Guide dogs (and their owners) should be welcome in shul

I was wondering if you could hear me screaming over Rabbi Shammai Engelmayer’s March 29 op ed, “A short-sighted approach to guide dogs in shul.” As a mother of a son who is legally blind and has a guide dog, I am saddened to think that there are rabbis who could be so narrow minded. (And that is putting it nicely…) As I read through the perceived justifications for not allowing a guide dog in a synagogue, I was livid.

Thankfully, the column ended on a high note.

I would hope that Rabbi Engelmayer’s readers come away feeling as I do; that what we need in our Jewish community is to support one another, and that the idea of excluding an individual or individuals because they are different, i.e. blind with a guide dog, should not be tolerated just because a rabbi (mis)interprets the meanings of words in our Jewish teachings. Not for one minute.

Simone Wilker
Washington Township

Get medical advice from doctors

Kudos to Dr. Harry Banschick for his learned and dispassionate explanation of why children should be vaccinated for measles and other diseases. (“Vaccines do not harm children. They save lives,” April 12).

Dr. Banschick’s view, honed by long experience as a distinguished pediatrician over many decades, underscores the danger of trusting perhaps well-intentioned but clearly ill-formed laymen who gratuitously dispense medical advice. In particular, Orthodox rabbis lacking either scientific or medical background, who nonetheless advise their followers to oppose vaccinations, are especially culpable in the spread of measles our community is currently experiencing.

Such individuals would be better advised to stick to advice in matters spiritual and leave the medical opinions to others who are more eminently qualified, like Dr. Banschick.

Fraser P. Seitel
Fort Lee

Shame on Trump supporters

I can’t begin to express the anger I have towards the National Council of Young Israel’s constituency (“An Orthodox organization’s gala dinner is mostly a tribute to Donald Trump,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency,” April 2).

Under the pretense of religion, these ‘observant Jews’ are shameful. They are similar to the Christian Right that espouse righteousness but truly hate. It doesn’t matter that Trump has told so many lies the world has lost count. (His father was born in the Bronx!) It doesn’t matter that we have made enemies of our allies. It doesn’t matter that he is a crook, that he has ripped off many of his workers. It doesn’t matter that he says he is smarter than all scientists and has destroyed any progress we have made against climate change. Offshore drilling is now restored and it is killing our wildlife. It doesn’t matter that he makes fun of how people look. It doesn’t matter what happened in Charleston — which was a white supremacy event — because “both sides were at fault.” It doesn’t matter that his children have used their personal emails but Hillary should go to jail. His children were declined for security clearance but he approved them.

Immigration has always been at the heart of Judaism. He is an ignorant, hateful human being but, hey, as someone is quoted in your article said, “The stock market went up — I’ve made tons of money.” Same person is quoted as saying Trump is doing away with Obamacare. Have you seen a new plan? Obamacare is not perfect, but wanting to eliminate it without a new plan because it has the name ‘Obama’ on it is more than foolish. It’s disastrous. He speaks of eliminating pre-existing conditions. Is that OK?

Being an honest, compassionate human with true family values doesn’t seem to matter to these “observant Jews.” Trump’s support of Israel should not be the deciding factor in choosing Trump as their president. Shame on them!

Sandi Kleinman
Old Tappan

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