Thursday, December 28, 2006


He who fails to learn the lessons of history, is bound to repeat all the errors and mistakes of the past.

If you examine the negotiating positions of Palestinian leaders,you find that they have never changed their stated goals. from Madrid, Camp David and Oslo to today.

Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine
The right of return
the end of all settlement activity and a return to pre'67 or '48 depending upon which group or Arab country is speaking.
The eventual end of Israel as a Jewish State.

The Jews,however keep compromising and giving concessions-unilaterally.The expected gains from these moves last from one minute to a few days.
However with all the summits,withdrawals and settlement cessation,the flow of rockets and terrorist activity never ceases.
Now to strengthen Abbas, Olmert allows Egypt to ship arms to the PA.Without a question,they will wind up being used to kill Jews.This only supplements the arms smuggling into Gaza,and the indigenous arms and rocket production in Gaza and Judea-Samaria.
Without obtaining the release of Israeli soldiers,he orders the release of terror prisoners.
Without a cessation of Kassams into Sderot and Ashkelon,he frees up millions of dollars to the PA,to lessen the pressure on them.Yet he allows a "cease-fire" and only after the injury to a few Israelis, does Olmert allow the IDF to target the rocket teams.As long as it was only property involved,lets make believe that the rockets are part of a "friendly cease-fire between neighbors'.
Without any change in the security situation,to please Abdullah and Rice,he removes 20+ roadblocks.
Despite it all,the U.S. objects when a settlement is enlarged,as not being in accord with the road-map.What road map? Name one step the PA has taken to honor the road map!
Has anyone looked at the words in the roadmap document lately,to realize that there can never be such a concept unless and until all terror groups are disarmed and terrorist activitity ceases.
The State Dept should concentrate on the preamble and pre-conditions that the Arabs seem to have forgotten,before criticizing Israel which in its side questions and comments to the road-map never agreed to halt activity in settlements already constructed.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

President Gerald Ford

When I returned from Vietnam,I spent a year at the Ferguson Clinic in Grand Rapids Michigan, doing a colo-rectal residency.Our Congressman was Gerry Ford.He was a decent human being, who by his common sense and leadership did bring our national nightmare to an end after Watergate.
I was reflectiong today how the pardon of President Nixon had potentially far reaching results other than the above.Probably Ford lost the election because of the pardon ,and the gaffe he committed during the Presidential debate with Carter over the Soviet role in Eastern Europe.
Had Ford been elected would the Iranians have taken over our Embassy for one year?The weakness and ineptness of Carter taught the Iranians that they could run roughshod over the Americans,a lesson they have not forgotten.
Within hours of Reagan's inauguration , the hostages were released.
Michael Oren wrote a beautiful historical perspective in yesterday's WSJ on the American attachment to the historic rights of the Jewish people in Israel (Palestine) from our very inception as a country.This support by most Presidents,and Christian groups is what Carter is trying to undermine in his new book(according to Oren).
Had Ford won of course, no one would be interested in a peanut farmers ideas on the Middle East.
But even as a former President,Carter's outrageous use of the word APARTHEID in his title, is not only incindiary and meant to shock and sell books, but it removes him from the role of unbiased author. His one sidedness, and stubborness in the face of facts excludes him from from those who consider themselves " friends of Israel."
In fact the enemies of the Jewish State have a new hero.
When the historians evaluate and compare the feelings of our citizens to our Presidents,Carter will never rate the warmth,respect and affection that Americans feel on the loss of President Ford.

Sunday, December 24, 2006


The Associated Press is running a story today that" thousands of Jews celebrate the nite before x-mas" by having "Matzo balls "PARTIES in six cities. The originator is quoted as saying that it is an important nite for jewish people to get together,party and "be proud they are Jewish"
X-mas is strictly a christian religious holiday.period!
Jews should respect their fellow Americans and not try to emulate or delegitimize their celebrations.It is a perfect time for Jewish co-workers to cover for their CHRISTIAN colleagues who wish to take off and celebrate.
Last nite ,we concluded eight days of Chanukah, which always falls out in the last month of the secular calender.There are enough reasons and opportunities for Jews to be proud of our history and traditions without selling ourselves out to crass assimilation and commercialism.
Much Jewish blood has been spilled over the ages as they tried to force us to observe non-Jewish holidays;let us not throw these memories out the window and voluntarily join the masses.
Both X-mas and New Years are religious holidays.This year Dec 31 is a fast day(the tenth of Teveth) .Anyone who knows even a small amount of history ,knows that New Years day- the eighth day after the X-mas holiday represents the brith (circumcision) of Jesus .Religious christians go to church for the holiday.We Jews should understand a holidays meaning, before we decide to celebrate.
In a similar vein, Halloween (all-Saints day) and Saint Valentines Day are religious in origin.

The airwaves have been bombarded with TV ads as to how anti-semitism is on the rise,Iran wants to destroy us,etc,and therefore save our people by joining ADL (anti-defamation league).
While it is true that Iran wishes to nuke us,and there has always been and will always be anti-semitism, in my opinion it is not the ADL that will save us,but Jewish education.
If all the money spent for TV ads,direct mail solicitations and dinners for the ADL,American Jewish Committee.American Jewish Congress,World Jewish Congress ,Bnai Brith and the Weisenthal Center were combined into one organization think of what might transpire.
Tens perhaps hundreds of millions of dollars in real estate,salaries and protection for high official,together with the above savings could be directed toward Day Schools and Yeshivoth.Thousands of scholarships could be given.Teachers pay and pensions could reach proper levels.Countless new schools could be built.
Anti-semitism is not killing us,it is inter-marriage and assimilation.
In the Orthodox world the National Council of Young Israel and Religious Zionists should merge with The OU ,and Amit with Emunah .Similarly in the Conservative and Reform movements, their main bodies and their Zionists bodies should merge.

Anti-semitism would be fought by the religious streams,AIPAC and this combined new entity,with the same vigor and results as we now witness.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Tim Johnson / John Edwards

Another few days without the mention of Sen. Tim Johnson.Many people who I discuss this with point out,that they too were suprised by the lack of a medical progress report.
I wonder whether there will be any interest by the media on the first day of the new Congress?

Quite unbelievable-11 rockets per day into the South, and the PM still talks about a cease-fire. I cannot think of any respectable country that would tolerate that on a daily basis.

It is wild to hear the pundits talk about the strength of John Edwards as the main challenger to Hillary.He was a one term Senator,without a strong legislative record.Edwards, decided not to run for a second term, because the polls showed he could not win.Then Kerry chose him as his veep candidate.What he brings to the table is no clearer than Obama whose theme is hope and not fear.Didn't FDR talk about there is nothing to fear but fear itself?
Anyway,hope is what make us a great people and country, and we don't need Obama to give us "hope"-let's stick to the issues.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A conspiracy of silence?

As a political junkie,and as a physician i have tried to follow the progress of Sen. Tim Johnson.One week ago, the reporters were camped outside the hospital awaiting a medical bulletin-which never came.
We awaited a summary of findings from the attending neuro-surgeon and that never came.
We have awaited a daily progress report on his medical-neurological status,and that too never comes.
We did get a 2 reports from Dr Harry Reid,who assures us that he(the patient) is doing just great.
It seems to me that if this was a Republican Senator in such circumstances, the media would be screaming .
Generally, I am not a conspiracy fan, but it doesn't smell right!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Senator Tim Johnson

First of all ,I would like to join the thousands of well wishers who pray for Sen. Tim Johnsons full recovery.
I have known him for many years as a gentle sincere and compassionate public servant ,well liked by members of both parties.We have had him here in Rockland County for a pro-Israel rally sponsored by Huvpac.

Based upon my own medical experience,and my in-house neurosurgical consultant,who spent shabbat with our family(my son-in-law,Dr Paul Ratzker)there are some serious potential problems that have not fully been addressed.
The fact that the operating neurosurgeon,has not appeard before the press is unusual.While it could be due to the fact that the family so requested,it might be because Senators Reid and Daschle who have spent time in the hospital,do not want to upset the troops with status reports that would be upsetting.
We do not know a great deal!
How long after admission was he taken to surgery-and what were his symptoms? What did the angiogram or MRI etc show?How long was the surgery? How much brain tissue was compressed by the bleeding? Why were they unable to clip the "feeding arteries"?Was it because that they had so much bleeding and tissue damage that the whole operation was centered on stopping the hemmorhage? (the failure to clip the vessels,makes further bleeds more likely)
How much brain edema (swelling ) does he have ,and has it increased ,decreased or remained the same since surgery?What modalities have been used to measure the edema.?Is he on any medication like steroids for this condition?
Is he on a respirator, and what is his respiratory status?
What are his vital signs(including temp), and does he require medication for low or high blood pressure?
Where exactly in the brain was the pathology? What about his general medical condition(heart,kidneys etc)?
The fact that it is reported that he is responding to voice and touch is a wonderful note of progress.Are these positive findings improving or static?
However,my impression is that when VIP's undergo surgery,the public is often not really given the true facts.This particular case is different because of the potential fallout for control of the Senate.
Sen Reid is not a physician,nor is the Capital physician an expert in this condition.
It is time for the attending surgeon to brief the press on a regular basis.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


It now appears that PM Ehud Olmert in an interview to German TV ,admitted that Israel"like America and France " have nuclear weapons.So our criticism of Gates applies to Olmert as well`.
"Loose lips sink ship"was the motto of WWII.
Was it deliberate or careless?
In either case taken together with his immature remark as to why he stopped the war in Lebanon,and his performance in Gaza and Lebanon acts as a a reinforcement ofthe impression of a mediocre leader.


