Dear Editor:

 Last week, I wrote a letter addressing some of the many lies our government officials have told us. Included in those lies was the well-documented fib about the COVID-19 vaccine’s ineffectiveness in preventing infection or stopping transmission. While much ink has been spilled over why our government told this giant whopper of a lie, it’s worth taking a look back at some of our thought leaders’ responses to this lie, both before and after the truth was revealed.

For instance, shortly after the COVID vaccines were rolled out, the widely respected Rabbi Yaakov Bender, Dean of Yeshiva Darchei Torah, publicly stated, “We in the community have to realize that if 99 percent of the doctors say to take the shot, you take the shot.” Although I disagreed with his position at the time on two grounds: 1) the lack of long-term testing of the vaccine, and 2) COVID was disproportionately affecting the elderly and obese, Rabbi Bender, in his role as a non-medical, communal leader, felt an achrayus to have everyone follow what at the time was considered best practice by many. Once the truth emerged that COVID shots did not prevent COVID infection or transmission of COVID, were causing many cases of myocarditis in children, and that the overwhelming majority of children were not being harmed by COVID, I was expecting a retraction or at the very least an update on whether Rabbi Bender was still recommending the fraudulent COVID shot for his 2,200 students and the public at large. To date, we have gotten radio silence on the topic.

Even more bizarre, Queens Jewish Link Rabbinic Consultant Rabbi Schonfeld, in his November 18, 2021, column, advocated for criminalizing COVID vaccine refusers. For someone who considers his politics consistently right of center, denying people the right to refuse an experimental vaccine was an odd position to assume. Again, I don’t question the good intentions of Rabbi Schonfeld, but let’s remember the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Denial of people’s liberty over their own bodily autonomy is an odious position to advocate for, especially when it involves forcing them to take an experimental vaccine. While I assume Rabbi Schonfeld has updated his position regarding jailing the public over their refusal to submit to a vaccine that doesn’t vaccinate, where was his public retraction? He has had 57 weeks to ponder the contents of a retraction column, yet we still have not seen one. Rabbi Schonfeld is not shy about modifying previous political positions he has taken, as we saw last week with his well-written, Trump-themed column. Why the refusal to update us on this issue?

Lastly, it’s worth noting the evolving viewpoint of noted political pundit Ben Shapiro. Shapiro, who’s podcasts have been viewed by tens of millions of people, was a strong advocate of the COVID vaccines for months after they were rolled out. He is double-vaxxed and his doctor wife is triple-vaxxed. At the time, he reasoned that since he was sheltering with his 65-year-old parents and they were in a higher risk category, he should vaccinate himself to protect them. About six weeks ago, Shapiro, to his credit, finally came clean and stated that had he known then what he knows now, namely that he was in an exceedingly low-risk category, and that he would not be preventing his parents from getting COVID, he would not have chosen to get himself “vaccinated.” The sham of the COVID vaccines has been known for quite a while at this point, yet it took almost a year for the highly intelligent Mr. Shapiro to make what has to be a humiliating admission – that he was duped by government bureaucrats into taking a vaccine that does not vaccinate.

Being a community leader is an exceedingly difficult job, and responding correctly, in real time, to the unprecedented conditions COVID presented was certainly an arduous task. Sometimes our leaders make mistakes. My intent is not to criticize the difficult decisions made by our leaders. But when mistakes occur, a public display of self-accountability would be a welcomed attribute on such a serious health matter. Whitewashing the record with willful silence is profoundly disingenuous.

 Jason Stark


Dear Editor:

 Donald Trump was perhaps the greatest president of the last century and likely the most pro-Jewish and pro-Israel president in history. Trump’s actions resulting in a secure southern border, record stock market gains, record low unemployment, three conservative Supreme Court Justices, and the Abraham Accords are but a few of the many accomplishments that occurred during his presidency. Today, Trump looms as a toxic figure who can no longer win general elections but still likely has enough clout to ensure another four years of Joe Biden.

If Trump wins the Republican nomination, his negative ratings are so high, he has virtually no chance to defeat Biden, as those who oppose him are highly motivated to vote against him. In contrast, any generic Republican nominee would have a stronger chance vs. Biden, as opponents are not nearly as motivated and often stay home and do not vote. If Trump loses the Republican nomination, he can still run as an Independent and split the Republican vote (similar to Ross Perot in 1992) to ensure another four years of destructive Democratic policies.

I understand how Warren Hecht may be frustrated at being by far the most criticized QJL columnist in the Letters to the Editor [Your Say] section, but his denouncement of Trump’s meeting with two anti-Semites is low-hanging fruit that doesn’t really add much to the conversation. Personally, I don’t know of anyone who has condoned the meeting. Does this change all the accomplishments of Trump during his four years as President? We are unlikely to find out from Mr. Hecht, as he never actually acknowledged any of them during his relentless bashing of President Trump for four years.

Bottom line: Trump’s terrible post-presidency actions do not erase his numerous accomplishments as President, although it does tarnish his personal legacy. Perhaps if Mr. Hecht would have called balls and strikes during the Trump presidency instead of being a shill for all things Democrat, his opinions re: Trump would be taken more seriously. But when you’re the boy who cried wolf for four years, when you are finally correct about something, don’t be surprised at the muted, tepid response you receive.

 Avi Goldberg


Dear Editor:

 President Biden announced the agreement to exchange former Soviet military translator, turned Merchant of Death arms dealer, Victor Bout, one of the world’s deadliest arms dealers. He has served over 12 of 25 years in prison for crimes, including the targeting of American citizens, for WNBA star Brittney Griner, which reminded me of a chess game.

