The chinuch world lost a giant this week with the p’tirah of Rabbi Moshe Neuman.
When young Moshe Neuman was only in his 20s, Rav Hutner charged him with making a difference in the realm of chinuch. He sent him to Detroit, where Rabbi Neuman taught and became beloved by his talmidim and colleagues.
Rabbi Neuman’s mantra in life was always to treat the individual with equal respect and reverence that one would treat the klal. He was true to this mantra throughout his tenure of more than 50 years at the Bais Yaakov Academy of Queens in Kew Gardens.
Rabbi Neuman built the school from its early years, filling the gap of a true Bais Yaakov education on the elementary school level in a borough that was not yet the solid one it is today. Indeed, it is not an exaggeration to say that Queens would not be what it is today without a school dedicated to the mesorah of Bais Yaakov. Today, Bais Yaakov of Queens has over 700 students and is a pillar of education in the Torah world.
Students never forgot the principal whom they loved and respected. He did not hesitate to sit on the floor with a crying student or moderate the grading system for a transfer student who was not yet on the level of her peers. He commiserated with a homesick third grader and empathized with a fifth grader whose feelings were hurt. All this while still maintaining a high standard of education throughout the school. His eighth-grade graduates shined in their high schools.
Principalship is often a difficult career to navigate. The principal needs to meet the needs of the students, the staff, the board of directors, and the parents. Rabbi Neuman starred in all these areas. He could side with the teacher and the student at the same time. Parents remember that he was always accessible and validating. One mother related at the shiv’ah, “Rabbi Neuman was always there for me when I was going through a difficult patch as a mother. I could not have done it without him.”
One student, herself a Bais Yaakov of Queens parent today, recalls being a poor student in elementary school. Rabbi Neuman consistently gave her the confidence she was lacking. Once she believed in herself, she could work to her potential in the classroom.
And he was so visible! He was at the curb every morning to meet the buses. When girls arrived in school, the first person they saw was Rabbi Neuman. He saw them off in the afternoon, after school – again, on the curb, rain or shine. He knew each of their names and was familiar with each of their struggles and celebrations. Every former student who got married treasured the fact that Rabbi Neuman was at their wedding and shared their simchos with him throughout their lives.
A well-known truism in girls’ chinuch is that the mechanech is not only building that girl but building her future family, as well. This is the achievement that Rabbi Moshe Neuman takes with him to the next world: myriads of families, rooted in Yiddishkeit, and built on the foundation that mothers received from Rabbi Moshe Neuman.
Yehi zichro baruch.
Mrs. Miriam Krohn
Moshe Hill compared the period of Roe v. Wade until today with the segregation era. I think a more apt comparison would be the overturn of Roe and the new restrictive abortion laws with the Prohibition Era. Prohibition did not stop the manufacture, sale, and transport of alcohol. All it did was allow a rise of organized crime. Similarly, more restrictive abortion laws never stopped women from getting abortions. All they did was lead women to back-alley abortions that either killed them or left them with serious complications. In fact, the health crisis resulting from back-alley abortions was a very important factor in the ruling of Roe v. Wade.
There are those who think that more restrictive abortion laws are more consonant with Jewish law when, in fact, they’re not.
These more restrictive laws might make exceptions for medical necessity, but they do not define medical necessity. That’s because there are as many situations that call for medical necessity as there are women, and so it can’t be defined well enough to prevent arguments. There is also nothing to state who decides medical necessity, and that, too, leaves it open to argument. Even if the woman’s doctor says that she needs an abortion to save her life, there’s nothing to stop anti-abortion groups from sending their own “experts” forward to argue with that, and the resulting delays could kill the mother.
Speaking of that, Mr. Hill wrote about the value of the unborn babies. Of course Jewish law values that. But a lot of people are forgetting that the mother is a human life, too. She’s considered an actual life as opposed to the potential life of the fetus and, therefore, if her physical or mental health are endangered by the pregnancy, then her actual life takes precedence. And yet, these more restrictive abortion laws only set women up for delays that could be fatal.
What’s more, these more restrictive abortion laws do not make exceptions for rape victims, even though Jewish law does (by considering the threat to the mother’s mental health). And even if these laws did make exceptions for rape, would victims have to prove that they were raped in order to get abortions? That, too, could lead to delays that could be fatal.
And what if a happily pregnant woman has a miscarriage? Will she have to prove that it was a real miscarriage and not just complications from a back-alley abortion? Will she have to suffer the trauma of a miscarriage and then have the added trauma of being treated like a criminal? Miscarriages are traumatic enough. And these laws don’t say anything about that.
