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Inspired by Amy Schumer

Dear Editor:

Breaking news! I have to admit that I never really gave much thought as to why we break a glass when we get married as Jews. Until I read your article “Amy Schumer, Breaking the Glass, & Jerusalem” from June 22, I always thought it was just a sort-of tradition but should have known better that there was more to the story, that is was more than just something fun and festive.

It’s also great to read about famous Jewish people, like Hollywood celebrities, who continue to embrace their heritage in one way or another, like how Amy Schumer and her husband made sure to keep the faith by breaking the glass at their wedding in Hawaii. I never really thought about how that and so many of our other traditions are what could be considered “separatism.” It’s just honoring our beloved traditions and pastimes! It’s great to see celebrities like Schumer go ahead and show her commitment and thanks to G-d.

I also wanted to add that because the article talks about how we still mourn the loss from 2,000 years ago of the Holy Temple, this is a great time to really take the time to reflect deeply on this loss, why it means so much to us, and how it ties into things that seem so simple like breaking glass at a wedding. I think these thoughts are very important as we come into The Three Weeks.

Sincerely,

Jasmine Appachy

 

Aliyah & Evangelism

Dear Editor:

I read your story “340 Olim to Land in Israel in IFCJ Airlift; Jewish Agency Fails in Inspiring Aliyah,” I learned a lot. I had never heard of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. It’s amazing the group has the backing of hundreds of thousands of evangelical Christians. I guess this group is also playing an increasingly major role in bringing new immigrants to Israel. Pretty cool.

While the group has helped bring hundreds of thousands of olim in partnership with the Jewish Agency and Nefesh B’Nefesh, the organization it helped start, IFCJ began independently bringing olim in late 2014, which really isn’t that long ago. So it’s remarkable that in that time, they brought nearly 13,000 new immigrants to Israel from 26 countries where Jews are facing rising anti-Semitism, threatened by terrorism or suffering economic crises. In this kind of world, there’s almost nothing more beautiful than seeing different faiths coming together in harmony. My one only concern with the Evangelicals is that they’re using us, the Jews and Israelis, to eventually set off a Holy War so that they can literally get raptured to Heaven. That’s crazy, and that’s unbelievably, like impossible to put into words unbelievably, selfish.

Sincerely,

Adam Weismonger

 

Israel’s Water Woes

Dear Editor,

What is life without water? Well, there wouldn’t be any, at least not for us and the myriad species on which we depend and that all hold together fragile ecosystems. Your article “Crisis Averted: Gushing Over Israel’s Governmental Water Bailout,” highlighted problems I don’t think many people here in America would have known about.

The national plan that they needed to come up with includes things like planning to restore the flow of natural spring-water to seven streams, including Betzet, Ga’aton, Naaman, Tzipori, and Kishon, in the northern Galilee, the Hadera River in central Israel, and Einan stream in the Hula Valley. The plans were originally adapted from a 2015 plan which will allocate the NIS 81 million to repair the severe damage caused by Israel’s ongoing water crisis to the country’s rivers and streams.

Israel’s water woes have never stemmed from inability. After all, Israeli ingenuity has brought forth flowing water and blooming agriculture in the desert. But dealing with water issues has always just been a part of Israel’s reality. These issues couldn’t be more important right now when humanity faces its greatest challenge in climate change. Water shortages, and the widespread damage it will cost beyond just having a bunch of desperately thirsty people, will become an ever-increasing issue as climate change continues to worsen and further exacerbate crazy and odd weather events. Desertification is one of those climate change-related issues that needs specific attention and innovation too. Maybe Israel could use some of the efforts seen in places like the Sahara Desert. Reclaiming creeping deserts with trees is one small step towards combating climate change. It’s the least we can do since we humans caused it. Tikun olam.

Sincerely,

Ryan Nye

 

New Condo on Avenue U

Dear Editor,

Southern Brooklyn may be the coolest part of the city. It’s a whole world in and of itself, and it’s hard to believe it’s all a part of the same city that has Times Square. It can be so quiet, there are some gorgeous houses to look at, and with front lawns! Out-of-this-world food from all different ethnicities can be found in all the neighborhoods, and of course the beach is there too. Your article “New Upscale Condominium Bldg to Be Built on Avenue U in Gravesend,” caught my interest because it’s so interesting to see what kind of development we’ll see in some of these neighborhoods.

The Avenue U stop on the F train is down the block, with Avenue U stops nearby on the BMT Sea Beach line for the N train and the IND Culver line for the Q train. The area has a number of Jewish businesses, including highly respected butchers. Crossing into Sheepshead Bay and over Coney Island Avenue, on the way to the Q train, leads to an area flourishing with Asian restaurants and markets. The Brooklyn beaches are only about two miles south and can be accessed easily by train or by way of the oldest greenway in America by walking or biking down the Ocean Parkway greenway. What a prime spot. I could see why a developer would want to erect a new higher end condominium complex, for people wanting a slice of Brooklyn and without being in an area of the city that’s too hectic.

I just hope these projects don’t get out of control, and I hope people who are less fortunate aren’t forgotten. With all of that said, I think it could be really neat to have some small additions to these already amazing neighborhoods with the occasional funky and attractive new buildings sticking out but without disrupting the entire feel of the area.

Sincerely,

Robert Ludwig

 

No Child Should Go Hungry

Dear Editor,

Let there be food! I’m pleased after reading the article titled “Kosher, Halal School Meal Programs Get $1M Boost in NYC Schools,” because to state the obvious, no child should go hungry. It’s a complete and utter embarrassment and tragedy that millions of kids in this country go to bed hungry each night. It’s great that we have programs meant to try making sure these kids at least get some food in those hungry stomachs and developing bodies while at school. Why not include those who have religious dietary needs? Are their needs not as important? I know it’s more just a matter of circumstance and not malice, but it’s about time some people finally stepped up and started making sure that children who did in fact have the option to receive school meals didn’t pass on eating them because of dietary restrictions.

I’d always heard about how negative of an impact a lack of a good diet has on kids, so I was pleased to see your article go into some detail about that. Children cannot learn when they are hungry, a statement with which experts and advocates agree, your article said. It’s been too long for Muslim and Jewish students in our schools to not have the food they need. It’s about darn time.

Both Jewish and Muslim leadership supported the action as to be expected. It’s again another example of how we’re all not so different and really just want the same things in life. We want to be able to exercise our beliefs freely and be able to work with the government and our communities to ensure that practicing those beliefs doesn’t create hurdles for extremely crucial things like feeding kids. This news is a good start. No kid should ever go hungry. Let’s keep pushing for what is right.

Sincerely

Ned Oppenheim