Wednesday, August 05, 2020

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Parshat Bamidbar and Shavuot

Bamidbar prefaces Shavuot with good reason. The gematria of Bamidbar is 248, a remez to the 248 of the 613 positive commandments, encouraging us to take action and prepare. Secondly, this speaking to Moshe in the midbar was the second Sinaic experience, where we were now a nation carrying the Torah among


Be Happy With What You Have

The latest stream of conversations regarding Distenfeld’s well-meaning advice (“A Viral Opportunity,” April 23, 2020) that our community must recognize the pandemic message to cut back on our spending on luxurious weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, vacations, etc., due to the discomfort it may cause to those in the


What Is a Jewish Education?

I applaud Gershon Distenfeld for his thoughtful advocacy for yeshiva day school tuition affordability. (“A Viral Opportunity: Response, Resolution and Revolution,” May 7, 2020) Indeed, making yeshiva day schools affordable should be a communal priority, and achieving it requires reconsidering today’s normative


A Different Perspective

While I applaud Mr. Distenfeld’s efforts in attempting large scale cost reduction (“A Viral Opportunity: Response, Resolution and Revolution,” May 7, 2020), and while he puts forth a few great suggestions as to how we can collectively do our parts to achieve this goal, there is another solution: Move. The last time


Take Seriously, but Don’t Scare

I agree with letter writer Judah Isaacs, that we must take the COVID-19 seriously (“Not Taking This Seriously,” May 7, 2020). But we need not overly terrify and panic people. The CDC does NOT “strongly recommend that everyone wear a mask outdoors.” When one is going outside for a walk and is social distancing, one


NNJKIDS’ Role in ‘Viral Opportunity’

Gershon Distenfeld presents (or should I say, re-presents) in “A Viral Opportunity: Response, Resolution and Revolution,” (May 7, 2020) the idea of a communal organization that would support yeshiva needs in Bergen County—NNJKIDS. I do not recall the year it was formed, but I did support it.

I do


Is Corona a Wake-Up Call?

After witnessing the second plane hit the second twin tower on 9/11, I flew to Bnei-Brak to seek the counsel of my late relative Rav Avrohom Genechovski, zt”l. During my stay he quoted a verse from Tanach that says buildings are not permanent structures—though I don’t remember the exact verse. I can’t seek his advice anymore to


Dr. Shimshon Isseroff 's Immense Contribution

While I welcome the wonderful article about Dr. Shimshon Isseroff (“Chidon Honors Champion of Talmud Torah,” May 7, 2020), it must be stated that it barely captures the immense contribution he has made to 20th-century Jewish education in America. His pioneering work in standardizing congregational schools cannot be


Calling Out Mayor De Blasio

Dear Mayor De Blasio,

I recently woke up to find a tweet from you admonishing the “Jewish community” for violating the social distancing laws in New York City. Shame on you, Mayor De Blasio, for accusing an entire religious community of breaking the law. Just as I don’t believe that the actions of


A Viral Opportunity: Let RCBC Take the Lead

Gershon Distenfeld’s recent article (“A Viral Opportunity,” April 23, 2020) has struck a chord, and seems to be generating a groundswell of support in the community. Many of us agree that a lifestyle where a family needs to be in the country’s wealthiest 2% just in order to meet the basic necessities is inappropriate and


Yeshivot Need To Cancel Yeshiva Week

I want to address Gershon Distinfeld’s article about finding ways to reduce communal costs with a call to action to our yeshivot (“A Viral Opportunity,” April 23).

It’s time to cancel winter vacation or shorten it to a long weekend. The costs involved


Not Taking This Seriously

I am writing this letter on Motzei Shabbos on May 2. Today was a very beautiful day with 70 degree weather and I had the opportunity to walk around Teaneck. I was very disappointed to see so many people not taking our current situation seriously. I saw many community members walking but not social distancing and, most