Dear Editor:

I read the opinions here about proper dress for davening, and I want to offer my own take, both as a proud Torah Jew and as a wardrobe stylist.

As a Torah Jew, I know that Hashem isn’t an employer who will hire or not hire us. He’s not even just a king. He’s our Father. He’s Avinu, and not just Malkeinu. He knows what’s in our minds and hearts, and He loves us no matter what.

As a wardrobe stylist, I know that context counts. What’s formal in one place is casual in another. My friend is from LA, and she refers to New York clothing as “fancy NY.” I also know that regular weekdays call for less dressy clothes than Shabbos and Yom Tov. In addition, I know that personal style counts. My own personal style is so casual that I can wear a dark denim skirt with a fitted black t-shirt and people think I’m dressed up to go someplace.

For davening, it’s not about dressing casual vs. formal. It’s about looking dignified. This means good grooming and wearing clothes that not only cover you appropriately but that are neat, clean, fitted, and flattering. Weekday davening calls for a more casual look, while Shabbos and Yom Tov davening call for a more formal look. But casual doesn’t have to be sloppy or undignified. And as long as the look is dignified, it’s appropriate for talking to our Heavenly Father who loves us.

Meira E. Schneider-Atik


Dear Editor:

 Language and the terms we use often evolve over time. Some terms, such as “little people” instead of “midget,” or the use of the term “special needs” were changed for sensitivity reasons. Other terms, such as “illegal alien” morphed into “illegal immigrant” and then to “migrant” for political reasons.

One term that has stayed constant over time is the term “conspiracy theorist.” It generally refers to one’s belief that an event or situation is the result of a secret plan made by powerful people. The term is often employed to demonstrate how someone else’s beliefs are incorrect and lacking in evidence.

Until fairly recently, anyone who believed that the Hunter Biden laptop was real, that COVID-19 came from a lab leak, that COVID vaccines were anything other than 100 percent safe and effective, or that Twitter was doing the bidding of the Biden administration and was shadow banning conservatives was denounced by the mainstream media as a “conspiracy theorist.”

Over time, evidence has emerged that all of these so-called “conspiracies” are demonstrably true! We now know that Secretary of State Antony Blinken was involved in coercing 51 former intelligence officials to knowingly sign a false statement that the laptop was “Russian disinformation” two weeks before the 2020 election. We know that the Fauci-funded Wuhan lab was performing gain-of-function research on Coronavirus in 2019. The “COVID booster shots for everyone, forever” program seems to have lost its momentum and is hardly endorsed by anyone anymore. And Elon Musk’s release of the Twitter files confirmed what we all suspected about the Biden administration’s heavy-handed influence on the banning of content that was not in line with their narrative at the time.

Given the alarming rate at which formerly crazy conspiracy theories are being debunked, is it not time to change the term “conspiracy theorist” to “conspiracy factualist” on all matters related to our government until proven otherwise?

 Jason Stark


OP­ED: I Failed My Math Exam. This Is Why We Need Common Sense Pencil Control. (Satire)

Dear Editor:

 I received a failing grade on a recent math exam in school and, as you can imagine, I’m livid. I spent countless hours every day studying for this exam, and I really thought I’d hit this one out of the ballpark. And I was especially dismayed by the fact that I’m generally an A+ student with a GPA of 3.9, so you can understand my frustration here.

But let me be clear that I wasn’t the one who failed the test – it was actually the pencil that I used to take the test that failed me. Against my better wishes, my pencil wrote in the wrong answers for almost every question without even the courtesy of checking the answers before submitting the exam to my teacher. If it weren’t for that pesky pencil of mine, I would have certainly aced the exam, no questions asked.

This is why I’m imploring Congress to address this issue as expeditiously as it possibly can. We need common sense pencil control now. There’s no reason why anyone needs a semi-automatic or fully-automatic pencil that can shoot out 50 answers a minute. Pencils aren’t meant for civilians. The Founding Fathers never envisioned a society in which civilians have access to pencils. They’re weapons of war. And if we don’t remove these weapons of war off our exams, more students will fail their exams in the future.

