Dear Editor:

 I try not to write about a fellow columnist, but I need to make an exception. As has been documented in this paper, Warren Hecht and I have been good friends despite our deep political divide.

But I feel my friend went a step too far, even for him, this last week.

In his column “Air Ball,” Mr. Hecht opens with a sarcastic comment for columnist Shmuel Sackett, who called for the expulsion of Arabs who cheer for Arab terrorists who murder Jews.

“I expect that he would take the same position concerning Jews who support other Jews killing Arabs. One name comes to mind: Baruch Goldstein, who on February 25, 1994, killed 29 Muslims praying at M’aras HaMachpeilah in Hebron.”

Warren, of course one name comes to mind. Because Baruch Goldstein is the only name! Undoubtedly there were those who supported Goldstein’s actions, due to his frustration at seeing Jews slaughtered wholesale by Arabs. But even those Jews did not celebrate with fireworks and candies.

More importantly, the overwhelming majority of Jews condemned Goldstein’s act. Jews in Israel and throughout the world tripped over themselves as to who could better express their horror. Compare that to the thousands and thousands of civilian Jews killed by Arabs going back to Hebron itself in 1929. And witness the delirious street celebrations for murdered Jewish children throughout the Palestinian territories. Even the martyred terrorists are celebrated by their mothers.

Ah, yes… there was another case in 2014 in which a couple of troubled young kids burned and sadistically killed a young Arab boy. But no Jew celebrated that. Prime Minister Netanyahu placed a condolence call to the victim’s father. Every Jew was ashamed that this took place, and the murdering Jews received the maximum penalty.

So, for Warren to say that we should treat our own cheering Jews the same as those of Arabs is ludicrous. It’s even treacherous. It simply does not happen.

Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld


Dear Editor:

 Last week, the former Vice President of the Rosedale Jewish Center, David Pecoraro, wrote a scathing letter baselessly accusing me of homophobia, racism, and hypocrisy. Mr. Pecoraro stated that I didn’t comprehend his letter; on the contrary, I understand it entirely and know exactly where it’s coming from. You inadvertently tipped your hand when you listed the Jews you admire most. You could have cited the Rambam, Rav Moshe Feinstein, or maybe Rav Chaim Kanievsky. Any one of those would’ve made a fine choice. Instead, you list some of the most despicable people in public life, among them corrupt, Jewish politicians who also happen to be gay.

Jews for hundreds of years have tried in vain to substitute our Torah for whatever “ism” they believed in at the time. More recently, some have tried to modernize our Torah to conform to the latest decadent secular trends. The “isms” and the trends all have shelf lives – some longer than others – but in the end, they all wash out. Mr. Pecoraro, you are a lucky man. You belong to a religion whose teachings are eternal. The fact that you have chosen to favor the latest fashionable “ism,” wokeism over our Torah, is truly sad and frankly, pathetic.

You make some giant presumptuous (and erroneous) leaps in assuming that 1) I’m intolerant/homophobic and 2) Transgender people are committing suicide because we do not all enthusiastically endorse it as you do. In my line of work, there is an extremely diverse workforce. I have worked with dozens of gay people over the past 20 years. I treat everyone with respect. Never have I ever had an issue with anyone professionally or even personally. My colleagues are well aware of my Orthodox Jewish beliefs and respect me for sticking to my religious convictions and not compromising, even when it does not conform to society’s latest fads.

As for your claim that our non-support for trans people leads to suicidality among trans people, this is utter nonsense. Up until about five minutes ago, when transgenderism became all the rage, it was known as a mental disorder called “gender dysphoria.” Look up any psychiatry textbook and you will find that this mental disorder, caused by the mismatch between one’s actual sex and one’s gender identity, has some known side effects, chiefly depression and anxiety. Now, instead of your knee-jerk, woke-induced labeling of those like me who disagree with you as “homophobic” (a term that’s not even applicable for trans people; I think you meant anti-trans), why don’t you try being intellectually honest and ask yourself: Is the transgender suicidality rate that is more than 7.5 times higher than the general population more likely due to having a psychological disorder that includes depression and anxiety or because Jason Stark is not wearing his rainbow pin?

