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JV Editorial

Letters to the Editor

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Thinks Gillibrand Should Resign

Dear Editor:

One of the worst kept political secrets was Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s announcement about running for President. Many knew when she promised during her 2018 reelection campaign to serve a full six year term that this would not be the case. Gillibrand will now be spending more time in Iowa, New Hampshire and other earlier 2019 Democratic Party Primary states rather than New York’s 62 counties. She will be working the phones and attending dozens of fund raisers day and night. There will be little time to look after her constituents interests in Washington.

When the Senate is not in session, she will be on the road campaigning. The first Democratic Primary Presidential debate with 20 to 30 other declared candidates will look like Hollywood Squares on steroids! New Yorkers deserve a full time Senator in Washington. If she is serious about running, she should resign her Senate seat today. Governor Cuomo can appoint a caretaker Senator for the remainder of 2019. Senator Majority Leader Andrea Steward Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie will be passing an election reform bill which should be signed by Governor Cuomo.

It will afford voters a June primary and November 2019 general election. This gives voters the opportunity to elect a full time Senator to serve the remaining five years of her term. In the interim, Gillibrand has won the “liar, liar, pants on fire” award for her complete dishonesty with New Yorkers. Who wants a liar in the White House?

Sincerely,
Larry Penner


Bar Mitzvah of Holocaust Survivor

Dear Editor,

I thought we should all pay closer attention to this heartwarming story because we could all use something uplifting. The story itself is too fascinating and special to not be shared again anyway, and I hope everyone gets a chance to fully read the article “Thanks to College Fellowship, Holocaust Survivor Celebrates Bar Mitzvah at 91” because it will leave a lasting impression.

As the result of a unique fellowship that connects Holocaust survivors with college students, Marius Gherovici, 91, recently celebrated his bar mitzvah in Philadelphia by putting on tefillin for the first time, and then singing and dancing with a group of young new friends.

I remember how big of a deal Bar and Bat Mitvahs were back in the day, when every weekend for almost two years, my parents would shuttle me around from one party to the next. I was very happy to have mine early on relative to my friends, and I’ll always remember how much I enjoyed leading the congregation and reading the torah from the bimah. I can’t even begin to imagine how much it would mean to someone who waited until he was 91 to have a Bar Mitzvah to go through the same process and experiences I did. Then add on the fact that this is a man who couldn’t be a Jew because he was a prisoner of the Holocaust, at a time of his life when he should have been becoming a son of the commandments along with his fellow friends.

Gherovici expressed gratitude to G-d for his survival despite, he said, not being a practicing Jew. “It is my first time entering the religion,” he stated while proudly wearing tefillin. “We weren’t religious; we were fighting for our dear lives, but Somebody upstairs gave me a hand not once, but a hundred different times.”

It’s really hard, if not impossible, to put myself in his shoes. All I can say is that it brings me such joy thinking about him having a Bar Mitzvah at the end of what will be a long and fruitful life, lived in total defiance of the Nazis.

Sincerely,
Gertrude Steiner


Angered at Widespread Sexual Harassment

Dear Editor,

While your article “1 of Every 2 Women in NYC Say They’ve Been Sexually Harassed” is sadly unsurprising, it’s still shocking, appalling, and unacceptable.

If you’re with a group of women, there’s a good chance that one of them has been sexually harassed. I already knew that this idea was probably true, and sure enough, the Siena College conducted a survey which had 45 percent of women say that sexual harassment happened to them during their lifetime.

Over the years, I’ve really come to much better understand the daily problems women face and how my own biases and privilege made that very hard to see and only contributed to the problem.

We need to definitely start with the basics. When we see or hear about something egregious, like sexual assault, call it out. Report it. Listen to the victims, believe them, and support them. It starts to get a little harder to grasp with harassment because it can be difficult to determine what constitutes harassment. When there’s a situation, like a stranger catcalling a woman on the subway and using vulgar language, it’s much more obvious and needs to be called out, for starters. As for the murkier situations, the solution here is another simple one: listen to women. If you honestly think you’re making a joke in good fun, but you wind up making the woman uncomfortable, listen to her. Don’t tell yourself that she just doesn’t have a sense of humor. Don’t let your friends or coworkers tell you she just wanted attention. Listen to her, and believe her. Work to understand why such language, or gestures, or actions, or whatever the case made her uncomfortable and constitutes sexual harassment.

We have a crucial role to play in fixing this problem as men. Of course we commit the majority of sexual harassment, but for those of us who don’t harass women, we need to speak up, be supportive, and still always be aware that we may have blind spots from our own biases, which is why it’s so important to keep listening to women! Remembering that men are sexually harassed too is important because we don’t want to overlook those victims, and they need to be treated the same. Understanding how a man can be sexually assaulted or harassed is really good way to truly grasp how harassment and assault work, keeping in mind that it overwhelmingly affects women.

Sincerely,
Keith Grayson

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