So, join me and call your Congressman and Senator today and urge them to pass common sense pencil control. We need to make our voices heard; otherwise, Washington will continue to ignore this existential crisis.

 Rafi Metz


Dear Editor:

 “To be or not to be?” This is the most famous question in Shakespearean literature. I don’t think Hamlet was asking to be “gebrokst” or non-gebrokst” on Pesach. However, there are questions that are easy to respond to, and those that leave me in a quagmire. Recently, I faced the latter case.

There’s one question that leaves many teachers befuddled. It’s not, “What did you do with my essay?” In nine out of ten cases, the student never submitted the essay. It’s not “Do you know what you’re talking about?” This, in fact, was asked by an Israeli student who questioned whether I understood the short story, “The Chaser.” (He was right. Not being a drinker, I had no idea what the story was about.

Instead, I was recently in the hospital, visiting my husband, when a gaggle of nurses entered the room to examine him. After examining him, all but one nurse left the room. The remaining nurse stared at me, and I knew I was in trouble. She asked the question every teacher dreads: “Do you remember me?” I was thinking of lying, but then I knew she’d ask me if I knew her name. I told her the truth, since in fact most teachers remember either the best or the worst student. She was miffed and said her name was Annette. I asked her when she was my student, and she told me,”2008.” Now, I understand the first thing to go are names (although I remember the names of two of five B’nos Tz’lafchad and all the characters on Friends: Phoebe, Monica, Rachel, Ross, Joey, and Chandler). She, of course, remembered my shrill voice and my New York Times summary assignments. She even remembered my book bag and all the papers I used to shlep.

After this incident, I was asked a question by a male nurse named Jessie. He asked, “Are you Rabbi Neiss’ daughter?” After 15 years, he fondly remembered my father in Meadow Park Nursing Home. I was so touched and realized that this was the nicest question anyone had asked me in a long time. So, be the chacham and ask people the right question.

 Debbie Horowitz


Dear Editor:

 Conservatives have complained for years about the mainstream media being the de facto public relations arm of the Democratic Party, pressing Republicans with tough questions while giving Democrats a pass on nearly everything.

Last week, an intrepid reporter snapped a photo of a cheat sheet handed to President Biden before a press conference. Now this cheat sheet wasn’t nearly as embarrassing as the one that reporters caught him with last June, which had instructions one would give a toddler such as “YOU take your seat,” and “YOU depart” written on it. This cheat sheet included a reporter’s name, her picture, and the news outlet she worked for.

For those who have observed the mental decline of our President, this should not come as a shock. For someone in such a precipitous cognitive decline, remembering names can be especially challenging. What should outrage all of us is what was written underneath her name and picture: her question! Yes, the man with the most powerful job in the world was being fed the questions beforehand. Again, for the President’s handlers, this is a necessity for a man suffering from obvious signs of dementia. Anytime he goes off script, his handlers must be holding their breath. But what does that say of our media? They willingly go along with this charade, running cover for this obviously unfit man, pretending all is normal, moving right along, nothing to see here. Their biases towards Democrats blind them from perceiving the utter ridiculousness of going along with the President in staging these phony “press conferences” where both the President and the reporter act as if this is the first time the President is hearing the question.

Can you imagine the uproar at CNN or The New York Times if President (fill in any Republican name) was secretly given the questions in a press conference beforehand? Our mainstream media is a joke; they have no integrity, no shame, and clearly no objectivity. It’s no wonder President Biden thinks he can get re-elected using the same 2020 bunker strategy of hiding, never answering questions, holding no real press conferences, and ducking debates all while relying on the mainstream media to provide sycophantic and frankly delusional coverage of this sham being perpetrated on the American people.

 Doniel Behar


Dear Editor:

 So, Joe Biden announced he’s running for re-election in a prepared video released by his campaign this past week. You’d think he’d highlight all of his amazing accomplishments in the video. I didn’t see any.

