Dear Editor:

To my dear Jewish brothers and sisters, Kew Gardens Hills residents:

I found myself in a state of shock after reading last week’s “Your Say” letters in response to the “It’s you, not me” article by Goldy Krantz. I have never written a letter to the editor before and never thought I would – until now. All I can hear and see in my head is Rabbi Wallerstein asking me: Are you doing this l’sheim Shamayim? Would Hashem be proud of you? My answer is yes.

Two people wrote anonymously with comments that certainly do not benefit a newspaper that claims to represent our wonderful community. One spoke of “the elephant in the room” – how the Bukharians have invaded the Kew Gardens Hills community (oh, and the Chinese). So many questions ran through my mind. Is she comparing a Bukharian Jew to a gentile? Where is all this hate coming from? What happened to us Jews? Where is our love for one another? Why so much lashon ha’ra? What happened to V’ahavta l’rei’acha kamocha? What lessons are being taught to these children? Are all Jews not alike? Are Bukharians not classified as Jews? Are we not equal?

My parents left the former Soviet Union in 1979 to escape a communist country, to have G-d in their lives, and for religious freedom. My great-grandfather was a rav who was sent to a Siberian prison for 25 years for being a rav. My husband and I were both born in New York, and we went to Ashkenazi yeshivos all our lives. This is not what I was taught in yeshivah. Where is our love for every Jew? During the Holocaust, did they care where you were from? No, all Jews were killed for being a Jew. Why are we creating separation and segregation between our children? Isn’t that interesting how this is all coming forth during the week of Parshas Korach, when division was trying to be made? Have we not learned anything from our history? When my Bukharian grandfather and four of my great-uncles (two of them were killed) went to fight in the army during World War II, they did it to help their brothers and sisters. It doesn’t matter where you are from; when a Jew is in pain or in need, we all help. It doesn’t matter where they came from. My grandparents had Ashkenazi families living in their home during the war until the war was over. This is the love we should have for each other.

Yes, we all have flaws, and no one is perfect; that’s why we are here in galus, waiting for Mashiach. We are judged as one Jewish nation, no separation between schools and communities. Classrooms should be filled with Jewish children from all backgrounds, with no segregation between Bukharians and Ashkenazim. For all those young couples who left Kew Gardens Hills for that reason, I hope you can feel my pain and teach your children that this is why Mashiach is not coming. We have to love each and every Jew, no matter what culture, the size of their home, or color of their hair, skin, or eyes.

I remember reading my children a bedtime story book called Not My Kind, I Don’t Mind, by Hindy Jacobs. It teaches children a lesson of not judging but loving every Jew. If a Jew asks me for help, it should not matter to me if he or she is Ashkenazi or Bukharian; my doors are open to all Jews. I will always have hakaras ha’tov to all my wise teachers who taught me this lesson, and I am a proud, frum Bukharian Jew living in Kew Gardens Hills. The Bukharian community in a short amount of time has accomplished amazing things, such as TorahAnytime and Chazaq, which were both founded by Bukharians, and a state-of-the-art mikvah built by Bukharians that is available to all Jews.

In conclusion, we should be proud of being a diverse, frum community that respects each other – that’s what makes KGH beautiful. B’ezras Hashem, I hope this letter will bring love, peace, and harmony within all of klal Yisrael.

 Elana Aronov
A proud Bukharian woman


Dear Editor:

 I am writing to give you an update regarding the rezoning for the development on Vleigh Place – more specifically, the project that is bounded by Vleigh Place to the west, 78th Avenue to the south, and 77th Road to the north.

Over the last few months, I heard many community members and advocates express concerns about this project. I monitored all the community board meetings and heard passionate testimony both for and against this project as initially proposed by the developer. I thoroughly reviewed both Community Board 8’s recommendations and Borough President Donovan Richards’ recommendations on this proposed development. I also personally interacted with scores of community residents, local institutions, stakeholders, and received advice and counsel from the City Council Land Use Division, as well as the chairs of the Council’s Committee on Land Use and Committee on Zoning.

