pictures of the Holocaust victims. They look like skeletons. You cannot be a Jew and support Tlaib or her disgusting party.
Warren also says that it is disgusting for Trumpians to call themselves patriots. The Democrats support defunding the police. They support BLM and Antifa, which want to destroy this country. I believe that all lives matter. I do not support the murder of any police officer or anyone. Anyone who supports the murder or defunding of the police is a traitor to this country. Ilhan Omar is a member of the “Squad” and highly respected by the Democratic Party. She says that “Jews that support Israel are not loyal to this country.” I think that she is a filthy anti-Semite and it is very telling that the Democratic Party supports her. Let us all pray that the Democrats lose.
In his opinion column, “A Tale of Two Trumps,” Mr. Hecht says that “for some Jewish Trumpians, nothing else matters except his conduct toward Israel.” Well, I’d disagree with that statement. I think Torah-observant Jews look at our values and morals to guide us. Trump is pro-life, whereas the Democrats are the party of infanticide – killing babies in the womb up to the point of the head coming out of the birth canal. Even if that abortion is botched, they say to let the baby die, rather than operate and resuscitate so that the baby can live. Trump has not committed motzi sheim ra or r’chilus and publicly embarrassed any Supreme Court nominees. Both Biden and Kamala Harris have had the distinction of committing those sins – Biden (twice!) to Robert Bork and Justice Clarence Thomas, and Harris to now-Justice Kavanaugh. Now, Mr. Hecht will say that the President has had his own personal morally repugnant indiscretions. To that I say, both Biden and Harris have been caught doing the same, so that argument is not going to sway anyone.
Mr. Hecht criticized my letter to the editor published in the August 14 issue, where I called those who support Trump patriots. He says, “It may come as a shock to Trumpians that people who are not supporting Trump also care about this country. Both sides want what’s best for the country.” This is a bold-faced lie. He can’t have it both ways. If you love this country, you don’t want open borders. If you love this country, you don’t want anyone coming for your guns. If you love this country, you don’t want to defund the police or kneel for the national anthem. You stand for the anthem and support and thank all men and women of law enforcement. Yes, patriots want freedom and individual liberty, which the Democratic Party does not stand for. I do not agree with everything Trump says, but his policies are much better for the country. This leads me to Mr. Hecht’s attack on the President as a racist. This is an Alinsky-ite tactic. His statements to back that up are weak, at best. Drs. Jerome Adams and Ben Carson are in Trump’s cabinet. Leo Terrell, a civil rights attorney, a Democrat, is supporting Trump this election. Candace Owens and Larry Elder support President Trump. They are all African Americans. They support the President because up until the economy got shut down, this President has done for the African American community what no other President was able to do before him: put the black community to work. A racist doesn’t help a group he detests.
He begins by attacking Trump for using the term “suburban housewife.” All elections are broken into demographics. Mr. Trump did not do well in the 2018 midterms among this particular demographic of voters. So, now that he is on the ballot in 2020, Trump is targeting this specific block to vote for him again. Mr. Hecht has probably never lived in the suburbs. I see he currently resides within New York City. Well, I was born and raised and currently reside in Nassau County – a suburb. If Mr. Hecht was intellectually honest with his readers, he would tell them that Joe Biden is looking to expand on an Obama-era attack on the suburbs: He is looking to federalize the zoning laws of all those communities and build public housing units within those communities. Obama did it in New Rochelle and the Five Towns, and Biden is looking to go further. No more single-family homes with plots of land to enjoy. So, when Trump makes an appeal to a demographic that their local communities are about to drastically change, that’s not racism, it’s pandering at best. Like when Biden chose an African American woman to be his running mate (he didn’t, but that’s semantics) to pander to the Black community. Of course, what does it say about the Democratic Party that chose an old white male as their candidate instead of a minority female?
Then he brings up George Soros, yimach sh’mo. Yes, that man is an evil self-hating Jew. Talk about a chilul Hashem. He uses his wealth to advance far-left policies to destroy this country, when it is the very freedoms that this country provided him with to enable him to become as wealthy as he has! He is a contributor to J-Street, a pro-BDS, anti-Israel group. He has bankrolled the campaigns of far-left pro-crime district attorneys across this country. He hates our founding documents and uses his money to try to destroy them. Facts matter, and if we cherish all our liberties and freedoms, then we must back President Trump.
Woodmere, New York
Warren Hecht correctly says that according to the Democratic Party platform that they are anti-BDS and oppose any effort to unfairly delegitimize Israel even in the United Nations. Sadly, not all Democrats agree with that. Just ask the “Squad” and others! On Tuesday night, devout, unabashed anti-Semite Linda Sarsour spoke at their Democratic National Convention. Why would they give such an anti-Semite floor time? To make things worse, Biden condemned her after her DNC speech. Did Joe not know what she was going to say? Is he that naive?
