To the Editor:
I am the author of the 9/11 Museum article that Adam referenced in his piece, “March of the Living.” If possible, can you please let Adam know that I read his article and was really moved by his words. As a mom, I have to admit, I feel a little guilty that he missed his class trip. But that’s not the point of course. Adam’s story gives me hope. I’ve shared my own story so many times but until Adam no one really heard me. I feel like one of those specks in Dr. Seuss’ Whoville. If only grownups would listen to young people, maybe it would be a better world. Sincerely, Meg Bloom Glasser
To the Editor:
Please spread the word to all Teaneck residents...
Our fantastic local community center is likely to significantly cut back on their activities. Whether you participate or not, please take action.
I personally never paid much attention to the activities at the Rodda Center until a year ago when I realized how much karate classes for my children would cost at the local martial arts schools. I found out that the Rodda Center offers much better prices. Then when I went in there and actually looked around at their table of flyers, I saw numerous classes for my children offered at quite inexpensive prices. Not only did we take karate with an outstanding instructor, but since then we’ve taken creative movement and arts and crafts. This fall we’re planning to register for even more! At least, that was the plan until I heard that the town is planning to drastically reduce their classes. I cannot afford the private schools for my children to take art, dance, martial arts, tennis, horseback riding, etc. Only through the Rodda Center is this possible.
Please, please, every Teaneck resident should speak up to keep the classes available for families, whether your own or mine. We pay our taxes and depend on the community center to find affordable classes for our children to have access to extracurricular activities.
Thank you, Anonymous Mother in Teaneck
To the Editor:
I’m just writing to share with you how happy I am to receive The Jewish Link weekly these days instead of every other week. I particularly enjoy the columns by Rabbi Dr. Mordechai & Nina Glick who recently moved to Teaneck from Montreal especially since I grew up in Montreal and they often write about how life in Montreal compares with life in Teaneck. I also enjoy the cute weekly articles by Sarah Abenaim & Banji Ganchrow and to be honest, I generally enjoy reading all of the articles you print. Bergen County definitely needed a weekly paper that was especially relevant to the concerns of the Orthodox community & I am thankful that your paper serves that purpose. I look forward to many more years of enjoying the Jewish Link in the future so keep up the good work!
Batya Novogroder Teaneck, NJ
To the Editor:
Bravo to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for leading Israel through its toughest crisis in years. When the right is criticizing you for being too far left and the left is criticizing you for being too far right you must be doing something right.
In the current conflict, Bibi’s conduct draws withering criticism from the left, as always, and also the criticism of those on the right, such as former Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon who felt the government was not being strong enough. A true leader is able to do what needs to be done without bowing to pressure, while being aware of public opinion and doing what he can do to show people that what we are doing is right.
Bibi’s versatility of spirit is, I think, characteristic of the Jewish people. This ingenuity of the soul has allowed Klal Yisrael to flourish despite our myriad tzaros.
A medrash in Shir Hashirim describes an aspect of the unique relationship between Hashem and Klal Yisrael. The medrash relates a moshol limah hadavar domeh, a parable. A king went to his wine cellar and found that all the wine, except one barrel, had turned sour. For Hashem Klal Yisrael is that wine.
What is the deeper meaning of Klal Yisrael’s being compared to wine that retains its quality while others turn to vinegar? Wine is volatile. It requires a certain temperature, a certain atmospheric pressure, etc. If one of these factors is off, the wine will become vinegar; whereas, if conditions are right, the wine can last indefinitely. How then could it be that one barrel remained wine while the others in the same room turned? The answer must be that this wine was, for whatever reason, less temperamental than the other wines, more versatile. This wine possessed a versatility of spirit that was not present in the other wines.
Klal Yisrael maintains the versatility of spirit to remain true to our values and true to Hashem even while we have endured and continue to endure persecutions. Klal Yisrael stays sweet like wine, Klal Yisrael does not become vinegar. This characteristic continues to be evident in Israel today.
It has been said that to be killed for being a Jew, observant or otherwise, is to die al kiddush Hashem. It must then be said that to live as a Jew is to live al kiddush Hashem. I am no Zionist, yet I feel that the desire of even secular Israelis to identify as Jews and proclaim their Jewishness, and to assert their right to live as Jews is rooted in holiness, especially in today’s rabidly anti-Semitic global climate. To declare one’s Jewishness in the face of such ugliness is nothing less than a kiddush Hashem.
When presented with such gadlus, such genuine bigness of spirit, we must examine how we have stood strong for so many years and ask, how do we continue to stand strong? How did it come about? Why did it come about? The answer goes to the root of the very specific mission Klal Yisrael has among the nations of the world.
When a Jew wakes up in the morning and when he uses the bathroom, Halacha requires that he make an Asher Yatzar blessing, which ends with Boruch atah Hashem rofei chol basar umafli laasos. “Blessed are you Hashem healer of flesh and doer of wonders.”
What does it mean in this context that Hashem does wonders? The Rema, Rabbenu Moses Isserles, explains that this is referring to the awesome coexistence of our physical bodies with the spiritual spark of ruchniyus. Gashmiyus (physicality) and ruchniyus (spirituality) are inherently contradictory. Gashmiyus attaches us to this world and ruchniyus pulls us towards heaven. Spirituality urges us to rise above, while physicality sucks us down. That is why it is so truly wondrous for a physical body to contain a ruchniyusdika neshama, a spiritual soul.
The Torah teaches us how to navigate this inherent contradiction and to create harmony. That is the mission of the Jewish people. The Jewish people, when behaving as they should, are the point at which heaven and earth meet.
That is why we have the dexterity to navigate these complex situations. That is our purpose in this world and our mission until the end of time. To quote Bibi, “From the history of our people we know a simple truth—the eternal people do not fear a long road. We are proud of our heroic soldiers. With the Almighty’s help, and theirs, we will succeed.”
P.S. Russian rebels apparently shot down a commercial jet killing almost 300 innocent civilians, more than had been killed at that point in Operation Protective Edge. Where are the protests in the streets of Germany and in the streets of France? Where are the liberals decrying the inhumanity and barbarity of the Donetsk People’s Republic? The humanitarian protests have been revealed for what they are—antisemitic rampages.
Shimon Katz Lakewood, NJ