Goodbye and Good Riddance to Kofi!
The UN with much paper and theoretical potential is a BASKET CASE of corruption,incompetence and institutional anti-Israel bias.
Sadly the Senate did not allow John Boltin the opportunity to continue ,and represent this country.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Neturei Karta in Tehran/Gates on Israel/The Seatte x-mas fiascol

It is one level of Jewish self hatred to appear with and be on the payroll of the likes of Yasir Arafat, but there can be no words to describe the degenerate behavior when these black-bearded characters under the guise of religious jews sit in the front row ,to be seen by the entire world,at a holocaust denial conference in Tehran.At least in the former they can claim that their religion is anti-zionist.
But how can the Neturei Karta ,sit in a room with those,who clinically deny the slaughter of 6 million brethren in their generation.HOW CAN THEY RUB SHOULDERS WITH THOSE WHO WISH TO WIPE OUT ALL JEWS AND NON-BELIEVERS? (to Islam)
Their sin is so great,that no punishment that I can think of is adequate.Surely in the proper time the Almighty will settle the score.
The incoming Sec of Defense Gates, in his testimony labelled Israel a nuclear power,as one reason Iran seeks nuclear weapons.This statement should have been given in executive session,and undermines the Israeli policy of refusing to admit such a capability.Moreover,the statement given without informing the Israelis ,violates the agreements and understandings of successive administrations.Not a good beginning!


The clamor in Seattle regarding x-mas trees in the airport,represents a distortion by both the airport and the media of the request.The Rabbi,did not ask for the removal of the trees,but rather equal opportunity for the chanukah menorah.
I myself, have a different point of view.I believe very strongly in the importance of the separation of Church and State.I therefore oppose both the tree and the menorah as well as all other religious symbols in public areas.(owned by govt)
I have always been concerned about government money to religious education,even though I am acutely aware of the needs of the day school movement.
Government funding to religious groups as well as the public display of religious symbols is a slippery slope.
x-mas is a religious holiday,that has become secularized and commercialized.Religious Christians rightfully object to this trend.Yet, the beauty of America is that each individual is free to observe their traditions and religious ceremonies in their homes and places of worship.
Yes ,having a giant menorah in the public arena makes great pictures on tv,and even makes us proud.There is however a potential problem , as in this Seattle p-r fiasco that brings about an ill feeling toward jews.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Obama visits Soros /The Baker Report

The media push for Obama continues.It makes great political theater to speculate why the excitement.
Is it to hurt Hillary who up until now was the nominee "in-waiting" ? or the great left push for a black (African-American) candidate? or perhaps pushing for a Gore-Obama ticket? or, is it a Republican plot,because they know he can't win?
One small factoid is that Obama went to visit George Soros.If that is his true orientation,we should all beware.
It's very very early,and a lot of people make a lot of money to stir up the juices of the political junkies=like me.


I have been listening to talk radio recently, and my fears are coming to pass.More and more callers have an anti-Israel bent.They blame American casualties,terrorism around the world,the mayhem in Lebanon and every political ill in the world on Israel.
The talk show hosts like Glen Beck and Schnitt(I do not know if I have their names correctly)Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh blast these people ,but they still keep coming.They are terrific!
After the report (Baker) one of them started yelling that we are heading toward a time when we will blame it all on the Jews.For only Israel,may have the will and committment to take out the Iranian nuclear program.Not a pleasant thought.
The call for an International Conference where on the one hand,pre-meeting, Israel has been blamed as the core problem, while not inviting Israel is the beginning of a process that could isolate Israel.
It is ridiculous to consider that Iran which has deep theological hatred for America,and promises to destroy it,if we do not convert to Islam,will respond to a sit-down meeting.
Similarly, Syria has the ability to join the real world,by throwing out terrorist organizations,preventing infiltration into both Lebanon and Iraq ,and recognizing the border between Syria and Lebanon.
The report is a defeatist document,that speaks to a new isolationism,that canniot strengthen the American position as a trusted ally of any country.
President Bush,is correct to go slow and realize that this war we are in ,is a throwback to the era of an attempted Islamic takeover of Europe (and the world).Either we will succeed or they will.
Sadly,the American people have little patience for far-reaching political intricacies-we want the quick fix or withdraw.However at the end of the day,we will have no choice.
We must enlarge our military,which is overstreched.We cannot confront N Korea and Iran ,if they know that not only are the American people divided, but we do not have the strategic forces to carry out any new missions.
The advice of the Iranians to Hamas,is to fight on.So much for Iran ,the supplier of Hezbollah and now Hamas to be a positive influence.
The Baker report,is an attempt to have political tranquility in the U.S. but not a document for the long range stability of our global interests.

Monday, December 04, 2006


It was a sad moment not only for John Bolton, but for America when he tendered his resignation this morning.He did a splendid and even outstanding job as UN Ambassador in a very dificult period of history.That Democrats did not see his value is par for the course.That Sen Chaffee blocked the approval of the nomination,so the whole Senate could vote up or down confirms the wisdom of the people of R.I. who did not re-elect him.
Even though the RNC and the White House placed much political capital and funding into his campaign,he did not reciprocate .He will not be missed in the Senate,and the Republican party is better with him on the outside.
I had the opportunity last nite to watch Newt Gingrich on PBS as he spoke in New England.By far ,in my opinion,he is the the most articulate of the potential candidates for President.His vision of America,15 anf 25 years hence ,reveals his intellectual strength, is well thought out,and deals with issues and not partisanship.
His analysis of the need for all citizens to speak English,and become part of the American tradition strikes a chord that is is basic an answer to the attempts by some to come to America in order to change her to their own religion and traditions. We are a melting pot and not multi-cultural and multi-lingual. society.
Newt,as a college professor,understands the needs for not only education,but of projecting the computer technology of our youth and parlaying it into real advancement.His words will be met by resistance from the educational unions and beaurocracy.
He speaks clearly about evil in the form of Iran. It is unlike the athiesim of the Soviet empire.This theologic movement, seeks to destroy the West including Israel.They mean what they say,and there is no room for dialogue with such a regime.When a woman is prepared to make her 6 month old child a suicide vehicle,as in the recent London plot,there is no rational way to deal with such an opponent-except defeat--ours or theirs.
He makes a plea for greater face to face real debates in campaigns in the style of Lincoln -Douglass,and not through 30 second bytes to a moderator.
Of course Newt is still a controversial figure,but I would hope that even Democrats would at least listen to his words.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Israel is sitting on a time bomb/ Obama /a cell phone for motorcycles

It must be extremely frustrating for members of the military and intelligence community in Israel to present facts on the ground to the Cabinet ,and have their advice totally ignored.Of course,as in the US ,there is civilian control of the military,however the civilian leadership is totally almost indifferent to the continuing buildup and rocket fire from Gaza -daily.Despite a so called cease-fire,the smuggling of weapons continues,as Hamas uses the interlude to prepare for the next round.To order the army to avoid arrests in a public fashion,can only embolden the enemy.
If you stop reading the news and reports from Israel for a few weeks,you realize that nothing changes.The Hamas-PA impasse,and the status of Shalit appear to be exactly as they were weeks and months ago.The threat to bring down the Siniora Govt. in Lebanon,represents a real threat to install a Muslim govt.How will Israel respond? I fear poorly is the answer. >========================================================================
The 2008 campaign is underway and should be great theater for political buffs.As you watch the media fawning over Obama,you cannot help but wonder why?The Fox headline=IF OBAMA RUNS, WILL HILLARY BACK OFF ? IS LUDICROUS.
So far,aside from some nice smiling,Obama gave a speech at an anti-abortion evangelical group.Sounds to me like real Profiles in Courage,and should stand him in good stead in his very thin political resume.
I thought I saw it all,until I saw a motorcycle rider,going at full speed, talking on the phone.Perhaps he was calling the ER to have them mobilize their trauma team.
The large numbers of huge vans with their back and side windows blackened,makes it difficult to back out of parking spaces in shopping centers.To my mind,that and the extra bright headlights that blind you should not be allowed.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Bush visit==A new Israeli Ambassador

PM Maliki was correct in cancelling the 3 way meeting with Abdullah and Bush.Maliki understood that involving the Palestinian -Israel conflict into a discussion of the war in Iraq might play well in the Arab countries,but was of no real signicance.Abdullah maintains that the core-issue in the region is the lack of a Palestinian State.
.The fact is that until Hamas,Hizbollah and the Sadr army are disarmed, there is no hope for democracy in the region.
Abu Mazen ,like Sinora and Maliki are weak and America has not insisted on total disarmament of those who seek to overthrow their respective regimes.
We can only hope that Pres Bush maintains his toughness on the critical issues of N Korea, Iran and Syria.

Congratulations to the new Israel Ambassador to Washington.Salai Meridor, has many friend among the American Jewish leadership who served under him at the Jewish Agency,.This is a difficult time to assume such a position ,what with the pre-08 rhetoric,a new Congress and a weakened President looking for a foreign policy victory.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The daily minyan at Boynton Beach Fl==medicare part D== the Middle East

Today marked the very first day that the new Ashkenazic Orthodox Synagogue in Boynton Beach initiated its daily minyan .Until now,(sinceits inception one year ago)had only holiday and shabbat services.The synagogue Anshei Chesed has moved into a new building that it bought ,has become a member of the OU,and has a visiting Rabbinic intern from Yeshiva University twice a month.
I believe the basic elements are there for the community to grow because the homes are reasonably priced, and the facilities are excellent.


While one reads about complaints with the Medicare Part D program(especially the donut-when one reaches the $2500 annual level),my own experience is quite positive.
For a number of years I have been on Zocor for hi-cholesterol.The three month supply when I started was $430 for 90 pills.There were no generics available.Thus the annualcost was about $1700.'Then I discovered an Israeli generic that I bought in Jerusalem for about 430 shekelor $100 per three month supply.When Part D came out,Zocor became available in generic form in the U.S. and by using the mail service of the insurance company (prescriptions solutions) they supplied a three month allotment for $30. (3 months for the cost of 2).Now Walmart and various drugstores are offering the pills for $4.00 a month
Incidentally they claim to be making a large profit on $4 a month.
The government should try to ameliorate the problems of those with severe illnesses that go over the $2500 level, but do not reach the catastrophic zone.

