Saddened by Deli Closing

I was quite shocked and saddened to read about Steve’s Deli (“Just Like That, Steve’s Deli Closes Its Doors,” Jan. 6).  I tried to go there on Dec. 28, the day after the closure, and thought it was closed only for the week between the holidays. I enjoyed going there, and Steve Saval was always very friendly and cheerful, so I was especially surprised by the abrupt way in which he told his employees about the closure. It reminded me of the way Bob Irsay snuck the Colts out of Baltimore in 1984.  Hopefully, we’ll learn more about what exactly happened and why.

Give Us an Outlet Mall

The development of land formerly known as Owings Mills Mall has been slow in coming (“An Uncertain Future,” Dec. 30). What Kimco doesn’t seem to get is that the best idea, which no one has put forth, is to build an outlet mall on the order of Arundel Mills. Think about what has already failed. Consider what has been built around the corner at Metro Centre and Foundry Row. The only thing missing from this part of town is an outlet mall. Considering the demographics, I and many others believe that it would be a huge asset to the area and well received. The closest outlet malls are a half-hour away. The second most popular form of shopping after online is the outlet stores.

Time for Civil Debate

I opposed the U.N. resolution because I thought it would accomplish nothing and even be counterproductive (“So Much for Friendship,” Jan 6). I feel the same way as I write this. But sometimes, the right thing to do is for a friend to tell another friend that he or she is on the wrong path. Millions of Jews, both American and Israeli, love Israel but also realize that it cannot be both Jewish and democratic in the long run without some kind of a two-state solution.

President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry share that assessment, and those who have been closest to the latest peace talks have assigned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at least a share of responsibility for their failure. To let Netanyahu continue settlement expansion could be viewed as enabling, as when a relative has a drug problem.

To disagree with a country’s public policy is not necessarily to betray that country. In fact, it might be quite the opposite. So in the best Jewish tradition, let’s cut down on the name calling and vitriol and have a civil debate.

Dems Abandon Israel

Since the U.S. abstention on a U.N. vote on settlements, 76 Democrats have voted against affirming the U.S. commitment to Israel (“So Much for Friendship,” Jan 6). In the past, this resolution vote would have been close to unanimous, since there was no downside to voting in favor of “having Israel’s back.” It should have passed the same way with President Barack Obama leaving in days, and especially since it is a resolution with no real policy commitment.

The decision to vote against it had to be a conscious one.  The only conclusion is that the Democratic Party has abandoned Israel and doesn’t want the “Jewish vote.” Let us not forget the 2012 DNC pro-Israel platform being loudly booed from the floor. Jews have had the highest voting rate for the Democrats than any other religious group in the last five presidential elections with only one exception, in 2012, and then we were third highest. We need to wake up.

Most importantly, it doesn’t matter what you call the West Bank of the Jordan River, it was given to the Jewish people by, believe it or not, the precursor to the U.N., the League of Nations. In 1922, the Mandate of Palestine, approved by all 51 nations of the League of Nations, gave the Jewish people the land between the West Bank of the Jordan River and the Mediterranean. In the same document, the Arab population was given the countries of Lebanon, Trans-Jordan (now Jordan), Syria, and Iraq. In 1945, the Mandate was accepted as international law by the newly minted United Nations. It has never been repealed.

After the 1948 war on Israel, Jordan had control of East Jerusalem to the Jordan River.  Afterward, there was an armistice agreement (truce).  In 1967, in a defensive war, Israel gained control of this territory again. It then became “the West Bank” by politicians and journalists unaware or unwilling to say that it was Israel proper by international law.

What is amazing is that the very body that declared the West Bank of the Jordan River Jewish is now condemning Israel for building on it.

Can’t Count on Dems

President Barack Obama took a step away from Israel by abstaining from a U.N. vote on settlements and allowing his secretary of state, John Kerry, to chide Israel (“So Much for Friendship,” Jan 6). The U.S. abstained from using its veto power allowing the resolution to declare Israel as an occupier of “Palestinian” land. That means that Hebrew University, the Kotel and the Jewish Quarter are a few of the Jewish historical locations — labeled as occupying territory and no longer part of Israel proper — that are now declared occupiers of “Palestine.”

This is the first time that the U.S. under Obama and the Democratic Party has refused to veto an unjust resolution proposed by the U.N. By abstaining from voting in support of Israel, our country has given up its moral values against hatred and as being a defender of freedom. Obama’s lame-duck war against Israel and the rise of anti-Jewish forces in the Democratic Party led by Rep. Keith Ellison (also known as Hakim Muhammad, who was sworn into Congress on a Quran) make it practically impossible to continue to claim that the Democratic Party is a home for pro-Israel forces in America. Obama’s onslaught has made clear that the Democratic Party no longer supports Israel. His Islamic bent has led this country to follow the path of European anti-Semitic countries that consistently demonstrate their Jew hatred.

