‘You gotta believe’

Great nostalgia and interesting perspective on the difference between the Mets’ and Yanks’ fanbase (“Meet the Mets,” October 30).

I remember the ‘69 Series well. Even us non-New York Tri-Staters were rooting for them. I think it was the late Tug McGraw who said it best back then: “You gotta believe!” Timeless sage advice.

Richard Macales

Division of Marketing and Communication,
Hebrew University of Jerusalem

East Ramapo chasidim supported

First of all , I wish to point out that it is a shame that your reporter has decided to join a line of individuals starting with NPR who has decided to demonize the chasidim (“Liberal rabbis take on East Ramapo,” October 30).

Secondly, had the reporter checked neighboring villages and towns, he or she would have found the same draconian cuts in school budgets that you see in East Ramapo. The source of the problem is not the chasidic control of the Board of Education but is the archaic source of funding for education in the State of New York — property taxes — and the fact that the real estate tax base has been dramatically shrinking over the past thirty years. If the NAACP wants to improve education funding in East Ramapo schools, it should advocate a better source of funding.

Thirdly, there are suggestions that somehow the chasidim manipulated the system. This is absolute nonsense. They acquired control by moving there and voting. Chasidim replaced secular Jews who moved out.

The fact of the matter is the children in chasidic yeshivot now represent the majority of the school-aged students in East Ramapo. Under the law, they are entitled to certain educational services. However improper some of the actions of the current Board of Education of East Ramapo may have been, the actions of the previous Board of Education and the desires of the protesters to deny all educational benefits to the students in yeshivot is also wrong. Again, I ask you since when is democracy and voting subversive.

Fourthly, the actions of certain rabbis, including one modern Orthodox rabbi in support of the protesters in East Ramapo, are thoroughly disgusting.

You may have turned a somewhat complicated situation into a simple one without really examining the facts. It also represents a certain prejudice against charedim and chasidim. However politically incorrect their beliefs may be, they are entitled to be treated just as other American citizens. If the situation were reversed and the rhetoric was used against Hispanics or African Americans, there would be justifiable outrage. Scapegoating is wrong no matter who it is.

As a last comment, I must state that I am neither a chasidic or charedi Jew but I am outraged at the type of scapegoating that the situation in East Ramapo represents. It sadly is reminiscent of one we as Jews were treated to in the early part of the twentieth century in this country or in pre-holocaust Europe.

Alan Levin
Fair Lawn

In favor of the Iran deal

I would like to applaud Congressman Bill Pascrell for supporting the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA — nuclear agreement) with Iran. In doing so he is in agreement with many arms control experts, nuclear scientists and military officials.

This deal was negotiated with Iran and the European Union, Russia, China and other countries. It may not have been the best one that we could have obtained but it was the best one under the circumstances. And if the deal had fallen through a military action might have been the only alternative because otherwise Iran could have built a nuclear weapon in less than a year. And an attack on Iran would only set back their program a few years.

With the JCPOA Iran is prevented from advancing their nuclear program for 15 years and allows for strict monitoring and verification provisions.

As the congressman has so eloquently stated:

“While we all might not like how we got here today, we must not lose sight of the most important issue at hand — preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Rejecting this agreement leaves us with a crumbling sanctions regime, a weakened standing for our nation on the global stage, and most critically with Iran only months from completing the development of a nuclear weapon. Moving forward with this agreement is most certainly not the last step, but the first because it commits the international community to ensuring that Iran does not become a nuclear weapons state.”

This is a deal worth having and I am glad that Congressman Pascrell supported it.

Stu Kaplan
Chair, Northern N.J. chapter of J Street