Monday, September 26, 2022

To the Editor:

Just wanted to let you know how pleased I am with the caliber of the Jewish Link. I think the articles are well researched, the editing is of the finest quality (puts the other Jewish-focused papers to shame) and it is balanced.

Unlike most of the other papers, you are also not afraid to print the truth, even when it is unpopular and your readership isn’t very happy to hear it. In short, your paper operates following the highest principles of journalism.

Many thanks,

Jonnie Sofer,

To the Editor:

Kudos to Rabbi Steven Pruzansky, the current spiritual leader of Cong. Bnai Yeshurun of Teaneck, for his brilliant, erudite and lawyerly rejoinder to Dr. Mark Levie’s defense of Rabbi Avi Weiss.

As is his wont, Rabbi Pruzansky claims that his original letter regarding Rabbi Weiss’s offenses “stated calmly, without personal attacks of any sort” his position regarding Rabbi Weiss’s many “public breaches of Jewish tradition,” as well as Rabbi Weiss’s propensity for “distorting the mesorah.” Rabbi Pruzansky’s eloquent attack was delivered with characteristically humorous, nay, even scintillating turns of phrase. Also, one can’t help but be emotionally moved at his mentioning three times in his communication the fact that Dr. Levie is Rabbi Weiss’s son-in-law, although one wonders how this is relevant to the Rabbi’s polemic contra Weiss.

His letter’s most memorable sentence was ”it matters little whether the concert (involving a church choir at Rabbi Weiss’s shul) is celebrating the birthday of Martin Luther King, Martin Luther, Dean Martin or Nat King Cole.” This sentence, so rich in innuendo, so replete with racist overtones, so demeaning towards both a U.S. national holiday and a venerated African American leader—this sentence alone veritably enshrines Rabbi Pruzansky as a prophet in our times, an oracle, a Moses who breaks the tablets over the heads of the Jewish people exclaiming “Oops, sorry, they slipped!”

From whence comes Rabbi Pruzansky’s ability to scold Rabbi Weiss, a man who has shown boundless chesed to individuals in need, who has risked life and limb on behalf of Soviet Jewry, who has nurtured a community of spiritual growth and development in Riverdale and beyond? Is it that Rabbi Pruzansky envies Rabbi Weiss’s ability to publish a NYTimes OpEd?

Hasn’t Rabbi Pruzansky gained sufficient public, if not international recognition in the past, whether by proclaiming at Bnai Yeshurun, shortly after assuming the mantle of spiritual leadership, that he would “understand” it if someone assassinated then-Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin; or by openly attacking former Prime Minister Arik Sharon as a traitor to Israel; or by calling for the abolishment of the synagogue’s Israel Independence Day celebration in response to policies of the Israeli government that he opposed; or by attempting to block a Kiddush for Friends of the IDF, due to his abhorrence of the Israeli government’s direction. For someone who claims to have “zero interest in debating personalities,” he certainly has been charitable about doing exactly that quite incessantly.

Perhaps we should heed the Mishna’s dictum of “Do not judge your friend until you stand in his place.” Perhaps we should sympathize with Rabbi Pruzansky’s plight. After all, he spent most of his career as a criminal lawyer and his background no doubt splendidly informs his enlightened approach to evaluating Rabbi Weiss’s activities.

The Talmud advises us that “Torah scholars spread peace in the world.” Would that this become true in Teaneck, on the pages of the Jewish Link and throughout the Jewish world.

Pinchas S. Stein
Teaneck, New Jersey

To the Editor:

Rabbi Yossie Stern was an individual with a special vision and the incredible strength to implement it. The cases that walked through Project Ezrah s doors were heart wrenching and would bring many of us to tears. But Rabbi Stern listened, empathized and had the unique ability to think through the situation methodically. Like an experienced doctor, his ability to read an individual and prescribe the right action was uncanny. For some it was his affectionate smile and others a fatherly guiding hand. We miss him dearly, but he left so much behind to carry us forward.

We are fortunate that Rabbi Stern created an organization with great procedural stability and staffed it with very capable talent, trained in his special ways, so that operations could continue to run smoothly under a variety of circumstances. Rabbi Stern s primary concern was the welfare of Project Ezrah and its clients and he ensured that welfare with a strong organizational architecture.

Project Ezrah never stops working and over the past several weeks the organization has been operating as usual; the office staff continues to assist old and new clients. Every day clients are going through hardships and Project Ezrah has been there to assist in every manner  from paying a utility bill to helping create a resume. The organization has been running smoothly under the guidance of senior staff members who are performing the same functions they have been for many years. As members of Project Ezrah s Executive Board we are maintaining the same close and continual contact with the organization as we have in the past.

Although our loss is great, Project Ezrah continues to fulfill its objective: to help those in need.

Nahum Felman
Barry Sklar
Daniel Walzman
Aaron Wertentheil

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