We write as two graduates of Yeshiva University’s undergraduate school and law school, who pray together at the same minyan during weekdays and who have differing views on many current issues facing the American people.
Four YU undergraduate students sued Yeshiva University in New York State Court for refusing to permit an LGBTQ student club on the main campus. This is a club that supports values and a lifestyle that are completely antithetical to the values and sanctity that are the raison d’être of the main campuses of Yeshiva University, where students are expected to observe halachah and where a traditional Yeshiva curriculum is mandatory for all students. The Judaic studies curriculum, as it has for centuries, focuses on the building and maintenance of the traditional family and obligations of man to his fellow man and G-d, as revealed in the Torah and transmitted from one generation to the next. The campus environment and the yeshivah curriculum are crucial factors in the development of the next generation of Torah scholars, halachic decisors, and the next generation of men, women, and their families in the Orthodox community. It is protected by the constitutionally guaranteed right of free exercise of religion.
The State Court ruled in favor of the students and ordered YU to allow the club. YU made an application to the Supreme Court of the United States to take the case. In addition, YU asked for a stay of the New York court’s ruling. Justice Sonia Sotomayor granted the stay of the enforcement of the judgment against YU, pending the possible hearing of YU’s appeal by the Supreme Court of the United States. In other words, presently YU does not have to allow the club.
After the decision was made, the dean of Cardozo Law School, which is part of Yeshiva University, issued the following statement in relevant part:
“The University’s policy has no bearing on the law school or on our vibrant student OUTLaw or LGBTQ+ alumni organizations. Cardozo’s faculty, staff, and leadership are proud of our school’s long history of support in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights. We have a deep and steadfast commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We recognize that LGTBQ+ students and alumni play a critical role in our community and believe that inclusion and equality are cornerstones of legal education. We are also pleased to announce the launch of a weekly pop-up class … exploring LGBTQ+ law, policy, history, and civil rights challenges, past, present, and future, with prominent scholars, researchers, and movement leaders.”
We write to express our mutual strong disagreement with the dean of Cardozo, who appears to have sided with the four students who have brought the lawsuit. The language of support for the LGBTQ community and the announcement that the school is going to expand its LGBTQ programs clearly indicates who the dean supports.
Rabbi Rodney Weiss, in his article “YU and LGBTQ: The Kedushah of YU (QJL 9/8/22) expressed the hakaras ha’tov that many graduates, including both of us, have for Yeshiva. The concept of hakaras ha’tov is something that the current administration at Cardozo does not appreciate. If they had, they never would have put out a statement undercutting the entity which is the reason for their existence and continued success.
It takes a lot of time and effort to start a new school. When Cardozo was formed, there was no guarantee that it would become the respected institution that it is now. The best reason for picking Cardozo was that it was part of the Yeshiva University family. This gave it the seal of approval. Thus, in Cardozo’s early years, many of its students had strong yeshivah backgrounds, organized Minchah minyanim, and had informal shiurim. A yeshivah-educated member of the first class was the editor of the first edition of the Law Review, worked at a prominent law firm, and now is the Executive Vice President of Agudath Israel of America. YU President Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm z”l ensured that the law school library remained closed on Shabbos and Yom Tov and that there were no classes on Shabbos or the major Jewish holidays.
We hope that the Cardozo administration will rethink its position and realize that without Yeshiva University, Cardozo would never have been created in the mid-1970s and would not be in the position that it is today.
Steven Brizel (Yeshiva College and JSS 1976, Cardozo 1979)
Warren Hecht (MTA 1978, Yeshiva College 1983, Cardozo 1986)
It was amusing to see Moshe Hill’s over-the-top outrage (“the original German from which it was derived”? Really?) at President Biden finally saying something negative about a group that denies his legitimacy, when the speech was tamer than the anti-Democrat screed in an average column of Mr. Hill’s. But that just puts him in the category of all of the conservative commentators who lost their mind at Biden’s use of “semi-Fascist,” only for clips to immediately emerge of them saying the same or worse about the left. And that’s without even getting into the way ex-President Trump has regularly described his opponents.
I get that part of Mr. Hill’s shtick is to deflect and turn any criticism of the Right around and project it onto the Left, no matter how many hoops he has to jump through, but it would be nice for him to at least acknowledge the right-wing election denialism. His only response to Biden’s claim that there are those that don’t accept the results of a free election is to offer some false equivalencies and to argue that that can’t be a charge against Republicans, as they certified the 2020 election results in the pivotal swing states.