After careful consideration of all the input I received, I have decided that the correct step forward for this application will be for me to modify the application from zoning designation R6A (as proposed by the applicant) to zoning designation R6B. (The Council can accept, modify, or deny the application for the rezoning.) This modification will cap the building height at a maximum of 55 feet – approximately five stories – as opposed to 85 feet as per the developer’s application, which is approximately eight stories. This is a 43 percent reduction in height from the original application and played a crucial role in my decision. An eight-story building would be out of scale with the built environment of the area, in my estimation. Additionally, the new R6B zoning reduces the projected floor area of the proposed development and number of housing units that will be built. The original application called for a projected floor area of 124,391-square-feet and 119 projected housing units. The modified application that I am approving as per my modifications will have a floor area of 76,017-square-feet and 73 projected units – a reduction of approximately 48 percent.

Furthermore, during discussions with the developer, he has indicated that he will maintain the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) “Option Two.” MIH Option Two requires that 30 percent of the total housing units built in the development will be affordable at 80 percent of New York City’s average median income (AMI). For this development, that means approximately 20 to 22 units will be affordable to families earning 80 percent of the City’s AMI. Eighty percent AMI for a family of three is approximately a household income of $85,000. Eighty percent AMI for a family of four is a household income of approximately $95,000.

I want to thank community members – both those who were in favor of and those who were opposed to the development as proposed – who became deeply engaged in this process. You were heard and you made a difference. I would also like to echo Borough President Richards’ sentiment regarding this project that, while we recognize the importance of new development, new developments must be contextual to the neighborhoods. This project, I believe, was not contextual as originally proposed. It will be now.

If anyone has any additional questions regarding this project, please contact my office at 718-217-4969. Thank you.

James F. Gennaro
New York City Council Member
District 24


Dear Editor:

 Although I have never previously written a letter to any publication, I would like to respond to Jason Stark’s letter in last week’s Queens Jewish Link regarding the outrageous and ridiculously anti-science policies implemented by some shuls in demanding that non-vaccinated people wear masks.

 At the outset, I’d just like to preface my remarks by stating that my opinions are not directed at those people whose health places them in high-risk categories, nor are they directed at those wearing real N95 masks.

Until recently, masks were seen by pro-maskers as the ultimate litmus test in judging one’s bein adam l’chaveiro, as wearing a mask proved one cared about the welfare of others and was taking seriously what the supposed health experts such as Dr. Fauci were recommending at the time. The anti-maskers viewed mask mandates as a politically driven nuisance, an unnecessary face diaper serving little purpose beyond allowing one to feel as if they have control over their destiny.

The general consensus for more than two years was that public safety should trump the inconvenience of mask-wearing, and when indoors or in a crowded area, one should be cautious and mask-up. Some took mask-wearing to extreme levels such as wearing masks outdoors and even while driving alone in their own car. However, a recently released study with surprising results should give pause to the perpetual disillusionment of the mask-happy crowd.

The study, conducted by German doctor Zacharias Fögen, analyzed whether mandatory mask use influenced the case fatality rate in the state of Kansas during the time period of August 1, 2020, through October 15, 2020. Kansas was used for comparison because the state allowed each of its 105 counties to decide whether or not to implement mask mandates, with 81 counties deciding against the measure.

The study found that, contrary to the accepted thought that fewer people were dying in mask-mandated areas because infection rates are reduced by masks, this was not actually the case.

In fact, results from this study strongly suggest that mask mandates actually caused about 50% more deaths compared to areas without mask mandates.

The theory behind the increased fatality rate in mask-mandated areas is that hyper-condensed droplets caught by masks are re-inhaled and introduced more deeply into the respiratory tract, resulting in the increased mortality rate.