Bout was the second-most-wanted man in the world after Osama bin Laden. Russian President Vladimir Putin exchanged a pawn (Griner) and got a king (Bout). If Biden knew how to play chess, he would have exchanged a king for a king and made it a higher priority to obtain the release of former Marine Paul Whelan instead. Former US Marine Paul Whelan was arrested in Moscow in 2018 on espionage charges. He was subsequently found guilty in a closed trial and has served three years of a 16-year prison sentence. Contrast that with women’s basketball star Griner, who has been detained for nine months and just began serving her nine-year prison sentence. In 2020, she was quoted as saying “I didn’t think the national anthem should be played before WNBA games and would not be on the floor if it was.”

Former chief of operations for the US Drug Enforcement Administration told “60 Minutes” in 2010, “Victor Bout, in my eyes, is one of the most dangerous men on the face of the Earth.” The exchange of Bout for Whelan would have been a better outcome. Once again, Putin has played Biden for a fool.

Larry Penner
Great Neck, New York


Dear Editor:

 Well, it’s that time of the year again, or as the song goes, “It’s the happiest season of all.” (No, not the beginning of the school year.) Instead, I’m referring to Chanukah, of course. However, I approach the season with trepidation because of that four-letter word: gift(s). How does one buy the perfect gift for his/her relatives and colleagues?

Let’s start with the kids. What about Chanukah gelt? Try giving a five-year-old a check. You’ll be greeted with a quizzical look followed by his mother nudging him to say, “Thank you” for this meaningless gift. Board games are usually met with a “bored” look. Therefore, I decided to purchase books for my voracious-reading grandchildren. However, on my way to New Jersey to deliver said books, I recalled that Dear Evan Hansen had something to do with suicide, which is totally inappropriate for a 12-year-old. I had never seen the play (too expensive), so I quickly perused the book and deemed it a no-go. I then recalled that the best reading gift I ever got was from a student: a $100 gift certificate to Barnes and Noble. I decided that would be a more suitable gift for my granddaughter. (Don’t worry. I didn’t regift the original gift certificate.)

Now, onto husbands and wives. This is a warning! Don’t get married in close proximity to your birthday and Chanukah. This would be fine if your husband bought you a red-ribbon-tied new Lexus, but let’s face the fact that you are not getting that. For our first anniversary, my husband bought me an oversized oven mitt. When I turned it upside-down, he asked me what I was doing, and I replied, “I’m pulling out the diamond earrings that you bought me.” Surprise! The gift was the yellow oven mitt, which I rarely use, since I cook milchig twice a year: Shavuos and the Nine Days.

The bottom line is: “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.” Just get a gift card to the person’s favorite store, and she will immediately misplace it. If it’s your husband, just buy him one of Rabbi Gladstein’s new s’farim.

 Debbie Horowitz


Dear Editor:

 “In other words, anti-Semitism has become mainstream in the Republican Party.” With all due respect, Mr. Hecht, how dare you? You’ve got some nerve! That’s a very powerful and inflammatory accusation and you better have the goods to back that up! One instance at Mar-a-Lago does not make for systemic anti-Semitism throughout the entire party.

I don’t know where he gets his information from, but every right-wing outlet and major player in the Republican Party has condemned the dinner. While we all condemn anti-Semitism, and it was a stupid move to be seen in public with Kanye and Mr. Fuentes, President Trump’s own daughter, son-in-law, and grandkids are Jewish. To even think he’s an anti-Semite is just foolish.

Now we all know that Democrats like to project, so, we will chalk that line up to that. See, the history of the Democratic Party is of real hatred and bigotry. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib are Democrat Representatives in the House that have spewed extremely anti-Semitic rhetoric without condemnation. In fact, when the House wanted to pass the anti-Semitism resolution, Speaker Pelosi watered it down so as not to name Ilhan Omar by name. Woe is me. Poor woman shouldn’t get reprimanded for saying, “It’s all about the Benjamins baby”? Democrats were the party of slavery and segregation. President Biden’s closest friends in the Senate were John Stennis and James Eastland of Mississippi, huge segregationists. President Biden gave a eulogy at the funeral of Robert Byrd, a high-ranking member of the KKK.

Today, his administration, despite having Jews in it, proves its anti-Semitism. They are allowing Iran to get a nuclear weapon, they are violating the Taylor Force Act by giving money to the Palestinians, and they are about to open a consulate for Palestinians in East Jerusalem.

Woodrow Wilson was a segregationist. Franklin D. Roosevelt was a racist. He interred Asian Americans during World War II. Today, Asian-Americans are discriminated against by Harvard University, a renowned institution of the Left.

The Democrat media is full of racists and anti-Semites. MSNBC just fired Tiffany Cross, but they still employ Al Sharpton and Joy Reid. Both have a long history of anti-Semitism and racism. The New York Times, despite being owned by Jews, covered up the Holocaust. Today, they write anti-Israel hit pieces every chance they get.

Chasidim and Asian-Americans are violently being attacked in New York City. The Brooklyn and Manhattan Borough Presidents are Democrats, as is the mayor of the city. Nothing is being done to stop it.

 So, Mr. Hecht, just don’t flippantly write a sentence like that unless you’ve got the goods to back it up. Because it’s your party that really hates.

 Shalom Markowitz