Those of us who are part of the HAFTR family and the Five Towns community are dismayed at the decision of Mr. Hecht and the editorial staff of the Queens Jewish Link for writing and publishing such a “foul” opinion piece that was filled with such negativity and unbecoming of a Jewish weekly publication. We have been educating Jewish youth in the Five Towns for over 50 years. Your choice of maligning our Makom Torah is shameful. We at HAFTR are proud to recognize and celebrate our students’ achievements without judgement. In our yeshiva, we teach acceptance and tolerance for all. We pride ourselves on the fact that we don’t judge or look down on others for their personal relationship with Hashem. We acknowledge that there are many ways to serve Hashem. It was both shocking and disappointing that no one reached out to my office prior to publication.
HAFTR was glad to see that other institutions also took the opportunity to recognize Jacob Steinmetz’s achievements. Was Mr. Hecht informed that the Young Israel of Woodmere, where Jacob’s entire family and extended family are members, sent out an email to the entire congregation congratulating Jacob and his family on this momentous occasion? Has Mr. Hecht taken the time to research who the Steinmetz family is? Or did he write his article without carefully conducting extensive background research?
The Steinmetz family is well known in the Five Towns. They are deep-rooted, Torah-abiding Jews. Jacob’s great-grandfather is a rabbi and his great uncle gives a daf yomi shiur. Jacob has a strong Orthodox support system and will hopefully be able to be a positive religious public figure who will create a true kiddush Hashem.
We just finished the major fast day of Tishah B’av, where we lamented major tragedies in our history. The Beis Hamikdash was destroyed in large part because of slander and hateful speech towards one another. Why would anyone think it appropriate to judge another Jew who one does not personally know and publicly express an unfortunately negative, cruel, and insensitive opinion about them or any fellow Jew? Who are we to judge? Rav Pam writes that what one sees in others is often what is lacking in themselves. I suggest Mr. Hecht take a long hard look in his own mirror. To see someone question another’s religious practices when he himself writes such lashon harah is spiteful and tactless.
Finally, as Mr. Hecht titled his article “Strike-Out,” it is my humble opinion that the only ones who struck out here are the editors who permitted this inappropriate and painful article, as well as those who continue to engage in lashon harah rather than see Jacob for the outstanding young man that he is. We pray that both Mr. Hecht and the Queens Jewish Link take responsibility for what they print, and in the future carefully consider their actions.
Mr. Ari Solomon
Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway
A Friend In Deed
Have you ever heard of Scoop Jackson? Senator Henry Jackson was an American congressman and senator from Washington State. Well known in the ‘70s and ‘80s as a centrist Democrat, he was Israel’s greatest ally in the United States Congress.
Have you been searching for the Scoop Jackson of today? Have you been looking for a past that barely exists – a Democrat who hasn’t gone off the deep end?
A normal Democrat, a patriotic American politician, is as difficult to find as the now-extinct dodo bird. That is what I thought - until attending my most recent political event. I got the surprise of my life at the meeting in the state of Virginia. I walked in under the pretext that a middle-of-the-road Democrat had ceased to exist. Then, I met Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia. He, along with Senator Marco Rubio from Florida, have recently introduced legislation opposing the BDS movement.
“Antisemitism can’t be tolerated in any way, shape, or form,” Senator Manchin intoned.
And when that Jewish archenemy Rashida Tlaib (D-MN) pushed back, Joe pushed back too. “We don’t have a better ally than Israel,” was his response to her. It was incredible to hear a well-established Democrat publicly rebuking another Democratic Congressperson.
I thanked him for proposing a bill that would benefit American Jews as well as the State of Israel. When asked what his plan was vis-a-vis the immigration debacle, Senator Manchin’s answer further astounded me. The senator intends to secure our borders! He was pushing in a direction contrary to his party and the progressive left. Thank you, Senator Manchin. All patriotic Americans salute you! All of us working to secure funds for non-public schools (aka. private schools) salute you.