The next time you are feeling morally superior for wearing your mask and feel like thumbing your nose at people like me, you might want to consider that perhaps by wearing your mask you are placing yourself at a higher risk for adverse health outcomes.

 Jonathan Goldgrab


Dear Editor:

 In response to Goldy Krantz’s article-slash-letter regarding not making our community her permanent residence, I’m writing in to say I send my support to her.

I am tired of seeing the moving vans and trucks. I especially see them now because young parents move during the summer, so they don’t have to switch their children’s’ school mid-year. I’m saying goodbye to wonderful neighbors. Just two weeks ago, the family that was renting the house three doors down from me moved away. Can I blame them? No. They were paying close to $4,000 a month for the house they were renting and couldn’t afford to keep renting and not having a home of their own. She said they looked here because she loves the yeshivos and the close-knit community, but the cost drove them away. And you know who moved in? Gentiles.

I am not like some neighbors who are shocked and almost disgusted that gentiles moved in. Yes, it’s disappointing; but as long as they are nice people, then live and let live. I’ll say hello and be friendly; but if the gentiles are the ones able to afford the houses, then what will happen to our wonderful frum community? I won’t say which block, but there is one block in particular where quite a number of non-frum families or gentiles have moved to.

My children don’t live close anymore. They started out here in Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim and in St. John’s University School of Law, but once they got their feet on the ground and had a family, they knew they couldn’t stay. I talk with them daily and see my grandchildren on FaceTime, but I can’t help but wonder how nice it would be to have my kids or even my nieces and nephews within walking distance. I love visiting everyone, but packing up all the time isn’t the easiest thing either.

Thanks for listening and passing on my support.

 Melissa Eisenberg


Dear Editor:

 I’m not sure why Goldy Krantz has generated so much hate mail for expressing an (mostly factually based) opinion about KGH in these pages. One letter writer had the temerity to call her a “sore loser” and “spoiled.” While I don’t know Goldy personally, I’m baffled as to how one who writes a popular column and holds a respectable job while being happily married and raising children would be described by anyone as a “sore loser” and “spoiled.” And worst of all, this coward doesn’t even have the courage to sign his full name to the letter.

His assertion that he “worked very hard for the last 30-plus years and is able to afford the cost of a house or two” reeks of the arrogance of “Kochi v’otzem yadi,” while not giving proper credit to the One Who put him in a more fortuitous financial position than others.

He further contends: “Does that mean I and others should lose out on having our children and grandchildren close?” A columnist made some statements about the relative unaffordability of KGH. No one asked you to give up anything. Your defensive posture here is unwarranted. Be happy for what you have, and stop hating on others less fortunate than you.

Regarding Shlomo Orbach’s complaint against the QJL for publishing lashon ha’ra, this is complete fake news. He derides “the bashing of our great neighborhood, Kew Gardens Hills,” but this is nothing more than an ad-hominem attack, as he provides no specifics on what the alleged offending words are. His comparison of Goldy’s fact-based descriptions of KGH to the spies’ lashon ha’ra spoken against Eretz Yisrael is beyond absurd.

Goldy, good luck with your move to greener pastures. You join a long list of QJL columnists: Sergei Kadinsky, Izzo Zwiren, Shmuel Sackett, and soon even Rabbinic Consultant Rabbi Schonfeld as ex-KGHers. Based on the response letters he gets to his columns, I suspect much joy would ensue if columnist Warren Hecht would add his name to the list! :)

As an ex-KGHer myself, my only advice would be: Don’t look back! Humans are amazing at adapting to new environments. While you may miss some of the amenities and conveniences KGH has to offer, I suspect that while you are enjoying your presumably larger, likely cheaper home, without annoying one-way streets, alternate side of the street parking, or garbage days to remember, those feelings will dissipate rather quickly. Hatzlachah!