The meetings being run in Jordan and Saudi Arabia together with the upcoming Baker report all point to an International meeting.This would provide cover for the U.S. to withdraw from Iraq.It reminds me of the Paris meetings that allowed us to leave Vietnam and the defeat of our allies.
If America cannot succeed in disarming the Sadr militia,and breaking up the smuggling of oil ,as documented by the NY Times,then there is no hope of victory.
For us to try to get the Saudis to control violence,or unite the the Sunnis is a joke.They are part of the problem and not the solution.Their funding of OBL and madras throughout the world undermine our global interests.
The Arabs surely will say,if only Israel would do x,y orz,the sunnis and shite will kiss and have peace,and Iran will become a friendly and non-threatening neighbor.
The danger is to allow pressure to be diverted on Israel.Olmert is so weak that he is vulnerable to a combined American-European-Arab program.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Back again-HAPPY THANKSGIVING 11/23/06

One of the intricacies of the internet system is the need to remember the names and passwords that we use to create an account.If through circumstances (ie. a new location or computer) we forget one of the above ,it can be very frustrating.Often there are no humans to communicate with.
Of course, I am alluding to is my absence from the blog for two weeks.I thank Steve my webmaster , for resuing me.

The election of Steny Hoyer over Cong Murtha is a positive event not just for the pro-Israel community but for the country.The Maryland Democrat has a long history of a close relationship to us.
As I previously noted,the new Speaker-designate will have to make a choice between ethics and political obligations.Cong Alcee Hastings ,and the black caucus expect his selection as the Chairman of the Intelligence Committee.The rest of the nation is watching her move.Cong Jane Harman ,who allegedly involned AIPAC in her battle to get the post ,is disliked by Pelosi.Will it be a compromise?So far Pelosi has shown toughness, but not smarts!

I had discussed months ago the re-elevation of Trent Lott to the no two position in the Senate leadership,should Santorum lose.This again is a positive for our community.The Mitch McConnell-Lott team and of course the Reid-Durbin Semocratic leadership team in the Senate are familiar faces ,and Durbin,Reid and Lott were members of the House at the same time.

It is amazing that the cable networks sought to highlght the old Lott speech extolling Stro Thurmond speech each time his announcement was discussed.Yet,for example when Pres. Clinton is shown,we do not see constant repititions of "I did not have sex with that woman" shtick.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Forward 51 11/11/06

This weeks the Forward published it list of the top 50 American Jews.I have always awaited that issue,for when I was active in the OU,I had the priviledge of making the list and one year even being rated no 2 after Rabbi Eric Yoffe
However the approach of the editors has changed,and now while some truly outstanding people are listed,there is a move to make it interesting even to the point of losing their affiliation with the American Jewish population.
Thus they note that once they found out that Sen. George Allen had a Jewish mother they made a 51st slot for him-What in the world does this have to do with our community(even had he been re-elected) ?
Among the choices in culture is Borat.Give me a break! for three weeks he had a pr blitz appearing on TV only in Khazaki dialect.YES IT IS FUNNY.but has he ever said one word about his Jewish heritage etc? to the contrary his reputation is making fun of his jewishness.
Making sure to announce that they don't approve of all their choices roles,the Forward adds Jack Abramoff.Firstly this convicted individual has not been politically active for over a year.His political career is over.Why include him?

What about Cong Eric Kantor who will possibly be the no 2 Republican in the House?Howard Kohr head of Aipac and Howard Friedman President of Aipac(also a great Federation and OU leader).The Gov-elect of NY and the Attorney-General of Conn. among many have distinguished themselves. The list could go on and on.
The Forward should rethink their approach to compiling the list.

PM Olmert stays true to form 11/11/06

The statement by PM Olmert as he prepared to leave for the US is both incredulous and poorly timed.He pointed out that for peace he would be willing to give back 90% of the West Bank.
I guess the lessons of Gaza with daily rockets has not sunk in.
Moreover,from a negotiating point of view,why announce your end point before your opponent even recognizes you as a political entity.Theoretically, it is Israel that has the upper hand-a strong economy,powerful army,educated citizens and the support of the US.The Palestinians,on the other hand are bankrupt, forced to resort to terror acts that only hurt their people.They cannot get a state or entity on rhetoric alone.At the end of the day,they must control their factions,and realize that only through negotiations and an end to violence can they get close to meeting their goals.
The problem is,they have never accepted the right of Jews to have a State in the region,and all the talk to the contrary is exposed by their actions,their press and publications,as well as their textbooks.
For PM Olmert to promise such a radical end point,without a mandate from the people is irresponsible.
One other point of timing.With the Baker report coming out after Thanksgiving,there are rumblings that it will lead to negotiations with Syria and Iran even without these two giving up their support of terrorism.It may include greater US pressure on Israelo to solve the Israeli-Palestinian situation.In addition Syria only wants the Golan.
Will the result of the Baker report and the Olmert comments be a concerted effort by the US to pressure Israel to give back the Golan,and water down its security needs in order to give back 90% to Abbas/Hamas?

Friday, November 10, 2006

a siyum on kristalnacht= some election thoughts 11/9/06

Last nite the shiur(class) in Talmud that I have been teaching to physicians in Good Samaritan Hospital-Suffern, held a siyum(festive celebration-honoring the completion of a tractate in Talmud) on tractate Taanit.
Our guest speaker Rabbi Yisrael Gottlieb of Cong Bais Torah(Suffern) beautifully pointed out that 68 years ago on Nov 8, the Nazis believed they were destroying forever Jewish texts and scholarship on Kristalnacht.Yet here we were 22 individuals from varying religious streams,celebrating the sanctity and spirituality of our sacred texts.
Incidentally this is the second siyum we celebrated,having previously completed Baba Metziah after 17 years of weekly study.


Gov. George Pataki has an exploratory committee in Iowa looking toward a Presidential run in '08.After the way he left the NY State Republican Party ,he should be ashamed to enter the national political scene.


I recall a number of years ago that an old friend Sen. Conrad Burns,the Montana Republican who just lost his seat,saw me on the Senate subway.As a non-lawyer,he came over to thank me for a young intern that the OU had supplied him for the summer.The intern,who later went to Yale Law School,each evening used his talmudic skills(among other skills) to prepare a series of questions for his boss (Burns) for the daily impeachment hearings of a federal judge,who was subsequently convicted of bribery.
That judge,ran for Congress and today(when the Dems take over) we the people will be subject to his chairmanship of the House Intelligence subcommittee.His name Alcee Hastings.


I wrote a few weeks ago, that if the Republicans lose,they have only thenselves to blame.
The new Congress has an opportunity to tighten lobbying rules,including the use of overseas travel by members and staff.Entitlements should go out the window. Tax reform should be a bipartisan effort,as well as social security reform.It is amazing that all the time that the President talked about optionally placing some of ones social security funds in equities,we never saw a simple chart to prove that the average American would benefit at retirement by the rise of the markets over time.

The big problem with the Democrats aside from some of their policies,is the effects of seniority.Almost all the new chairmen have been elected from safe liberal seats,and in industry would be coming up to retirement.Hopefully the newer,more moderate members will act as a brake on these new chairmen.

It is nice to see Tom Lantos,a holocaust survivor as new Chairman of he International Relations Committee.In previous years,when Dave Obey was Appropriations Chairman,it was a difficult time for the pro-Israel community.Of course now there is minimal foreign aid in the budget for Israel compared to then.


How this election will affect the U.S.-Israel relationship has been the question most asked of me since Tues.In the short run,it will be basically unchanged.
From my point of view it is the reaction of the American people to conflict that colors the future.We love a war that we can win in two weeks.The TV and media inflame the populace, so that each casualty and misstep adds to the pressure to withdraw.Thank goodness we didn't have cable TV in WW11 or we we might have lost our nerve and our freedom.
Israel has to realize that America is not a given as an ally should the need arise to quickly destroy the Iranian nuclear facilities. Ephraim Sneh now deputy defense minister, and a voice with experience in that role, has again pointed out that this is a real possibility if the Zionist dream is to endure.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Pre-election thoughts 11/06/06

Tonite I reiterated to my wife something I had told her years ago.I am extremely grateful that I did not enter politics as a way of making a living.As a college student and an avid follower of Tammany Hall,I realized it was extremely difficult to remain honest and yet move up the ladder of political success.Over the years with television and the internet coming into play, the filth of the campaigns from all sides has grown and is disheartening. Half-truths are the order of the day.Innuendoes,and distorted facts colored by Hollywood personalities make you reach the point that even a political junkie like myself is waiting for the end of the campaign.
All of us can turn to RCP ( and follow the daily polls and read the blogs on each and every race.However, the cable news shows as well as the networks have to create something exciting to occupy the screen for hour after hour.Thus,each Senate race, becomes the pivotal contest that will swing the balance.'The problem is that after a few daysof repitition,you wish we had a law that cut off campaigning and talking heads on tv a week before the elections.
It's time to get to the recounts,legal challenges and mutual accusations.Whoever loses gets the right to claim in '08 that they wuz robbed in '06.

Each and every day of Gaza IDF operations reminds us of the folly of disengagement.
The Europeans to their credit are consistent.They criticize Israel for excessive force in Gaza.How many of them would sit idly by as rockets are lobbed daily into their civilian populations?
The islamization of Europe is happening right under their noses,but their eyes and minds are closed.Sadly they will get what they deserve if they don't wake up .
Then of course they came out against the death sentence for Saddam Hussein,which is consistent with their concept of justice and the punishment for mass murder..
I assume that had Hitler survived his suicide, the Europeans would have similarly suggested less than a capital punishment for genocide.
They are disgusting!

I am not sure of how much of Avigdor Lieberman's rhetoric I can support in my own mind.However,it is certainly entertaining (but sad) to see him announce his own personal policies regarding Arabs among other issues, within two days of taking office,only to have thePM disavow them.He intends to place himself in the publics eye on a regular basis without regard for cabinet policies.

