May 22, 2013
The recent failure of Congress to pass meaningful and sensible gun regulations in no way stops the efforts to prevent gun violence. Criminal background checks, limitations on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, support for mental health initiatives, and making gun trafficking a federal crime mustall be pursued and passed.
In the meantime, communities around the country continue to periodically offer gun “buy back” programs as evidenced by the recent efforts throughout Essex County. Rep. Donald Payne, Jr., has proposed HR 868, the Safer Neighborhoods Gun Buy Back Act of 2013, a grant program for state and local governments. A feature of this program would be the recycling of the guns, which would be turned into products such as street signs and refrigerators.
While we continue to promote more comprehensive legislation to prevent gun violence, gun buy-back programs can help to reduce gun violence while, at the same time, stimulate the local economies. Rep. Payne’s effort is worthy of support.
Phoebe M. Pollinger
National Council of Jewish Women
Essex County Section board member
May 22, 2013
We consider driving under the influence of alcohol or while texting as a cause of road fatalities. This is in spite of the possible fact that most people can drive safely under the influence of alcohol or while texting. We do not concern ourselves with the statistics of how many can drive safely. We do not use such statistics to ignore the fatal actions of certain people who drink or text while driving.
Likewise, we know that many people murder other people due to their interpretation of their religion, Islam. We must not concern ourselves with the statistics of how many religious people of the Islamic religion are peaceful, good people. We must not use such statistics to ignore the reality of certain fatal interpretations. This means we are obligated to investigate the possible religious influences of the Boston massacre killers. We need to clarify if they attended a house of worship where the preacher influenced them. This does not mean the preacher was involved.
Dr. Sanford Aranoff
May 22, 2013
All those currently blustering about President Obama’s refusal to commit the United States to a forceful response to Syria’s alleged use of chemical weapons would do well to recall a well-loved Bugs Bunny cartoon. Bugs and Yosemite Sam are facing off, and Bugs challenges Sam with “I dare you to step over this line!”
Of course Sam does, and Bugs continues to draw lines in the dirt, all of which Sam steps over. The last line is next to a cliff edge, and, of course, Sam steps over the line and off the cliff.
Unlike the previous White House occupant, our president clearly prefers to weigh carefully the possible costs and benefits of U.S. aggression. I will continue to trust his judgment on this issue. Our president is no Yosemite — or “anti-Semite” — Sam.
May 22, 2013
The College of Saint Elizabeth was honored to partner once again with the New Jersey Jewish Film Festival, this year for the film screening of Kinderblock 66 on April 22. The attendees came from the Greater MetroWest and College of Saint Elizabeth communities.
The entire array of films for the 2013 schedule was outstanding. Kudos to the NJJFF director Michele Dreiblatt and to the NJJFF committee, volunteers, and sponsors. In this b’nei mitzva year of the NJJFF, we wish that they may go from strength to strength in the years ahead.
Professor of Holocaust Studies
Codirector, CSE Holocaust Education Resource Center
College of Saint Elizabeth
May 17, 2013
Thank you so much for sharing Phil Horn’s heartbreaking story about his grandchild Shira. (“One year later, memories of love, courage”).
I’ve read the piece several times and each time I sob with heartache. Then I ask myself, “Am I making a difference like Shira did? Am I living life fully like Shira did? Am I bringing joy to the world like Shira did?
Shira stood for goodness, kindness, joie de vivre, helping others, courage, and passion and more. I wish I had been lucky enough to have met her. Shira inspires me to be a better person, teacher, mother, wife, friend, etc., because of his article. I’m so sorry for his unimaginable loss. At the same time, I am so awed by how the author molded his grief into a message of love, courage, and inspiration.
Tamar Wyner Herman
May 17, 2013
Like Dr. Chouake, I, too, recall the difficult days of the Yom Kippur War (“A day to play an outsized role for Israel,” May 2). Unlike him, however, I experienced those days — and the difficult weeks and months that followed — from my then-home in Jerusalem.
Forty years later, my take-away is that the most important issue facing Israel today is the need to encourage Israeli leaders to the negotiating table for peace talks. In the last few days alone, the Arab League has endorsed the idea of a two-state solution based on “comparable” and “minor” land swaps, and the re-endorsement of the official Arab Peace Initiative by non-Palestinian Arab countries is remarkably similar to the American framework that has been put forth for these negotiations.
As a “determined and committed” American Jew myself, I therefore believe that the “oversized role” we can best play in ensuring “the survival of the Jewish homeland and the Jewish people” is to seize the opportunity that this window of hopeoffers. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if thousands of similarly passionate American Zionists were to meet with congressional leaders and express our abiding desire for a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, rather than confine our powerful voices to perpetuating concerns couched in the language of threats, defense, and funding sophisticated weaponry? Who knows, it might actually work.
