To the Editor:
I just received the latest issue of The Jewish Link. It gets better & better with each issue!!!! The articles are interesting & well written. This week’s editorial was right on target. The kids’ baseball info is an added plus. Thank you so much for publishing a local Jewish newspaper that I am happy to have in my home. Hatzlacha rabah.
Chana Senter, Teaneck
Letter to the editor:
The Marie W. Andreas Memorial Park was dedicated in 1952 as a memorial to Maria Andreas and given to Teaneck by her family, original owners of the property. Frederic Andreas, her son, was a prominent community activist until he moved in 1951. The park was thus designated as a memorial to him as well as his mother—people who pioneered the Township of Teaneck.
As a memorial, would it not be a desecration to supplant this with the proposed Holocaust Center?
Barbara Ley Toffler, Ph.D.
To the Editor:
I have visited Yad Vashem at least twice and been deeply moved each time. I am a long-time donor to The American Society for Yad Vashem to help support that vital institution. When I opened their invitation to their Annual Dinner my stomach turned to see at the top of the list of General Chairmen of the Society the name Sheldon Adelson. Unlike the other chairs, he is neither a survivor, member of a survivor family, or long-time donor to Holocaust causes. How does he get to join this venerable list? By being a billionaire.
There is nothing inherently wrong with being extremely rich. I have never heard any objections to the generosity of Baron Rothschild, Baron Moses Montefiore, Edgar Bronfman, or Ronald Lauder. But Mr. Adelson is frighteningly different from these other philanthropists. Just before becoming a billionaire, he defrauded his own children out of shares in his company. His sons sued him, but he outlasted them through his vast wealth—the vast wealth generated by his gambling venues in Las Vegas, Macao and Singapore he uses to buy influence. (In 2012, Adelson’s company was reportedly under federal investigation over alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.)
A Democrat most of his life, he suddenly switched to being a Republican right after becoming a billionaire. He chose that affiliation solely to persuade politicians to promote legislation that would protect his financial interests. He then proceeded to promote politicians all over the U.S., including here in Bergen County and in Israel, who would advance his views. Last year he gave Newt Gingrich $10 million to say that Romney was totally unqualified to be president. After it was clear that Romney would win the nomination, Adelson spent $100 million to back him.
My parents were Holocaust survivors, as were two pairs of my uncles and aunts. My grandparents, two of my father’s siblings, and almost all of my parents’ wider families were murdered in the Holocaust. My parents lost a daughter in the Holocaust. For my first three years I was raised in the Bergen-Belsen DP camp. I have spent more than 20 years of my life devoted to Holocaust causes. I continue to establish my bona fides. I was on an advisory committee to the U.S. Holocaust Council, I helped organize second generation events for the Survivor Gatherings in Israel and in the States, I helped organize second generation conferences in New York and New Jersey, I returned to Bergen-Belsen to protest Reagan’s trip to Bitburg, and I was chairman of the Holocaust Committee of the Jewish Federation in Wayne. I am now a member of the Teaneck Holocaust Commemoration Committee.
I am revolted by the idea that Mr. Adelson has bought his way onto being a chairman of the American Society for Yad Vashem. My dead family members would be turning in their graves. He represents the opposite of all the values they held dear.
Please write to the Society at 500 Fifth Avenue, 42nd Floor, New York, NY 10110-4299 to express your objections to Mr. Adelson being so inappropriately honored. I personally will stop contributing to the Society until they disaffiliate themselves from him.
Stephen Tencer, New Milford
It is no secret that a severe tuition crisis exists in the Bergen County Jewish day school world today.
Those who volunteer their time to the thankless jobs of lay leadership within these institutions appreciate that the challenge to meet ever-increasing budgets engulfs virtually all local day schools — no matter whether the school’s enrollment is growing or shrinking and without regard to whether a school falls left, right or center on the religious spectrum.
If there is any chance of solving the tuition crisis, it will likely require a collective communal response. After all, as Jews, we have always believed that our “whole” is greater than the sum of our parts and that our greatest achievements are possible only when we function “k’ish echad b’lev echad”—“like one individual … with one heart.” Therefore, it is unfortunate that The Jewish Week chose to frame the pains of the Moriah School in a way that pitted one school against another and set two thriving and vibrant Jewish communities in opposite corners.
On this eve of Yom Ha’Atzmaut, we were privileged to attend a communal event at Congregation Ahavath Torah that was co-sponsored by all of the Orthodox synagogues in Englewood. The numbers of attendees at the event had swelled since last year’s event — mirroring the general population growth within all of the local Englewood synagogues. There were activities for children as young as pre-K and, at 8:30 p.m. on a school night, it felt like there were as many kids celebrating the birth of the State of Israel as there were adults. The crowd was anything but monolithic, with kids and parents in attendance from all of the schools mentioned in your article and many more.
Of note, this was actually the third such communal event held in the same space in just the last month, following a communal Yom HaShoah event last week and a public interdenominational discussion sponsored by Unite4Unity, a grass-roots effort co-founded by another Englewood resident focused on increasing communication and connections among Jews of all denominations.
If this is the picture of an Orthodox community that is “not increasing,” it can only be because it is seen through the glasses of “observers” who seek to find otherness, notwithstanding obvious kinship.
Kehilat Kesher - Community Synagogue of Tenafly and Englewood
Rabbi Akiva Block
Mordy Rosenberg, President