Your invoking the Holocaust as a justification to object to my sincerely-held, religious belief is absurd, offensive, and another cheap tactic used by “wokesters” like you in attempting to cudgel others to submit to their preposterous viewpoints. Comparing anyone to Hitler or anything to the Holocaust generally ends up as an epic fail; but since you brought it up, I’ll drop this on you: The intermarriage rate among non-Orthodox Jews is around 75%. That’s three out of four Jewish souls likely lost forever. Your points of view are fairly mainstream among a large percentage of non-Orthodox Jews. It appears that those with your mindset are hellbent on accomplishing what Hitler failed to do: erase Judaism from the planet.

Lastly, I would just note that as one who is far from perfect, I am a strong proponent of hating the sin, not the sinner. I harbor no animus towards you or towards any homosexuals or transgender people. On the contrary, I feel sorry for them, being stuck in a lifestyle that cannot be reconciled with our religion. In my humble opinion, our posture towards these people should be one of mercy and compassion, not of promotion.

 Jason Stark


Dear Editor:

 I liked Rabbi Schonfeld’s article about a convention of Modern Orthodox Jewish organizations, and I liked his ideas for topics that might pique interest. Here, I’m adding one more topic that is absolutely necessary but that will also pique a lot of interest: What are we doing to ensure that Jewish women are seen and heard? And what opportunities are we, as a community, giving them (within halachah) that will allow them to use their G-d-given talents and skills to serve klal Yisrael?

By the way, if this convention doesn’t include women as active participants, then we know one of the things that’s missing and leaves MO adherents uninspired.

Meira E. Schneider-Atik


Dear Editor:

 G.O.A.T.! No, this isn’t a d’var Torah about Chad Gadya. Instead, you Tom Brady and LeBron James fans, it’s an acronym for “Greatest of All Time.” However, in the case of Tom Brady, I would have assigned him “M.S.O.A.T.” – ”Most Stupid of All Time” (I know it lacks the cachet of G.O.A.T.) Why did it take him to age 45 and the disintegration of his marriage to give up football?

He needed to learn the lesson of “Dayeinu.”

This brings me to the topic of Joe Biden’s second term. Why? Perhaps President Biden hasn’t received any sagacious advice concerning his post-presidency plans. Well, I’ll do it – gratis, of course. If he needs money, he can make speeches (especially commencement speeches) at $150,000 a clip. He can also star in a reboot of West Wing. After all, President Bartlett came from the boring state of New Hampshire and President Biden comes from the more boring state of Delaware.

In addition, he can be a political analyst on CNN like every person who lives in Washington or Atlanta or wherever. He can join the defense team for his son or try to sell his paintings on the road leading to the George Washington Bridge. For pleasure, he could play cricket (whatever that is) with King Charles. I wouldn’t suggest polo, since I wouldn’t want him to fall off the horse.

All in all, these suggestions, in addition to the newly increased Social Security payments and his government pension, should do him well. Enjoy your 80s and stop worrying about wars, balloons, and recessions!

 Debbie Horowitz


Dear Editor:

 I will grant you that many Modern Orthodox have broken halachah by texting on Shabbos, and that others stretch rules and halachah, or do not always attend a minyan. However, you cannot smear an entire segment of Orthodoxy because some do not always follow the prevailing interpretation of halachah.

Part of the problem is that the Modern Orthodox Rabbinate here, like the Chief Rabbinate in Israel, has surrendered to the right-wing agenda of Agudah and organizations like it. Examples are numerous, such as in kashrus, where chalav Yisrael and glatt kosher are deemed necessary for caterers, pizza and bagel stores, delicatessens, etc. There are perfectly fine kosher non-glatt meats (if, in fact, ANY or MOST of so called glatt is actually glatt according to the actual requirements, not just sold by an alleged erliche Yid) and milks and cheeses. They have surrendered normal, respectful interactions between teenage boys and girls, even those sponsored by Young Israel and other Orthodox shuls (which is how I met my wife) and surrendered to the ridiculous, unnecessary, unnatural separation of the genders and shidduch dating. This has confused, angered, and driven away many who hear stories from parents and grandparents about dating. It also has caused the actual shidduch crisis, as well as increases divorces.