 Avi Goldberg


Dear Editor:

 There are many pros and cons of living in a constitutional republic such as ours, one of which is the freedom to be uninformed about current events. But I must say that, for the longest time, it’s always bothered me that those of us who are informed citizens and vote responsibly should always be outvoted by those who are not informed and do not vote responsibly.

So, here’s an idea, though it’s not entirely my own: Let’s require a civics test as a condition of voting. If you pass the civics test, you get to vote, and if not, you do not. Now, I’ve already anticipated the flood of responses to this proposal, so I’ll address at least two arguments right off the bat: (1) Civics tests are unconstitutional; and (2) Voting is a constitutional right that cannot be infringed upon in any way.

Argument #1: Civics tests are unconstitutional. During the Jim Crow era, literacy tests were imposed on the former slaves to prevent them from voting. The primary reason these tests were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court – see Guinn v. United States (1915) and Katzenbach vs. Morgan (1966) – was because the tests were applied unequally, and clearly discriminated against certain groups of people, mainly black people. This, of course, was a violation of the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. However, if such tests were applied equally to all citizens, then there is certainly a strong case to be made that they don’t violate the 14th Amendment.

Argument #2: Voting is a constitutional right that cannot be infringed upon in any way. This may come as a shock, but there is no federal guarantee to vote. Even though the 15th and 19th Amendments prohibit the states and the federal government from denying citizens the right to vote on the basis of race and sex, respectively, there is still no explicit constitutional and federal right to vote. First, Article II of the Constitution reads, in part: “Each state shall appoint, in such manner as the legislature thereof may direct, a number of electors…” This means that it is the state legislatures that decide which presidential candidate receives its state’s electors, not its citizens. Furthermore, in Bush v. Gore (2000), five justices asserted, “The individual citizen has no federal constitutional right to vote for electors for the President of the United States unless and until the state legislature chooses a statewide election as the means to implement its power to appoint members of the Electoral College.”

 Rafi Metz


Dear Editor:

 It is beyond ironic that Moshe Hill ends his article, “Trump’s Legacy Week,” by writing, “Anyone who thinks the Constitution of the United States is something to be protected should thank him (Trump).” Does Mr. Hill not realize by attempting to overturn the 2020 presidential election, Trump disregarded democracy and trampled on the Constitution?

Mr. Hill’s lack of awareness is indeed astonishing.

Arlene Ross
Forest Hills


Dear Editor:

 Knesset! No. This isn’t a letter bemoaning Israel’s fifth election in who-knows how many years, or its inability for one party to marshal enough seats for a victory. Instead, it’s a letter of shock and concern with regard to the inability of Jeopardy! contestants to answer simple questions about Israel or the Tanach. I can understand that most of these contestants are more in tune with French Cuisine than cholent. However, it’s the basics like, “He led the Israelites into Canaan” which are met with blank stares.

Ask these brilliant contestants about arcane quotes in Shakespeare or some British poet’s dying words or some mountain range in South America, and those buzzers go off furiously. However, even Mayim Bialik (brilliant but a sartorial mess), the host of Jeopardy!, can’t hold back a Sunday school teacher’s frown when these contestants don’t know the name of potato pancakes on Chanukah.

Perhaps I’m watching Jeopardy! too much, or I am envious of anyone who has made it to the hallowed Alex Trebek stage. But if I can answer music questions or several science questions, I can’t understand the Judaic ignorance. Perhaps, instead of boning up on geography and 18th-century literature, it would behoove these contestants to study some Tanach and Jewish history. After all, they will never be asked to name B’nos Tz’lafchad, or will they?

 Debbie Horowitz


Dear Editor:

 Wow, did the “Dating Today” column cause a ruckus in my house last Shabbos! I can’t remember a more riveting, exciting conversation held around the Shabbos table.

