Grace, humility elude Rabbi Boteach

After reading Rabbi Boteach’s analysis of Senator Booker’s failed presidential campaign, I find it both incredulous and sad that a person’s ego and self- centeredness can distort rational reasoning (“The cratering of Cory Booker’s convictions on Israel crushed his campaign,” January 17). It strains all credulity to believe that Senator Booker’s failure to abide and listen to Rabbi Boteach’s policy advice was a contributing factor in the demise of his candidacy.

Senator Booker’s candidacy never gained traction with the democratic electorate for multiple reasons. Although I do not agree with all of Senator Booker’s policies, I respect his body of work on behalf of his constituents. Senator Booker bowed out of the presidential race with grace and humility — values that perhaps Rabbi Boteach should aspire to.

Marc Sapin
River Edge

Don’t be unfair to Rabbi Boteach

I must take issue with your attack on Rabbi Boteach for his comments regarding Senator Booker, contained in your Editorial, “Honest disagreements” (January 17). You state that, “according to Rabbi Boteach, there never was any good reason to defend the deal. Therefore, according to that logic, the only reason to defend the deal had to be an ignoble one, caving to pressure, giving in rather than fighting on.”

You have the right to your opinion, but in his opinion piece Rabbi Boteach lists his reasons for condemning the actions of his one-time friend. He never wrote that “there never was any good reason to defend the deal.” The negotiations for the deal were done in secret. All of the sections of the deal were never given to Congress. Booker and many other Democrats caved in and agreed because partisan Democrat loyalties held primacy. The main “good reason” to support the Iran deal was because it was THE major foreign policy initiative of President Obama. There were many parts of the deal that were and still are secret. There were/are many loopholes that allowed Iran to continue their nuclear program in secret. It was a bad deal with a dishonest signatory. Current reporting by international watchdogs and various nations bears this out.

The fact that many Jews were in favor of the deal has absolutely no bearing. I can understand why you don’t want to get into the specifics of the deal because it will validate the withdrawal by our President from it.

The withdrawal of friendships usually is not just because of honest disagreements but more often because of betrayals. This is the case here.

Rabbi Boteach then goes on listing other reasons why he has terminated his friendship with Senator Booker: Booker’s vote against the Taylor Force Act, his condemnation of the moving of the embassy to Jerusalem, his vote against making it illegal to boycott Israel, his failure to strongly condemn Ilhan Omar’s anti-Semitic comments, among others.

Whether a renewed friendship will find itself in their future, we do not know.

Howard J. Cohn
New Milford

Rabbi Boteach vs. Booker: A hatchet job par excellence

When I heard that Senator Cory Booker had dropped out of the presidential race, I hoped, somewhat naively, that Rabbi Shmuley Boteach would be gracious about it — that he would either not say anything or that he would briefly comment and wish his former “soul mate” well in the future.

Fat chance!

Instead, last week’s Jewish Standard featured a column by Rabbi Boteach “The cratering of Cory Booker’s convictions on Israel crushed his campaign,” a sort of Greatest Hatchet Jobs album of Rabbi Boteach’s repetitive columns about Senator Booker over the last several years.

Once again, we were treated to a lengthy, and disingenuous, discourse about Senator Booker’s Ur sin, his support for the deal with Iran in 2015. We also got to hear about school choice, the Taylor Force Act, Rosario Dawson, Ilhan Omar, BDS, and even the move of the American embassy to Jerusalem. (What I found really ludicrous was Rabbi Boteach’s description of the “final blow,” the New Jersey legislature changing the law to allow Senator Booker to run for president and Senate at the same time, a step that, according to Rabbi Boteach, was both cynical and opportunistic. Funny, I don’t recall him saying this in 2000, when Joe Lieberman ran for both vice president and senator.)

I do not pretend to know why Senator Booker abandoned his campaign for president. I suspect it may have something to do with a very crowded field and his inability to stand out from it. Contrary to Rabbi Boteach, however, I doubt that the Senator’s candidacy was doomed because the American public knew of their formerly close friendship and Rabbi Boteach’s repudiation of his “brother.” But, like a jackal feeding on a carcass, Rabbi Boteach cannot restrain himself from being vindictive.