The loyalty of the Jewish community continues to support the Democratic Party, which is no longer loyal to our values. Being registered as a Democrat is supporting anti-Semitism. Jewish loyalty to the Democratic Party is taken for granted and dismissed. The Muslims and the left have taken over the reins of the Democratic Party. Know that as a registered Democrat you’re hurting Israel, the Jewish people and yourself.

We Always Remember

I join millions of Americans, Jewish and non-Jewish, who are angered and upset about President Barack Obama’s parting gift to the Middle East — a confusing foreign policy that will haunt the world for years to come (“Obama Abstains on Israel,” Dec. 30).

But make no mistake, this decision is not his alone. He has Jimmy Carter, Joe Biden, John Kerry and U.N. ambassador Samantha Powers standing with him in supporting the division of Israel including the return of the Western Wall in Jerusalem to the same Arabs that forbade Jewish observance prior to Israel’s victory in the Six-Day War. Hillary Clinton is nowhere to be found. This is not just one man, but these are the actions of the modern Democratic Party.

I know that Sens. Ben Cardin and Chuck Schumer have spoken out against the U.N. vote, but they are mild in their speech. They find the vote “disappointing” as if the vote happened on its own. It did not. It is the modern Democratic Party not standing with the Middle East’s only democracy. The Democrats work on the assumption that people have short memories. They will forget about the Iranian nuclear deal, and now they will forget about this horrible abstention.

Remember, the next day (Chanukah) the Jews around the world commemorated a war won 2,184 years ago for the same piece of earth that Obama et al want to give away today. We say, “Never again,” because we always remember.

Take Nothing for Granted

I am sure the majority in the Jewish community are not single-issue voters, but they certainly make it easy for the Democrats to “count” on us. This past election was the most vulgar and unprecedented in my 70-plus years. It’s hard to believe the outcome. And I hope the two-term Democratic president’s failure to support Israel in the U.N. arena is also a wake-up call to our community (“Obama Abstains on Israel,” Dec. 30). Nothing is to be taken for granted. Nothing.

I hope Jewish political giving, engagement and voting will break the disproportionate free pass and historical hold given to the Democrats. While Senate Democrats are usually aligned to our major issues, the Democratic Party needs to be punished for Obama’s betrayal of a central issue we all share. How you choose to make sure this is felt and remembered is your choice. Just do it!

Shame on ‘Our Friend’

In response to the JT’s Dec. 30 article “BJC ‘Profoundly Disappointed’ by UN Resolution”:

A pox on the House of Obama and Kerry

Who stuck it to Israel, then sat and made merry.

A censure vote in the U.N., Obama abstains.

Blame it on the Jews, Kerry explains

And no loud condemnation or outrage from “our friend” Ben and the junior Sarbanes.

American. Jewish. Still a Democrat?

Shame!

Paint Maryland red, switch your registration to the Republican Party!

Encourage Patronage

Regarding the JT’s Dec. 30 cover story “An Uncertain Future” about the demise of Owings Mills Mall: It was written that “some point to the death of Christina Brown as the beginning of the mall’s decline,” Brown, a cleaning company employee, “was shot and killed while walking on a path from the mall to the Metro Station.” However, there was a shooting just outside the White Marsh Mall last February in a much more well-lighted area and with more people around, not to mention the murders at the Zumiez store two years ago in the Columbia Mall.

Yet, there was no talk of those malls’ “downfalls.” Why the difference? I believe it was the media’s fault for making much more of a story of it. All I know is, I certainly hate having to schlep all the way to White Marsh or Columbia to pick up a J.C. Penney order, and I disagree with Rayna Verstandig’s assertion that this area won’t support a store like that. If both she and the media would vocally predict it to do well and encourage patronage, it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Changing Lives

On behalf of everyone at Jewish Community Services, we would like to thank Hannah Monicken and the Baltimore Jewish Times for your cover story, “100 Years, 100 (Thousand) Stories: Jewish Big Brother Big Sister Program celebrates its centennial” (Dec. 16). As was noted in the article, this program, which has been changing the lives of young people for more than a century, is still going strong today. A great deal of care goes into making every single match, which explains why so many of these relationships last a lifetime.

The need for mentors in all communities is stronger than ever. January, being National Mentoring Month, brings the perfect opportunity for committed adults to volunteer to become a big brother or big sister. While the time commitment is limited, the rewards are limitless for both Bigs and Littles. Visit jcsbaltimore.org or call 410-466-9200 to learn more.

As we look back at the past 100 years, we are proud to honor and fulfill the vision of those early leaders of Jewish Big Brother Big Sister who recognized that children and vulnerable adults need to know that they are not forgotten, that with the attention of a caring Big Brother or Big Sister volunteer, boys and girls can reach their full potential and grow up to be successful members of the community.

May we continue to go from strength to strength for the next 100 years!