Half of us felt Goldy and the emailer were right, and half felt they were very wrong. I agreed with two of my teenage children, but my husband and eldest son disagreed. I’d love for my kids and family to live nearby. But my husband is acting like an aristocrat: “If they can’t afford it, why should we have riff raff among us bringing down real estate prices...?” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Our property taxes went up nearly $1,500! The neighborhood is the same – but not the price of it. If we were just starting out now, I don’t think we would have chosen KGH to raise our family, simply for financial reasons. The debate got hot and heavy. I’m sure our neighbors thought we were having shalom bayis issues, chas v’shalom.

The article has divided my family. But we won’t need a civil war to bring us back together. Everything is fine. I wonder if other families had similar conversations.

 Rebecca (Rivky) Goodman
Kew Gardens Hills, New York


Dear Editor:

 “He’s not an intuitionalist. He is not a politician.” Mr. Hecht wrote those words last week regarding Attorney General Merrick Garland. Are you kidding me? He is the biggest politician who wasn’t elected ever. Don’t believe me? His FBI created a snitch line for school board members to call to rat on parents showing up to meetings and fighting Critical Race Theory and LGBTQ lessons to their children. Who does that? An ideologue!

There are people charged with trespassing the Capitol building on January 6 still in solitary confinement. That’s someone who loves the rule of law? Trespassing? Gee, imagine if someone actually committed a felony. I wonder what their punishment would be, waiting for trial under this AG.

And the greatest example of why, baruch Hashem, this guy isn’t a Supreme Court Justice and proves he’s a political hack, is the video of President Trump’s lawyer, John Eastman, having his 4th Amendment rights violated for all to see. The FBI seized his phone prior to handing him a warrant and while he was reading said warrant, the FBI agent used Mr. Eastman’s facial recognition to proceed to unlock the phone with no suspicion of a crime. He is a lawyer with several clients. What about attorney-client privilege? Mr. Hecht, I’m sure your clients wouldn’t want to give up that privilege? Why should Mr. Eastman’s? His crime? He defended Donald Trump and questioned Pennsylvania’s illegal counting of electors for Joe Biden.

See, the Constitution gives only the state legislators the power over state electors, not the Democrat governor or Democrat State Supreme Court. Merrick Garland is a partisan and fits right in with this left agenda-driven administration.

 Shalom Markowitz


Dear Editor:

 July 2022 marks the 58th Anniversary of federal government support for public transportation.

The success of public transportation can be traced back to one of the late President Lyndon Johnson’s greatest accomplishments, which continues benefiting many Americans today. On July 9, 1964, he signed the “Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964” into law. Subsequently, this has resulted in the investment over time of several hundred billion dollars into public transportation.

Millions of Americans including many residing in Queens today on a daily basis utilize various public transportation alternatives. They include local and express bus, ferry, jitney, light rail, subway, and commuter rail services. All of these systems use less fuel and move far more people than conventional single-occupancy vehicles. Most of these systems are funded with your tax dollars, thanks to President Johnson.

Depending upon where you live, consider the public transportation alternative. Try riding a local or express bus, para transit, commuter van, ferry, light rail, commuter rail, or subway.

Fortunately, we have the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and its various operating agencies, including NYC Transit subway, bus, and Staten Island Railway, Long Island Rail Road, Metro North Rail Road, and MTA Bus.

There is also New Jersey Transit, Port Authority Trans Hudson (PATH) subway, NYC Department of Transportation Staten Island Ferry and Economic Development Corporation private ferries.

Using MTA Metro or OMNY Cards provides free transfers between the subway and bus. This has eliminated the old two-fare zones, making public transportation an even better bargain. Purchasing a monthly Long Island Rail Road or MTA subway/bus pass reduces the cost per ride and provides virtually unlimited trips.

Elected officials and government employees can turn in their taxpayer-funded vehicles and join the rest of us by using public transportation to get around town. In many cases, employers can offer transit checks, which help subsidize a portion of the costs. Utilize this and reap the benefits. It supports a cleaner environment.

Many employers now allow employees to telecommute and work from home. Others use alternative work schedules, which afford staff the ability to avoid rush hour gridlock. This saves travel time and can improve mileage per gallon. Join a car or van pool to share the costs of commuting.

