A Rebbe’s Work
Is Never Done

Dear Editor,

I would like to add a footnote to Rabbi Hoffman’s article “Class Size: A Halachic Analysis” (March 11), specifically the reference to the Maharsha’s gematria of “Ko.” Nearly 50 years ago, Rabbi Sender Gross, of blessed memory (he had lived in the Five Towns but I think by then he was the principal of the Hebrew Day School in Miami Beach), was honored by Torah Umesorah. In his speech, he said that the notion of Ko is critical in chinuch. The gematria of G‑d’s name amounts to 26. The rebbe’s responsibility is to take the child he is teaching up to the final point, that is until the child reaches Ko.

Marvin Schick


Touting Trump

Dear Editor,

I am a regular reader of your newspaper, which I enjoy. But I must express my displeasure with your apparent campaign to vilify and belittle Donald Trump. Comparing his experience to Barack Obama is ludicrous. Mr. Trump is a highly successful businessman. Obama never employed a person in his life. There is no comparison.

You are giving license to Jews to vote for Hillary Clinton, who brags about continuing Obama’s legacy. She’s proud of being a major force in the “Iran deal,” which is an existential threat to Israel. The same left-wing radical mobs that are attacking Donald Trump are the groups attacking Jews and Israeli speakers.

The over seven years of Obama has been terrible for Israel. We don’t need any more! I’m a registered Democrat and support Donald Trump.

Jay T

The BuyCott Continues

Dear Editor,

In “BDS at Home” (March 12 issue), you supported countering the BDS movement by buying products made in Israel. I would like to bring to your attention an organization called Lev HaOlam. They will send you monthly packages of things made and produced in Yehuda V’Shomron, a few food items, and some other items also. I am not involved with this organization, but a few months ago I subscribed and I am constantly looking forward to receiving the monthly packages. My latest package was Purim-themed, with items including hamantashen and a grogger. In December, I received a beautiful Chanukah menorah.

This is an excellent way of supporting businesses and people living and working in our biblical heartland without giving charity, per se. If you or your readers want further information or want to subscribe for the monthly packages, you can check them out at LevHaOlam.com.

Mark Rubin

Appreciating
Cedarhurst Life

Dear Editor,

Thank-you to all who supported our campaign for our resounding and record-breaking reelection as trustees. The many compliments and well-wishes we received during the campaign, and the very large Election Day turnout, left us feeling validated and encouraged.

We believe in the importance of individual votes as the cornerstone of the democratic process. So does Cedarhurst. While there is so much voter apathy elsewhere, we marvel at the involvement here.

We also take special pride in the fact that we ran a super-clean campaign. We never demeaned our opponents. We stressed our strengths and our commitment to you, our friends, the citizens of Cedarhurst. That is why we reaffirmed our pledge that we will diligently pursue our goal of serving the needs of every resident and merchant in the village, and that we will continue to make lasting and meaningful improvements to our beautiful, warm, and caring village.

Again, we thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve for another four years. Our doors and smartphones are open for your input, suggestions, and anything else we can do for you.

Warmly,

Ron Lanzilotta, Deputy Mayor

Myrna Zisman, Trustee

Airing Of Grievances

Dear Editor,

I think Mr. Burg and Mr. Goldfeder deserve a big thank-you shout-out from the residents of Cedarhurst. Their opposition unveiled the dormant unity and allegiance the residents have to a government that has served its residents well. Under the tutelage of Mayor Parise and now Mayor Weinstock, the village and its trustees have always looked out for the people and have been open to the comments and input of the constituency. I am glad that such a vote of confidence was exhibited. It has been a long time since our last contested election, and it is good for those who have been running the show to get a nice pat on the back.

If Burg, Goldfeder, or anyone else have issues, I am sure the ears of Village Hall will be open. If people have ideas, they should come forward and speak out.

Maybe it is time for the village to hold periodic open town-hall meetings to invite people to voice those matters that they want to have addressed.

Eliezer Cohen

Machberes Continues

Dear Editor,

Thank you for continuing the Machberes column by the Tannenbaum family.

