The Horrors of Measles

Dear Editor:

The last day of Yom Tov should have been a wonderful ending to a beautiful Pesach in Israel. Instead, it turned into a nightmare no parent should have to experience.

Yehudah Yosef, at the time 11.5 months, had been feverish and coughing for a few days. On Shabbos morning, he woke up with a scorching fever; pimples encased his tongue, and he had difficulty breathing. We rushed him to the hospital, where doctors suspected meningitis, fearing the worst. At the time, Yehudah was lethargic and completely unresponsive. The spinal tap came back clear, and a urine and blood test confirmed a diagnosis of measles. He was scheduled to have been vaccinated the week after Pesach, and must have been exposed to a contagious individual some weeks prior.

Yehudah Yosef was treated at Shaarei Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem. The man who saved his life is Prof. Dr. Yechiel Schlesinger, head of pediatrics and an infectious disease doctor by training, and we owe him tremendous gratitude.

“This innocent baby suffered unbelievable pain through no fault of his own. Take pictures; show the world what measles can do to an innocent child.” This was the edict of Dr. Schlesinger. Attached are pictures of Yehudah Yosef before the measles struck, and how he looked during his stay at the hospital.

Yehudah Yosef’s case was very complicated with infections in his lungs and ears. He was on oxygen, steroids, antibiotics, and IV fluids. We feared possible long-term consequences of the complications, such as hearing loss. B’chasdei Hashem, and thanks to the incredible staff at Shaarei Zedek, he was released after ten days of hospitalization. He is still on antibiotics for lingering infections.

Endless tears were shed and t’filos said for this beautiful little boy whose life hung in the balance. We are certain that HaKadosh Baruch Hu restored his health in the merit of the many who davened and stormed the heavens for his complete r’fuah.

Measles is an illness that had been eradicated for decades. It is incredibly contagious, and can be fatal – especially for young children.

Please, please, get your children and grandchildren vaccinated! Check your own immunity with a titer blood test.

Do not let your innocent children and grandchildren suffer the fate that Yehudah Yosef and his family had to endure.

With thanks to all our friends and families and, most of all, to the Ribono shel Olam,

The Cassell and Engelberg Families


Pack Your Bags, De Blasio

Dear Editor:

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio for President belongs in the comics section.

Democrats Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio have a lot in common with the late Republicans, Governor Nelson Rockefeller (1959-1974) and NYC Mayor John Lindsay (1966-1973), along with Governor George Pataki (1995-2006) and NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani (1994-2001). The same is true for the late Democrat Governor Mario Cuomo (1983-1992) and NYC Mayor Ed Koch (1978-1988).

Nelson Rockefeller, George Pataki, Mario Cuomo, and son Andrew Cuomo deal with mayors who want equal billing on the political marquee. Lindsay’s urban, Koch’s Big Apple, Giuliani’s safety/quality of life, and de Blasio’s progressive agenda is dependent upon both increased state and federal assistance. De Blasio envisions himself as the national spokesperson for progressive mayors from all cities. This conflicts with governors who have to worry about all 62 counties making up New York State. It also creates problems for both Cuomo and de Blasio, who harbor Presidential ambitions in 2020. Cuomo, like his father Mario, Rockefeller, and Pataki – and de Blasio like Lindsay and Giuliani – will never come close to winning any primaries let alone occupy the White House. Better to spend your time packing for moving back to your old Park Slope home when your term ends in December 2021.


Larry Penner


Take Dating Red Flags Seriously

Dear Editor and Goldy Krantz:

Thank you for your article, “Does the Apple Fall Far from the Tree?” I am writing because the answer to the young engaged woman was a bit vague and unsatisfying. I feel as if the article made light of a very serious issue.