May 8, 2013
I was extremely touched by Phil Horn’s remembrance piece about the loss of his beloved granddaughter, Stephanie, who appeared to have been a most extraordinary young lady (“One year later, memories of love, courage,” May 2). Each and every poignant recollection shared about Stephanie’s all-too-short life served to remind me of how fragile life can be.
My sensitivity to the essay was striking, as I approach the sixth yahrtzeit of my sister, Ronni, whose life was cut short at age 62. I live out every day knowing I never had a chance to say goodbye.
Mr. Horn’s beautifully written tribute served to remind us of how integral it is to honor the memory of our loved ones by making every moment count while ensuring that those lost to us are remembered. To honor the memory of my sister, my husband and I dedicated a Wall of Holocaust Remembrance at the College of St. Elizabeth where I had taught and subsequently retired, so that for us her life could be recalled in perpetuity and with meaning to those who are educated in her righteous name.
Mr. Horn’s words reminded me once again that the fullness of one’s life is not measured in years alone. What remains evident is that life will not always be the same without the presence of a loved one.
I extend tremendous appreciation to the author. In this sixth year without my sister, peace cups her place in my heart and holds it gently.
May 8, 2013
I agree with the NJJN editor-in-chiefthat anti-Zionism is a radical fringe position on both the Left and the Right (“It’s 2013. Let’s debate Zionism!” April 25). It is no more representative of the Jewish progressive community than the anti-Zionism of Satmar represents Jewish conservatives. Virtually the entire Jewish community firmly supports the State of Israel. Even cursory examination of the published positions of the major progressive Jewish organizations, such as J Street, immediately bears this out.
The New York Times publishes many op-ed essays that provoke an eye-rolling “oy vey,” and in principle I should commend them for giving a place to non-mainstream views. But I can’t help agreeing with Andrew Silow-Carroll that these particular two pieces were unnecessary.
Harvey S. Cohen
May 8, 2013
I commend Andrew Silow-Carroll for calling out The New York Times for providing a platform for “debate” on whether or not Israel has a right to exist (“It’s 2013. Let’s debate Zionism!” April 25). And he correctly notes that the fact that the Times entertains this debate provides encouragement to those who seek to destroy Israel. But I would urge him to take it a step further.
Weekly, the New Jersey Jewish News prints op-eds and columns that unfairly harangue and hector Israel. Even the beginning of his own column features the same tiresome criticisms that Silow-Carroll calls “honest, often uncomfortable” discussions. He asks if Israel is living up to being called “the only real democracy in the Middle East” or whether Israel’s founders really meant assurances of equal rights for all citizens spelled out in the Jewish state’s declaration of independence. Are you kidding me? Every week without fail we have to read pieces that chide Israel or, like this column, question “whether a ‘Jewish democracy’ can survive when so many Arab non-citizens remain essentially under Israeli control.”
All these pieces ignore several facts. First, Israel, under many parties and governments, has made repeated peace offers first to Arab states and then to Palestinians. Israel has withdrawn from territory. Enough blaming Israel; time to hold the Arabs to account.
Second, Israel is not perfect, obviously. The United States is not perfect. Does that mean America’s promise of liberty is a sham? No human endeavor is perfect because human beings are not perfect. Yet Israel is held to some standard of perfection that is asked of no other nation state on earth. Cut it out.
Third, NJJN is published by our own federation, which is much more than, but similar in some ways to, atrade association. Can you imagine the newspaper of any trade association consistently printing articles that bash and undermine its mission and interests?Why should ours?
Finally, if some Jews don’t like Israel, they should feel free to ignore it. Especially those who Silow-Carroll says “have no intention of moving to Israel.” And our own newspaper should ignore them also, not provide them with a platform. While I applaud the editor’s critique of the Times, physician, heal thyself.
May 1, 2013
On April 5, a federal district court ordered that access to emergency contraception (EC) be expanded by lifting harmful restrictions within 30 days. EC, also known as Plan B and the morning-after pill, is a valuable back-up method of birth control that helps women prevent unintended pregnancy.
The National Council of Jewish Women applauds the recent ruling to remove age and prescription requirements on EC — requirements that have been based largely on politics, not science. Every woman has the right to make her own faith-informed decisions about her health. Removing barriers to emergency contraception will ensure that a woman’s health and religious liberty not be jeopardized by a pharmacist who would refuse to provide or fill her prescription for EC.
We urge the Obama administration to quickly lift these restrictions and ensure EC is placed on store shelves soon, to live up to its commitment to scientific integrity, support women’s health, and safeguard women’s religious liberty.
Deborah Legow Schatz
New Jersey State Policy Advocacy Co-Chair
National Council of Jewish Women, West Orange
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