In addition, it’s true that many people are mistaken when they think that the overturning of Roe means a blanket ban on abortions (although some bans are definitely possible). But many other people are mistaken when they assume that women get abortions willy-nilly, because of it being “simply the mother’s choice,” without any solid reason other than “I don’t want to have a baby.” I’m sure there are women like that out there, but they’re very rare. Most women who get abortions have solid reasons for doing so, and wouldn’t choose to do it if they felt that there were better alternatives. Yes, there are sources that say that over 70 percent of abortions are “elective,” but all that means is that no reason is given. This means that the mothers kept their reason private. That doesn’t make it any less of a real reason.
If we really want to prevent abortions and protect innocent babies, then we need to address the reasons that women get abortions. We need better health care in general plus better pre-natal and post-natal care and better access to all of the above. We need everyone to have better access to birth control. We need more comprehensive sex education in middle and high schools. We need better resources for victims of rape and of domestic violence, and better access to those resources. We need paid family leave. All of these will actually prevent a lot of abortions, as opposed to restrictive abortion laws that will only send women back to the back alley.
I consider myself pro-life because I’m pro the mother’s life. So is Jewish law, and that’s why we all should be.
Meira E. Schneider-Atik
Yes, I admit that I drive a Honda Civic, which might not be the classiest car around, nor the most ubiquitous in KGH. That distinction belongs to the Rogue. Nevertheless, thank G-d, it’s a reliable sedan in contrast to past clunkers we’ve owned, including a GEO Prism and an inherited Ford Taurus. Concerning the former, I asked my husband, “What Jew drives a Prism?” He assured me that he purchased it from a reliable individual living in Washington Heights. It lasted from Monday to Thursday. The latter vehicle lasted 25 years and enriched the repair guy at Sunoco by $6,000. He kept assuring me that the repairs were worth the money, and since I had an emotional bond to the car, I naively believed him. I hope Kars4Kids is having better luck with t.
I’m writing this piece not because I’m entering the Daytona 500, but because of a book review I chanced upon. The book under discussion, Nazi Billionaires: The Dark History of Germany’s Wealthiest Dynasties, by David de Jong, posits that whereas these family business successes are lauded, their war crimes are ignored. The Quanat family, which is behind BMW, is the wealthiest family in Germany now. Thus, when you buy one of these German cars, you are adding to the coffers of families that profited off of their Nazi affiliation.
Admittedly, the Honda that I drive, which is a Japanese car, would not have pleased my father-in-law a”h, who fought the Japanese in World War II. In addition, Henry Ford was a notorious anti-Semite. Therefore, perhaps we should turn to the Swedish Saab or Volvo, or help Mr. Musk and buy a Tesla. Finally, if you really need to impress your neighbors, how about a Jaguar for the starting price of $73,400?
After reading Moshe Hill’s May 5 conniption, I have to question why he is more upset about the leak (which while unusual, leaks of upcoming rulings are not unprecedented) as opposed to being enraged by a radical right-wing cabal threatening maternal choice and lives, as well as openly threatening precedent that protects rights that Americans take for granted.
First, the draconian laws in question for the most part ignore the health of the mother. Jewish law protects the mother’s life, period. Life-threatening conditions like ectopic pregnancies can only be treated with an abortion. Any Jewish woman in any of these misogynist states could bring a First Amendment religious freedom case.
Second, these laws do not protect life.
If these hateful GOP legislatures and governors (and Mr. Hill) actually cared a wit about life, they would have long ago passed laws providing for food and shelter and paternal child support for these zygotes and fetuses when they are born. They would have advocated for laws protecting these children from random death by assault weapons. None of this has ever taken place because it never was about caring for children. It was always about cruelty towards women. That is why laws have been passed so families of rapists can collect large bounties if women terminate such pregnancies.
As for the strawman of late-term abortions, which are a very small proportion of all abortions, virtually all deal with conditions that threaten the mother’s life or where the fetus has a malformation that is not compatible with living past birth. In these cases, families have chosen names and purchased cribs, only to be given the horrible news that the fetus is dead or dying, possibly causing maternal death due to septicemia unless removed.
It is also important to note that Justices Kavanaugh, Barrett, and Gorsuch all lied under oath (violating law and a Commandment) about respecting precedent. No fundamental right has ever been taken away in our nation’s history, especially one supported by 3/4 of all Americans.
But Justice Alito went further in his cruelty. First, he cited a hateful seventeenth-century judge who sentenced witches to death as his legal authority, in spite of the fact abortions were legal in America until quickening (baby movement, about 19th or 20th week) for over 100 years. Then he denied that a right to privacy exists.
The right to privacy protects against forced sterilization as well as protecting the right to birth control (Griswald), marry a person of a different race (Loving), choice (Roe), and marriage equality (Obergefell). This may all be meaningless to Mr. Hill and the so-called pro-life crowd who caused the death of officers on January 6, but an overwhelming majority of Americans hold these beliefs dearly.
