Election Reflections

Dear Editor,

In your post-election editorial, you wrote, “The country has made its choice in a wonderful and massive exercise of textbook democracy. Barack Obama will be our president for the next four years, and the onus is on him to undo the damage he has done in dividing this country over the last four years and to take his place in history as well as earn his title of President.”

Perhaps if you Republicans didn’t spend four years focusing on Obama’s private life and making up nonsense about his past, there wouldn’t have been any divisiveness. While you were complaining about his birth location and his secret Islamism, Obama actually went on to achieve many things that nobody else has been able to do. As recently as the day after the election, the minority leader (GOP) stated that his focus will be obstructionism.

Obama has earned his title as President. He earned it twice when the majority of this county gave him that title twice.

Azi A. Graeber

Educational Coercion

Dear Editor:

Incredibly, throughout the presidential debates, one critical question was left unasked: “Would you empower parents to send their children to the school of their choice?”

Those who control education also control our nation’s culture and all that evolves from there, including the role of government in directing our lives. The greatest government-sanctioned violation of our civil rights, and denial of our liberty, occurs every day when government financially coerces parents to send their children to government schools. This has no place in a free society, and parental choice in education needs to be fully implemented now!

Empowering parents to raise and educate their children with minimal government intrusion will also cut costs in half, improve educational quality exponentially, level the political field for the average voter, and vastly improve our economy and employment prospects.

The actions we all take to achieve universal school choice will determine the future of our children and all society. A wealth of information on this critical issue is available at the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute.

Israel Teitelbaum

Secretary, Alliance for Free Choice

in Education

Thank You To Chabad of 5T

Dear Editor,

Thank you, Chabad of the 5 Towns, for caring about us during a very frightening time in our lives, during and after Hurricane Sandy. You didn’t forget us for the ten days that we were without electricity and heat (and even after).

We lived in our dark and cold apartments in fear, but you sent us hot meals, blankets, and thermal socks, and we were warmed with your love. You reached out to every one of us and we are very grateful.

The Residents of the

Hampshire House

601 Chestnut St.


Many Unanswered Questions

Dear Editor,

November 7–These past ten days ought to go down as one of the darkest periods in these communities on the South Shore of long Island, especially in the hamlets of Cedarhurst. Our hearts go out to all the innocent, hard-working homeowners and heavily burdened taxpayers whose homes were made completely uninhabitable in Long Beach, Island Park, neighboring Oceanside, and, closer to home, Cedarmere Park and Cedarhurst.

How could this happen in the midst of so many supposedly well-prepared, trained evacuation and emergency personnel? How poorly prepared they turned out to be the past week and a half–soon turning into two weeks of not having basic electricity, hot water, basic human needs! How scary it is to know now once and for all that if this had been a national disaster caused by an enemy attack, how many people would have lost more than just their homes and cars?

First, LIPA, the most expensive utility entity in the nation, has to be held accountable for each person who is suffering in a freezing home tonight, ten days later. Heads should roll in that organization, starting with firing upper management and breaking this uncaring giant monopoly into utility plants where we can decide whom to choose for our utilities. All LIPA paying customers who were affected by their gross negligence, their lack of communication, their rude customer service, should join a class-action lawsuit asking for no bill payments until all electric panels in everyone’s home have been replaced (if flooded); all those items that were lost due to power outages–refrigerators, freezers, groceries, oxygen tanks, aquariums with live animals dying from lack of oxygen–be repaid in full.

And now, to the village of Cedarhurst: You have left us unprotected in the dark. This village became and is still the Wild West. After our personal belongings were thrown to the curb, the looting started even in broad daylight!

All homeowners should stop paying the village tax immediately until we receive answers to the question: Why did you close the sewers in order to avert flooding to JFK airport and divert it back to drown our residents by flooding their basements and homes? Where were the police, the emergency squads, not doing their job with loudspeakers going from street to street preparing residents to flee and take their possessions (whatever they could), save their cars on higher grounds, and get out of this area? These questions must be answered.

Edith Polak

Executive Director

5 Towns Jewish Council

Good Neighbors

Dear Editor,

The rains came, the winds came, and then, as if by lightning, our neighbors came.

We had learned a Robert Frost poem many years ago that “good fences make good neighbors.” But on the night of October 29, our lives changed, and we learned how important good neighbors are.

My husband and I retired to our bedroom early, as our house had no power and we felt . . . powerless. The sanctuary of our bedroom felt safe and we were asleep by 8 o’clock. When I woke up at around 11:30 p.m., I stepped off our bed to see what was going on. The wind was howling, tree branches were banging at the windows, and I could not locate my slippers–they had floated away. When I got off the bed, I stepped into 3 feet of water.

My first thought was, had a window been left open? But I quickly discovered that, although no windows were open, the whole room–the whole house, a one-story ranch–was filled with water. My husband suffered a stroke nearly six years ago, leaving him paralyzed on his right side and unable to walk without assistance. We were scared. I wondered how I was going to get him out of the house. I quickly dressed my husband and unlocked our front door, hoping help was on the way. I waited for what seemed like an eternity, but in reality just a few minutes, for someone, anyone, to come and rescue us. I had called my son, who left his house immediately, but the rains and floods kept him from getting within three blocks of our house.

The water on our street was freezing and approaching 4 feet and rapidly rising when the first of our heroes arrived. Dr. Eli Greenberg and the Kiva Braver family “let themselves in.” These men lifted my husband out of his bed and into his wheelchair. Eli summoned two other wonderful neighbors, Dr. Marcel Sheinman and Jeff Gononsky, to cross over the “Jefferson Street River” and come into our house. The waters were rising, but these men did not think of themselves–they thought of us. The men, with superhuman strength, lifted my husband in his wheelchair, in the dark, scary night, over their heads, through the water and brought him to the safety of Tammy and Marcel Scheinman’s house. It is a night we will never forget, mostly for the kindness we were shown.

