Letters Summer 2018

Praise for JA
I had the foresight to take the spring [2018] issue with me as I traveled to Chicago for the Sedarim. As I turned the pages, I found article after article that held my attention, informed, educated and stimulated me. I was especially taken with the article by Ruchama Feuerman regarding her father-in-law’s service in the US Air Force in the 1950s (“A Chaplain’s Tale During the Korean War”). Your articles on the Rav, especially the personal piece by Rabbi Seth Mandel (“Observing the Rav”), gave me a sense of who the Rav really was.

I commend Jewish Action for its high quality and look forward to reading it in the future.

David L. Yavner
Providence, Rhode Island


Raising Spiritually Resilient Children
Your issue on becoming a successful parent (Shira Smiles, “Raising Spiritually Resilient Children” [spring 2018]) was most informative. But as Gerald Schreck rightly sums up in his Chairman’s Message, we need siyata d’Shmaya to raise “religiously resilient” children. So how does one explain the same parents raising both a Yaakov and an Eisav? Can any parent take the blame for a child going “off the derech”? By the same token, can a parent rightly take credit for raising “religiously resilient” children?

Heshy Nagel
Monsey, New York 

Shira Smiles Responds
The question is completely on target.

Rav Mattisyahu Salomon is quoted in the book With Cords of Love (by Rabbi Ezriel Tauber [New Jersey, 2016]) as underscoring this exact point. No parent can take credit or blame for the outcome of their children; there is a larger siyata d’Shmaya at work. Rabbi Gamliel Rabinowitz, in an essay relating to the four sons at the Seder, echoes this point. He notes that this is one level of explanation of the phrase in the Hagaddah, “Va’eten l’Yitzchak et Yaakov v’et Eisav.” Yitzchak was “given” these children as part of his avodat Hashem. When a parent has a child who does not follow in the way he was raised, he should use this opportunity to come closer to Hashem through tefillah and emulating Hashem’s ways of compassion and chesed.


Revisiting the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
When reading “Remembering the Spiritual Heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising” in the most recent issue, I was disappointed that the article failed to mention the brave Jew and his fighters who really started the uprising weeks before the events of what we have come to call the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. The history must be corrected.

Pawel Frenkel, a leader in the Jewish Military Movement, led the main uprising at Muranowski Square, but never received honor or credit. Several years ago I attended a sad and small memorial in his honor, held in front of a small plaque on a building near the Nozyk Synagogue [the only surviving prewar shul in Warsaw, Poland].

Frenkel received weapons from the Polish Underground. He was a member of Betar, which was at odds with members of the Social Zionist groups. His story has been ignored, and some students of history opine that his story has been intentionally suppressed by Labor Party members.

Dr. Loren Greenberg
Los Angeles, California


The concept of the Amud Aish Museum in Brooklyn, New York is truly noble. An alternative to Holocaust exhibits stressing the annihilation of European Jewry is welcome and brilliant.

At the same time I find it disturbing. The brutal terror, utter starvation, absolute helplessness, humiliation and utter abandonment of European Jewry are put aside as a mere inconvenient construct.

The article about the museum made me wonder about having a Seder without choking on maror before eating
a meal of thanksgiving. Bitterness must be tasted to
be understood.

Reflecting on my upbringing in the shadow of the postwar era, I knew two kinds of kids: those who grew up in an atmosphere of deafening silence, and those whose parents screamed in their sleep. For my parents and their generation, the holiest of experiences was a natural death in the presence of loving family, and a respectful burial. I thank God I could do for my parents what they could not do for theirs.

I wish this could be conveyed to a generation that doesn’t understand the difference between death and mass murder.

Larry W. Josefovitz
Beachwood, Ohio

This article was featured in the Summer 2018 issue of Jewish Action.
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