As this column clearly illustrates, Rabbi Boteach regards himself as a political kingmaker. He believes that people accept or reject a politician for the same reasons he does, and that American Jews donate to candidates as his behest. Before again questioning Senator Booker’s lack of convictions, perhaps the self-styled “America’s Rabbi” should question his own lack of humility.

Richard Alexander

Dr. Slaten elaborates

I am writing in response to Dr. Victor Borden’s comments on my article “Should all menopausal women be taking hormones?” First, I want to thank Dr. Borden for reading my article and taking the time to comment on it. I am especially impressed that despite retirement, Dr. Borden still has enough passion about his field to still comment on the topic. I don’t anticipate retiring for many years but when I do, I hope I still have such passion.

It was noted that “your readers should know that the FDA has not approved any bioidentical estrogen product for use.” That is not true. Estrace (estradiol) is a bioidentical estrogen available in oral and cream versions. There are also injectable versions. All of these bioidentical versions of estrogen are FDA approved.

I agree that estrogen does not increase breast cancer risk. I also agree that women must take progesterone to protect the uterus. All of my patients benefit from the mood-enhancing benefits of progesterone and balancing the effects of estrogen and progesterone leads to great success.

It was noted that combination estrogen-progesterone medication has been proven to increase the rate of breast cancer. This is a confusion between synthetic progesterone (Provera or medroxyprogesterone) which slightly increases the risk of breast cancer and bioidentical progesterone which does not. Progesterone has been shown to be anti-proliferative, which means it works against cancer.

It was noted that other risks were not mentioned in my original article. For instance, it was noted that estrogen increases the risks of blood clots and strokes. Again, this is confusion between the pharmaceutical version of estrogen called Premarin (truncated for pregnant mare’s urine) which is estrogen from a horse and is stronger than human estrogen and bioidentical estradiol which does not cause increased risk of clots. I challenge anyone to find a clinical study that shows that estradiol increases risks of stroke and blood clots. This is because such a study does not exist.

It was noted that I am not a gynecologist. However, I am certified in bioidentical hormone replacement. This means I am thoroughly trained and knowledgeable about hormone replacement and the relevant medical literature. I started administering hormones in 2001 and many of my patients have benefited from this great opportunity to age with energy and with decreased risk of heart disease, osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s disease, which are the three leading causes of death in older women. I recommend that when you decide to take advantage of this great treatment, you see someone who has an extensive knowledge of the hormone literature. Again, thank you Dr. Borden for your comments on my article.

Warren Slaten, M.D.

Looking for children hidden in Friesland during WWII

I am writing to request any assistance you can give us in our search.

As part of the 75th anniversary since the end of the Second World War, a commemoration is planned in Friesland NL where the organization “The return of Jewish Children” (of De. Terugkeer van joodse kinderen) would like to bring back the children who went into hiding in Friesland during the war. It is a specific group that the organisation is searching for. The group consists of children who with help from the Amsterdam Student Resistance Group (ASG) were either smuggled from a day care centre opposite the Hollandsche Schouwburg in Amsterdam or who were taken from their homes by the same group.

The Hollandsche Schouwburg at the Plantage Middenlaan is where Jews from Amsterdam were brought whilst awaiting deportation to the Westerbork transportation camp. However, the group was split with children being sent to the day care centre and parents having to stay at the Schouwburg. From the day care centre, approximately 800 children were rescued and brought to every corner of the Netherlands.

A total of 210 children found a hiding place in Friesland. The organisation believes that around 70 children are still alive and would like to get in touch with them and ensure that their important part in history is told and documented for future generations.

On the 1st, 2nd and 3rd May 2020 the organisation wants to bring these children back to Friesland for a commemoration ceremony. Where possible, they would also like the “children” to tell their stories in the places where they went into hiding all those years ago.

Many of these children did not return to Amsterdam, preferring to leave the country and are now spread across the globe. For this reason I am writing for any assistance you could give us to track down these ‘children’ perhaps through publications, mailing lists or other info.

For more information on this project visit our website: www.joodsekinderen.nl.

Hartelijke groet, Kind regards

 Sue Smeding
Lid onderzoeksteam; research team