Finding A Place

In The Community

Dear Editor,

Last Sunday, Achiezer hosted a phenomenal chesed awareness event. As a post-seminary attendee, it was so nice to hear from local organizations about their individual goals and the ways in which we, as local post-high-school girls, can get involved. Our community has so much to offer, and until now, we just never knew the extent of it. Of course we’ve heard of the various organizations and thought we knew what they were about, but now we understand it on another level.

It was brilliant to have people from “post-seminary organizations” such as Sh’eefa and Machon Basya Rochel come and speak. Personally, when my shul sends out e-mails about shiurim, I always felt . . . awkward. Most people who attend are twice my age and married with teens (or beyond). It was nice to see that there are spiritual-enrichment programs designed for us as well. Additionally, it was wise of Achiezer to have Mrs. Sara Glaz come and offer a financial-planning course. Budgeting was not something that we were taught in high school, but it was definitely a critical lesson and perhaps even a survival skill that we need for life.

But all this aside, there was something even more powerful (for me at least) that I witnessed. The representatives from the various organizations in our community are not doing what they do for the glory. They do it because they genuinely care about other people in Klal Yisrael. They are not people who think to themselves “What I do is enough.” In fact, from the entire event, what left the biggest impression on me was watching the representatives from the various organizations take pamphlets, ask questions, and sign up to volunteer for other organizations.

It’s not about “selling” your organization. It’s about helping those who need help. The End.

I guess it was a “had to be there moment,” but it was really special and I definitely took a lesson from it.

So thank you, Achiezer, as well as all of the organizations that presented, for opening our eyes and showing us that we aren’t just “floating” or “in limbo,” but have the ability to greatly contribute to our wonderful community.

Shulamith Twersky

An Alternative For Pollard: Deportation

Dear Editor,

As an experienced immigration-law attorney, I believe that Jonathan Pollard may have a valid basis for legal action as a removable (deportable) alien being held in detention far longer than the time necessary to effectuate his physical removal from the United States.

Jonathan Pollard received full Israeli citizenship in 1994, and it can be argued that his act of requesting asylum from the Israeli embassy, as well as his admitted spying for Israel, constituted an official renunciation of his United States citizenship. There would be precedent for stripping Jonathan Pollard of his U.S. citizenship. Recall the case of famed chess champion Robert James “Bobby” Fischer, who lost his U.S. citizenship after playing in a tournament in Yugoslavia despite U.S. Department of State sanctions. Pollard’s actions against this country were far more consequential than Fischer’s.

In 2001, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Zadvydas v. Davis that deportable criminal aliens could not be kept indefinitely in jail while awaiting deportation. Those aliens who have been held longer than six months may bring an action for a writ of habeas corpus under the provisions of 28 USC § 2241 to challenge their indefinite detention. Even if a writ of habeas corpus can no longer be brought regarding Pollard’s criminal conviction, under a different section of the law, 28 USC § 2255, he may still (in accordance with the Zadvydas decision) petition for a writ of habeas corpus under Section 2241 to challenge his continued detention. Unlike other jailed noncitizens, Jonathan Pollard would be fighting not to stop his deportation from the U.S., but to have it happen as soon as possible. He would be trying to lose, not to win.

Having Jonathan Pollard deported from the United States as a criminal alien would also resonate better with the American people than commuting his sentence to time served. Stripping him of U.S. citizenship, and forcing him to leave the United States forever, never to return, would seem an appropriate end for treason. While commutation of sentence might appear to be undeserved mercy, permanent exile as a traitor would relieve the burden on the taxpayers of his incarceration, while continuing the punishment for the rest of Pollard’s life. The average man in the street would far rather see Pollard kicked out in disgrace than awarded a pardon.

I agree wholeheartedly that Jonathan Pollard has the finest lawyers, who have done their utmost to have him released. However, I also believe that Pollard may have certain legal options as a criminal alien and deportable noncitizen that his legal team might not have considered. Getting Pollard physically deported from the United States as fast as possible, even in chains, would open the door to his jail cell just like clemency, but would be much more acceptable to the American public.


Judy Resnick

The Agunah Problem

Dear Editor,

I would like to thank the 5TJT for running the article “The Get Obsession” (December 6) and letters to the editor supporting agunot. The agunah problem is a very important issue facing the Jewish community. Some of the letters to the editor espouse the idea that the community should force the intransigent husband to give the get. We’ve also been reading in the news where rabbis are beating intransigent husbands into giving their wives a get. Unfortunately, this solution may cause more problems than it solves. Many people, including some rabbis even at beis dins, do not know that within the get, it says that it is being “given of free will.” If the beis din knows that it is being lied to, is the get really kosher? Also, if a beis din knows about it–or, even worse, forces someone to lie in front of it–can we trust this beis din? If the get is not kosher, we’ve created a bigger problem than having an agunah: we have created mamzerim. We have also created beis dins that accept lying. If they accept lying for a get, who knows what else they will accept? Be careful what you wish for; the solution may be worse than the problem.

Hal Hoffman


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