I could go on, but you ignore the fact that there is no consensus as to what Orthodoxy is. There is consensus of course as to hilchos Shabbos, but some opinions in the Jewish papers are so extreme that people, even from yeshivish schools, laugh at their ridiculous chumros. Is it yeshivish that do not allow computers, as in Lakewood, or the yeshivos, like Torah Vodaath, that went from Tziyoni to anti-Tziyoni or neutral, to yeshivos like those in Israel who do not recognize the Medinah, to yeshivos that say that you cannot go to college. What about disputes over kashrus? Some won’t eat from the OU, some won’t eat Rabbi Weissmandel, etc. Some won’t use the eiruv, some do. You do not mention the fact that many chareidim here break their standards of behavior once out of New York but don’t own up to it like the Modern Orthodox do.

As for the to’eivah that you mentioned, part of the problem is that people confuse the liberality and acceptance of the behavior, as opposed to accepting the person, of a modern democratic country, with the requirements of halachah. This confusion is in all groups, not just Modern Orthodox. There are rebbeim who help counsel parents on accepting and relating to children and relatives who are gay, etc. People are confused by the refusal of Orthodox organizations to help agunos and their chastising rabbis who do, like Rabbi [Emanuel] Rackman zt”l, by their refusal to engage with Conservative and Reform to work out a basic geirus agreement like Rabbi Riskin tried to and almost succeeded. When I grew up, if, chas v’shalom, someone married out, that person was cut off. That is no longer the case. Women couldn’t have nail polish when going to the mikvah; now they can. You can go to a movie, non-musical, during the year of aveilus now. It seems halachah is modified to accommodate societal needs and scientific fact – that each generation can have their rebbeim do, within reason, what is needed to help the k’hilah, as was done with the Prozbol by Hillel.

Please let us discuss the issues without casting aspersions, especially when the Agudah does not represent and never did represent the Modern Orthodox.

Truly yours, and hoping for a quick solution to these issues,

 Samuel Mark
West Hempstead, New York


Dear Editor:

 I would like to take this opportunity to respond to Warren Hecht’s article, “Air Ball.” Once again, Warren shows his true colors. Instead of expressing outrage at the Arab Nazis who are murdering Jews, he appears to side with evil. Warren makes a false moral equivalency between “Arab Terrorism” and “Jewish Terrorism.” There is no Jewish terrorism. The Arabs have been murdering Jews since the 1920s. Jews have only tried to live in peace.

Warren tries to prove his “Jewish Terrorism” theory by mentioning the tragic case of Baruch Goldstein, which happened in 1994. Baruch Goldstein was a doctor who witnessed and treated many Jewish victims of Arab Nazis. He finally snapped and went on a rampage and killed some Arabs. No moral comparison can be made between the actions of the Arab Nazis who want to finish the job that Hitler started, and the actions of Baruch Goldstein, who wanted to avenge the murder of countless numbers of Jews.

 Eric Rubin


Dear Editor:

 Oh Warren: Please! Please stay in your lane of domestic politics, doing a masterful job shining the light on the many great accomplishments of the Biden administration, including an open border, 2/3 of the country living paycheck to paycheck with a steady diet of preferred pronouns, diversity, equity, and inclusion.

You state that you generally don’t write about Israel because you don’t live there. That’s not why you shouldn’t write about Israel. You shouldn’t write about it because you are insensitive to the plight of your innocent Jewish brothers and sisters murdered in cold blood the past few weeks in Neve Yaakov, Ramot, and to the continued attacks on Jews in the Old City.

Why do I think you are insensitive to your Israeli brethren? Because you dedicate your one paragraph on the topic trying to draw what might be the worst case of whatabout-ism by bringing up a single Jewish murderer from a nearly 30-year-old incident. I don’t condone that attack, but the moral equivalency you attempt to draw by bringing up one incident from 1994(!) while Jews are being attacked almost daily in Israel is reprehensible.

“Imo anochi b’tzarah” – feeling the pain of other people – is something we can all work on. I, too, live in this country, and at times feel somewhat distant from what goes on 6,000 miles away. But the next time you decide to weigh in on the situation in Israel, I strongly suggest that you first Google Image the names “Yaakov Yisrael Paley” and “Asher Menachem Paley,” two brothers (six and eight years old) run over and killed by an Arab terrorist at a Ramot bus stop last week. Look at those beautiful Jewish children whose lives were snuffed out by an evil Arab terrorist, and imagine the pain their parents are feeling this week and forever. Perhaps that will put things into perspective for you.

