Columnist blasted on Kennedy
In reference to Rabbi Brad Hirschfield’s Sept 3 column, “The biblical and rabbinic roots of Ted Kennedy’s politics,” the title of the article seems to imply the author considers Ted Kennedy as one of the 36 righteous pillars of the world, which is completely contrary to the way Kennedy lived his life.
We are all familiar with the history of Ted Kennedy and his family. To say that his behavior, his life, was rooted in biblical and rabbinical precepts is blasphemous. For Rabbi Hirschfield to assert otherwise is either unfortunate blindness or a malicious revision of history.
To claim the commandment, “Justice, justice shall you pursue,” as words by which Kennedy lived his life shows the lack of understanding by this rabbi of the true meaning of this line. It means the ends do not justify the means. It is directed more toward judges and lawyers, prosecutors and defense attorneys, who should not cut corners or use unjust means to arrive at a just conclusion. Kennedy’s verbal stoning of Robert Bork, his hyperbolic claim of a return to segregation, was unjustified and contrary to the commandment.
Finally, there is no question that health care needs reform. That pursuit remains unfinished. Perhaps if Ted Kennedy had lived a life truly based in biblical and rabbinical roots, his voice might have carried greater moral weight, and we might be closer to that elusive ideal.
In my new home in San Diego, I look forward to the arrival of my weekly Chronicle with news of the Jewish community of Pittsburgh, where I spent most of my life. I especially appreciated the article on the Tisha B’Av program in which Rabbi Wein spoke of the Temple as a symbol of Jewish resilience and rebirth regardless of the many tragedies that have almost consumed our people. The Jewish world has risen like a phoenix from the ashes of the temples or the concentration camps to find new life in new worlds to conquer again and again.
When it comes to Jews there is nothing new under the sun. Whether the prophesies of Isaiah giving us hope for a world at peace in the future or the prophesies of Theodore Herzl promising us a new homeland in eretz Yisroel in a new surge of Zionism. This will hopefully be the foundation of a messianic dream fulfilled in the future in which a third temple will complement the third commonwealth, the eternal and final government of our people on their land that will be the fulfillment of our Prophets’ visions.
I am grateful the Chronicle for publishing my letters to the editor since 1970, many of which expressed the hope of Herzl in his book, Old Newland that the Temple would be restored.
San Diego, Cal.
Friend’s passing lamented
Recently I read of the passing of my friend, Bernie Harris.
I have only known him since 1932, when he and his father would bring sour cream, thick as molasses in winter, eggs, milk and all kinds of produce on a hard tire farm truck to Parkview Ave. in Oakland, once a week. His farm was known as Harris and later Daniels farm. His father was from Pliscov, Russia, and was one of 100 Pliskovers in Pittsburgh at that time.
I last saw Bernie at Eat N Park a month before he died. He always had a smile under his cap, always willing to help and was an asset at Forward Shady Apartment where he resided. All the tenants loved him during his stay there. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him.
(The author is a board member of the Forward Shady Apartments.)