We two, cold seniors were rescued. With much gratitude and love to our wonderful, heroic neighbors, we are forever grateful.

Paula and Feivy Fuchs


Accentuating Chesed

Dear Editor,

I just wanted to give public recognition and thanks to Accentuations by Design, of Boro Park. Last week, I was one of over 20 flood victims that received a beautiful, completely free bedroom or dining-room set. They gave us brand-new sets, not scratched-up floor samples. They gave us a choice from three amazing sets (valued between $3,200 and $5,600) and not just a set they can’t sell. They did not pressure us to look at their other beautiful furniture or make any sales pitch whatsoever. They will even store it for two months till we settle in a new home. This is truly an amazing, pure chesed and may Hashem repay them for their unbelievably generous support of their brothers and sisters in need. Mi k’amcha Yisrael!


Far Rockaway

Imma, That’s The Air

Raid Siren

Dear Students,

I am writing from Yerushalayim. By now, I assume that you all know about the events of Friday evening. As you all know, there is always a tremendous busy-ness early on Friday afternoon which progressively quiets down as the time for candle lighting approaches. The pre-Shabbos calm had descended on Yerushalayim; the Yerushalayim Shabbos siren had gone off. I was at my daughter’s home. We had lit candles for Shabbos; my son-in-law had just left for shul and I was sitting on the floor playing with my grandsons, aged 2 and 4. All was calm–it was Shabbos–and then a siren sounded. My initial thought was that there was a malfunction in the Shabbos alarm system…and then I heard my daughter yelling from the other room. “Imma, that’s the air raid siren; bring the boys to the shelter.”

Because she lives in a new apartment, she has a safe room. I picked up my younger grandson and told my older grandson to come with us. We had 90 seconds to get there (as compared to 15 seconds in the south), but we had already wasted precious seconds before we realized what was happening. We went to the safe room and, for the sake of the children, behaved normally. My daughter sang Shabbos songs with the children and tried to answer my grandson’s repeated questions of “Imma, what do I do if I am at gan and the alarm goes off? How do I go underground?” How do you explain things to a four-year-old so he can stay safe, without traumatizing him?

What did I think about in that safe room? How do people in S’derot and Be’er Sheva do this for four years now? What will the rest of Shabbos be like? How many times will this situation repeat itself over Shabbos? Who has been hurt?

After we left the safe room, we heard many, many emergency vehicle sirens. We were worried that that signified something deadly. It was not until after Shabbos that we could discount rumors and get accurate news reports (and then understood that the sirens were only part of the normal emergencies that happen in every city).

People here are traumatized. They recognize how lucky they are b’H that no one was hurt, but worry about what will happen tomorrow and where they will be when the next siren goes off. People’s children go to preschools that don’t have proper shelters. They go to work. They leave their homes. They worry about staying safe and keeping their families safe. In Yerushalayim, people understand that one rocket is not the same as the continual barrage in the south, and the repeated refrain here is what can we do for the south? How could we not have recognized what they are experiencing on a daily basis?

What should you do? First, of course, say Tehillim, learn more, and daven. Second, send e-mails to people you know in Israel–friends from high school, students from your school who were a class or two behind you, and, of course, your family. Let them know you are thinking of them. They need that for chizuk and psychological support. Third, write letters to your elected officials on a local, state, and national level. Let them know that you stand with Israel, that you support the Gillibrand-Kirk resolution on Israel (if they were among the 62 co-sponsors, thank them) and that the rocket attacks in the south and beyond need to stop. Fourth, use your list serves, social media contacts, etc. to get messages out about your support for Israel and ask your contacts to take action in tefillah, support, and chizuk.

Don’t underestimate the impact of your voice.

Dean Stoltz-Loike, Ph.D.

Dean, LCW

VP of Online Education

Touro College

The Humanitarian Situation In Gaza

To the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Dear Sirs,

Regarding your notice that “Israel is making a major effort to maintain the fabric of civilian life in Gaza, despite the situation of current hostilities”:

My husband and I lived in Gaza for 30 years and consider it as home, as do all our five married children and all those living here in the Ein Tzurim caravilla site. We hope that someday there will be opportunities for us to return home and live peacefully with our neighbors as we did for most of the first 25 years that we lived there.

We are hearing endless sirens and explosions from every direction as present Gazans launch rockets on us as they try to murder us. We have no protection in caravillas (caravans with red tile roofs). The only option is to try to run the distance to the concrete sewage pipe that may offer some possible protection for minor pieces of shrapnel, but not for anything else.

My husband and I are elderly and cannot run as quickly as needed and are afraid of falling on our way to seeking protection. My daughter has five young children, and at night it is impossible for her to get into the sewage pipe in time before the rocket lands and explodes. Usually the explosion finds her midway to the pipe with little twin tots, one in each hand, as her husband gets the other three out of the sheetrock caravan. My sons, with seven and five young children, also have a hard time making it to the sewage pipe before the attempt to murder their families comes very near and explodes.

Those of us that do make it have to stand for sometimes 20 minutes or more–depending on the number of rockets–like sardines, with sometimes as many as 20 people in these round sewage pipes, with some standing like flies on a wall. Some young children and youth have anxiety attacks with each large explosion that they hear and know was aimed at them as a Jew in the State of Israel. To see them shaking and sweating and stiff as a board is very disturbing and surely deserves a humanitarian solution too.

Perhaps the humanitarian solution for the citizens of the State of Israel is not to be so humanitarian to those who are making every effort to murder us.

I would appreciate to hear what other efforts are being made to improve the humanitarian situation of the former Gaza residents who are Jewish citizens of Israel.

Anita Tucker

Netzer Hazani


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