The publicity regarding global warming has again caught the fancy of liberals in the media including the anglo-Jewish press.(how about the cold snap in Europe that forced a curtailment of electricity the last few days),
Featured prominently is the report by Nicholas Stern of the U.K. on climate change.The report predicts that damage to GDP could be as high as 20%.
I am not an expert in this area,however I believe it is important to hear both sides of this debate.I suggest that you try to read the op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on Nov 2nd by Bjorn of the "Skeptical Environmentalist". This is important before you consider agreeing to spending trillions on unproven technology andplacing your confidencein the forces of third world countries.
Two examples-In 2002 China decided to cut Sulfur dioxide by 10% -they are now 27% higher.
The Stern supporters want to tax Americans for this multi-trillion dollar project,since we are so wealthy as well as polluters.
Lomberg points out and documents,that for a fraction of Sterns demands,(45 Billion annually)prioritivethe worlds needs,and deal with health,nutrition,sanitation,and educationwith better and more meaningful results than tackling the sensationalist headlines.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Sen Kerry-war hero 11/1/06

I did not comment yesterday on the remarks of Senator Kerry,since I was both angry and flabbergasted.My opinion of his war record I commented on when he ran for President, and I see no reason to change my opinion of his haughty and condescending attitude.
I too served in Vietnam (not for three months) for a full year,and it was obvious that with the draft, more affluent and college -bound young men were able to often avoid service.
Sen. Kerry has his mind and emotions fixed on that era.His bitterness at our government,as witnessed by his Congressional testimony upon his return to the States,and his book with the upside down flag which is not currently available have poisoned his judgement.
In addition his loss to Bush was to him totally unexpected.How could the American people be so Stupid?
Today,we have an all-volunteer highly motivated military.Almost all high school graduates,and a PHD rate of 3% among our officers-most of them college graduates.
They man highly sophisticated tanks and planes,submarines and advanced technological eqiptment.
Our military are heroes.It is legitimate to criticize the war and its progress.
It is illegitimate to destroy the morale and cast aspersions on the intelligence and professionalism of those who voluntarily place their lives at risk to protect our democracy-that allows a person such as Kerry to sound off.
By the way,I looked at the Kerry clips 10 times, and failed to see even an attempt at a joke.

Peretz and the Saudi Plan 11/1/06

If Defense Minister Peretz can influence the government to accept the Saudi "peace" plan,we will no longer require a UJA ,UJC or Israel Bonds campaign.
Not because peace will break out.--NO.
Rather there will no longer be a viable Jewish State !
In essence all arabs who claim they or their descendents originated in Israel,would be allowed to return,become Israeli citizens,and based upon ONE MAN, ONE VOTE, ONE TIME an Islamic Republic would be democratically created.
At least Bush and Sharon talked about palestinians returning to a palestinian entity,not Israel.
Oh yes! Israel would have to withdraw from all territories captured in 1967 including Jerusalem.
Sounds reasonable!
At least the PM rejected such nonsense today.However the world will be reacting to Peretz with greater interest ,than an Olmert denial.
Tears come to your eyes when you hear such foolishness and political immaturity from the number three man in the government.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Minister for Iran-Lieberman --10/31/06

Only in Israel could a right wing party join a left or left of center party in the coalition,even though they are on opposite sides of the major issues.These include settlements,government reform, civil marriages and defense issues.
What is amazing is that Avigdor Lieberman's new role in the cabinet,will be to focus on the Iranian threat to Israel.By limiting his scope of influence,Olmert believes he has not taken any responsibilities away from the Defense Minister,Foreign Minister or Shabak(intelligence) head.
The problem,is that the Iranian threat is not a stand alone problem,but intertwined with foreign policy(Russia,the UN,the U.S.) and requires in depth knowledge of the military situation and specifically the nuclear capabilities of Iran,which the Intelligence Chief and the Defense Minister say they will not share with Lieberman.At the end of the day,that problem of sharing information will work out.Howevever,a minister in charge of one issue with his own foreign policy can only lead to much public and private problems for Israel.
All this in order for Olmert to avoid early elections.
What is Lieberman's goal-aside from a title and a government limo.Some observers
believe it is to prolong the Olmert administration for three more years,by giving him the extra votes in the knesset(11 more).This in essence would block Likud from forcing new elections,which might see a Bibi prime-ministership.Perhaps in three years,Lieberman will have created a different MODERATE image that would allow him to eclipse Likud and propel him to the top slot as a right wing substitute for Likud .
How the Pensioners Party and more importantly the Labor party were able to accept this deal,speaks to the dysfunctionality of Israel's political system. Kudos to Minister Pines-Paz who resigned from the Cabinet on a matter of principle and will challenge Peretz for Labor Party leader.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The chicken smells 10/29/06

The story is told of an elderly Jewish woman who is inspecting her chicken and by accident drops it into a pail of turpentine.She washes it off and rushes to the Rabbi to inquire as to whether the chicken is kosher.
"Yes " says the Rabbi, "but it sure smells."
Reading todays NY Times story on Sen Bob Menendez and his business machinations brings this story to the forefront.I cannot tell you if there is illegality present.however I know that it represents clubhouse politics as a fine-tuned corporate machine,that leaves the reader stunned by its audacity

Perhaps that is the normalcy that the NJ electorate expects in their elected officials.Bring home the bacon (pardon the pun) and simply hold your nose.

Disney 10/29/06

My wife and I spent last week in Orlando with one of our grandchildren enjoying Disney.We have made it a custom to celebrate their fifth birthday with such a trip,and this was our fifth such occasion.
I find it amazing that with tens of thousands of daily visitors from all over the world there is a total absence of rowdiness or pushing.The very same people,who in their daily lives drive aggressively,or try to cut ahead of the line,politely wait their turn with a smile and calm.When the security person asks the visitors to move to the very end of the row,no one refuses,or says they need a middle seat.
In addition except for one soda bottle on the floor,we saw no littering.Moreover we saw a politeness on the part of adults toward seniors,and the disabled.
Part of the answer might be the nature of a vacation.But I believe a lot has to do with the presence of children and grandchildren,and the common goal of having a good time.
One complaint-we saw the Lion King twice,and on both occasion,the public announcement regarding flash photography etc was in spanish first.The last I heard ,Orlando was still in the U.S.In addition a cursory exam revealed the majority of visitors were from the States.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Barack Obama-how about some accomplishments before you run for President==10/22/06

I recall the 2004 Democratic National convention,when I first got a good look at Barack Obama.Only a candidate for the US Senate, this seven year veteran of the Illinois state Senate,was being pushed by the liberal commentators of CNN and at least one network,as a future presidential candidate-no I'm sorry a future President.
No mind that he had no accomplishments,or record. The fact that he was AFRICAN-american,a graduate of Columbia and Harvard Law School, was enough to allow him to lead the free world.
Now,with 21 months of not exactly outstanding service in the Senate,Oprah ,Cong Maxine Waters and liberal commentators have seen enough.
I can't recall a leadership role in the committees he serves on(Environment,Veterans Affairs and Foreign Relations),or in any important legislation either proposed or passed.
I do recall him visiting Africa, and waving for the cameras.His current book signings has recieved the full CNN coverage.
Yes he is attractive and charismatic,but what doed he stand for? who are his political allies? what about N.Korea? the Middle East? Iran ? the economy, taxes ,affirmative action,immigration etc . etc?
What single important issue has he adopted as his own, and which controversies has he been able to steer his party through? A leader without having been involved in political controversies,is a man without true political principles.
There are many attractive Democrats who can throw their hats into the ring, based upon a record from which the voters can choose.Oprah and Barbara Streisand and the molders of personalities and stars, must not be allowed to shape the political agenda.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

President Katzav must step down 10/18/06

I have had the honor to meet Prident Katzav on a number of occasions,in small and large groups.
When our Good Samaritan Hospital talmud group went to Israel for the first time,I arranged for us to pray one morning in the President's private synagogue on the grounds of the Presidential Home.After the services,he spent some time with our group posing for pictures,and just being the warm considerate host that he is known for.
Thus, when our group found out about the charges against the President,it was not only shocking ,but almost unbelievable.
As a citizen in a democracy,he is innocent until proven guilty.However,as the symbol of the Israeli nation, he must be above suspicion.
He owes it to the nation and world Jewry to resign,and not wait for the decision of the Attorney General to indict.Barring that, he should temporarily step down until a decision is made,and allow the Speaker of the Knesset to serve as acting President in the interim.
In this case, the needs of the Jewish nation must take precedence over personal rights.The nation can no longer bear the shame of daily press leaks and charges against a sitting President.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Jerusalem extension/ Homowack retraction/Hamas rearms 10/17/06

The failure of Israel to proceed with the Maale Adumim extension is a major blunder
on the part of the Olmert government.There is no reason to believe that halting this project will in any way advance the "peace process".
American pressure is not something new,but Israel has to have the backbone to stand up for their needs.,and say NO to Sec Rice.
Jerusalem must grow,and the Maale Adumim plans have been on the drawing board and ready to go for years.
Whether Israel eventually approves the Safdie westward plan or not,the claims of Israeli sovereignty over Maale Adumim are placed in jeapordy by shelving the construction.

I previously reported on the impending demise of the Homowack Hotel in Spring Glen,NY.The new owners have decided to put new funding into the hotel and run it as the Mountain Spring Hotel.
I once again was there for the last two says of Succoth as Scholar -in-residence,and we had a wonderful Yom Tov.
Throughout the winter they have scheduled affairs such as Bar-Mitzvahs and Sheva Brachot,and will be open for Pesach

The reports today and yesterday that Hamas is massively smuggling anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles into Gaza is quite disconcerting.Taken togther with the discovery of two tunnels, and the anouncement by Iran that they will train Hamas in the methods used by Hezbollah all add up to an impending major conflict in this area.
The Olmert disengagement in coming home to roost.Israeli lives will be lost due to poor leadership.
Incidentally who doesn't believe that eventually the 1 million rounds of ammunition given by the US to Fatah to protect Abbas, will not be used againt the Israelis?

