February 21, 2024
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February 21, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

To the Editor:

The Community News section of the Jewish Link announced this week’s visit to Bergenfield of Rabbi Yaakov Menachem Rabinowicz, the Bialer Rebbe of Bnei Brak. He is described as “one in a long line of wonder rabbis.” An accompanying full-page ad refers to his “holiness and special powers.”

Separately, I received a more detailed announcement of the rebbe’s visit—unrelated to the Jewish Link—via email. The document bills the rebbe as “one of the most famous miracle workers in our times.” It cites a litany of evidence for his supposedly divine talents: The rebbe’s blessing resulted in the marriage of three unwed sisters. A woman whose unborn child was ill, and had previously undergone a miscarriage, came to the rebbe; he “read the couple’s note with their Hebrew names and declared that he didn’t see any problem and that their child would be healthy.” A man with leukemia was cured after receiving a blessing.

In short, the emailed document states, “complex medical questions, intricate business matters involving seven-digit figures, and much more, are treated by the rebbe. His sage advice and fruit-bearing blessings point to the abundant help from Heaven with which he is endowed.”

Miracle workers? Faith healing? Blessings by holy men? Call me old fashioned, but this is not the Orthodox Judaism I grew up with. Back then, we would have expected such announcements from “Not the Jewish Press,” an annual spoof, rather than from a serious weekly.

But here’s a thought: While he’s in town, perhaps Rabbi Rabinowicz can work his magic to lower the cost of Pesach foods. That would be truly miraculous.

David Zinberg
Teaneck, NJ

To the Editor:

Every [other] year it seems, the Orthodox Jewish residents of Teaneck that send their children to yeshiva day schools are forced into the unenviable position of begging the Teaneck Board of Education [to keep] their student bussing that their children are entitled to by a matter of law. In an almost “Jim Crow” matter, the Teaneck Board of Education is wishing to provide busing, but only in such a manner that almost makes it impossible for anyone to believe that it really is meant to provide any meaningful service to our children, rather than inconvenience our children and their families, just for attending a non public school.

This must stop now. This yearly or biannual song and dance and powerplay by the Teaneck BOE has no place in our society. It’s wrong, and it has the foul stench of antisemitism, or anti-Orthodox Judaism, though couched differently than the Tenafly Eruv episode of a decade ago, or even the Teaneck mikvah episodes of the 1980s. (Ever wonder why the Teaneck Mikvah is in Bergenfield?) Those opposed to Orthodox schools and Yeshiva Day Schools have learned the failed lessons of their predecessors on how to hide their true feelings.

But it’s very clear what their feelings are. These people believe that Orthodox Jewish children in Teaneck that attend Yeshiva Day Schools are not entitled the same kind and level of funding and treatment as everyone else. If the state mandates the funding, these people will dole out the funding to the children in a manner that is almost equivalent to having separate drinking fountains for public school children and Yeshiva Day School children. These people are wrong. What they are doing is a disgrace. We should all be outraged.

We must start thinking creatively on issues like this, and find out-of-the-box solutions in a legislative manner. We have to demand from our state representatives, or other representatives, that they find out-of-the-box solutions to help us. When it comes to legislation and law making there is always a way to change things.

We must push for a state law or a series of state laws to take the decision for private and parochial school bussing out of the hands of the Teaneck BOE, and the local BOEs, and give control to either the State or the County.

We must let our State Legislators know, we want a solution, and they have the power to do it. Don’t take no for an answer. There is a problem, and we need to find out-of-the-box solutions.

There are many ways the state can step in, if done properly. Some possible ideas include:

If busing was determined county wide, as opposed to district wide, then the bus contracts could be bid on a county-wide economy of scale, thereby lowering the costs for all taxpayers.

If a state bill giving all parochial school students bussing, and to be administered by the County, [were passed], then all of our communities would possibly receive bussing, and economies would be worked out, so that different students from adjacent towns could be on the same bus at no extra costs.

The environmental aspect and traffic mitigation aspect of removing all the carpools from the roads, and replacing them with a few buses, would have enormous impact on traffic and pollution in our area.

Just the traffic congestion in our neighborhoods and in the vicinity of our schools cause pollution and increased traffic and bottleneck points at various times during the day.

We need to build coalitions, and find people who are willing to find a solution. We need to be creative, and put an end to the Teaneck BOE’s actions, and other actions like them.

Something else needs to be addressed. If you want to be successful on an issue like this, you need the schools, and their Boards, to be supportive actively as well. We need to make sure that this is on their legislative agenda, even though the Yeshiva Day Schools will not receive any funding from such legislation. Make sure that your priority is their priority as well.

