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Wednesday, May 25, 2022
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To the Editor,

We learn from an ad in the Jewish Link that Rebbetzin Aidel Miller (“from Yerushalayim”!) will visit Teaneck this week. She is said to be an expert in “pouring lead,” a supposed segula by which she can “eliminate the evil eye.” The ad further claims that this process can cure disease, aid childless couples, and help overcome obstacles in marriage arrangements.

These claims are offensive to any modern person, and especially to members of the Jewish community. Do readers of the Jewish Link seriously believe that the shapes resulting from pouring molten lead into water can portend the future, remove the “evil eye,” or have any effect other than causing desperate people to part with Rebbetzin Miller’s fee?

This is nothing but modern snake oil peddling dressed up as religion. In addition, such practices likely fall under the biblical prohibitions against nichush (divination) and/or kosem kesamim (augury); see Maimonides, Laws of Idolatry, chapter 11.

I call on the Orthodox leadership of Teaneck to denounce Rebbetzin Miller’s activities as fraudulent and halakhically unacceptable.

David Zinberg

To the Editor:

Aliza Augustine and I would like to thank you for the article Jeanette Friedman did about our exhibit “How to Spot One of Us.” We are grateful that the Jewish Link ran a piece on us. We posted the article on Facebook and received quite a few likes and comments.

Janet R. Kirchheimer

 

To the Editor:

Thank you so much for publishing my very personal letter, “Who Is a Jew? What Does It Mean?”

I lost my survivor father, Marcel, two years ago and have been trying to connect with the Second Generation since. I’ve connected with many groups, but the group that banished me was the one group I considered newfound “family.”

I appreciate the introduction you wrote. It shows that your newspaper is “hip” to social media, and more importantly, that you take it seriously when Jews mistreat each other. I’m glad your newspaper finds value in talking about the universal lessons to be learned from the Holocaust.

Jonathan Weintraub

To the Editor:

I just wanted to share a story. In your January 29 issue, you ran a story entitled “Drew University to Present Yom HaShoah Conference on Bioethics and the Holocaust.” One of the locations to which the paper was delivered was Lester Senior Housing in Whippany. One of the residents picked up the paper and, finding the topic of interest, began to read the article. Imagine her pleasure and surprise when she discovered that her nephew, the esteemed Dr. Arthur Caplan, was slated to be the keynote speaker at the conference. She immediately began a successful effort to get a bus to take a group of seniors to Drew on April 16 to attend the conference. When I was last there for Shabbos, she approached me and commented on how she hadn’t known that her nephew was speaking until she read it in JLNJ. She is now happy and excited and looking forward to attending with her friends. Her efforts have also allowed a number of other Lester residents who would not have otherwise been able to do so, to attend this important event. On their behalf, thank you for including that story in your paper.

Rabbi Richard Kirsch
Rabbi of Lester Senior Housing Congregation

To the Editor:

With regard to your February 12, 2015 issue front cover title “OU/RCA Issues Statement Endorsing Childhood Vaccination” and under your Health And Fitness page, “Are Anti-Vaxxers’ Religious Exemption Claims Grounded in Actual Religious Laws?.” it should be noted that there is much exaggeration and hyperbole made in the media in general and this article in particular as to the efficacy and effectiveness of vaccines, their purported and championed place in history as to the eradication of certain communicable diseases, and the threat to the general population in the event that more parents will opt for exemptions of all kinds not to vaccinate their children.

Jewish clerical leaders and day school administers will obviously conform to state law and pressure otherwise responsible and caring parents into state law vaccination policies.

The fear factor and intimidation that somehow their children are a threat to the community controls and influences objective analysis as to the merit of the theory of vaccines, herd immunity, and it’s role into the eradication of certain communicable diseases.

The rush to judgment that these parents are irresponsible and are putting others’ children in danger reveals how little we understand the human body’s inherent immunity and health in general.

But, it is a sad commentary in these times that our spiritual and educational leaders can with impunity threaten to deny access to their schools and camps if they are not current in their mandatory vaccine schedule.

The religious exemptions were established to allow parents the personal choice to opt out of the mandatory vaccination demands of the state. For so long, clerical leaders avoided this discussion and debate, and did not address specifically this distinction. Parents were perplexed as to the question of whether it was truly a religious issue, a personal one, or both.

As in so much that concerns our lives, we have politicized halacha and we have applied halacha to state mandated policies; much of it influenced by big money, emotional and religious fervor medical dogma, and fear, rather than by objective scientific evidence and freedom of speech issues.

Nevertheless, these parents search for the truth and weigh the claims about the benefits, as well as the downside of vaccinations.

They deserve a right to vaccinate or opt not vaccinate their children free from the intimidation from State mandates or Rabbinical Councils.

Dr. David Subin
Bergen County

 

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