When I read Warren S. Hecht’s chronicle of his and his wife’s airline standby attempt to get to LA and back during a Presidents’ Week break (“On Standby,” QJL, March 2), it reminded me of my own trip returning from the island of Tobago (the sister island of Trinidad) in 1990. I was there for three days photographing the people, culture, and natural beauty. My entire trip was free, in exchange for providing use of the photos I took to a Texas-based travel outfit that promoted tourism to the island and the owners of the Man-O-War Bay Cottages in Charlotteville (at the tip of the island) where I stayed.
The airline was BWIA and I had a comp ticket. If you’re helping tourism, countries will welcome you. But this standby ticket was only on a space-available basis and the international flights transferred in Trinidad, the big island about 50-60 miles away. Getting there was easy, even if a long flight from New York. I arrived in Port of Spain, Trinidad, and, soon after, boarded a small jet to Tobago (a driver was there to get me and we drove for two hours, picking fresh cashews en route).
I had planned my itinerary to leave on Thursday in order to get back to New York for Shabbos, but it turned out that there was no space on the flight for the Tobago-Trinidad run, so I couldn’t get on the plane. I needed to make my connection. Concerned, I thought what to do, and opted to hire a prop plane for $50 to fly me the 15-20 minutes to the main island. We’re up there at 2000 feet and I see my flight, the big jet – the only one in the airport, it seemed – still at the gate. I’m hoping I can make it. It’s real tight.
We tried, but we got there too late. They had already locked the cabin. There would be nothing else to New York that day, but I could fly BWIA to Canada. I spent the rest of the day in the airport, even searching for a kosher TV dinner. We arrived late in Toronto; I booked a hotel, and flew out the next morning to New York on Air Canada. I seem to remember that my cost was $137 – out of my pocket. A week later in Trinidad there was a failed coup attempt. I’ve not been back since, but it’s a place I’d absolutely like to see again, and maybe meet some of the people I photographed close to three decades ago.
Judah S. Harris
Rabbi Schoenfeld’s “Bubble has Burst” because he has discovered that many Orthodox Jews (and others) disagree with his position regarding immigration and other issues. If he is right, then I am cautiously optimistic that my own bubble has been enlarged and strengthened.
“I am cautiously optimistic that my own bubble has been enlarged and strengthened.”
With respect to the immigration issue, there is zero evidence of any violent acts since 9/11, which have been perpetrated in the USA by any immigrants from the forbidden seven countries.
Nor is there any evidence of anti-Jewish behavior by the three million Arab Americans (half of the American Jewish population). Rabbi Schoenfeld should be looking at the anti-Jewish attitudes unleashed by Mr. Bannon and his alt-right (wrong?) colleagues, which Donald Trump has massaged and manipulated to inflame the forces of hate and prejudice in too many uninformed and, in some cases, bigoted Americans, on his way to the White House.
Many years ago, my wife would take time out from our business day to attend Rabbi Schoenfeld’s shiurim at the Orthodox Union. Invariably, she would return inspired by what he had to say.
There is an old saying that the “Shoemaker should stick to his last.” I have read many of Rabbi Schoenfeld’s columns, most of which lead me to the conclusion that as a commentator on political and social issues he would be well advised to limit himself to his role as a rabbinical and consultant and to his obvious gift as a teacher of Torah.
Samuel B. Cohen
RABBI SCHONFELD RESPONDS:
Dear Mr. Cohen:
As the saying goes, “I don’t care what they say about me, as long as they spell my name right.” You will notice at the beginning of each of my columns that my name is spelled Schonfeld.
Thank you for your kind words.
The l’vayah of Chaim “Lobo” Silber, took place last week on Thursday morning. I sat and wept along with hundreds of others, a sea of people, whose lives this great man touched. He was a gift – a precious gift, whom Hashem gave us for 70 years. The depth of sadness is beyond description.
Chaim a”h, was a man whose life was filled with countless acts of chesed that knew no bounds. He was a man of integrity and dignity, filled with kindness and love for his family, friends, and all humankind. Chaim a”h had a heart of gold and a genuine, beautiful smile, that would light up a room. He was strong, yet so sensitive and understanding: a gentle giant, bigger than life. He was witty and filled with wisdom. Chaim knew when he had to be tough and when to be soft. He was a lifeline for thousands.
There will be a deep chasm, a painful void, for me, my husband (who worked for Chaim most of his working years), for my family, and for all who were blessed to have Chaim a”h in their lives. Let’s hope that, moving forward, we will learn and follow his stellar example of being there in any way we can for each other. What a wonderful and more beautiful world this will be, for us and for generations to come. It’s unbearably hard to imagine the world without him.
We pray that dear, special Chaim a”h will watch over us all, just as he did in life. I will always remember him with abundant admiration and respect for the amazing man he was. He is sorely missed.
May he be a meilitz yosher for us all. Y’hi zichro baruch!
Kew Gardens Hills
Thank you for taking time to write for our local Jewish paper. Your articles (“Dating Today”) are interesting and informative. This past week I took offense with your article. There are many people who read your column, including many young adults. I didn’t feel the article was in good taste for our wholesome Queens community.
I would like to suggest that your future articles reflect the positive side of shidduchim, giving men and women hope that they will one day find normal, healthy shidduchim.
Possibly allow your readers to share beautiful and inspiring stories how they found their bashert. I am hopeful that these stories will reflect the fact that Hashem runs the world and makes proper shidduchim for klal Yisrael.
I wish you continued hatzlachah in all your endeavors.