In the video, he says: “The question we are facing is whether in the years ahead we have more freedom or less freedom.” Isn’t that a joke! His entire presidency is attacking our freedoms. He has run this country like a tyrant. His attorney general is his consigliere. Going after political opponents and parents who are trying to protect their kids from Critical Race Theory and transgender boys in girls’ locker rooms. Garland is also doing everything he can to protect him and his son from federal prosecution. Biden is corrupt as anything. He’s bought and paid for by China and everyone knows it. Now we know that he gave cushy government positions to all those who were loyal to him in the campaign, especially Antony Blinken. The laptop wasn’t Russian disinformation. Blinken ran interference by getting those Intelligence people to sign a bogus letter so it wouldn’t hurt Biden in the general election. Now all the facts are coming out.

His non-elected EPA and Energy Secretary are going after domestic oil production and causing our energy and gas prices to skyrocket by issuing suffocating regulations: controlling the cars we can drive, no gas stoves, what HVAC systems we can have, and what dishwashers we can use.

He is anti-free-speech, anti-freedom of the press, and he wants to confiscate all our guns.

Joe Biden says Republicans are banning books. In Daf Yomi, we just recently learned Sotah 26b. There’s a reason our kids don’t learn that when they are 10/11 years old. It’s completely inappropriate for them. Same with explicit material in our libraries. Our five- and six-year-olds do not need to be taught that. Protecting our children is a Republican priority. No one is banning books. Speaking of protecting our children, how about we allocate resources for armed guards at our schools? We have armed guards at our shuls. If we did that, then the number of mass shootings would drastically decrease, and then the Democrats wouldn’t be able to talk about banning rifles.

The President’s foreign policy is a complete disaster. You now have the China-Russia-Iran-North Korea axis. China is our mortal enemy. They are even going around making deals with other countries to replace the dollar as the world currency. This is devaluing the dollar, in addition to the massive inflation this administration caused by freely printing money. ISIS is back in Afghanistan after that botched withdrawal. We have thousands of Americans stranded in a war zone in Sudan. Iran just took a Chevron oil tanker hostage.

Our border is a disaster. Millions are pouring into this country for free stuff paid for by the US taxpayer. We already have enough people on the government dole. We don’t need any more.

Biden wants to federalize local zoning laws so more low-income housing can be built. This will overhaul the electorate by shifting the high number of Democrat voters from the cities into the Republican leaning suburbs.

It’s no wonder why there was no mention of any accomplishments in the video. There aren’t any to tout.

Biden wants to “finish the job,” to turn our country into a Marxist utopia. No thank you.

 Shalom Markowitz


Dear Editor:

 In 1968, when CBS Evening News anchor Walter Cronkite declared that the Vietnam War was unwinnable, President Lyndon B. Johnson knew that he had lost the support of middle America. He subsequently announced that he would not run or accept his party’s nomination for a second term.  The New York Times and many media commentators across the political spectrum have questioned President Joe Biden’s announcement of a re-election bid for a second term. He should heed the words of Kenny Rodgers in The Gambler: “You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, and know when to run.”

Larry Penner
Great Neck, New York


Dear Editor:

 According to Moshe Hill (“Does Joe Biden Have Israeli Blood On His Hands?”), it seems that the “blood of Lucy Dee, Rina Dee, and Maia Dee is on [Biden’s] hands, and he has no interest in stopping it.”

Of course, he makes no mention of any other US presidents under which many Israeli terror victims have lost their lives.

For instance, under the prior president, dozens were killed, some of which included three members of the young Salomon family having Shabbat dinner (July 2017), Ron Kokia (19, November 2017), Ari Fuld (48, September 2018), Rina Shnerb (17, August 2019), and Dvir Sorek (19, August 2019).

Perhaps he should look at the Israeli government first, and only first, in these matters, and not at all at the US government.

 Harley Schnall
New York, New York