Bill hurts Israeli democracy
Regarding the recent passage by the Israeli Knesset of the Bill to Prevent Harm to the State of Israel by Means of Boycott, this bill is merely the latest round of the battle that the current government of Israel is waging against the democratic foundations of the State of Israel.
The right to protest and dissent is a fundamental tenet of a healthy, functioning democracy. Make no mistake, boycotting Israel is wrong; but Israel outlawing boycotts is dangerous. … By eliminating the ability to protest controversial policies, the Knesset will only provide more fodder for the anti-Israel crowd who deny Israel’s legitimacy.
Ameinu wishes to remind Prime Minister Netanyahu that in his speech to the U.S. Congress in May he stated that the “path of liberty is … paved when governments permit protests in town squares, when limits are placed on the powers of rulers, when judges are beholden to laws and not men, and when human rights cannot be crushed by tribal loyalties or mob rule.” Mr. Prime Minister, this latest bill pushes Israel away from the path of liberty that it has shared with the United States. This is indeed a dark day for Israel’s democracy.
Pittsburgher pays shiva call
When I first arrived at the Boro Park home of the Kletsky family in order to pray and offer my condolences to them after their son was brutally murdered last week, I figured it would be similar to hundreds of shiva houses that I have visited.
In front of this average looking apartment complex in Brooklyn was an NYPD cruiser warding off curiosity seekers and media. Bouquets of roses were left by anonymous well-wishers at the entrance to the building, and signs were up stating the times for visiting and asking people to be respectful and follow the rules.
I was told that I would not be allowed to discuss any of the gruesome details of the murder with the family, and finally, I was told that if they needed to make more room in their small apartment, I might be asked to leave. I accepted these terms and went in to pray.
The room was somber, like many shiva houses, but there was something palatably different. The shacharit service immediately reminded me of the ancient Jewish legend that all prayers throughout the world are funneled through the Temple Mount. Jerusalem is the beacon that attracts and gathers the prayers before they can ascend to the heavens. This was how I felt. As the intensity of the prayers grew, I felt as if all the prayers from around the globe were converging at the household, that everyone today was a member of the Klezky family.
After the kaddish was completed, we sat around the father, Nachman Kletzky, as he recalled that tragic day over and over. He asked not to know all the details of his only son’s death, but accepted it as a divine judgment.
The minyan was comprised of Jews from all over — Hasidic, Litvish, Orthodox and less Orthodox. All streams were represented at this house. Family, friends, neighbors, as well as complete strangers, such as myself, felt a need to come and try in any way to console the mourners.
I told Mr. Kletsky that I came from Pittsburgh and brought with me the well wishes of a community that shares in his sorrow. I also told him of my plans to organize a communal gathering in memory of his son. He thanked me and approved of the gesture.
Perhaps, at least some good, a positive educational event, will result from this horrific occurrence. Maybe we can take the first step in preventing another life like that of Leiby Kletsky from being needlessly and prematurely snuffed out.
(Editor’s note: Details of the gathering the author is organizing are still to be announced. The Chronicle will report them as they become available.)
Meet the bikers
Thank you for the refreshing article on Jews who Ride! (“Jews on Motorcycles? Yes, and they’re Ridin’ Chai!” June 30) And in response to Oren Spiegler’s letter about the this topic (“Biker Jews story rapped,” July 7): Shouldn’t there be a limit as to how many letters one is permitted to submit in a year?
Motorcycles have brought a wonderful group of bikers from the Greater Pittsburgh area together — the Jews that Cruise, AKA The Mazal Tuffs! We are doctors, lawyers, professionals, schoolteachers, mothers, fathers, grandparents and, most importantly, very responsible riders.
All have taken the motorcycle safety course and ride with helmets, obeying all laws, which is more than I can say for most drivers in cars.
Every day we see on the news or in the papers, fatalities regarding senseless car accidents — so many involving children.
We originally came together for the first Ride to Remember, joining up with hundreds of other Jewish bikers to return a long lost Torah to The Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. Since then we have ridden to the Israeli Day parade in New York and for many years orchestrated Hadassah’s Motorcycle Ride for Research, raising thousands of dollars for breast cancer research. We have been blessed by rabbis, praised by many for our fundraising efforts and are very proud of our track record for observing holidays, Shabbat, maintaining a sense of kosher style eating while on the road and our tremendous sense of pride to be a group of Jews coming together to enjoy the art of riding a motorcycle.
For Mr. Spiegler to say that we do not have the same regard for our lives that he does and that we risk our lives by riding and could possibly leave behind a family to mourn — doesn’t he do that every day by just getting into his car?
We invite Mr. Spiegler to meet us — please don’t be so afraid of the unknown or jump to such mean conclusions about us from watching bad TV movies.