Jerusalem extension/ Homowack retraction/Hamas rearms 10/17/06

The failure of Israel to proceed with the Maale Adumim extension is a major blunder
on the part of the Olmert government.There is no reason to believe that halting this project will in any way advance the "peace process".
American pressure is not something new,but Israel has to have the backbone to stand up for their needs.,and say NO to Sec Rice.
Jerusalem must grow,and the Maale Adumim plans have been on the drawing board and ready to go for years.
Whether Israel eventually approves the Safdie westward plan or not,the claims of Israeli sovereignty over Maale Adumim are placed in jeapordy by shelving the construction.

I previously reported on the impending demise of the Homowack Hotel in Spring Glen,NY.The new owners have decided to put new funding into the hotel and run it as the Mountain Spring Hotel.
I once again was there for the last two says of Succoth as Scholar -in-residence,and we had a wonderful Yom Tov.
Throughout the winter they have scheduled affairs such as Bar-Mitzvahs and Sheva Brachot,and will be open for Pesach

The reports today and yesterday that Hamas is massively smuggling anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles into Gaza is quite disconcerting.Taken togther with the discovery of two tunnels, and the anouncement by Iran that they will train Hamas in the methods used by Hezbollah all add up to an impending major conflict in this area.
The Olmert disengagement in coming home to roost.Israeli lives will be lost due to poor leadership.
Incidentally who doesn't believe that eventually the 1 million rounds of ammunition given by the US to Fatah to protect Abbas, will not be used againt the Israelis?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Soros (?pro) Israel Lobby 10/11/06

The news that George Soros plans to fund a new organization that will be an alternative to AIPAC is interesting and sad.
In truth over the last ten to fifteen years, we have already witnessed attempts to undermine the organized Jewish Community by left wingers.
The Israel Policy forum is one such group, that had a relationship with PM Barak.Nevertheless,Barak learned that the Israeli government benefitted not from some small group,but the united power of the most effective foreign policy lobby in Washington-AIPAC.
The other group is Americans For Peace Now which has lobbied against settlements and for a dovish left wing approach to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
With money,Soros can form whatever he likes.However his public calls on the President to force Israel to make concessions, will surely fall on deaf ears in the White House.For with all his might and money,he seeks to undermine President Bush, his policies as well as the Republican party.
The power of Aipac contrary to the infamous writings of Walt and Mearsheimer(who are making a cottage industry of bashing the unfettered power of the Israel lobby)is based upon firstly a united Jewish Community.Examine the back of Aipac's stationary,and you will note that the President of each major Jewish organization sits on the Board.Thus all 52 components of the Conference of Presidents have a chance to voice their opinions at Board meeings of Aipac.As OU President,I attended these meetings,and took an active part in helping to formulate the annual policy statement draft,that was voted on at the annual policy conference by the 3000 delegates.
Sadly neither the Israel Policy Forum or the Peace Now group are members of the Presidents Conference.This is because they are not a membership organization with enough members to qualify. Money they have-Dedicated spokesmen they also have .However a large constituency is another matter.
It will not be hard for Soros to gather a combination of lefties, ,arabists in disguise and the usual cast of characters to attempt to divide the pro-Israel sentiment of the nation and the Congress.
However the second reason for the success of Aipac is the support of Christians both evangelical and non-evangelical who understand the crical role that Israel plays in the war on terror and the need for Israel to be resolute in defense of its freedom and security.
Finally American political leaders and opinion makers are united with Congress in supporting pro-Israel policies,even when there are almost no Jews living in a Congressional district.Aipac and pro-Israel legislation is bi-partisan and non-partisan.Characterizing Aipac as a right wing organization,mislabels their wide and almost universal support in our community.
Yes Soros has the ability to generate headlines and controversy.Sadly at this moment of national crisis-with N. korea and Iran trying to blackmail the world-to the detriment of Israel ,Syria threatening a new war,Hezbollah and Hamas undefeated one should really question the wisdom of trying to weaken AIPAC.
Finally ,I would like to recall the massive turnout in Washington a few years ago on a few days notice.Hundreds of thousands mobilized by the Presidents Conference and its contituent national ( and local affiliates)organizations.
In the final analysis AIPAC IS THE ORGANIZED JEWISH COMMUNITY, and while alternative groups can make as much commotion as their press releases allow.the believers of a strong U.S.-Israel relationship ,working in the trenches of each Congressional and Senate campaign,will continue the task of strengthening Aipac .

Monday, October 09, 2006

The 2006 elections 10/9/06

I admit that a sense of malaise and laziness brought this blog to a halt(with a trip to the Greek Isles sandwiched in between).In truth during my career as a surgeon and in my tenure at the OU, I always had a secretary who would immediately type my dictations.For me typing is a great burden ,and that to some extent explains why I am not more productive.
However, a number of readers have called asking when I will get back to the blog -so here goes.

Kudos to the 7/11 chain which announced that they will no longer purchase oil from Venezuela for sale by their gas stations.

The polls seem to indicate that the Republicans are in danger of losing one or both Houses of Congress.While it is still early and a lot can change,if they they do lose they will have brought it upon themselves.

The President,and the leadership have failed to deliver on:

a reduction in the budget,waste and spending
the end of the corrupt practice of earmarking- and such spending, as the bridge to nowhere
malpractice reform
tax reform ,and the permanency of the tax cuts
the end of the "death" tax
lobbying reform after the Abramoff scandal
wasting precious time and political capital on privitization of social security
true security of our borders,including ports,and an end to massive illegal immigration

From my point of view, a Speaker Pelosi,and a group of left wing committee chairmen is a most undersirable outcome. Perhaps a two year hiatus will wake the Republicans up.

The 2006 elections 10/9/06

I admit that a sense of malaise and laziness brought this blog to a halt(with a trip to the Greek Isles sandwiched in between).In truth during my career as a surgeon and in my tenure at the OU, I always had a secretary who would immediately type my dictations.For me typing is a great burden ,and that to some extent explains why I am not more productive.
However, a number of readers have called asking when I will get back to the blog -so here goes.

Kudos to the 7/11 chain which announced that they will no longer purchase oil from Venezuela for sale by their gas stations.

The polls seem to indicate that the Republicans are in danger of losing one or both Houses of Congress.While it is still early and a lot can change,if they they do lose they will have brought it upon themselves.

The President,and the leadership have failed to deliver on:

a reduction in the budget,waste and spending
the end of the corrupt practice of earmarking- and such spending, as the bridge to nowhere
malpractice reform
tax reform ,and the permanency of the tax cuts
the end of the "death" tax
lobbying reform after the Abramoff scandal
wasting precious time and political capital on privitization of social security
true security of our borders,including ports,and an end to massive illegal immigration

From my point of view, a Speaker Pelosi,and a group of left wing committee chairmen is a most undersirable outcome. Perhaps a two year hiatus will wake the Republicans up.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Senate bill on prisoners 9/14./06

In a perfect world,the Geneva Convention was designed to create a set of rules and conduct for dealing with the results of war.To amend or reinterpret the Convention would certainly give license to other countries to apply the same logic and treatment to our prisoners.
Having served for one year in Vietnam as a surgeon,there is no question that in the back of the mind of every combat soldier is the fear of death,injury or capture.
I had a unique opportunity to deal with wounded prisoners of war .Each one was treated humanely according to the accepted rules of war. For a long period of time, I could look out the window of my hootch and see the prisoner of war compound perhaps 300 feet away.
I could not swear to how uninjured prisoners were treated either by us or the South Vietnamese.However, in our hospital, seriously wounded prisoners were treated as human beings with all the professionalism we possessed.
However,we are not fighting a conventional army.The Taliban,Islamic Jihad,Hezbollah and Al Queda do not wear uniforms .They enjoy torturing their prisoners.The killing of innocent civilians is the norm.Suicide bombing is a respected profession. They make a mockery of the Geneva Convention.
Whether we pass either of the two Senate bills,these groups will not change their ways and treat our prisoners (should they capture them)with respect and dignity.Under the circumstances of an enemy that has no state or country,but only a burning desire to kill us all if we do not convert to Islam,why should we tie the hands of the CIA?
These are not criminal conspiracies,where if we get the bad guys off the street all be resolved,and therefore a defendant deserves to see all the evidence against him.We are in an ongoing war,and the sources and methods we use to capture the terrorists will be needed for a considerable period of time.
I respect Sen McCain.However he was tortured ,not because of some deficiency in our rules of conduct,but because the enemy had no respect or use for Americans.Diluting the Presidents
plan will weaken our efforts to punish the 9/11 and other conspirators.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The ABC docu-drama/ chickens in Monsey 09/12/06

Had the Democrats not screamed and made such a commotion regarding the ABC docu-drama, probably one third of the viewers would not have tuned in.Others would have assumed that much of it was part fiction.
The protests certainly ignited the suspicion level of those in doubt regarding the Administrations lack of understanding as to the nature of the threat. It was a powerful and well acted piece.
The controversy regarding a "police problem" versus a world-wide effort by Islamic
radicals to destroy our way of life still goes on ,especially in Europe.


I tried to listen carefully to President Bush's address to the nation last nite.I tried to judge his talk purely from a "patriotic" point of view,and was moved by his resolve to preserve and protect the homeland, and be pro-active against world terrorism.
It was difficult for me to listen to attacks on his address by partisans.It seems that no matter what he would have said,he would have been accused of "playing politics" with 9/11.


