Letters to the editor

Letters to the editor

Readers respond

(Photo from Flash90)
(Photo from Flash90)

Trump is not the man to lead America
I am responding to the recent column by Binyamin Rose (“Many Orthodox Jews support President Trump. I’m one them — here’s why,” Sept. 4). He is sadly delusional as he itemizes the points for supporting Trump. I strongly disagree with his arguments.

Mr. Rose expresses admiration for Charles Kushner, Jared Kushner’s father, despite the fact that he spent time in jail for illegal campaign contributions, tax evasion and witness tampering. This is not a man to admire.

Yes, Trump has been a friend to Israel but that is more to please the evangelicals than the Jews.

Mr. Rose claims catching COVID-19 is a big worry for Orthodox Jews, but some have flaunted the rules for prevention, leading to large outbreaks in some of their communities. He also states they are worried about the rise in anti-Semitism. Do they think Trump will do anything about either problem? It has been proven that he has utterly failed to handle the pandemic. Do they think 180,000 deaths are containment?

Trump has encouraged white supremacy by not condemning these right-wing groups. The white supremacists hate Blacks, Jews and Native Americans. They will not be suppressed by this president but rather encouraged.

Last but not least, he is a pathological liar. The Washington Post estimates that he has told more than 20,000 lies.

This is the man you want to run the United States of America? AGAIN??

Suzanne Paul

Pittsburgh Chronicle should not provide platform for those who ignore dangers of white supremacy
In last week’s op-ed about Orthodox support for Trump, Binyamin Rose does not dispute that “Trump’s diatribes have emboldened far-right extremists and white nationalists.” However, he brushes off this concern by asking, “for an Orthodox Jew, what’s the bigger present threat? A far-right extremist in a distant rural town, or a looter in a Jewish neighborhood?”

Here in Pittsburgh, the answer is clear. I am not aware of a single instance of looting in Squirrel Hill, but we are all aware of the real, present danger that far-right extremists pose to our community. Furthermore, this extremism is not confined to a few isolated individuals in unpopulated areas. The white supremacist who attacked our congregations two years ago came from Baldwin, and the Poway synagogue shooter came from the “distant rural town” of San Diego.

I am astounded that a Jewish newspaper in Pittsburgh, of all places, chose to publish a piece implying that white nationalists live too far away to do any harm. I fully support featuring a wide range of Jewish opinions in the Chronicle, but in the context of what our community has been through, Rose’s dismissal of the threat of far-right extremists is ignorant and insensitive. (Rose also used incorrect data to support his claims, writing that 80% of ultra-Orthodox Jews voted for Trump in 2016. The actual figure was just 56%, as Rose correctly notes earlier in the column, a far less impressive majority.)

Right-wing extremism continues to be a real threat to Jews as well as to many of our friends and neighbors. I have been encouraged in recent months to see many community members speaking out against white supremacy. I am sorry to see that the Chronicle is providing a platform to those who continue to ignore it.

Moses Hetfield
Squirrel Hill

Op-ed framing Orthodox Jews as monolithic is harmful, tone deaf to our community
I was dismayed to read the article you reprinted from Binyamin Rose, editor of Mishpacha magazine (“Many Orthodox Jews support President Trump. I’m one of them — here’s why,” Sept. 4). While I appreciate that a community paper such as the Jewish Chronicle wishes to present many views on the topic of the upcoming election, I cannot understand why you would choose — for such a divisive topic — to print the views of someone not only outside our Pittsburgh community, but outside the United States itself. Worse, Rose repeatedly presents himself as representing the opinions of “Orthodox Jews” — an audacious claim undermined by his own statistics, but one that could easily be taken at face value by the many readers in our community who have not met the many and varied Orthodox Jews here in our area. Framing the Orthodox community as monolithic is harmful, implicitly “othering” us to any on the outside.

Given that Rose does not represent Orthodox Jews as a whole, could not the Chronicle have found a local voice in support of Trump whose writing would have more relevance to our community? Rose is at his most painfully irrelevant (and tone deaf) when he writes: “But for an Orthodox Jew, what’s the bigger present threat? A far-right extremist in a distant rural town, or a looter in a Jewish neighborhood?”

Here in Pittsburgh, we all tragically know the answer to that question.

Yitzhak Mandelbaum
Squirrel Hill

In praise of Rabbi Jamie Gibson for making the case for Biden
I cheered as I read the passionate, compelling essay by Rabbi Emeritus Jamie Gibson (“Make America Good Again,” Sept. 4), in which he makes a powerful case to elect Joe Biden president on Nov. 3.

In less than half a page, the Rabbi catalogues so many atrocious and outrageous policies and postures of our hateful, intolerant, bigoted and incompetent Donald Trump, who has done so much to bring our nation and its people down and to render us a laughingstock and an object of scorn and pity among the countries of the world. He also notes the many positive attributes of former Vice President Biden, an honorable, decent, good-hearted and sincere man who, unlike his opponent, possesses and demonstrates genuine empathy and basic human decency.

As I write this, our abnormal president is seeking not to calm tensions and bring us together as racial unrest erupts, but to fan the flames, encouraging his armed supporters (“GREAT PATRIOTS” to the Tweeter-in-chief) to take to the streets to combat counterprotesters. He assumes that a supporter of his, a 17-year-old child who is proudly pictured with his rifle, and who shot two people to death in Kenosha, Wisconsin, was a victim, asserting before anyone knows all the facts, that he “must have been in some trouble” and “would likely have been killed” if he had not used his weapon to kill others.

It had to be difficult for Rabbi Gibson to refrain from stating his views throughout the years of our long national nightmare, the Trump presidency, and no doubt it is difficult for other members of the clergy to remain silent. Now, though, unrestrained by being an active full-time rabbi, Rabbi Jamie may do so. We readers are the beneficiaries. Thank you and bless you, sir.

Oren Spiegler
Peters Township

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