I am a volunteer for the Shalom Task Force. Most of the married victims that call our hotline have said that they saw signs or red flags that something was wrong while dating, or during engagement, but chose to ignore them. When we educate young adults in our education programs, we stress that they should trust their gut. If something feels wrong, it probably is wrong; and if you see something, say something. We tell them to get help, which is what this young woman, “Malka,” was reaching out for when she wrote in. We educate young adults that good help doesn’t mean telling a person that what they’re feeling is somehow wrong, but offering them guidance that helps them feel comfortable with their decisions. In this case, I felt that her concern was not properly addressed. The mashal/nimshal that was used was not a fair comparison. A man traveling once to a shul may have no right to judge, based on one visit, because he won’t be returning and it doesn’t affect him in any way. Malka’s future could potentially be very much affected by the behavior that she saw, and onaas d’varim, which is an isur d’Oraisa (brought down in this week’s parshah) in no way can compare to giving out aliyos in shul.

The advice given was to keep observing, which I wholly agree to, but it was not clarified as to what she should be observing. She was told to be careful how she talks to her chasan about this, but it wasn’t clarified that she should definitely have that conversation with him, sooner rather than later, and observe how he reacts. “Malka” should be sensitive and caring and not put down his family, but ultimately needs to feel comfortable and safe discussing these important issues with him – before they are married! She needs to see how he answers her – is he understanding or, G-d forbid, sarcastic or angry. Yes, there is a very real chance that he could have the same attitudes and manners as his father. Even if he doesn’t, his father can ultimately talk to his daughter-in-law the way he talks to his wife, and then would his son stick up for her? Will they be a team, or will he allow her to be made uncomfortable? She needs to observe how her chasan acts when he doesn’t get exactly what he wants, when he wants it, or if she doesn’t agree with everything he says.

“Malka” is very smart to trust her gut feeling that something is wrong and I am concerned that the answer in the column encouraged her to brush it under the rug and walk on eggshells around her chasan so she shouldn’t ruin anything. We always advocate sensitivity and healthy communication, but telling a kallah to “broach the subject very carefully” sounds a bit threatening. Hopefully, after a good heart-to-heart conversation, and seeing his reactions when he doesn’t get his way, her worries could be put to rest. Until then, I believe she has good reason to be concerned.

Mimi Samuels
Shalom Task Force Education Program

Editor’s Note: Please see Goldy’s addendum to her article on pages 49 & 57 for her response.


Democrat Policy Proposals For 2020 (Satire)

Dear Editor:

At this point in the 2020 election cycle, over 100 Democrats are running for President, thereby increasing their own carbon footprints by at least 1,000 percent, and bringing us ever closer to the climate apocalypse.

Anyway, unlike in the past election, where only an old white man and old white woman ran for President, this year’s contenders bring some much-needed diversity to the Democrat presidential field. This time around, we have Stalinists, Leninists, Maoists, and Trotskyites running for President, though it’s been very difficult lately to distinguish one communist lunatic from the next.

As with any election cycle, it’s hard to keep track of the policy positions of all the candidates, so I’ve performed a public service to inform my readers of the Democrat Party’s official position on a number of issues:

  • Ban hate speech – i.e., speech Democrats don’t like
  • Repeal the Second Amendment
  • Abolish due process
  • Abolish the Constitution
  • Abolish capitalism (while they tweet this proposal on their cell phones that were made by capitalism)
  • Embrace anti-Semitism
  • Murdering innocent babies even after birth
  • Open borders and pathway to citizenship for MS-13 members who entered the US illegally
  • Allowing terrorists, murderers, and other violent criminals to vote while in prison
  • Lifetime imprisonment or gulags for journalists who expose Democratic corruption in government

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, an eminent and noted constitutional scholar, commented on the Democrat Party’s policies by saying, “As Roe v. Wind has shown us, the 28th Amendment has penumbras of emanations that allow for a ‘right to privacy,’ which means that I only have to abide by the Constitution in private, but I can openly violate it in public. Moreover, I can’t see myself abiding by the Constitution anyway, because it’s a colonial and racist document just like cauliflower is in community gardens.”

