LETTERS

The Importance of the Supreme Court

In regards to last month’s article about the importance of the Supreme Court, the writer, Dave Gordon, is correct – the Supreme Court is critical.  It stands between freedom and dictatorship.  The court stands between children being stripped from their parents.  Mr. Gordon brings up the 1962 case of Engel v. Vitaledealt, which ended prayer in public school. Thanks to that ruling CUNY no longer requires students to attend a Christian chapel like my mother was required when she studied at Hunter College.

President Woodrow Wilson selected the first Jewish Justice, Louis Dembitz Brandeis.  There was a Jewish seat on the court until President Richard Nixon replaced Abe Fortas with Harry Blackmun.  As noted by Mr. Gordon, today, thanks to Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, there are currently three Jewish Supreme Court justices.

The Supreme Court is all that stands between freedom and servitude.  A mistake in judicial selection could result in a new Dred Scott decision.  That would not bode well for a small Jewish minority.

Charles P.

Mitzvah Man

I love reading the seemingly miraculous stories of Mitzvah Man. Last month’s article (Hashem Has His Agents Everywhere – Even in CVS???) was certainly no exception! Our community is so blessed to have the Mitzvah Man organization. Probably almost every person in our community either has their own personal story or has a family member that has directly benefited from the Mitzvah Man’s heroics. He should write a book!

I would like to add that each and every one of us can emulate the Mitzvah Man – without relying on miracles. For example, one of the easiest and most significant things one can do is to get to know his neighbors – especially the elderly or those who live on their own. Social isolation leads to a catalogue of physical and mental health problems. Please spend time with lonely older people. They don’t ask for much and are sometimes forgotten.

Sammy S.

Soda Intake

Thank you for including the informative health article in last month’s issue about the possible dangers of soda consumption (“Whose Child Would Choose Water Over Soda?”). Like most things in life, moderation is the key. It’s not the end of the world if your child drinks soda at a birthday party, or if you want to keep it around the house as a special treat. The danger arises from drinking soda on a daily basis. An easy way to cut back in your home is to avoid buying soda at the market every week and not allowing it to become a household staple. Leave soda only for special occasions – like Shabbat. If you notice that your children consume soda when going out with friends, talk to them about healthy choices and what soda can do to their minds and bodies. Push them in the right direction by setting a solid and healthy example at home. And please do not make the mistake of replacing your child’s soda intake with diet drinks, as recent studies show that diet soda might actually be worse for your health!

Carol R.

New Recipe Columns

I love both of the new recipe columns – “Creative Cooking with Chef Shiri” and ‘Once Upon a Thyme”! The recipes are fun and easy – and the photos are beautiful. And Chef Shiri is so adorable. My two daughters and I made the strawberry shortcake ice cream bars and the marshmallow sprinkle cookies – and we received lots of compliments about how lovely they looked and tasted – wonderful and yummy! We are already looking forward to next month’s recipes.

Marlene G.

 

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ATIME Shas-A-Thon

I really enjoyed last month’s cover story, titled “Bringing hope through Torah,” that featured Rabbi David Ozeri on the cover. Besides bringing to light the accomplishments and goals of ATIME and its annual Shas-A-Thon fundraiser, the article showed in a discreet way the type of influence Rabbi Ozeri has had and continues to have in our community and beyond.

It was also beautiful to see fellow community members from Brooklyn, Deal, and Lakewood participating in such an important and instrumental fundraising event. Besides the amazing accomplishment and the merit of learning the entire Shas in one day, the funds raised for the event will go to a very worthy cause – couples dealing with the challenge of infertility.

May the zechut of the day’s learning answer the prayers for all those couples struggling with infertility.

R.B.

High Costs of Tuition

I read with great interest last month’s article that dealt with the pressing issue of the high costs of yeshiva tuition (Combating the High Costs of Tuition). Over the years, I have done much research on this sensitive topic and have come up with a possible solution to help solve this crisis.

I believe tuition can be cut in half if the following plan can be implemented. Leading philanthropists could give a 30-year interest-free loan, essentially bridge financing, to fund the shortfall. Each family would purchase life insurance, with premiums payable for 15 years and the insurance proceeds payable to an “education fund.”

Conceptually, the idea is to allow parents to pay for tuition throughout their lives, making such “payments” much more manageable, as cash outlays would only be required for 15 years.

After 30 years, the loan would be repaid, using the built-up cash value of the insurance. When the second spouse passes away, there will be a death benefit of somewhere between $1 million dollars and $1.5 million dollars for Jewish education.

Those providing loans will see immediate returns; and at the same time, they can lay the foundation for that most guaranteed of all investments, that of the Jewish future.

Jay K.

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In order to solve a problem, it is often useful to take a step back and see the forest for the trees.  Focusing too intently on the details of the problem can make one lose sight of what exactly is the problem itself.  Obviously, yeshiva tuition is far too expensive for many families in our community. But, before we examine various cost saving measures or start finger pointing, it is important to consider and ask ourselves: Why do we send our children to yeshiva in the first place?  In other words, what are the goals of yeshiva education?  What are we hoping to gain or accomplish?  I believe that the answers to these questions are critical to how we approach the problem.  In particular, I believe that part of the problem is that parents have vastly different goals and that is one of the main reasons we have not been able to come up with an effective solution for this crisis.

Jonathan L.

Protecting Our Yeshivot

Your publication should be commended for the continued exposure you have provided over the years in regards to the lack of security in our yeshivot. Today, New York City Council passed a measure, introduced by NY Councilman David Greenfield, which will reimburse yeshivot for costs they incur in hiring private security guards. Of course, hakorat hatov goes out to Councilman Greenfield and the other NYC officials who made this possible. But it is only because the publicity and public awareness made from fine publications such as yours that put the pressure on our elected officials to get this measure implemented. Keep up the good work!

Adam V.

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