Finally, Mr. Hill shamefully tries to link Alito’s draft, which undoubtedly will kill women (because abortions will continue but will be unsafe – a symptom of his unnatural hatred toward women) to the Brown decision. Yes, Brown reversed the shameful Plessy decision – by thankfully granting freedoms to a large group of people, as opposed to Alito and his fellow members of the American Taliban) denying half of America the right to autonomy over their own bodies.
If men like Mr. Hill and Justice Alito want to prevent pregnancy, let them all get vasectomies (which are reversible), and stay out of the uteruses of innocent women.
David S. Pecoraro
Civility is certainly a noble goal to aspire to; it’s quite a joke that Mr. Hecht thinks anyone on the Left wants that. The Left loves violence. George Soros, yimach sh’mo, funds radical DAs across this country to keep violent criminals from going to prison. Not a single elected Democrat condemned the looting and arson that took place during the George Floyd riots in the summer of 2020. Democrat-run cities are reaching record levels of crime, including murder, and nothing is being done about it. You can’t walk in Chicago or Manhattan, among other places, at night alone anymore.
Now, you have doxxing of Supreme Court Justices. There are now protests in front of their private residences, which could be a crime. Fences have been erected around the Supreme Court building to keep the rioters away from physical attacks on the Justices.
On January 6, President Trump said to go “peacefully and patriotically” to the Capitol building. He did not call for violence; he condoned it, despite whatever the Democrats say. Neither the President nor his pathetic spokesperson, the Vice President, the Speaker of the House, the Majority Leader in the Senate or any chairperson of any committee in either chamber have rebuked and condemned the current violent behavior we see taking place now in our cities, especially against the Justices of the Supreme Court.
Mr. Hecht, it’s your party you’re talking to, and you’ve got a lot of work to do.
How nice that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi could find the time to fly halfway around the world to visit Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. She was accompanied by some of her faithful flock, including Congress members Gregory Meeks (NY), Jim McGovern, and Bill Keating (Massachusetts), along with Barbara Lee and Adam Schiff (California). They, with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, support an additional $33 billion aid package for Ukraine. Why aren’t any of them asking any of our NATO allies to provide some of these funds? They will never find the funds by offsets to other federal expenditures within our current $6 billion plus budget. Instead, we will add to our $30.4 trillion growing national debt.
Yes, we should assist Ukraine in protecting its sovereignty from the ongoing Russian invasion. What about the ongoing invasion of our own southern border? It is estimated that over two million illegal aliens will enter by the end of 2022. Have any of them ever visited our border with Mexico? Why no aid package to protect the sovereignty of our nation from an invasion in our own backyard?
Great Neck, New York
I would also like to respond to Warren Hecht’s article, “Say What.” In it, Warren has the temerity to attack Kushner for being unethical. Kushner played a major role in the Abraham Accords, which was a great boon for Israel. These accords united the Sunni Arab countries against Iran. How can any Jew go after a man like Kushner? Warren also ignores the radical state of the Democratic Party. Let us examine their current positions:
The Democrats believe that climate change is only caused by fossil fuel pollution in the US. The Dems support use of fossil fuels in other countries but are stopping exploration and drilling in the US. Biden canceled the Keystone Pipeline, which hurt the US. At the same time, Biden canceled the sanctions on the NORD STREAM II pipeline which benefits Russia. This has fueled inflation in the US and encouraged Russia to invade Ukraine.
The Democrats have a policy of encouraging five-year-olds to consider gender change. This is being done against the will of the parents. A prominent Republican Congressman stated on the House floor that this policy is against the Bible. Nadler responded, “We in Congress do not care about G-d or the Bible.” Nadler is basically stating that the Democratic Party has declared war on G-d and Torah values. I ask how any frum person can vote Democrat.
The Dems are for defunding the police and letting out violent criminals with their no-bail policies. They want to focus all their attention on getting Trump and his supporters.
Biden has opened our Southern border. The drug cartels are doing great. It is now very easy to smuggle drugs into the US. It is also a great time to be a terrorist. Getting into the US illegally has never been easier. The Biden administration is willing to ship illegals around the country and give then great benefits at taxpayers’ expense. According to the Democrats, allowing a flood of illegals to enter the US is good policy for fighting COVID. No rational person can support this.
The laptop is real. It shows illegal activity by Hunter that involves his father. The actions of the Biden family compromise the security of our country. If you vote Democrat, you are supporting this.
The Truth Department
The Biden administration has just created the Department of Misinformation. This Department will go after conservative voices throughout the country. It appears that Biden got this idea from the book 1984. Getting rid of the First Amendment will be very helpful to silencing dissent. It is being done in China and Russia, and now the Dems want to bring it here.
We must vote Republican in the midterms and end the Democratic control of Congress.