I was not expecting to find it in the paper after it was not in the March 4 edition. I am sure many others share my delight and relief that it is being continued. Mr. Gordon, yasher koach for this menschlich and wise move!

Sandra Lieberman

Kosher Food
With Lady Gaga

Dear Editor,

The Five Towns/Far Rockaway community–what a fantastic place to live in. Isn’t it? Great yeshivos, awesome people, ample shopping, and the delicious restaurants. Ahhhh . . . the restaurants. What’s a good, thriving, Jewish community without plenty of eateries to appeal to our sophisticated and discriminating Jewish palates? (And to think our grandparents starved in the ghettos.)

So I, like so many others, take advantage of these mainstays of modern Jewish life, for an eat-out with my wife, or occasionally a special outing with the whole family, or most often for an iced coffee on a regular workday. It is convenient to have at our disposal food choices to fill our every craving and desire.

No, I’m not here to vent about the levels of sheer gluttony that seems to permeate every aspect of our culture, nor am I coming to address the hashkafic dilemma of partaking in the edacious habits that have a sneaky tendency of guising in the cloak of frumkeit. I’m here to vent about something subtle, something many may claim is insignificant. Some readers may have already moved on to another page of this publication, and are being bombarded with all sorts of enticing advertisements, making them wonder why they aren’t participating in the “Pesach of Their Dreams” on Crantabeur Island (that isn’t really a place, but it fits into the whole “fake Pesach” theme).

I am writing to bring up the topic of non-Jewish music. Particularly the music that is being played while I order my coffee, or eat lunch with my wife. Perhaps because I am musically inclined, this grates on my nerves more than it does for others, but when I am in a store owned by a Jew, which is entirely catering to Jewish customers, selling strictly kosher food with a great hechsher (on the food, that is), why do I have to leave the store with filthy lyrics swirling around my head?

What would be so terrible if they played classical music or some neutral instrumental music? Would it thoroughly ruin the chic atmosphere of these eateries if they would be so antiquated as to play–gasp–Jewish music? You know, the good old stuff that used to come out on tapes. With a tune. . . . Remember?

I don’t know if it is the hashgachah organization’s responsibility to ensure that everything about our eating experiences is “kosher.” I can understand why hechsherim would be hesitant to wade into the choppy waters of the restaurant’s general atmosphere, and then having no choice but to assess and dissect its every detail. They prefer to make sure there are no bugs in your salad, no milk in your burger, and that’s about it. I believe by deciding to take a passive role in regard to the overall Jewishness of our dining experiences, inevitably the hashgachah of a restaurant is regrettably relegated in the eyes of the consumer to a for-profit adjunct of the kosher food industry.

Part of the change needs to come from the consumers themselves. When I respectfully asked the owner of a popular café why he plays the kol isha music that he does, he explained to me that “it is what the customers want.” While it may be true that many of the people who frequent these stores listen to secular music privately, I doubt too many would make a point of asking for the highly questionable music if nice background music were being played.

Maybe those of us who are bothered by this trend should nicely let the owners know that we don’t want that type of music and atmosphere and are reluctant to come to their stores and bring our children there when that is the environment.

This isn’t just about the music; it is the whole “avirah,” as it’s called. It is something about our current culture and the yetzer ha’ra we are challenged with that makes us so strongly enticed to act and feel as goyish as possible while still feeling superficially Jewish. This is prevalent in every Jewish community, and it negatively affects most of us.

Just like a kosher home is sorely lacking if the food is the only thing that is “kosher,” a kosher café shouldn’t feel like a Starbucks, just with kosher food. A Jewish wedding shouldn’t feel like a non-Jewish one, just with “Jewish music.” And we shouldn’t feel like we are just like the nations of the world, just with all the Jewish trappings.

So next time Lady Gaga (I squirm even writing her name) intrudes on your lunch, ask her to leave. And if she sticks around and is ruining your outing, I’d recommend leaving yourself.

C.S. Zakst

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