The chicken scandel in Monsey has brought to the forefront a number of issues.
There is a potential inherent problem for any (meat)restaurant ,butcher etc,
where the Rav Hamachshir and the Mashgiach (those resposible for the daily supervision of kashruth) ,come in for inspections once a week or once a month.In addition, if the mashgiach does not have the sole key to the freezer/refrigerator,and is not present at the moment of deliveries,to check the origin and status of shipments,the problem is compounded.
In the human experience,there is no absolute prevention of fraud and thievery.Neveretheless, the kashruth systems inaugurated by major organizations,lead to a high standard ,that is computerized,with systems of checks that seeks to remove the profit motive of an individual Rabbi-supervisor /entrepeneur.
The system of individual Rabbis, often without specialized expertise in food technology(such as the complex field of flavoring)giving out multiple certifications to local stores large and small,should be a thing of the past.
The OU,has spent millions of dollars in recent years on technology and computerization in kashruth.
One should not assume, that wearing the garb of the 'chassidic or Yeshiva world',
is a guarantee for honesty,morality or integrity, either between man and man ,or man and G-d.
Greed and a total lack of concern for a fellow Jew or human being can allow individuals to rationalize their evil actions.
As consumers,and as those seeking a higher level of spirituality in our everyday life
we should follow the old axiom:Et caveat emptor" let the buyer beware.In the case of kashruth,take nothing for granted.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Airport Security 9/6/06

I have just returned from a cruise to the Greek Islands.Both before and after I had the opportunity to fly .
I am quite confused regarding the new security procedures we went through.As we approached Security in Newark Airport,all liquids had to be discarded.Based upon the plot in Great Britain,I had no problem with that.
Once in the terminal beyond Security ,one could buy water ,Coke etc and walk right up to the gate with that in hand.At that point individuals were once again asked to discard the bottles.
What is to stop a passenger from putting a botttle into a pocket or carry-on?
Furthermore,an interesting sight in the plane galley during the nite was a tray of water in cups for use by the passengers.
I had heard that they were preventing computers,cell phones I-pods and cameras from carry-ons,but such was not the case.
It seems the rules change almost daily.
On the return flight, as we approached the plane door,there were tables where each carry-on was opened and inspected.
Here too,I saw a lady with two hand-held bags,but the attendant only looked at one.
A gentleman of about 75-80 years of age was carrying a tube of a medication in creme form.The attendant demanded that the passenger produce a prescription from his physician to document the need for the medication.
When a doctor writes a prescription ,the patient hands it in to the pharmacist and does not keep a copy for oneself. I volunteered to look at the medicine container ,however the attendant refused my offer,and discarded the medicine while the gentleman pleaded his case.
It was a perfect example of looking for toothpaste and not for terrorists.This man was surely not a terrorist.However, in our zeal for political correctness we profile not islamic young men for further questioning , but such an elderly medicine carrier.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Talis & Tfillin on a plane / Amnesty International 8/24/06

I had heard conflicting reports regarding the ability to carry ones Talis and Tfillin as carry-on luggage during the current security situation.
I called my Congressman(and good friend),Eliot Engel (D-NY),to speak to the TSA in Washington for a definitive ruling.
He called this afternoon,and assured me ,that there is no problem with the T&T.However, if one was stopped ,they should request a "private screening".Therefore one should add another 30 minutes to the pre-boarding time,should that become necessary.

How not unexpected is the attack on Israel by Amnesty International for its bombing campaign in Lebanon against Hezbollah,accusing them of" war crimes".
Not mentioned are the 4000 rockets against indiscriminate civilian targets in N.Israel.
Not mentioned are the 16,000 homes and civilian shops destroyed in that area by Hezbollah.
Not mentioned are the Israeli civilian casualties,and the 1 million Israelis forced
to endure for one month in shelters.
Not mentioned are the 1000 rockets by Hamas against civilian targets in S. Israel,starting the day that Israel withdrew from Gaza.
Not mentioned is the failure of Hezbollah and Hamas to allow Red Cross visitation to the kidnapped Israeli soldiers.
Not mentioned is the continuous violations of International law,when Hezbollah not wear uniforms, and hide within civilian homes and areas ,and use their weapons of destruction intermittently (so as to allow Amnesty the ability to claim that Israel has violated international law,when they respond).

If anything as I wrote two days ago,too many Israeli military lives were lost because they went out of their way to avoid civilian casualties.

Where is Amnesty Int. as hundreds of civilians are slaughtered each day in Iraq, in the name of Islam?

Who is guilty of "war crimes"?
Israel trying to protect itself from an unprovoked attack, or Amnesty Intrnational protecting the 2006 version of Naziism?

One final point!
In international law the response of a nation that has been attacked,is not proportional to the damage incurred,but to the threat!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Gen Yaalon: Carpet bombing 8/21/06

This mornings NY Sun newspaper has a page one story on Gen. Moshe Yaalon ,former Chief of the IDF, returning to Israel to work for the Shalem Institute.The real significance, is his potential to rise to the top of the political ladder,when the govt. falls.It was this potential move that I wrote about only recently.The author of the piece,compares him to Gen Ike Eisenhower,prior to his running for President.
Gen Yaalon had a 90% positive polling numbers prior to being dismissed by Sharon for opposing the Gaza withdrawal.


On my first Friday nite in Vietnam,I was staying at a hospital for two nights.Being tired from my trans-pacific flight, I went to bed early,and was awakened by the ground rumbling and shaking.I rolled out of bed , put on my helmet, and stayed under the bed for a few minutes.I was surprised that I heard no reaction from any of the officers in the vicinity.Twenty minutes later the rumblimgs started again.
In the morning, I inquired as to what had occurred.It seems that about 25 miles away, B-52's had done carpet bombing to annhilate Viet Cong villages and "formations".
It was not unlike the carpet bombing we utilized, to destroy Dresden in WW ii.
It was not as catastrophic as two atomic bombs we dropped on Japan to end the war.
NATO did not hesitate to bomb Bosnia,even without clear military targets.
How many innocent civilians lost their lives in the above attacks?
We all know that aside from Vietnam, such attacks led to earlier victories for our forces.Yet,many innocents were part of the casualties.
When it comes to Israel,which fights an enemy without uniforms,hiding behind civilian populations,there is an obvious double standard.


Hezbollah indiscriminately fires on civilian populations,sending 4,000 rockets that destroyed 16,000 homes and buildings and the world is silent.
In round two of this war,which will surely come,Israel must take off its gloves and fight as though they really are determined to destroy the enemy.Israel must totally destroy the building under which the bunkers lie.Let the terrorists suffocate and let not one Israeli soldier die, in the name of minimizing "civilian "casualties.
Justice, morality and the need to survive demands no less!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Terrorism 8/17/06

There are those ( primarily Democrats ) who declare that our role in Iraq is the root cause of Islamic terrorism.
There are those who claim that Israel's occupation of the Golan/West Bank/Gaza is the cause of the Arab and Islamic desire to wipe Israel off the face of the earth.
And,there are those who believe that disaffected young unemployed,uneducated Muslims
who are not given a chance to assimilate into their respective communities ,as the
prime cause of suicide applicants in the islamo-fascist terrorist apparatus.

Sadly, these people do not study history,or they do not learn the lessons of the past.

World Trade Center 1 and 2 preceeded our involvement in Iraq.
The killings of Rabbi Meir Kahane and Ari Halberstam ,both preceded Iraq.
The Kobe Towers and the 1983 Beirut Marine massacre ,likewise preceded Iraq.
Multiple Taliban and Al Quaeda plots were hatched before Iraq.
The very same modus operandi of blowing up planes in mid-air using liquid bombs that was uncovered last week in London was aborted in the Pacific when Ramzi Yousef had a
"work accident" in the Phillipines ,again long before Iraq.

Arabs massacred Jews in 1929 in Palestine long before there was a Jewish state.
Arab nations attacked Israel many times before the "occupation".
When Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza,Hamas gave them a present of firing rockets into Israel, and capturing a soldier.
When Israel withdrew from Lebanon behind international borders we witnessed the Hezbollah response.
It is the non-acceptance of Israel that is the root cause ,which prevents true peace in the area.

Many of the suicide bombers, are highly educated,employed family people.They would prefer to sacrifice their lives and that of their children to satisfy a religious fanatisicm that will accept only the demise of all non-muslims.

We in the West,have tolerated and encouraged their growth and expansion in the name of "multiculturalism."We have refused to soundly criticize the Islamic Community for failure to condemn and isolate these radicals.

The war in Iraq was a just endeavor at its inception.Many tactical mistakes were made,including the number of US troops,and the disbanding of the Iraqi army.
The main lesson we have learned in Iraq and with the Palestinians,is that free elections among an unprepared electorate with no history of democracy,only serves the most organized and radical elements.
Yes ,we should get out as soon as possible.But,to run and set a fixed timetable
is a recipe for disaster for us, and victory for Iran.

Finally,if Democrats like Lamont,decry the Bush record on terrorism,let them outline their plans to control world terrorism.
Specifically they should be asked ;
Do you support ;
1. the Patriot Act ?
2. the NSA wiretapping (today held unconstitutional by a federal judge ?
3. profiling at airports ?
4. the methods used in England (holding suspects 20 days without charges)?
If not, -what are your proposals ?

Absent a real program,with tough measures,Americans should keep control of the Congress from the Democrats.
Can you imagine a SPEAKER PELOSI?

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Lebanese Relief, Jackie Mason-like/ some predictions 8/12/06

It is often exasperating to read left wing editorials,but this weeks Forward probably takes the cake.
They propose that "people of good will"could choose to direct some of their charity toward Lebanese relief,(not at the expense of Israeli donations,for after all the "cause of Israel is just and honorable")in the hope that other relief agencies will reciprocate.
I can imagine Saudi Arabia and Malaysa helping to rebuild Kiryat Shmoneh!
Perhaps if dedications were offered it might sound more palatable-such as $50,000 to build a new underground bunker, or a Hezbollah recreation room.
When this campaign is over we can help Hamas.!==============================================================
Though it is sad and not funny at all,PM Olmert's performance the last few days remind me of a Jackie Mason routine.




