letters to the editor

Dear Editor,

Your editorial (“Heard In The Bagel Store: Not A Smart Move,” June 8) was an excellent news article that was not widely disseminated in the community. What Satmar chassidim and the anti-Israel protesters at the parade did is truly damaging to Jews.

But the Satmars and like-minded people don’t care what anybody else thinks, only what the leader says to do. That is very sad. Reb Yoel probably would not support this in today’s time.

All you have to do is visit a Holocaust museum and see what Jews went through in order to appreciate that we have Israel. Can you imagine if you told your grandfather in the concentration camps to just hold on a few years because soon there will be an Israeli army to protect you? They could not imagine something like that. Yet today, when we have a strong Israeli Jewish state, misguided individuals, including liberal U.S. Jews, want to take it down. Do they think they would really be better off if they were ruled by Arabs?

Let’s all work towards better mental health for the misguided among us.

Mendi Scharf
(originally from Satmar, Romania) now Flatbush

Dear Editor,

I was extremely disturbed about your publication of a rather detailed article in the June 8 edition (“Heard In The Bagel Store: Not A Smart Move”) regarding the Satmar gathering at the Nassau Coliseum. The Satmar views against the Israeli government have been well-known for years. While we may disagree with their views, they have every right to express them in whatever means and forum they wish.

Your major focus for your being against their gathering is that it provides more support for all the anti-Semites who already hate Israel. Thus, they can claim that even Jews hate Israel. I could argue whether making such a deduction is credible. However, even if this were true, your publicizing the gathering certainly adds to the problem. I’m willing to bet that many Jews did not know about this gathering. Among gentiles, they more certainly were unaware of this gathering. Your publishing the matter now makes this known to some of the very people who hate us. Your publication added more fuel to the hatred! What was your point?

A related problem is that people generally fail to be able to separate a person’s general behavior from a single or a few actions. As a child, I was told that Satmars are anti-Zionists. Therefore, I “hated” all Satmar chassidim. What made me change my mind was when I saw how their bikur cholim division lovingly stocks hospital refrigerators with fresh food delivered daily. This is a tremendous act of chesed that provides a vital, kind service that benefits thousands of people daily. I know a number of wonderful friendly Satmar chassidim personally. I can appreciate them as people even if we have drastically different opinions on Israel as well as numerous other matters.

Your article encourages anti-Semites as well as many of your Jewish readers to think of Satmar people as despised or, perhaps, evil people just because they are anti-Zionists. I fail to see the purpose of publishing your story at all. To me it seems to be another example of lashon ha’ra that, perhaps, is evaluated as permissible because you feel that your readers need to know and react to a possible “danger.” In fact, not every story needs to be told. This was one of them. I hope that in the future, you will use better discretion at withholding publishing a story that derides any Jewish individual or group.

Daniel Feldman

Dear Editor:

I commend you on your terrific article about the Satmar Israel-bashing gathering at Nassau Coliseum and would like to comment on the misguided and harmful comments of Daniel Feldman in his letter to the editor in the June 22 issue.

Mr. Feldman states in part: “While we may disagree with their views, they have every right to express them in whatever means and forum they wish”.  Really?  In the same way that Hamas and Iran are entitled to express their views “in whatever means and forum they wish?” And I suppose Mr. Feldman believes that Nikki Haley was wrong in pulling the United States out of the UN Human Rights Council. We know that Ms. Haley’s grounds were that this Council was almost exclusively dedicated to Israel-bashing. Presumably, Mr. Feldman believes that the brutal regimes who are members of this Council have the same right to express their views “in whatever means and forum they wish”.

Mr. Feldman also gives Satmar a huge pass because of their widespread bikkur cholim activity. To this argument, I refer to the well-known fact that many of the worst swindlers in the frum community purport to cleanse themselves through extraordinary gifts to charity. Would Mr. Feldman take the position that no one should publicly criticize the huge chillul hashem caused by these crooks on account of the charity they give? While no one believes that the bikkur cholim activities of Satmar are undertaken with the intent of whitewashing their fierce anti-Zionism, by what twisted logic do the bikkur cholim activities of Satmar balance out the extreme immorality of their position and propaganda against Israel?

Most of us have been patients in hospitals at some point, and I would bet that the vast majority of this group would only too gladly arrange for their own food to be brought to them if the quid pro quo was a Jewish community unified in support of Eretz Yisroel and the medina. The Talmud says about bees – we do not need your sting and we do not need your honey. To the Satmar community – we do not need your virulent anti-Zionism and we do not need your sandwiches.  To Daniel Feldman – we do not need misguided liberals who make excuses for those who commit the worst treason against our people.

Tom Furst
Great Neck

Dear Editor,

This letter is in reference to your editorial regarding the chillul Hashem that the Satmar chassidim caused a couple weeks ago (“Heard In The Bagel Store: Not A Smart Move,” June 8). This group is known to have caused a chillul Hashem on several occasions.

Many years ago, the views of the Satmar Rebbe, zt’l, and the Munkatcher Rebbe, zt’l, planted seeds regarding Eretz Yisrael. As Pirkei Avos states, “Chachamim hizaharu b’divreichem.” Unfortunately, these seeds blossomed into an uncontrollable, wild, spreading weed. Everything that occurs to Klal Yisrael and Eretz Yisrael is orchestrated and manipulated by the Ribbono shel Olam. Demonstrating against Eretz Yisrael and stating that its current existence is contrary to the Torah is in effect denying Hashem. In addition to causing a chillul Hashem, the greatest desecration in Yahadus, these individuals may also be giving up their respective portions in Olam Ha’ba.

I do have a question: Where are all the leaders who should be denouncing their actions and possibly doing more?

Charles Meisels


  1. I grew up in Orthodox Jewish Day School, my relationship to HaShem is everything to me.

    I was never a Zionist; I understood we were in exile and Moshiach, the Messiah, would return us to the Land of Israel and build the 3rd Temple.

    It was never a problem stating one was not a Zionist, back then.

    Zionism as a political movement began well before the Holocaust, and prior to that was always extremely controversial. All the great Ravs, were anti-Zionist. Israel was not the only consideration, Uganda and Argentina were also thought of.

    Things have changed to where for many Jews, Zionism is a part of their identity, especially when Mitzvot, religious observance, deeper study of the Torah, mysticism, daily Prayer and meditation are missing.

    In many ways, Zionism has replaced Judaism.

    Now, if you voice you are not a Zionist, the vile and nonsensical self-hating and anti-Semitic labels come forth, all in an attempt to discredit and marginalize, other Jews.

    That is the *Chillul HaShem* the true desecration of G-d’s name.

    We are in exile because of the in-fighting, the Shechina, Holy Spirit, fled the Temple.

    Israel is a modern sate, a government.

    To criticize its policies is not anti-Semitic, the settlement building, the occupation in West Bank, there are legitimate criticisms.

    Zionism is not Judaism.

    The Satmars are true Torah observant, they dedicate their lives to G-d.

    They are to be emulated, not maligned.


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