Effective Communication For Couples

Dear Editor,

Mrs. Baila Sebrow responds to a difficult question in the June 6 Dating Forum column [about a woman who deliberately insulted the man she was dating to gauge his reaction]. Her exposition is clear and her advice is sound. We would like to share some of the services that Shalom Task Force (www.ShalomTaskForce.org) offers to those who are not yet married.

Our renowned Shalom Workshop teaches couples the art of effective communication and gives engaged couples practical tools to achieve their relationship potential. The ability to meet each other’s emotional needs helps build a strong foundation for a fulfilling marriage.

We also offer a Mother’s Workshop, which seeks to advise mothers whose children are “in the parashah.”

While our community is more aware of the serious issues that can occur within marriage, it is important to realize that the majority of marriages are successful and healthy and result in normal families. The dating period is a time to explore the potential spouse’s personality, observe their reactions to stress or to the unexpected, and gain awareness of one’s own priorities. Provocative behavior is not the healthy way to gain this information–rather, be a careful observer.

Dr. Alan M. Singer

Executive Director

Shalom Task Force

Meaty Ethics

Dear Editor,

Rabbi Yair Hoffman tries to discredit the messenger of the Wall Street Journal article explaining why an Orthodox rabbi no longer eats meat (“Halachic Musings: Unorthodox Ethics,” June 6). However, Rabbi Hoffman ignores important realities: Animal-based diets and agriculture (1) seriously violate basic Jewish teachings on taking care of our health, treating animals with compassion, protecting the environment, conserving natural resources, and helping hungry people; and (2) significantly contribute to widespread killer diseases in the Jewish community and other communities and to climate change and other environmental threats to all life on Earth.

Plant-based diets are most consistent with Judaism’s eternal values and are necessary to help shift our imperiled planet onto a sustainable path.

Very truly yours,

Richard H. Schwartz, Ph.D.

Excess Baggage Claims

Dear Editor,

The issue between the lines of this article (“That’s The Way It Is: Excess Baggage,” June 6) is likely the bankruptcy of HAS Advantage (Heritage Affinity Services). The HAS Advantage Visa Card was a preferred card among those that accumulated points to fly to Israel. HAS had a great program with El Al and many individuals and families relied on the accumulation of points to transfer to El Al’s Matmid Program. Several weeks ago, with no notice whatsoever, I received an e‑mail from El Al stating, effective immediately, that the relationship with HAS is canceled and no points transfer will be allowed. No grace period, no explanation, nothing! HAS offices are closed and attempts to reach them are futile.

Perhaps the HAS/El Al partnership no longer made sense, but to many, the points are worth no more than with any other credit card “rewards” programs. Since Matmid points expire, most cardholders accumulated points in their HAS Advantage Visa program (administered by U.S. Bank). So like many, my 300K+ points are now rendered worthless for the family bar mitzvah we were planning next week.

A campaign has been launched at www.change.org and we are urging members to let El Al and U.S. Bank know our frustrations with a request that U.S. Bank offer 2.5% cash back–an amount roughly equal to the value of the points had they been eligible for transfer into El Al’s Matmid Program. El Al can also do the right thing by offering a window of time for those who want to transfer their points into the Matmid program. El Al is not the only carrier flying to TLV. Delta, United, and others offer flights at competitive prices. Furthermore, flying El Al does not, in this writer’s opinion, support Israel (it is a for-profit, private company) and is no safer than other international carriers.

Nathan Gordon


The Pope

And The Palestinians

Dear Editor,

Your piece (“Jerusalem Matters,” June 6) was excellently written. However, you can look at the pope’s head-leaning in a different light. Instead of seeing that the pope was lamenting how we are “torturing the Palestinians,” look at it that “it’s sad Israel has to build a fence to separate itself from knife-wielding, bomb-exploding terrorists in order to keep themselves safe.” There are two ways to look at a picture, although your way was probably right.

Moshe Massouda


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