The entire State Assembly is up for reelection this year. Ask your assembly candidates (as well as your State Senators), how they will help on this matter. Discuss this issue with them. Make them get active in the solution. Don’t let them say, “It’s the Teaneck BOE, I can’t do anything.” Be demanding, there are ways they can help! They can, they just don’t want to get involved. As a community, we need to demand that they get involved. They can fix the problem, if they want to. We have to make them want to fix the problem.

Ira Treuhaft
Bergenfield, NJ

To the Editor:

Kudos to the Jewish Link for last week’s editorial supporting Senator Robert Menendez following the recent curious announcement of pending charges against him by the US Justice Department.

Senator Menendez is currently cosponsoring legislation that would require congressional approval of any deal between Iran and the five Western powers over its nuclear program. He is also cosponsoring a bill that would impose new sanctions on Iran if an acceptable deal was not reached by July. If the President vetoed either bill, which would be expected, Menendez, as a Democrat, would likely reach out to his colleagues to find an overriding 2/3 majority.

Senator Menendez, a ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, remains determined. Standing before members of AIPAC at its annual convention in Washington, DC, earlier this month, the Senator reiterated his commitment to preventing a nuclear Iran: “As long as I have an ounce of fight left in me, as long as I have a vote and a say and to protect the interests of Israel, the region, and the national security interests of the United States, Iran will never have a pathway to a weapon.”

At a recent summit in Baltimore with Senate Democrats, according to the New York Times, the President accused those in his party who opposed his Iran policy as “bowing to donors and others.” Sitting at a table in front of the podium, Menendez reportedly arose and said that he “took personal offense,” stating he has “worked to curb Iran’s nuclear program for over 20 years.” He also warned that sanctions could not be imposed quickly if Congress waited to act and the talks failed.

Let’s stand by Senator Menendez as he continues to work against a nuclear Iran in the face of efforts to silence him.

Larry Domnitch
Bergenfield, NJ

To the Editor:

Regarding Ari Weisbrot’s Dougie’s review: IT IS PERSONAL. In fact, that is your personal opinion. My personal opinion is far different than yours. The harsh review of Dougie’s BBQ submitted last week was nasty and wrong on so many levels that I’m not sure where to begin.

But let’s start with some technicalities.

In the review, the author started his meal with ribs that he liked. Then he had the garlic sausage ring that he also liked. Then he went on to the burgers and Caesar salad with steak, which he also liked very much. That’s a lot of food to eat at one sitting, even for me, a growing teenager. I don’t think I could eat any more at this point. But apparently he could, because he claims to have continued on with a half dozen more menu items, complaining that they’re cold and mushy among some other rhetoric. So do you think it’s possible that while he was working on the huge rib meal that Dougie’s is known for, that some of the other items got cold on his plate?

While he may have been a big Dougie’s fan when he was younger and single, maybe he is just older now and his taste buds have changed. Well, I am that younger kid and my generation loves it. But ironically, my parents and grandparents love going there too. In fact, my grandfather has a tradition of taking my brother and I there every year on our birthdays.

I’ve been a Dougie’s patron for as long as I can remember and I enjoy the food and ambiance every time. My whole family does, including my mom, a vegetarian. That’s right; the menu doesn’t need an upgrade for my mom, a vegetarian. Why does he need an upgrade?

Now let’s get down to the nitty gritty. I don’t know a single person that doesn’t smile when they’re told they’re having Dougie’s for lunch or dinner. This includes friends and relatives. Whether it’s a family dinner at Dougie’s, a catered Super Bowl party, a kiddush in shul, a birthday party, or just having poppers and wings delivered to my house… it’s always good!

On another note, who or what gives anyone the right to publicly bash someone’s parnassa? Dougie’s is a fun family restaurant, something that the orthodox world has a limited supply of. It’s clear that the author went overboard with his exaggerated rant about this fine glatt kosher eating establishment.

Is it possible he crossed some halachic fine lines?

I want to share some other tidbits about Dougie’s with the readers.

Cleanliness: Throughout my travels, I’ve seen some very dirty restaurants, as I’m sure everyone has. Not Dougie’s. The next time you’re in the area, take a look. It’s always clean.

Catering: Recently, Dougie’s catered my friend’s bar mitzvah. The food and service were great. How is it that I, a teenager, know this? Because, like I said, the food was great, and more importantly, I overheard my parents and their friends raving about Dougie’s catering.

I’m just curious, what’s in your kitchen?

By Zach Horowitz

Dear Zach,

You are 100% correct.  Most of what I wrote was extremely positive.  The place has been around for 20 years (15 under current ownership). And, it is packed most nights. There is good reason for that. There is plenty to love about Dougies. But doesn’t everyone have room for improvement?  Would you ever take seriously a review that described everything as “perfect?”

Ari Weisbrot

 

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