 Doniel Behar


Dear Editor:

 “Tik Tok” by Goldy Krantz was an interesting article. But I don’t think it’s a moral issue if an older guy wants to get a younger woman. It’s a free market. He’s allowed to ask more than the market will give him, just as you’re allowed to overprice your house for sale and maybe get lucky. Not everyone shares the same values as partners having things in common. Some women want to sell themselves to the highest bidder as a trophy wife, and there are some men who are able and willing to pay for that.

As far as the older guy, Anonymous, who wants to have children: If he really does think it’s a moral issue, and a matter of happiness to marry someone who’s of the appropriate age, then what’s wrong with him pioneering in-vitro as he himself suggested? If he’s willing to take the slings and arrows of people who consider him a creep for looking for younger women, so let him be a martyr for the cause of single fatherhood with in-vitro. Apparently, there’s nothing wrong with it halachically, if women can do it. That’s where his energy should go and maybe he’ll save himself from a nasty divorce later on.

 Abe Fuchs


Dear Editor:

 I’ve been following with varying degrees of amusement and horror the exchange between Mr. Pecoraro and, well, everyone else, it seems. I want to start off by saying that I respect Mr. Pecoraro for having the courage to write a letter in which he expresses opinions counter to what he probably knows most readers believe, and signing it with his real name.

That being said, I did think there were a number of issues with his letters. Mr. Pecoraro responds to the assertion by Mr. Jason Stark that he should be proud of his religion by listing a number of prominent LGBTQ Jews. This does not rebut the argument, however, because Mr. Stark didn’t say anything about ethnicity. He used the word “religion,” and no matter how religious anybody in Mr. Pecoraro’s list claims to be, it is impossible to get around the fact that the basis of our faith plainly states that those people’s lifestyle is “an abomination.”

He also claims that intolerant religious beliefs caused the Holocaust, which I would love for Mr. Pecoraro to share his source for, because I was unable to locate one. He also claims that if we all recognize LGBTQ pride, it will prevent suicide, hate crimes, and homophobic murders. No source is provided for this claim either, though again, if Mr. Pecoraro has actually seen research on this, and not just read it off some activist’s Twitter feed, I’d be very interested in seeing it.

 Emelda Shelman


Dear Editor:

 The looming multi-billion-dollar, multi-year financial budget shortfall of up to $3 billion is why the MTA should stop wasting millions of dollars on transportation feasibility studies for future system expansion projects costing billions that will never happen in our lifetime. These deficits may continue and even grow for years to preclude such investments. Do not initiate any system expansion projects that are under consideration, such as the $6.9 billion Second Avenue Subway Phase 2, $5.5 billion Brooklyn Queens Light Rail Connector, and others to be added to the MTA’s 2025-2044 Twenty-Year Capital Needs Plan for future funding.

Each MTA operating agency including NYC Transit Bus, Subway, and Staten Island Railway, MTA Bus, Long Island and Metro North Rail Roads must first reach a state of good repair for existing fleet, stations, signals, interlockings, track, power, yards, and shops, and ensure most stations are ADA accessible. To accomplish this will take several decades, given current and future funding constraints.

Maintenance programs for all MTA operating agencies’ capital assets must also be fully funded and completed on time to ensure riders clean, safe, reliable, reasonably priced service.

Larry Penner


Dear Editor:

 It was an honor to be mentioned in last week’s article about the QJCC breakfast. Contrary to popular belief, though, I am not the creator/co-founder of the Kew Gardens Hills Facebook group; I am simply an administrator. The group that now boasts nearly 7,300 members was started by Chaviva Waxman before I even had a Facebook account. I am proud of my work in the group, and I am grateful for the friendships it has fostered and the assistance I have been able to provide to the many who have reached out personally due to my affiliation with the neighborhood group. It is a fantastic community resource, and I encourage everyone to join.

I also wanted to clarify that my attendance at the breakfast served an additional purpose. I was proudly sworn in as an incoming QJCC Board Member. With their upcoming move to Main Street, this felt like the perfect time to get involved in an official capacity, and I am looking forward to helping the organization grow into KGH.

I hope to be sharing other exciting news and projects in the near future as well.

Keep up the great work!

 Shraga Teichman