Jews need to wake up
Doug Mastriano represents Christian nationalism, which, like National Socialism, is a buzzword for fascism (“Jews debate Mastriano’s Christian nationalist beliefs,” June 24). Note he represents a county which has a very long history in the KKK and extremist views. Jews need to wake up. There were Jewish organizations that supported Hitler early on!
‘Gentleman’s Agreement’ and antisemitism in New Mexico
I enjoyed reading your Retro Review of “Gentleman’s Agreement” (July 8). Sadly, antisemitism remains all too familiar in the world today. I grew up in Pittsburgh, experiencing little prejudice in those years. The same for my 40 years in Philadelphia, five in Virginia and now nearly six in New Mexico (where I’m retired). Here, with one Reform temple and a Chabad, I still felt relatively safe and removed from the haters. A few weeks ago, someone defaced Temple Beth-El by scrawling a swastika on its exterior. And in the past week, in a “nice” neighborhood (read: homes $300K and up), someone taped a sign with a swastika and the words “take back your land” on the community’s cluster of mailboxes. I feel as sad as I do angry, yet I’m not sure what the answer is (if there is one).
Rosalyn C. Richman
Las Cruces, New Mexico
Another side of Rabbi Wasserman
I read the article about what Rabbi Daniel Wasserman has meant to the Pittsburgh Orthodox community (“Rabbi Daniel Wasserman: A rabbi for all seasons,” July 8) and want to share my own relationship with Rabbi Wasserman. I raised my family on Phillips Avenue where I lived for 34 years. We were the only Reform Jewish family on the block. Our friendship began as Rabbi Wasserman walked past our house several times a day, and through my work with Israel Bonds. We talked regularly and even jovially discussed our observance differences. When my late wife passed away on a Friday morning in 2008, Rabbi Wasserman not only stopped at my house on his way home from shul that evening but also attended her funeral and visited me one night to pay his respects. In addition, he and his wife invited me to join them in their home for lunch on Shabbat, during
Pesach and in their sukkah. It was an open invitation that I availed myself of. He did all of this without my being a member of his congregation or even a member of the Orthodox community. Then, when I remarried in 2011, he offered us the use of Shaare Torah’s chuppah, which we gladly accepted and used in our ceremony. I can never express how much all of these kindnesses have meant to me — they have a permanent
place in my heart.
Harold F. Marcus
Decision to sign off social media should be celebrated, not mocked
I was very concerned by the tone of your article (“Orthodox women built businesses and friendships online. They’re being told to sign off,” June 8), about the women’s Nikadesh event in Newark, New Jersey. The very slanted tone of the article, beginning with the headline itself, was clearly an opinion piece which displayed bias against Orthodox Jewish women who want nothing more than to guard the safety of their homes and their families.
The article asserted that women were coerced into attending and were mostly offended by the event. Nothing could be further from the truth. Many of my friends and family members who eagerly attended had a very different experience. They reported feeling inspired by the event. They reported feeling that they now had choices on whether and how to use social media, instead of feeling that they had to follow along with societal expectations.
With so many studies focusing on the harmful effects, both socially and mentally, of using social media, the author could have chosen to applaud a group of women who are seeking the positive effects of limiting internet and social media use. Instead, the author allowed her own prejudices toward Orthodox Jews to present a very distorted perspective. Would the Chronicle be just as comfortable with the headline if the words “Orthodox women” were replaced with any other identifiable group?
Your article has subtle undertones of presenting Orthodox Jews as mindless followers living in the Dark Ages. People looking to better their own lives and the lives of their families by being more present and mentally healthy should be celebrated, not mocked. While their particular choices may not be right for everyone, their courageous decisions should be a source of inspiration.
As a follow up to the Chronicle’s article about the horrific events in Highland Park (“Pittsburghers react to Highland Park and the toll of mass shootings in America,” online, June 8; p.1 today): Please be aware of and take advantage of the many training opportunities the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh offers. Stop The Bleed, active shooter and fight back classes have been recent sessions. The Federation has been active and proactive in supporting the community and coordinating with all levels of law enforcement. Our institutions need to have plans and ways to lock down and lock out potential threats. As Rabbi Elisar Admon said in the article, we need to be prepared.