Gynecologist cautions on bioidentical hormones

I am a retired gynecologist and would like to comment on Dr. Warren Slaten’s article, “Should all menopausal women be taking hormones,” published in the December 20 issue.

Dr. Slaten, who is not a gynecologist, writes that basically all menopausal women should be taking bioidentical hormones. Your readers should know that the FDA has not approved any bioidentical estrogen product for use.

While is is true that taking estrogen does not increase breast cancer risk, all women who have a uterus must also take progesterone to prevent endometrial cancer from estrogen-only use. Combination estrogen-progesterone medication has been proven to increase the rate of breast cancer.

Additionally, besides having potential side effects, estrogen does have other risks that Dr. Slaten does not mention. Its use increases the risk of blood clots and strokes.

I encourage all menopausal women to have a consultation with their gynecologist to learn whether they are candidates for hormone replacement therapy, what the risks and benefits are, and what side effects are possible.

Victor Borden, M.D., F.A.C.O.G

We have to learn self-defense

This past Shabbat Chanukah, Rabbi Pruzansky, in his eloquently erudite approach to imparting concerns of important topics in the community, focused on the issue of defense in times of attack.

We all are terrorized with the current pervasive threat hovering around the world elicited by the seething anti-Semitism that has become ubiquitous. In the twentieth century not that long ago, the horrific years of the Holocaust continue to haunt us. Our strong motto of “Never Again” needs to be reinforced more than ever, but with a desperate need of constructive solutions to realize our goals.

Rabbi Pruzansky clearly stated from the pulpit that each and every Jew has an obligation to fight back to the point of questioning why, after last week’s incident at Sammy’s Bagels on Queen Anne Road, the man was left with any teeth at all! Kudos to Rabbi Pruzansky for imparting a strong message to klal Israel. It was important to encourage strength and resilience. The reaction, of course, from the kehilla was mixed, since the variable of fear in fighting back was missing. Certainly when the perpetrators have a gun or knife, the strength and determination to react instinctively diminishes greatly.

Rabbi Pruzansky is right that we are left with no choice but to totally confront the perpetrators, but what is needed as a priority is skill, experience, and know-how.

I am proposing that every yeshiva and Jewish day school must, without any question, incorporate a strong self-defense program. It is no longer a luxury to give self-defense classes as an option, or to register in a Krav Maga class after school. Defense tactics, whatever they may be, must be ingrained in each and every child during their growing years. No longer will we be left helpless and vulnerable!

I call on all principals, administrators, teachers, and staff to ensure that self-defense programs are implemented, starting with kindergarten and up. Along with our strong values of mastering limudei kodesh and academic studies, self-defense classes must be part of the core curriculum and not an option after school hours.

My husband, Bobby, grew up on the Lower East Side. Walking the streets and parks in the city, Bobby and the RJJ Chevra quickly learned to always be on guard to counter the attacks of gangs who would look to pick fights with the “Jews.” They knew from a young age to protect themselves at all times. Bobby’s comment was always, “When the odds are right, just stay and fight, when the odds are wrong, just take flight.” They were always on high alert growing up for self-protection. Now it is our generation’s turn to do the same

We love our children and grandchildren too much to ignore that we need to act now to create a safe place for many generations to come.

Let’s be honest. We all know how cushy and comfortable life has become for our children and that could be a good thing. However, they do live in an insulated world and their main focus is their technologies. The children’s prime tool of defense is their cell phone and that will not suffice during times of terror and attack. We need to prepare our next generation to defend and protect. Only then in life do we have a fighting chance.

We do speculate whether these current incidents are fleeting and will dissipate over time or continue to escalate. Certainly there is no argument that the pattern of terror has been prevalent and getting worse, needing our immediate confrontation. The spectrum of all vulnerabilities have now spread from Brooklyn to Jersey City, California, Pennsylvania and beyond without any regard of age or locale. We are all vulnerable! and it’s time to start our attack by preparation and know-how.

Just the night of Rabbi Pruzansky’s encouragement to be strong in face of danger, there were five stabbings in Monsey that very evening while they were celebrating Chanukah. Is it coincidental? Absolutely not! It’s called a pattern of hate we all have to own up to!

Parents, administrators, starting now, let’s get these self-defense classes in our schools for all grades and then we can have the real tools not only the rhetoric to uphold “Never Again”! Till then it’s all talk.

Ruby Kaplan

Explaining Trump’s order

Members of the Jewish community should rest easy about President Donald Trump’s December 11 executive order on combating Anti-Semitism, despite concerns raised by Rabbi Barry L. Schwartz in his essay on Jewish identity (“Are you an American Jew or a Jewish American?” December. 25). The order does not define Jews as a race or nationality. And it will not infringe on the right to free speech.

The executive order provides that when Jews are discriminated against in federally funded programs or activities, and the discrimination is based on their actual or perceived Jewish ancestry or ethnicity, then they will be protected under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. Prior to the order, the U.S. Department of Education was already interpreting Title VI to protect Jewish students at federally funded schools. The department recognized that there are groups — such as Jews, Muslims and Sikhs — that share not only religious but also ethnic characteristics. They would not be denied the protection of our civil rights law on the ground that they share a common faith.

The executive order also requires federal agencies to consider the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism when they enforce Title VI. Rabbi Schwartz cautioned that now “someone can criticize Israel’s policies but not the state itself, or its existence.” Such criticism is “discriminatory and now disqualifies the person who articulates that position from receiving federal funding.”

Not true. The order simply requires that federal agencies consider the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism when they enforce Title VI. The definition appropriately identifies contemporary examples of anti-Semitism, including when targeting Israel may be a manifestation of the problem. The definition gives federal agencies much-needed guidance on the many ways that anti-Semitism can be expressed today.

When the president issued his executive order, the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Department of Education were already using the IHRA definition. It has been adopted by approximately 30 countries around the world.

Requiring consideration of the IHRA definition will not change how Title VI will be enforced one iota. Title VI has always been enforced consistent with the First Amendment and it will continue to be. In fact, the executive order specifically commands that “agencies shall not diminish or infringe upon any right protected under Federal law or under the First Amendment.”

In the Zionist Organization of America’s many years of battling campus anti-Semitism, we have seen a troubling and unacceptable double standard: College administrators ignore the harassment and intimidation of Jewish students yet respond quickly and forcefully when other groups are targeted. Regardless of how we self-identify — as members of a religious group, an ethnic group or both — the Jewish community should applaud an executive order that will sensitize administrators to campus anti-Semitism and encourage them to finally crack down on this serious and growing problem.

Susan B. Tuchman, Esq.
(Ms. Tuchman is the director of the ZOA’s Center for Law and Justice)

Time to fight back

Thanks to our corrupt, impeached president, America has become a racist, anti-Semitic country.

Instead of wringing our hands over the latest atrocity against Jews (i.e., 11 worshippers gunned down in a Pittsburgh synagogue; a stabbing of Jews at a Chanukah party in Monsey), it’s time for direct action. Bring back an army of armed JDL fighters to be stationed at key temples, JCCs, and other places where Jews congregate. The JDL fighters would have direct orders to kill any armed intruders on sight, whether they be anti-Semites or mentally disturbed people.

The tough modern Israelis wouldn’t put up with these attacks. Nor would the ancient Maccabees!

Dick Burnon

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