Is Kamala Harris a natural born citizen?
Allow me to preface this letter by affirming or perhaps reaffirming my avid opposition to birtherism and its associated conspiracies. The purpose of this letter is to neither encourage nor resurrect an obvious conspiracy theory whose adherents seem to have much apathy for facts and comprehend little about constitutional law. It is without a scintilla of doubt – and I’ve written on the subject matter in the past – that both Obama and Cruz are most certainly natural born citizens (though the latter was born in Canada), since they both had at least one citizen parent at the time of their birth. That being said, this is precisely what distinguishes the case of Harris from Obama and Cruz, in that neither of her parents were US citizens at the time of her birth, which thus raises a legitimate question about Harris’ constitutional eligibility for VP.
Let us first begin our analysis by considering three relevant parts of the Constitution that relate to the present question: Article II, Section I, Clause V – which provides that, “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President…”; Amendment XII – which provides, “But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice President of the United States.”; and Amendment XIV, Section I – which provides that, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” Merely for the sake of convenience, I have switched the order of the two aforementioned amendments, since Amendment XII is in essence the conclusion of this letter, and therefore the last item expounded upon.
Article II, Section I, Clause V
The First Congress and at least two Supreme Court decisions, Smith v. Alabama (1888) and Wisconsin v. Pelican Ins. Co. (1888) – in concurrence with existing federal and statutory law – all affirm that the phrase “natural born citizen” encompasses all persons born outside of the US whose parents are both citizens, provided one of them lived in the US for any period of time; and persons born outside of the US to at least one citizen parent who, beyond age 14, has resided in the US for a minimum of five years. Though Harris is a US citizen by virtue of her birth on American soil, neither of her parents were citizens at the time she was born, and she is thus not a natural born citizen.
Amendment XIV, Section I
The principal part of this amendment is the phrase “…and subject to the jurisdiction thereof.” Many erroneously interpret the first part of the amendment as conferring citizenship to all persons born in the US without regard to the citizenship status of the parents, dubbed “birthright citizenship.” This is, in fact, not the case. Senators Jacob Howard and Lyman Trumbull – the principal authors of this clause – have conjointly defined this, in their words, as, “Not owing allegiance to anybody else”; in other words, under the complete and total jurisdiction of the US. Similarly, Congressman John Bingham, framer of the amendment’s first section, stated that Sec. 1992 of US Revised Statutes meant, “every human being born within the jurisdiction of the United States of parents not owing allegiance to any foreign sovereignty is, in the language of your Constitution itself, a natural born citizen.” Moreover, the Supreme Court decision in Elks v. Wilkins (1884) affirmed Senator Trumbull’s position that to receive citizenship, the parents must “not merely be subject in some respect or degree to the jurisdiction of the United States, but completely subject to their political jurisdiction, and not subject to any foreign power,” as well as owe the US “direct and immediate allegiance.” The Supreme Court also adopted this view in the Slaughterhouse Cases (1873), stating that “the phrase, ‘subject to its jurisdiction’ was intended to exclude from its operation children of…citizens or subjects of foreign States born within the United States.”
If the only prerequisite for citizenship is birthplace, then the parents’ condition would be entirely inconsequential – and by extension then, the entire phrase “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof” would be extraneous. Accordingly, since neither of Harris’ parents were citizens at the time of her birth, they were not subject to the “complete and total jurisdiction of the US,” and she does not qualify, therefore, as a natural born citizen.
It is also noteworthy that in 1873, the United States Attorney General George Henry Williams provided an official government position on the matter, stating: “The word ‘jurisdiction’ must be understood to mean absolute and complete jurisdiction, such as the United States had over its citizens before the adoption of the amendment. Aliens, among whom are persons born here and naturalized abroad, dwelling or being in this country, are subject to the jurisdiction only to a limited extent.” One who is subject only to a limited extent does not meet the requirement of “absolute and complete jurisdiction” requisite for citizenship.
Amendment XII provides (as formerly mentioned) that one who is constitutionally ineligible to the office of president is also ineligible to that of VP. Therefore, when the foregoing sections of the Constitution are taken in conjunction with each other – namely Article II, Section I, Clause V and Amendment XIV, Section I – it is quite clear that since Harris is ineligible for the office of president, she’s also ineligible for the office of VP.
P.S. Please don’t cite me US vs. Wong Kim Ark (1898), which effectively created birthright citizenship ex nihilo. That was an egregious decision that entirely misconstrued and repudiated the clear meaning provided by the authors of Amendment XIV, as well as subsequent Supreme Court decisions that affirmed their views.