Bravo to Congressman Ritchie Torres (D, Bronx) for his continued support of our Jewish communities. Bravo to Congresswoman Grace Meng (D, Queens), who has always helped to provide aid to Israel, benefiting both America and its greatest ally. Kudos to Agudath Israel of America for continued outstanding guidance in the political arena.
Gratitude is often fleeting, but such a strong and positive reaction to the cancel culture of the woke is exceptional. I expect OUR gratitude to be long lasting.
A Perfect Game
As the mother of athletes, I know the determination, resilience, and perseverance one must have to succeed. To make it to the level of play at which one is even scouted is an arduous feat. To then be selected by a major league team is almost unfathomable. It is literally a dream come true. The article you printed last week that criticized the tremendous accomplishment by two young men being selected by Major League Baseball teams was so painful for me to read, as a parent and as a frum Jew.
The holier than thou attitude of the writer was a stinging reminder of how fractured and judgmental Jews are of one another. We should celebrate this accomplishment and support our brethren as they rise to the pinnacle of all professions and arenas of society. We should praise and stand together as these players proudly announce to the world that they are Orthodox Jews. It is the culmination of generations of Yidden who slowly inch their way to new heights. For anyone to criticize that, to evaluate every detail of how things can go wrong for them, is a terrible thing.
Presumably, it will be difficult for these young men. They will sacrifice and struggle to keep their frumkeit alive. But without the support of their own, it will be that more difficult.
The America we live in is so divisive. Please, Klal Yisroel, let’s stand together and be supportive of one another.
House Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s commission to investigate the January 6 Capitol Hill protest and invasion merits consideration if the scope is expanding to include other violent protests that occurred around the nation as well. What about Anti a and all the nightly demonstrations, which frequently turned into chaos, or riots that took place in Minneapolis, Seattle, Portland, and other major cities around the nation after the unfortunate death of George Floyd? Billions of dollars in damages took place as a result of attacks on public buildings, private businesses, looting, arson, physical assault on law enforcement, occupation and actual destruction of local police precincts. Taxpayers are stuck with the bill to clean up afterwards. Many minority-owned businesses in these communities were destroyed and will never reopen. How many thousands of jobs have been permanently lost as a result of this anarchy? How many other lives were lost during this chaos? Previous generations who engaged in peaceful protest would never dream of doing these things. Why not a commission to investigate the relationship between China and COVID-19, which resulted in the death of over 600,000 Americans?
Mr. Hecht should spend less time worrying about Trump and what the Republicans do and more time about the Marxist agenda of the Democrat left that is going to cause the Republicans to take back the House and the Senate in 2022. I would not go so far as President Trump (Mr. Hecht has no respect at all and won’t call him by his proper title) and call it cheating, but states with Republican legislators are clearly passing state laws to tighten up any possibility of cheating in the future. It’s exactly why Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer and their ilk want HR1 and S1 passed - so they can have Democrat dominance forever. No photo ID. Same day registration. Ballot harvesting. Anyone who has a driver’s license is automatically registered to vote. In New York, illegal immigrants are eligible for drivers’ licenses. Does that mean they vote too? Democrats say yes! Who cares if it’s illegal? You can vote out of your precinct. If these bills pass, there is no way of stopping illegal votes from being cast.
As for the January 6 commission - Mr. Hecht, only one person was killed that day at the Capitol and it wasn’t a member of Congress or a police officer. Do you want to know what happened to her? I assure you that Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Schumer, and all the other Democrats don’t. Neither does President Biden and the FBI. This commission is made up of the same partisan, spiteful congressmen who were impeachment managers. Are they really interested in investigating what really happened or is this another opportunity to go after the former president? It’s no wonder Minority Leader McCarthy doesn’t want to participate. But if he does, he should send in the bulldogs - with Representative Jim Jordan leading the way.