But haven’t Trump loyalists (let’s call them, I don’t know, MAGA Republicans) vilified the election officials who didn’t give in to their delusions and instead certified the vote? Haven’t they removed as many from office as they can, while showing a commitment to getting candidates elected who are willing to tamper with state election processes in 2024 and beyond? It’s practically a requirement for even sane candidates to at least play coy when asked about the 2020 election, or otherwise risk the wrath of this segment of voters. But if you just pretend that is not the case, I guess you can express indignation at Biden for even bringing it up.
More than 50 years ago, Lays Potato Chips had the classic advertisement of “Bet you can’t eat just one.” Well, I bet that Warren Hecht can’t go one week without whining about the all-time most pro-Jewish US President ever.
It is widely known by all those with common sense how the leadership of today’s Democratic Party is fully preoccupied with promoting a level of evil never before seen in the US.
It is Donald Trump who is without question the only gentile who has the well-proven fortitude for confronting those same r’sha’im who are currently in the political leadership in Washington, DC, Albany, and the NY region. And hopefully those who share in Mr. Hecht’s high level of Trump Derangement Syndrome won’t pull off stealing yet another election in less than just two months from now.
Choni Herschel Kantor
Kew Gardens, New York
Honestly, I don’t know why the media outlets, especially CNN, are making such a big deal about the FBI’s raid of Mar-a-Lago. I feel bad for the agents who had to go through 100 rooms and pick through every sheet of paper. However, I consider Donald Trump a lucky man, because he didn’t have to call 1-800-Got-Junk and pay an arm and a leg for their services.
The FBI agents are cordially invited to my house, and they would have to go through only nine rooms, not 100. They are welcome to all my subject-verb agreement tests (only a grammar teacher would get that), my myriad copies of AARP magazines, my L.L. Bean catalogues, and important papers that my lawyer and my daughter (also a lawyer) are constantly asking me about. I roll my eyes and tell them I probably threw out those papers with The Sunday Times instead of properly putting them in the appropriate pink folder, blue folder, and yellow folder, which my daughter had carefully and laboriously set up for my use. Maybe the FBI can also find all the tax returns from the year of the dinosaur that I now need.
I invite the FBI to go through my refrigerator because, according to many TV shows, that’s a good place to store cash. I think that the only item of interest that they would find in the freezer is a huge sweet potato kugel dating from Pesach.
In all seriousness, I know that the FBI has an important job to do, and I hope that they don’t read the QJL. I have to end this letter now since, like all good Jewish balabustas, I have to clean the house before the cleaning lady comes.
Why Is Hochul Hiding from Zeldin?
Democrat Governor Kathy Hochul is following the infamous Rose Garden Strategy by ignoring underdog Republican challenger Congressmember Lee Zeldin and refusing to schedule a series of public debates between now and Election Day. With less than eight weeks to go, Hochul’s surrogates will continue to run out the clock in negotiations. They have the goal of agreeing to one or two debates.
Up until the 1980s, candidates participated in numerous television and newspaper editorial board debates. Voters could look beyond the 30- or 60-second TV commercial sound bites to learn about real views and issues among the candidates.
Those candidates who refused to participate in these debates would be subject to critical newspaper editorials. They ended up losing any chance of newspaper endorsements and usually went down in defeat.
In the 1980s, a new Rose Garden Strategy emerged. Incumbents or officially designated candidates of both parties refused to debate lesser-known, under-funded opponents. They had no interest in providing a free forum for challengers to get their message directly out to voters. Too many newspapers and good government groups failed to speak up and shame these incumbents into participating in open forums and debates.
They don’t want to provide their respective unknown and under-financed opponents with free forums to explain their positions on issues of the day. This affords under-financed and lesser known candidates a chance to communicate their views on issues of the day to voters.
Why not participate in debates sponsored by each of NYC’s daily newspapers and television stations? Let us hope that enlightened newspapers such as the Queens Jewish Link call for an end to incumbents’ use of the infamous Rose Garden Strategy in future elections. Intelligent voters deserve frequent debates prior to the general election, as opposed to canned TV commercials.
If Hochul continues to refuse to participate in a series of debates with her underdog Republican challenger Zeldin, she should be subject to critical newspaper editorials. Hochul should forfeit any chance of endorsements by media outlets.
Tablet online magazine claims that since 2018, only one hate crime against Jews has resulted in jail time. Is this true? Is there really a conspiracy between local Das, the attorney general of NY, the US attorneys, the FBI, and kapo Jewish judges to cover up hate crimes against Jews?