The ability to travel from home to workplace, school, shopping, entertainment, medical, library, etc. is a factor when moving to a new neighborhood. Economically successful communities are not 100-percent dependent on automobiles as the sole means of mobility. Seniors, students, low- and middle-income people need these transportation alternatives. Investment in public transportation today contributes to economic growth, employment, and a stronger economy. Dollar for dollar, it is one of the best investments we can make.

Larry Penner


Dear Editor:

 Warren Hecht praised the January 6 hearings. Although Warren admits that the hearings are biased against Trump, he still has the temerity to claim that the hearings are informative. Hecht further states that he is looking forward to reading the January 6 report. The January 6 hearings are a farce. Pelosi chose all the committee members. The committee members stated their conclusions in advance. They stated that Trump ordered protestors to attack the Capitol and murder the Capitol police. They were never trying to investigate anything. Here are the facts that the committee is hiding from the public:

Allegation #1: “Trump ordered the protestors to commit violence.” The truth is that Trump ordered a “peaceful and patriotic protest.” The one behind the violence was Ray Epps. He is on tape organizing the breach of the Capitol prior to the demonstrations. He was never arrested, and, in fact, was praised by the January 6 committee. It appears that he was an FBI plant.

Allegation #2: “Trump did not secure the Capitol.” Trump ordered extra security for the January 6 protest. Pelosi refused to allow any security on January 6. The same Democrats who are attacking Trump for the so-called insurrection supported the BLM and Antifa riots that were far more violent than January 6.

Allegation #3: “Barr (Attorney General under Trump) stated that there was no fraud in the 2020 election.” Barr also stated that massive mail-in ballots is a “recipe for fraud.” Jimmy Carter also stated that an election with massive mail-in ballots is illegitimate. The Democrats changed the election rules to allow massive mail-in ballots in the key battleground states. This was not legal, because the change in rules did not go through the legislature as required by election law.

Allegation #4: “SCOTUS ruled that there was no fraud in the election.” SCOTUS never ruled on fraud. The Trump legal team argued that the Democrats illegally changed the election rules. SCOTUS heard the case in February 2022 and ruled that since Biden was inaugurated the case is moot. The fact that SCOTUS refused to hear the case does not mean that it has no merit.

Allegation #5: “Trump has presented no evidence that there was anything wrong with the 2020 election.” Countless individuals have presented affidavits in various hearings stating that Republicans were denied access to observing the mail-in ballots as required by law. The video 2000 Mules documents massive illegal voter harvesting. The January 6 hearings ignore this evidence because it does not support their narrative.

Allegation #6: “The Trump protest resulted in the deaths of many people.” An officer died from a stroke the day after January 6. Two other officers committed suicide months after January 6. There is no evidence presented to indicate that these tragedies were caused by January 6. On the other hand, the BLM and Antifa riots resulted in many deaths. The Dems supported these riots and Kamala Harris even funded them. I am sick of this double standard.

The conclusion is that these hearings are nothing more than a publicity stunt. The hearings are also extremely boring. A debate or hearing with only one side being presented is not worth listening to. Only when Congress changes hands from Democrat to Republican can we find out the truth.

Warren is also salivating at the prospect of Merrick Garland charging Trump with crimes. The Torah forbids us to enjoy the suffering of our enemies. Trump is actually a great friend of the Jewish People. How can Warren justify his baseless hatred? Garland refuses to do anything about illegal immigration, or about the fentanyl drug crisis that is killing our youth. Instead, he has labeled parents who object teaching their five-year-old children about LGBT+ and CRT as domestic terrorists. Garland is also supporting the incarceration of January 6 suspects. They are being held without bail in solitary confinement for 22 hours a day. The 9/11 terrorists were treated far more humanely. Garland is a partisan hack who must be held accountable for his actions.

 Eric Rubin