Tuesday, October 15, 2019

The Jewish Link welcomes letters to the editor, which can be emailed to [email protected]
Letters may be edited for length, clarity and appropriateness. We do not welcome personal attacks or disrespectful language, and replies to letters through our website comment feed will not be posted online. We reserve the right to not print any letter.

To the Editor:

I recently attended a Chamber of Commerce awards dinner, at the Glenpointe Marriot Hotel in Teaneck, New Jersey.

As I walked into the lobby with my associate Bruce Prince, the owner of Teaneck General Store, a friendly man named Edwin Ramos introduced himself as the owner of Farmer’s Insurance Agency, also in Teaneck.

As we entered the cocktail reception, we lost sight of Mr. Ramos. Later we were called to the ballroom for the awards dinner. We went to a table that had a few seats left, and Edwin Ramos was there with several members of the Teaneck Police force and Reverend Clemens Reinke from Grace Lutheran Church, who had just finished the convocation. We exchanged pleasantries and information about our respective businesses. Edwin asked about my line of work, and I handed him a business card for my company, Pampered Pets of NJ. His face immediately transformed to reflect great sadness, and he told us that his beloved boxer, Prince, had disappeared 18 months earlier. He and his children missed his dog.

Also sitting at the table was Police Captain Kenneth Croonquist, who was listening intently to Edwin’s story. Captain Croonquist began asking questions about the dog...his name, his age, his coloring, and much more. This continued for about 20 minutes, as the captain clearly knew Prince. Edwin sent Captain Croonquist a picture of Prince, and the officer went to the lobby to make some phone calls. He seemed very excited at the thought that he might know the whereabouts of the lost dog.

The evening came to a close with no resolution about Prince. I thought that the prospect of finding the dog was probably not possible, but I could not stop thinking of Edwin. I contacted him and he told me that his beloved Prince was back at his house with his family!!!

Three complete strangers sitting at a table, exchanging greetings. One person speaks about her business. These few words begin a series of revelations that point to the discovery of a dog that had been missing for 18 months.

Thanks to a myriad of coincidences (there are many more, too numerous to mention) and the effort of Captain Croonquist, Prince is back with his family. He was in excellent condition, having been given good care at the house he was living.

Yvette Oppenheim

To the Editor:

How sad that after all these years Mitzvah Day in Bergen County, sponsored by the Federation of Northern New Jersey and joined by dozens of synagogues and Jewish schools, continues to be a day only of social action. The word mitzvah means any commandment from God whether ethical or ritual. Why define the word as simply good deeds?  At a time of massive assimilation and intermarriage, it behooves all of our Jewish organizations to have both kinds of mitzvos available to the thousands of Jewish adults, teens and children involved. This means we should be encouraging the purchase of mezuzahs at a discount; the giving of inexpensive Shabbat candelabras with candles, the donning of tefillin and perhaps discount coupons to kosher supermarkets in an attempt to increase kashrus observance, etc. If Judaism continues to be a concentration of only ethical moral values to the majority of Jews, then we will continue to lose to assimilatory forces.

Martin Polack

To the Editor:

Thank you for your article of Oct. 31st, “A Green House Pops Up in Teaneck,” about the Passive House that is under construction at 543 Wyndham Road in Teaneck, NJ. To learn more about this Passive House in particular, you can read an informative article at Greenbuildingadvisor.com, the go-to industry site about building green. See: http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blogs/dept/green-building-news/passivhaus-building-modular-way or search for Teaneck Passive House on their website.

For the record, the first quote attributed to me in your article was not something that I said.

Thank you for the changes you made to the online version of this article.

Malka van Bemmelen,

Note: The JLBC stands by what was published originally.

To the Editor:

Rabbi Jack Riemer’s review of Kaddish, Women’s Voices seems to be an interesting addition that addresses traditional women’s spiritual needs. However, I can’t help but notice that much Orthodox rhetoric and behavior still reflects the patriarchal condescension that prevents serious sensitivity toward a particular segment of Jewish adults.

In the review, the rabbi mentions that several women paid tribute “to the rabbis who welcomed them, who were kind enough to announce pages....and (looked) over to their section once in a while when they spoke” (italics mine). I was not only struck by the fact that readers are expected to appreciate these supposedly “enlightened” acts but we were to view this as some sort of “proof” that certain segments of the Orthodox Jewish community are indeed broad minded.

He chose to conclude with: “Anyone who reads (this book) will come away...with a new appreciation for the way in which modern Orthodox Jews are striving to balance their commitment to tradition with their understanding of the spiritual needs of the women in their midst.” This implies that women are not included under the rubric of “modern Orthodox Jews” but rather are “others” lurking about “in their midst.” I don’t think this was deliberately disrespectful but does reflect the point that many men in the modern Orthodox community still consider women as religious outsiders.

I agree with his point that both sides have much to learn from each other. Let’s recognize that semantics matters.

Susan Berger