letters to the editor

Schizophrenia Prevention Clarification

Dear Editor,

I regularly enjoy Rabbi Hoffman’s interesting and thought-provoking Halachic Musings columns in the 5TJT.

However, I was quite concerned that his recent column, titled “Schizophrenia and Procreation,” (September 13), would inadvertently raise false hopes that one may soon be able to prevent the development of schizophrenia in their loved ones. As a clinical psychiatrist with research experience, I strongly feel that this, unfortunately, is not the case.

In this column, Rabbi Hoffman mentioned a recent article involving animal research that he states will shortly provide an avenue of exploration to potentially prevent schizophrenia. While it is an interesting article about an experimental mice model, it is extraordinarily far from clinical application at this time. The nature of science is such that the overwhelming majority of animal studies that generate positive findings do not bear out over time when subjected to further research and clinical trials in human patients.

So what hope can we offer families with loved ones already suffering with this potentially devastating illness? That there are presently treatments available that can ameliorate and contain the symptoms. And yes, there is much interesting active research, such as the study Rabbi Hoffman mentions in his article, looking for ways to actually prevent it someday, iy’H.

Shalom Feinberg, MD
Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry
Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Medical Center

Liberals/Progressives Are Not Socialists

Dear Editor,

With all due respect to my fellow Americans, most of us simply don’t know that a liberal/progressive is not the same thing as a socialist.

A true socialist is someone who wants all of the businesses and workplaces to be owned and controlled by the state, the government, the workers, or the people, and not by individuals and groups of people who run them for profit as we have here in the U.S.

The overwhelming majority of Democrats want our federal government to spend more on social programs to help the lower and middle classes as they struggle to survive and pay their bills. They are not socialists. They are liberals/progressives who want our market-based capitalist economic system to become more humane (and not replaced) by having our federal government spend more to help the lower and middle classes.

They know all too well that there has never been a truly socialist economy on a large scale in which socialism produced enough wealth to meet the people’s basic needs. It has never worked. Thus, while most Americans seem not to be aware of this, and while conservative-Republican politicians and the conservative news media do not want the American people to be aware of this, most Democrats want our federal government to be more like those of almost every one of our traditional allies (Canada and western Europe), which do spend more than we do, in proportion to their population sizes, to help their lower- and middle-class citizens. None of our allies are socialist; they know it and they will tell you so.

To put this simply, President Trump and the conservative news media who are going to continue to call all Democrats “crazy socialists” for the next year are either intentionally lying to the American people or are very poorly-informed and just plain wrong.

Stewart B. Epstein

P.S. By way of background, I am a retired college professor of sociology, social work, and psychology who still very much enjoys helping people as well as informing, teaching, and educating others when I believe that I have something to offer to them…That’s why I write these letters.

I am very proud to have taught at West Virginia University and Slippery Rock University. In addition, I spent five years working as a New York State-licensed social worker providing therapy and counseling in the fields of alcoholism, drug addiction, mental health/illness, and marriage and family therapy.

Thank You, Malkie

Dear Editor,

I have been meaning to write about the inspirational articles that Malkie Hirsch has been sharing with us, as she depicts so accurately the roller coaster of emotions that she and her young family face on a daily basis in moving forward without their beloved husband and father, Moshe Hirsch, a’h.

I cry along with her and cheer her on as she displays courage and determination in transmitting her emunah and her gratitude for the years she shared with her husband. That she is a member of the talented Gordon writers is obvious as she uses her words so beautifully to paint a picture of her emotions. May Hashem bentch her and her family with a g’mar chasimah tovah, and special mazal tov on the upcoming bar mitzvah of her son.

Soshie Hirth


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