Thursday, August 10, 2006

Profiling-it's time to begin using it 8/10/06

Another sad day for the free world.We love life and look forward to a world where our children and grandchildren can grow up and enjoy the opportunities that are available,if only we work hard, and live a moral life.
But,there are those with hate and religious fanaticism that are prepared to die and kill as many innocent civilians as humanly possible.
This is our war ,and it is not a cliche but a condition.We are living in an era where the forces of darkness seek to return us to the middle ages,unless we convert and capitulate.Our only choice is to fight and be victorious.
It is interesting that the terrorists did not choose an El-AL flight as one of their targets,for EL-AL uses profiling as part of their security precautions.A 75 year old in a wheelchair is not going to blow themselves up.A 25 year old Pakistani student with a recent trip to Afghanistan or Iran etc should be looked at differently.
The ACLU be damned-Let's look at the statistics-the age-sex-country of origin-religion-travel to certain countries etc, and a pattern emerges.Whether in the WTC,the London bombing or the shoe-bomber==there is a pattern ,and Homeland Security knows it not unlike Israel.
Yes tighten security-
Yes stop toothpaste if thats a component of the new bomb-


I recall when the Presidents Conference went from Morroco to Tel Aviv,we switched planes in Amman.Because 100% of the baggage handlers were Palestinian, the Mossad insisted that each and every piece of luggage had to be opened and inspected in front of each of us,not only to look
for bombs,but to ascertain that everything in the bag was exactly as we had packed it.

Had the Ct. primary been held after this shocking news was released,there is a real possibility that Lieberman would have won.
After years of friendship,collegiality and partnership it is amazing to see his political buddiesabandon him.After he returns to the Senate, he can return the favor and vote to organize the Senate with the Republican Party.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The lesson of Joe ! 8/09/06

Much has been written, and much more will be written in the months ahead, regarding the Ned Lamont victory.
But one picture tells it all.The campaigners and celebrants pretty much portray Lamont.
Rev Al Sharpton ,Jesse Jackson , Cong. Maxine Waters, standing and campaigning with the victor.Together with DNC Chairman Dean, Michael Moore, George Soros and Move, speak to the capture of the Democratic Party by the far-left.
It's too early to tell,but the 2008 election could really pit two diametrically opposing philosophies against each other.A strong national defense and a serious war on islamic fascism versus lip service to national security but primarily appeasement to the European and UN approaches to world conflict(surrendering our leadership of the free world),and looking upon terrorism as a criminal problem.
Perhaps more rational moderate Democratic leadership will stand up to the plate before then and save the party( and our country from such a divisive battle)
In the meantime --GO JOE-GO .

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Can Israel still win? 8/08/06

I have not written much about the war in Lebanon for two reasons.
Firstly I am sickened with the political/military performance of the government,to the point that I am watching less and less cable news.
Secondly, I am sensitive to the charges of many, that after all I am not a General, and should leave the war to the professionals.
My blog of July 27 quotes from Caroline Glick's JP column regarding the military leadership. The military shakeup today confirms these doubts.
It is not only the military that needs a shake-up but the security cabinet.It needs the addition of some seasoned military men or civilians who were involved in the Ministry of Defense.These include Moshe Arens, General Armidror (former head of military intelligence ) and Gen Yaalon (former military Chief of Staff). There are plenty of such men available.
Even the pace of Security Cabinet meetings appear to be routinely scheduled,instead of responding to the realization that things are not going well.(2-3 weeks ago)
Yes I am not a military man, but unless they get not 5000 but 15-20,000 additional
ground troops to seal the Litani ,Israel will have a hard time stopping the rockets into the north.
Hezbollah will only accept an international force in the south, if its force is degraded in that region.
After the war there must be real soul searching on failures in intelligence,training, tactics, and the weaponry and equipment supplied to reserve troops.

Monday, August 07, 2006


The Homowack Hotel was indeed sold to a group in Skwer,but for the time is remaining open under OU supervision under the name Spring Mountain Resort (certainly until the end of the holidays).

I will be serving as a scholar-in-residence on a kosherica cruise to the Greek Isles at the end of the month.Costa Lines writes in their booklet that travelers on a cruise that stops in Libya and have an ISRAELI passport ,or a stamp from Israel in their PASSPORT,OR BORN IN ISRAEL,WILL NOT BE ABLE TO DISEMBARK.
If Costa had some courage, they would tell the Libyans,that either all their passengers can get off safely,or they will simply skip their country.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Hypocrisy/ 8/03/06

Every day the NYT and other media reports on the loss of innocents in Iraq and now again in Afghanistan.Many victims are children ,while others are adults (non-combatants) blown up while attending funerals,religious services or trying to travel to work.Buses are hijacked ,and the occupants found blindfolded and slaughtered.
It is a rare day,that upwards of 100 civilians are not murdered in sectarian violence.
Strangely,we witness not a single demonstration or march in a Muslim Country or in Europe ,or Australia/New Zealand against such inhumanity.
When however Hezbollah,fighting without uniforms(thereby giving up any protection of the Geneva Convention),park their armementariun and rocket launchers within civilian populations (who they use as human shields),the world screams when Israel unavoidably injures or kills some civilians, in the course of self defense.(which is of course the aim of Hezbollah).
"Where do Jews get off defending themselves with such dispaportionality "screams the world.
"Jews are supposed to suffer and not be victorious or build a homeland"
"JEWISH BLOOD HAS ALWAYS BEEN CHEAP"-and the world is prepared to say Amen.
As far as the world is concerned,it is only Pres. George Bush that is obstructing
the efforts of the French,the UN and the Arab world to bring about a Hezbollah victory(with a lot of Olmert/Peretz incompetence).
As we've said before anti-semitism is alive and flourishing.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Orthodox synag in Boynton finds a home/where are red cross visits for Israeli soldiers held as hostages ? 7/31/o6

I am so happy to pass the word along that after a difficult year,the Boynton Beach fl
orthodox congregation has a new permanent home.Cong Anshei Chesed,will be the first ashkenazic shul in Boynton and after some renovations, will be open for services for the HIGH HOLIDAYS.
Not only have they acquired a building that is in walking distance to all the housing complexes that are off El Clair Road,they have also been accepted as a member synagogue in the OU (Union of Orthodox Congregations of America).Next on tap will be a Rabbinic intern , and a series of guest scholars-in-residence for the year.
Since that region is the fastest growing Jewish community in S. Florida,I predict that within five years, the orthodox component of the community will rise to the level of Boca.Especially since housing is somewhat more reasonable (and newer)than other areas such as Miami Beach ,Boca and Delray.The latter two areas are within 10 minutes and 20 minutes respectively by car from Boynton.
The leadership of the new synagogue deserve great credit for perserverance and steadfastness.The president of the synagogue is Adam Rosen,and one of the vice-presidents is Elie Francis(he lives there year-round)and they can be reached for information.


The Human Rights Committee of the UN (an oxymoron)attacked the US for its treatment of prisoners who fought in Afghanistan without uniforms,and should be exempt from the Geneva Convention.Did anyone read a word about the three Israeli soldiers kidnapped by Hamas and Hezbollah?
Any word on the Red Cross visiting them?


When Hezbollah intentionally uses civilians to protect their guerillas hoping that when innocent civilians will be hurt or killed the world will attack Israel,the outcome is predetermined.For Israel to react and cut off major air attacks even for a short period of a result of these unfortunate incidents is a major blunder.
The clock is running,and if we don't see a major move forward,even Pres Bush will
not be able to indefinitely prevent a cease fire sans an Israeli victory.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Sadness ! 7/29/06


This morning in the Talmud class that I teach to mature senior physicians in Good Samaritan Hospital (Suffern NY ) those feelings were palpable.
Israel is not winning the war!
Israel is running out of time to correct her strategic errors.
If the war ends with only a mile or km buffer ,and Hezbollah's rockets intact, Israel will have lost its deterrence for future conflicts.
Israel tried to win this war on the cheap, pitting 2,000 ground soldiers against an equeal number of entrenched well armed and well motivated opponents.I learned enough in my officers training, and through general reading as well as listening to the talking heads on tv,to understand that the ratio for an attacking army in these circumstances should be closer to 10:1 and not 1:1. Airpower alone,as we learned in Korea and Vietnam ,and as Israel has previously experienced, has its limitations.

I personally am concerned regarding the makeup of the Israeli security cabinet.Among the seven are:
Eli Yishai of Shas -Military experience ?
Min of Defense Peretz-military experience ? ( anti-war in his previous life )
PM Olmert -military experience- military correspondent
Shimon Peres
Ophir Pines-Paz

Mofaz and Dichter have solid backgrounds

Perhaps its time to add a non-political element to the group such as Uzi Arad of the Herziliya think tank,( among others) with an understanding of the geo-political considerations.It seems that the facts on the ground are beyond the grasp of Olmert and Peretz .

Caroline Glick in her JP column last nite raises the question of whether the IDF generals should be replaced because they are using tactics designed for Gaza ,here in Lebanon.
Secondarily when the fighting ceases, someone must be resposible for the poor intelligence of the IDF regarding Hezbollah.

Finally, I fear that if Israel fails to win (release of prisoners, cessation of rockets,and a major deployment of Lenanese units to the South with NATO or EU troops that will disarm Hezbollah and prevent resupply from Syria and Iran ),the next war in 4-6 years could be nuclear with Iran truly involved.This war has diminished the ability of Israel to unilaterally destroy the Iranian nuclear facilities , if that becomes necessary.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Say it ain't so Ehud ! 7/24/06

In the midst of the difficulties the IDF is having against Hezbollah ,the PM is quoted as publicly telling west bank settlers that he will still evict them as soon as possible.


Hamas,has shown that they are not a partner for peace.Abbas is marginalized.Every inch of returned land will be used to lob rockets into Israel.

RES IPSA LOCUTOR -let the matter speak for itself.

It is time Olmert stop taking advice from his wife and kids,and wake up and smell the coffee.
Israelis are dying ,and his disengagement as a supreme act of weakness is partly to blame.
In the north the cowardly retreat of Ehud Barak from Lebanon in the middle of the night,stranding our SLA friends sent a similar message of weaknes to Hezbollah and Syria.
Perhaps it will take katushas on the Knesset building for Olmert to wake up.
In the meantime, the battle in the north shows that the Israelis have become unaccustomed to a tough enemy buried 100 feet in bunkers.They have been wasting some time fighting with Israeli settlers, and poorly trained palestinians, at the expense of preparing for Hezbollah.