In their inimitable anti-Semitic style, which is condoned by the entire Democrat Party, Representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib accused the Jewish community of supporting America because of the “Benjamins,” which caused Ocasio-Cortez to get slightly confused because she thought all of the Jews who supported America were named Benjamin. But anyway, Omar and Tlaib further condemned conservatives generally for supporting liberty and freedom, because those ideas go against Sharia Law.

Thank goodness the mainstream media did its job by asking Sen. Bernie Sanders about his atrocious proposal to allow terrorists, murderers, and other violent criminals to vote while in prison, said no one ever. But because there was considerable backlash by conservative media, Sanders doubled-down on his proposal, saying, “Voting is the hallmark of any democracy. And I believe with all sincerity that that just because you blew people up, or cut their heads off, or committed unspeakable crimes against women and children, it shouldn’t disqualify you from voting. Obviously, these Republicans who oppose my position on this are trying to suppress the vote, and are obviously terror-and-murder-phobic.

Finally, Nancy Pelosi was just about to speak to the media about their policies for 2020 but her dentures suddenly fell out.

Rafi Metz


Combating Anti-Semitism with Education and Emotional Guidance

Dear Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld:

At a recent town hall discussion about the Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, I posited that there is a connection between the lack of its progress with the existence of international anti-Semitism, including the anti-Semitism in this country, and that anti-Semitism is predicated on a lack of spiritual and emotional well-being.

It is said in connection with the Israeli-Palestinian peace plan that part of the negotiations should be to ask the Palestinians to reform their educational system with regard to eradicating the hate that its school system promotes through its instruction and textbooks. If so, why is it illogical for us to look at what can be done to shore up the emotional and spiritual well-being for our students in the US, which would reduce the level of anti-Semitism in this country?

Since the panel was conducted by someone influential with the Trump administration, I attempted to suggest that President Trump introduce the idea of having social-emotional programs for school students and faculty in this country on a national level. Trump has demonstrated that he is indeed a friend of Jewish people and of the Jewish state. Then why wouldn’t he do everything in his power to at least reduce the level of anti-Semitism that we are seeing today through such programs?

Is it that it is not demonstrated that there is a great linkage between emotional disturbance and resorting to hate or anti-Semitism, or is it that we feel that our president is powerless even with a bully pulpit to promote such emotional enrichment programs that in fact already exist in some of New York City’s schools? Granted it is of course a longer-term plan, but it would also be so for the Palestinians – to change the curriculum of their educational system – and yet it doesn’t seem impractical for us to suggest that.

You show such leadership with regard to asking that our Jewish youth have a Jewish identity and for them to care about Israel, our Jewish state. So why doesn’t the discussion extend to what we can do to shore up the emotional and spiritual well-being of American youth in general? Are we not Americans also? Why would it be that we have no interest in the health of American society at large? Should it not be that when we have a discussion about anti-Semitism with our fellow American people, it should be with a common frame of reference of morality, civility, and emotional well-being? Otherwise isn’t it obvious that we are trying to argue with degenerates and reprobates?

To those for whom drug abuse, violence of all sorts, lack of education, depression, and rage are a staple in their lives, anti-Semitism comes very naturally to them, as well. Do we really feel that yelling at them not to be anti-Semitic will root it out of their hearts? Of course not, and as with an ailing body which must be dealt with on a comprehensive level, so must be the attention to the soul or the spirit, no matter if it belongs to a Jew or a non-Jew.

Maybe if we try to help all the ailing souls who live amongst us in this country, those souls, if mended, will help us, too, to live in peace and harmony with them. Maybe they, too, will one day be a source of strength to help our American leaders stay strong with Israel, which will help foster a lasting peace with its neighbors.

Abe Fuchs

Dear Editor:

After reading “Names, Not Numbers Documentary At Central" in the QJL May 16 issue, I have a question: Where are the names of the survivors who shared their experiences in order to educate future generations about the Holocaust?

Jan Fenster
Kew Gardens