Wednesday, May 25, 2022

To the Editor:

The Jewish Link, in two recent interviews with Rabbi Steven Pruzansky, allowed his direct criticisms of me by name to be published without the basic journalistic or ethical courtesy of seeking a response.

The latest, in your Nov. 27 issue, directly follows his observation that the media has sought to “paint” him “as an extremist or a pariah.” It should be noted that the Jewish and secular media reports of late regarding the rabbi, in the U.S. and Israel, have been based on his own words – direct quotes from his blog, which The Jewish Link chose not to cite.

I am responding here to a factual matter. Rabbi Pruzansky says that The Jewish Week was “pro-Oslo, pro expulsion from Gaza, and they never said they made a mistake, and there is no accountability for their mistakes.”

Leaving aside the fact that the rabbi has noted on numerous occasions that he never reads The Jewish Week, I simply want him and your readers to know that I wrote in my weekly column on more than one occasion how my initial support for the Oslo agreement was naive and how my views had changed. I also wrote of the failure of the Israeli government to provide adequate housing for those Jews uprooted from Gaza.

Rabbi Pruzansky also is quoted in your story as saying “My issues with Gary Rosenblatt go back almost 20 years now. Our views are different.”

On that point I definitely agree.

Gary Rosenblatt

To the Editor:

As I was returning home from my second round of parent-teacher conferences for the day, at approximately 4:15 p.m., I was pulling up and attempting to park our car. My children were out enjoying the enormous pile of leaves that had amassed at the end of our small dead-end block. However, the sight of my 12-year-old son looking for something in the leaves immediately set off alarm bells in my head. You see, our 6-year-old son was born with profound hearing loss in his right ear. When he was a year and a half old he had cochlear implant surgery and wears an external speech processor to allow him to hear. While it is magnetically held in place on top of his head, occasionally his speech processor falls off his head. I immediately jumped out of the car and spoke to my 12-year-old. My fears were confirmed. Our son’s speech processor, about one inch in size and closely resembling a leaf, had fallen off in the massive pile of leaves. I immediately began looking through the piles and piles of leaves. Soon thereafter, my wife began looking and our neighbors began helping us search as well.

Unbeknownst to us, our neighbor contacted someone that is part of a group called Chaverim, a local group of volunteers that assists people with non-medical needs. As this had happened late afternoon, by now it was dark and more difficult to locate my son’s speech processor. Yet as the night wore on, and I shuttled in an out of my house giving the kids dinner and putting them to bed, more and more Chaverim volunteers arrived outside our home, eager to help. Some lived locally, and others drove in from Monsey. Large vehicles with powerful lights converged in front of our block to help with the search, all of them graciously donating their time and exhibiting a tenacious spirit of optimism that we would indeed find my son’s processor.

The way we searched was to put the leaves into trash cans and inspect the cans one by one. By approximately 9:30 p.m., almost all of the leaves had been gone through one time and then put into a large pile. The chaverim volunteers were planning to inspect that pile a second time by hand. They were willing to stay for as long as it would take to locate the processor.

Just at that moment, as one of their volunteers was inspecting the last trash can of leaves, I heard a large cheer. The volunteer found my son’s processor, intact, in the pile of leaves. My wife and I were relieved and incredibly grateful that the processor was found and that our son would not have to go to school the next day without being able to hear. I went over and hugged the volunteer that found it.

We want to thank our neighbors for their generosity and help. And we want to thank Chaverim for their invaluable assistance. We feel very grateful that there is such an organization in our community.

Neil Normand

To the Editor:

I just finished reading your article online about Mo Fuchs. There were a great many comments made about the way that he coached the boys, and I can attest to his true menschlichkeit. I distinctly remember one particular time when my son was talking about the TABC team and specifically talked about needing to make decisions that were best for the team as a whole. One can only wish for a coach who teaches one’s son to think about life in this way and, in TABC’s case, we got it!

There was, however, one important omission made in this article. Nowhere was there mention about what a great coach Mo was/is for the “hockey Moms”! Hockey Moms have a unique position during games. I know one mom whose son was a goalie, and a great one at that. She used to stand behind the poles at TABC worrying about how her son was doing! She darted in and out from behind the pole as the game unfolded! She didn’t have to worry; he was one of the best! I myself sometimes had to leave the gym when the tension got too high; my family still teases me about that! But throughout those fun and sometimes nerve-wracking times, we moms all knew that our sons were under the aegis of the best. We handed our sons off to Mo–a person with integrity, smarts, kindness, sensitivity and a role model as to the kind of person we wanted our sons to grow into.

I will always remember those hockey games with sweet nostalgia. Thank you Mo for giving the boys a safe place in which to grow. And from the moms–because you helped the boys keep perspective we were able to as well. In a sense, you coached two generations at the same time! Thank you for all you have done for our community of boys.

Joyce Buckman
Mom of two boys (now young men) who were coached by Mo at TABC.

To the Editor:

Regarding your article on Rabbi Pruzansky, contrary to the headline, he has not apologized for his statements. In fact, he continues to stand by his blog entries and blames others (again) for misconstruing or misunderstanding his words.

He wonders why the Jewish Week has not been held accountable for its “mistakes” on Oslo and Gaza withdrawal. Leaving aside what you believe about those events, exactly how (and why) does Pruzansky propose to punish a newspaper for its editorial views? News agencies are responsible for and expected to correct factual errors, but opinions? Does the First Amendment apply only to those who agree with Pruzansky?

Lastly, in your article about the Shabbos App, of all the local Orthodox Rabbis you could have turned to for an opinion, you chose Pruzansky. One wonders why the Jewish Link finds it necessary to continue to grant space to a man who has been widely criticized by Orthodox organizations and leaders for hateful and divisive rhetoric.

Robert Friedman
Teaneck, NJ

To the Editor:

The story about Wellesley College and its bias against the Jewish students and Jewish cause is troubling on itself, but it is more so because it is a part of a widening pattern of behavior. I think that the best way to handle this should not be a protest here or there but in an organized campaign that would focus on one and only one institution at a time. It should have these elements:

1. Target one institution at a time! Be focused!

2. Portray the institution and its leaders as Anti-Semites in public and social media. It is pretty easy to find public or even private remarks of those leaders that could be presented as such.

3. Publicly turn the tables on them and declare that we should hit them in their pockets because ‘Anti-Semites love money!’

4. Send targeted letters to the alumni and donors of that institution, presenting the actions and remarks as Anti-Semitic bias and asking the donors to un-pledge their donations. Again this campaign has to be publicized as much as possible.

5. Ask Jewish students to withdraw from that college, not because they are afraid, but proudly, because they don’t want their tuition money go to such a discredited institution. And the emphasis must be on the discredited adjective.

6. Discredit the Pro-Arab organizations as pure Anti-Semites because of their policy to not normalize relations with Jewish organizations. Present them as war and hate-mongering

I have many more points that could be used in such a strategy, but the point is that we have to start now when we still have some power before we lose it all. It is these guys who’d started the war, we must take the initiative.

Ze’ev Atlas


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