Friday, July 21, 2006

A pre-shabbat thought 7/21/06

Isn't it amazing!
For well over six years, Hezbollah has acted as a state within a state in Lebanon , and has built secure neighborhoods in Southern Beirut closed to all but their own shiites.They have constructed bunkers and with the aid of Syria and the Iranian guard have taken over the southern part of Lebanon.Despite UN Security Council resolution 1559,and the withdrawal of Israel to recognized international borders ,they have built up a stockpile of 12-13,ooo missiles pointing at Israel.All of these actions threaten Lebanon and the ME.
Despite it all the Lebanese government sat quietly without public criticism of Hezbollah.
But now, as Israel threatens in a defensive mode to enter Lebanon to dislodge Hezbollah, and save the independence of the Lebanese democracy,we see the Prime Minister of Lebanon threatening military action against Israel.
I must have missed something, but one thing is clear...Anti-semitism is alive and well.It is 1936all over again.Luckily we have George Bush as our Pres, and not Gore or Kerry.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Press Coverage 7/19/06

Isn't it amazing.Each hour the tv and radio announce the casualties in the Israel-Hezbollah conflict.
On the Israeli side, so many military, and so many civilians have lost their lives.
In Lebanon, amazingly there are no Hezbollah deaths,only INNOCENT CIVILIANS.
The campaign to villify the IDF is surely enhanced by CNN.Yesterday I spent a good deal of time going from channel to channel.I could not objectively tell you if CNBC,MSNBC or Fox tilted their coverage in one direction or the other.In the case of CNN however, it was crystal clear, as their correspondent was taken on an exclusive tour by a Hezbollah tour guide.
Not one difficult question was asked as the terrorist spokesman yelled about the civilian housing damage.Here in an area where no outsider was allowed ,the leadership of Hezbollah resided and weapons stored in homes, schools hospitals and bunkers.
It was not enough to hold this distorted interview, CNN saw fit to run it over and over again all day.
Indeed the CNN emphasis was on showing that U.S. inaction was causing great harm to peace,rather than an opportunity to destroy a terrorist organization.
The choice of John Bolton as our UN representative cetainly has been shown to be a great choice.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The end of an era 7/16/06

This shabbat I served as scholar-in-residence at the Homowack Hotel,as I had done three times a year for the last 12 years.I had mixed emotions as I finished my last lecture.
Apparently there will be a sale of the hotel to New Square for use as a housing project,boys school and girls summer school.While no one is talking officially ,employees are making plans for other employment.
If true, it will mark the end of an era.namely,the closure of the last year -round kosher hotel.
When I was in College, the Catskills had the Hotel Fiurst,Pioneer,Pineview,Lakehouse and a few smaller etablishments, all strictly kosher.
At the same time,Lakewood had a few hotels ,and Miami Beach had The Sterling, Waldman, Saxony, Carribean and a handful of others.
In the summers,young men and women would serve as waiters,busboys and counselors.The guests would come for a weekend ,or a few weeks.Pesach was a crowded time,and we waiters could make what was for us a small fortine in tips.
In winter ,well-to- do would visit the Florida hotels.
Cheap airfare,kosher cruises,travel to Israel and the economics of keeping a hotel up to date and competitive was an impossibility.Also many of the old timers have passed on and the lure of the Catskills or a hotel im Miami Beach is just not there.
It is more than the closing of a hotel,but the end of an era.For people such as myself and my wife ( who I met in the Pineview)it brings back such wonderful memories.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Pitfalls of Democracy 7/14/06

In general I support President Bush when he articulates the values of liberty and democracy as a path to world peaceThere is a major caveat.
A democracy requires that there be guarantees for free speech,free press,womens rights,transparency in government,the rule of law,freedom of religion and other such modalities.When they are absent ,or if they are not inculcated within the body politic, a free election is only the road to the rule of extremists and fundamentalists.Certainly when the governing group artificially seperates into a military and political wing which threatens the security and independence of the the state, you wind up with Hamas, and Hezbollah.Not that a fledgling democracy requires 100% attainment of those goals, howevever that must be the path that the people and governmental institutions are headed for.
Both Algeria and Turkey have in the past worked successfully to prevent Islamist takeover of their governments.

Elections have consequences! The election of Omert and Peretz illustrates the point.Daily,weekly and monthly rocket attacks on Israel with minimal and ineffective responses have sent the message of weakness to the bad guys.As late as two days ago the leadership ,while divided ,has not given up on "convergence".
As late as two weeks ago the U.S. warned Lebanon regarding the consequences of Hezbollah activity on the border.Beirut will now pay the price,unless and until they clean out the borderarea.

In his op-ed in the WSJ on Tues 7/11/06 ,entitled "In defense of disengagement"Bret Stephenswrites that Israel's northern border "has been relatively quiet,depite Hezbollah and its thousands of medium-range missiles".Stephens,former Jerusalem Post editor,and now on the editorial board of the Journal,is usually a sophisticated analyst.It only proves the old saying "there are no experts on the future.only on the past".

Sunday, July 09, 2006

A "halachic" check of Hotels for conventions = 7/9/06

Prof. Marshal Breger tells a story relating to his tenure as assistant to President Reagan in charge of the Jewish desk.
The leadership of the Reform movement had an appointment with the President,scheduled for a limited period of time.During the meeting the leadership discussion was primarily focused on Aid to Dependent Children.Thus, when the meeting was over little or no time was spent on Israel or other "Jewish" topics.When the group left, the President turned to Breger and said "I didn't know that ADC was of such importance to the Jewish community."
That story came back to me when I read page 1 of the Forward which announced that the Reform and Conservative movements will be investigating the working conditions of the workers in the hotels where their conventions are planned to be held.They have subscribed to a program sponsored by the NAACP,Sierra Club and others so that the choice of hotels will "align with our Jewish values."
Of course,any student of those two movements (especially the Reform) understands that they have become a religion of social activism(it doesn't hurt to attack Bush,the war on terror, wiretapping Al-Queda in the name of liberalism and civil rights.)
That's fine and fair in our democracy!
Just one wish-WOULDN'T IT BE NICE if the same in-depth analysis was used on the the Kashruth standards,shabbat observance standards,family purity standards,Jewish knowledge (or illiteracy) standards,intermarriage and so on,of their members and friends, as they plan to do to make sure the Marriotts or Hiltons are treating their workers fairly.
Liberalism is interesting and topical,but falls far short of Torah from Sinai.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Smoking ban-long overdue 7/8/06

The decision of the Rabbinical Council of America to ban smoking is welcome, but as they agree long overdue.
In 1960, as a medical student I wrote a paper for Pathology that summarized the current knowledge of smoking and its effects on the heart,lungs etc and even on those who inhale second hand smoke..Even then, the proof was overwhelming.
When I became President of the Union in 1994 ,one of my first articles in Jewish Action was a plea to the Rabbis to ban cigarette smoking to the same degree we prohibit unkosher products.
Sadly ,it is not uncommon to diagnose lung cancer on individuals who gave up smoking many years earlier.Therefore it it vital that we prevent young people from ever taking that first puff.
Hopefully,all of the Yeshiva world will follow suit There is no excuse to pass by a yeshiva or kollel and see young men smoking.
All of this in no way absolves parents from teaching their children the dangers of tobacco and drugs at an early age.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

N Korea- our patience is not endless 7/06/06

Imagine how history might have been changed, if Pres Truman had listened to Gen McArthur in the Korean war.Of course, the General was insubordinate, and the President had no choice but to fire him.
Nevertheless,had Truman accepted the plan to cross the Yalu River,and destroy the Chinese Communist invaders,perhaps -just perhaps there would be no N. Korea today.No maniac who threatens the world with missiles and nuclear, war but cannot feed his people.Who knows if the face of Communist China would be more open and democratic today,had we destroyed their air force and tanks.
Of course we might still be at war with China,and one can never second guess the past.
Certainly when Iran unloads a shipment of N. Korean missiles,we can ask ,What if....

We are told that the N Korean leader simply wants some one on one attention.That may be so, but in no way lessens the threat to world peace.We need not act as psychiatrists.
The Chinese oppose sanctions because they are concerned that the collapse of N Korea might bring an avalanche of hungry immigrants fleeing across the border.However ,as the prime supporter of N Korea ,they can place the type of pressure on the North that can be meaningful.
Russia is up to her old tricks.We should recall that only a Soviet walk-out at the Security Council allowed, UN troops to be dispatched to save the South in 1950.
Yes, it is true that diplomacy takes time,however we must let the Russians and Chinese know that there will be a price to pay for refusing to join the Japanese sanction resolution.
The actions taken here (or lack of same) SURELY WILL NOT BE MISSED BY IRAN.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Ashkelon-What Next? 7/05/06

  1. The Ashkelon attacks,elevate the terror problem to a new but unfortunately not unexpected level.That no Israeli has been killed, or major infrastructre damaged is irrelevant.
    No country in the world would tolerate such daily attacks on its soil without a masive response.Of course we understand that terror can never be 100% prevented, but this is state sponsored and approved, and is intolerable.
    Whether the immediate goal is to create a buffer zone that will keep the rockets beyond their range into Israel,or some other military solution,the citizens of Ashkelon and Sderot were promised security after disengagement-and didn't get it.
    Already Switzerland and S. Africa have attacked the Israeli limited response.(How many Jews died or were cheated of their financial property because of Swiss "neutrality"and "integrity"?)
    Why is the S African UN civil rights investigator only charged to investigate Israeli violations, but not HAMAS, HIZBOLLAH, ISLAMIC JIHAD and AlQueda?
    The stirrings of Hizbollah in the north ,with a threat to open a second front are of course serious developments,to which the Beirut government has been warned of.
    Israel has the military might and its political leadership must show the will.
    The enemy will quickly understand Israel's weakness if it fails to carry out its mission.
    I am usually no fan of Tom Friedman,but he hits the nail on the head when he notes that the Palestinians had the power to take the Gaza settlements that Israel abandoned, and create a model society.Alas,once again they have blown it,and with it any trust or credibility that mght have accrued.