Editorial & Opinion

In Defense Of JFK On Church-State


Rick Santorum’s comment that John Kennedy’s famous 1960 speech on the importance of church-state separation almost made him “throw up” gave us a tinge of nausea, concerned that he was misrepresenting an important issue.

Kennedy, the Democratic nominee for president at the time, sought to reassure the nation that his Catholic faith would not prejudice his views on what was best for America.

“I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute,” Kennedy told the Houston Ministerial Association.

Narrowing The Religious-Secular Gap


In 1948, when the State of Israel was founded, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion made an accommodation for full-time yeshiva students to serve their country by studying Torah rather than enlisting in the army. There were only 400 such young men at the time, and Ben-Gurion believed the number would diminish.

New Grandchild, Ancient Ritual

Editor And Publisher

Last week our family participated in a ritual commanded in the Torah and associated with the birth of a baby boy, a mitzvah that has become increasingly rare in Jewish life: the Pidyon HaBen, or redemption of the firstborn son, which applies in only an estimated 5 to 10 percent of Jewish births.

What follows are a few thoughts about the little-explored custom and the little boy who has been the focus of my thoughts in recent days.

Gary Rosenblatt

New Age, New Reality


When asked if he wanted the King of Rome one day to replace him, Napoleon declared, “Replace me? I could not replace myself! I am the child of circumstances.” That idea was dramatized by Stephen Vincent Benet in his story “A Curfew Tolls,” in which an Englishman residing on the Mediterranean coast of France meets a retired, frustrated French artillery major. It turns out to be Napoleon, born a few decades too early to conquer.

Great Neck Pride


While reading Gary Rosenblatt’s otherwise thoughtful column, “From a Sephardic Scholar, An ‘Enlightened’ Torah Approach” (Jan. 13), I did double and triple takes as I reeled from his observation: “Sadly, I have come to realize how far apart and sometimes distrustful the Ashkenazic and Sephardic communities can be of each other, even when living in close proximity (Great Neck, for example), and how little, even today, mainstream American Jewry understands and appreciates the Sephardic worldview.”

Lew On Iran


The story, “U.S. General’s Iran Comments Sharpen Rift With Israel” (Feb. 24), inaccurately conveyed the tenor of White House chief of staff Jack Lew’s remarks.

Our notes reflect that he said, “At the core, there is no difference [between the U.S. and Israel] on Iran. Iran cannot and should not develop a nuclear capacity. I hope that no difference exists [regarding a timetable]. If we did not believe there was time we would not be waiting.”

Anne Frank’s Legacy


Lately, a Google News Alert for “Anne Frank” has filled our inbox with a range of online content relating to the famous diarist and Holocaust victim (“Anne, For A New Generation,” Feb. 24).

Civil Agunah Case


The sadness felt by Jonathan Mark over the dissolution of marriages (“Tales Of The Broken Glass, Feb. 24) was movingly expressed, but some of his facts need to be corrected.

While I strongly believe that any abuse of halacha is reprehensible, my words were misunderstood to endorse Mark’s view that equivalency exists in the legal positions, and therefore in the vulnerabilities, of husbands and wives, and that they are equally likely to abuse halacha to secure a divorce. 

Buchanan, Left Or Right?


 Menachem Rosensaft, in his Opinion piece, “The Sins of Pat Buchanan” (Feb. 24), provided a succinct, informative summary of why Pat Buchanan should be regarded as an anti-Semite.

Free Synagogue Seats


It may be refreshing for Francine Klagsbrun (“Synagogues Should Be More Welcoming,” Opinion, Jan. 13) to learn that our Orthodox shul, the Young Israel of Stamford, Conn., has been offering “free seating” to all for the High Holidays since the synagogue’s founding in 1979.

This inclusion of Jews of all stripes to be a part of our holiday services is just one example of the regular inclusion and respect of fellow Jews from various backgrounds, which is a part of the makeup of the Jewish community here in Stamford.

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