Congresswoman Grace Meng Responds To Jewish Community

Dear Editor:

This email is in regard to the editorial letter from “Z. P.” regarding Tobi Rubinstein’s article on red lipstick. There are many cultural and customary standards that Jews have taken upon themselves. Many of these standards are not rooted in halachah. This particularly applies to modesty. Although, I am no expert on halachah, it seems to be human nature to shift focus from important and overwhelming issues to tangible, insignificant ones. Unfortunately, there are far greater problems in the Jewish communities than lipstick color.

Although some women may feel red lipstick is not for them, it is certainly a personal choice, and no one should be vilified for making that choice. I think Tobi was pointing out the trend to focus on less important issues such as lipstick color, and neglect far more important issues like women’s empowerment, self-esteem, and overall unity among the Jewish people. I find Tobi’s articles interesting and unique. She has a refreshing approach and new things to say. I hope to see many more of her articles in your paper.

Regards,

Alexandra Shustina, DO


 

Dear Editor:

 I love the articles written by Tobi Rubenstein. Her articles fuse both worlds beautifully. They are well-written and inspiring. As a rebbetzin and lawyer and someone who enjoys fashion, I look forward every week to her articles.

The women are credited with saving B’nei Yisrael by beautifying themselves and painting their faces to entice their husbands to be with them after backbreaking labor as slaves in Egypt, and created the next generation, such as our leader Moshe Rabbeinu. An article was written about me and my law partner Mindy who wore pink by the Yeshiva World three years ago on the same topic, when me and my law partner were shocked by an article discussing tz’nius of pink and red colors, and the conclusion was red and pink are halachically permissible. We need to be attractive to our husbands within the realm of tz’nius and the minhag ha’makom many frum women wear red lipstick and I do enjoy red lipstick for special occasions.

Rebbetzin Sara Shulevitz Vorhand


 

Dear Editor:

 Warren Hecht complains how Donald Trump is ruining the fabric of our country “brick by brick.”

What was the President’s last transgression? He pardoned several military soldiers who were overzealous in their military tactics on the battlefield. One even gloated by taking a selfie over a dead terrorist. Certainly, by all means, not a very PC act!

Some of the military criticized Trump for his pardons. However, many agreed with the pardons, including Robert O’Neil, the Navy SEAL who killed Osama bin Laden. His point was that in the heat of battle we must be vigilant and not think twice about firing a weapon. He also went on to say that the effects of war can leave a soldier with impaired judgment.

Now let’s review who President Obama pardoned when he was in office: none other than Bowe Bergdahl, who was going to be court-marshaled for deserting his base in Afghanistan, and subsequently five soldiers sacrificed their lives looking for him.

Mr. Hecht, who was or is really ruining the country “brick by brick”?

Michael Rollhaus

 


Dear Editor:

 Commuters, transportation advocates, taxpayers, and elected officials have good reason to be concerned about how realistic the MTA $51 Billion Five-Year 2020-2024 Capital Program Plan is? The devil is in the details, which the MTA has been unwilling to share with anyone outside of their 236-page proposed prospectus supporting this funding request.

How can the Albany MTA Capital Program Review Board possibly approve this proposal without sufficient information? Too many projects contained in this new Capital Plan are still in the conceptual planning stage. Cost estimates can easily change. Few project environmental reviews have been completed. Will the environmental review process follow the State Environmental Quality Uniform Act or National Environmental Protect Act? Going through the NEPA process is mandatory if the MTA wishes to be eligible for Federal Transit Administration funding. Cost estimates for each project contained in this new Capital Plan will have to be refined as progress proceeds beyond the planning and environmental phases into final design and engineering. History has shown that estimated costs for construction usually trend upwards as projects mature toward completion of final design. Progression of final design refines the detailed scope of work necessary to support construction. Costs would be further refined by award of construction contracts followed by any unforeseen site conditions and change orders to the base contracts during the construction phase. The anticipated final potential cost can never be known until reaching beneficial use, acceptance of maintenance manuals for the physical assets, inspection and acceptance, completion of all contract punch list items, followed by release of retainage, and final payment to the vendor(s).

How will the MTA be able to integrate management for billions in active capital projects from the current 2015-2019 Capital Plan into 2020 and beyond? Many will carry over into the next Five-Year Plan. All of this old work will have to be integrated with future annual Track Outage, Force Account (in house employees), Routine Maintenance and Procurement Strategy plans starting in 2020 forward for each MTA agency including New York City Transit, Long Island Rail Road, Metro North Rail Road, MTA Capital Construction and MTA Bus. This is necessary to support each agency’s respective capital programs. These concerns and questions deserve to be answered in detail before we invest a record $51 billion.

Sincerely,

Larry Penner


 

Dear Editor:

 I wish to convey a hearty yasher koach to Z. P. for a fantastic letter in last week’s paper. Every thought was beautifully articulated and absolutely correct. Our community suffers from an epidemic of laymen (and lay couples) who seek to supplant the halachos and true values of the Torah with their own opinions and feelings. If only people would know their place.

Sincerely,

Rabbi Oren Kagan

Cedarhurst


 

Dear Editor:

 I am starting to pen a series of editorials about the Constitution of the United States, wherein I discuss interesting facts and anecdotes that I believe are of interest to the public. This letter is the first in the series.

Article II of the Constitution of the United States outlines the executive branch of the federal government. Section I, Clause IV, delineates the specific qualifications for the presidency, which states in part, “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President…”

According to the Constitution, in order to qualify for the presidency, an individual must be a natural-born citizen, or he must be a citizen at the time the Constitution was adopted. A natural-born citizen – as recognized by the First Congress and subsequent Supreme Court decisions – is someone who had at least one citizen parent at the time the individual was born, without regard to birthplace. Even if the individual was born in a foreign country, provided that he had at least one citizen parent at the time of birth, the individual still qualifies for the presidency (such as Ted Cruz who was born in Canada).

What’s peculiar, though, is the next part of this section, wherein the Constitution provides that an individual who was a citizen at the time the Constitution was adopted qualifies for the presidency. This qualification seems to be somewhat extraneous – why not simply state that anyone who is a natural-born citizen qualifies for the presidency? That qualification alone seems sufficient.

The answer may seem even more intriguing than the question. Some of the founders of the United States, such as Alexander Hamilton, were born outside the country, and none of their parents were US citizens at the time the Constitution was adopted. That being said, if the only qualification for the presidency was the “natural-born citizen” requirement, those founders would not qualify for the presidency, and members of the Constitutional Convention found it unseemly that those who sacrificed to establish the new United States should not be afforded the opportunity to be the nation’s chief executive. They decided, therefore, to add in the second provision, so that even though they weren’t natural-born citizens, they still qualified for the presidency by virtue of their being US citizens at the time the Constitution was adopted.

(See Joseph Story’s Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States for more information on this.)

Rafi Metz