Note From a Banji Fan
Thank you for running Banji Ganchrow’s humor column every week. She makes me laugh and laugh and laugh.
I have no idea who she is and I don’t even live in Teaneck, yet I can really relate to her weekly musings. She feels like a relative of mine.
I view Banji as a Jewish and hipper Erma Bombeck.
I wish all the best to Banji, husband #1 and sons 1, 2 and 3.
I can’t wait for Banji to become a mother-in-law.
Entrusting Our Children to Unknown Bus Drivers
Regarding “Voicing Concerns About School Bus Safety” (October 15, 2015): This is so on target, Robin Tare. Just two days ago, a substitute driver dropped off all of the children—except for mine—down the block from our designated stop. The driver did not know my child and drove away without making sure he got off. Because I had no way to get in touch with the driver, I had to frantically jump in my car with my baby to track down the bus! It is very scary that we entrust our children with these unknown drivers.
Amber Dior Harris
BOE Tried to Cut All Busing, Not Just Private
Regarding “An Insider’s Perspective on the Teaneck Board of Education Election,” (October 15, 2015): Having asked more knowledgeable people to double-check me on this, I think it’s safe to say that it’s misleading to suggest that there was “attempt” four years ago “to eliminate private school busing.” Like the March-April ‘15 controversy, the proposal back then (which I did not favor) involved bus stop consolidations and also cut-backs of BOTH private AND public school busing that exceeded the state mandates cited by Mr. Gruber. I don’t know whether he intended to give the impression that all private school busing was being targeted, but I think his wording would imply that to those who may not know or remember what that heated controversy was about. In any event he should be more careful, as misimpressions are one of the more avoidable causes of crises in our community relations.
I appreciate that Mr. Gruber would like to find reductions in our school system’s fixed costs—which is fine when feasible—but it’s worth noting that even small percentages of our overall budget can have an outsized impact on the system’s discretionary spending. I don’t envy anyone on the BOE or in the administration as they look to find savings that can be redirected toward educational improvements.
Crunching the Numbers at the BOE
Regarding “An Insider’s Perspective on the Teaneck Board of Education Election,” (October 15, 2015), Mr. Gruber states that the Teaneck Board of Education budget accounts for 60-65 percent of property taxes. It is actually only 56 percent. Anyone can check their tax bill and simple divide the school portion by the total. In fact, though often rumored to be in the suggested range, it has not hit 60 percent in the last 25 years. The numbers for the last 25 years can be seen at: http://teaneck.info/Budget/TaxLevyHistory.htm.
If he can’t get this trivial calculation right, can one trust any of his numbers?
Some are accurate but all are designed to foster his point of view. For example, in discussing the cost of health benefits, he fails to mention that this is a statewide health benefit plan or that employees are responsible for up to 35 percent of the cost. Instead he focuses on how small the co-pays are, to create an impression.
Academic achievement is part of his “byline” but apparently is not part of his “key issues.”
Our Young Men and Women Are Home, Defending Our Kotel
I davened at the Kotel this morning at sunrise like I do most mornings. Once again, I saw over 200 police officers and border patrol officers standing in front of the Aish building, ready to start their daily patrols. Usually the number is more like 25. What struck me was the high spirits that they were in. It was early in the morning, they were about to march off into the Moslem Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem to an uncertain fate and they were joking around with each other and talking to each other like friends would normally do.
I then realized that this was the reason that the Jewish people will never be defeated in our homeland, no matter how much terror anti-Semites throw at us. We are home. This is our home. For centuries Jews were beat up, killed and chased out of every country we lived in. We are once again back home in the land of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Our young men and women of the Israeli Security Forces will defend their home with every fiber of their being. That is, I believe, the reason that morale amongst the young men and women I spoke with this morning remains so high. The Jews have come home. The world can condemn us daily and the terrorists can try to stab us but we will defend our right to live in Israel for eternity. עם ישראל חי
Rabbi Steven Burg,
Director General, Aish HaTorah
Reader Demands Editorial Apology For Printing Theory of Creation ‘Hoax’
I am a Jewish scientist. In my view, any true understanding or revelation comes from God, not from persons through whose heads and mouths they pass. As a scientist I know that human understanding of God’s creation and message are and always will be incomplete. Study of God’s creation reveals Almighty’s ways (within human limitations) and coming from the same source, science and religion should be in a general agreement. Otherwise I’d feel it as a painful dichotomy destroying my perceptions. Therefore I keep my eyes open and see that new knowledge and revelations keep coming from above. With all due respect I cannot accept Rabbi J. Sacks’ separation between science and religion.
Therefore I was happy to find Rabbi H. Jachter’s article, “Torat Emet Natan Lanu—Harmonizing Bereishit with Contemporary Science,” (October 15, 2015), a learned attempt to harmonize Creation and science. I have read all the books he quotes and share his preference of theories by science professor (and Orthodox Jew) G. Schroeder presented in “The Science of God.” Schroeder ingeniously explained the difference between the biblical and geological/astronomic calendars with Einstein’s slowing down of clocks under an enormous gravitation of the entire universe compressed in small size, soon after Creation in the Big Bang. Of course the Big Bang is just the best available theory, and the known laws of physics break down close to Creation. I do not see any serious scientific justification for Rav N. Slifkin’s conformist attempt to marry Bereishit with the classical Darwinism based on random changes. However, that is a separate issue and discussion.
However, I would appreciate an editorial apology to the readers for the feature article, “The Theory of Everything From Nothing” (September 3, 2015, by presumed former chemistry professor A. Danesh, reprinted from JNS.org. When I read that “at the origin of the universe there was only air … without any protons, neutrons or electrons,” my hair stood up, as any high school student knows that air is a mixture of gases built from protons, neutrons and electrons. But when I tried to write a critical letter, I realized that every piece of the feature article is an intentionally absurd [expletive deleted], mocking both scientific and religious arguments. It was a hoax, demeaning both religion and science. The editor should have consulted experts, like Rabbi Jachter, and not misinform the readers by trustingly reprinting an unverified hoax.
Dr. Alex Rashin, Teaneck