Democrats Painfully Quiet in Primary

I respectfully disagree with Doug Gansler when he stated that the reason he lost the gubernatorial primary election was due to the Democratic establishment and machine (“Gansler Looks Ahead,” Nov. 21). I voted for Gansler in the primary, but, unfortunately, the voter turnout for that election, I believe, was less than 20 percent. The voice of the people certainly is louder than any establishment machine. I think the registered Democrats who voted for Hogan in November were correct to want change, but where was their voice in June? Shame on them for staying home and not voting for change at that time.

Look to Torah for God’s Forgiveness

I was shocked and saddened about the scandal related to Rabbi Barry Freundel (“Prominent Rabbi Arrested,” Oct. 17; “Freundel Had Planned More Student Tours,” Oct. 31). As a former Washingtonian and author of “The Jewish Community of Washington, D.C.,” I had visited Freundel’s synagogue, Kesher Israel, on a number of occasions. My great-grandfather, Morris Garfinkle, was involved with Kesher Israel and in the dedication of the current building back to the year 1931.

To the leadership and membership of Kesher Israel, I want to support you. In this day and age where many wrongdoings by leaders in the Jewish community are covered up, you had the temerity and moral courage to do what was necessary.

To those who were affected by the mikvah scandal and may be turned off by Judaism, do not let the actions of one person, or even a few, turn you away from all that is right and beautiful about our religion. For every leader who is tarnished by unacceptable behavior, there are many who strive for and achieve moral excellence.

I will not pass judgment on Rabbi Freundel since he is entitled to his day in court and is presumed innocent until proven guilty by a jury of his peers. As flawed as one might prove to be, our Torah gives us examples of how we can approach God for forgiveness. Next month, we will read the Torah portion of Vayeshev, where Judah admits openly that he was wrong in his actions related to Tamar (Genesis 38:1-28). In Samuel II, when the Prophet Nathan rebukes King David for his sin related to Batsheva and Uriah, David openly admits it and is remorseful. Our religion teaches us that we all fall prey to sin, but we strive to atone for what we have done and emerge as better people.

Shame on Hogan’s Dishonest Campaign

The election of Larry Hogan as governor is a good example of what is wrong with American politics (“Hogan Dominates, Nov. 7). His campaign repeatedly criticized the O’Malley-Brown administration for its tax increases. Let’s look at the facts. In 2008-2009, the nation went through a recession in which millions of people lost their jobs and tax revenues plummeted. The federal government racked up trillion-dollar deficits, and 48 states were forced to raise taxes and reduce services.

In Maryland, Gov. Martin O’Malley, in consultation with Republicans and Democrats in the state legislature, raised taxes, reduced services and balanced the state budget. In his dishonest campaign, Hogan repeatedly claimed that the O’Malley administration recklessly raised taxes. Exactly the opposite happened. Hogan owes all Marylanders an apology for his dishonest and despicable campaign.

Make a Difference: Be a Republican

The recent election was historic for Maryland. The citizens of Maryland voted in a Republican for governor and three new Republican county executives; District 6 is completely Republican now; and there were many other Republican winners. There are now 14 Republican senators and 50 Republican delegates. The voters of Maryland made a statement to the Democratic Party that they have had enough of its tax-and-spend policies and are tired of watching businesses and manufacturing leave the state.

Governor-elect Larry Hogan’s message was the economy — to help businesses and to stop the tax increases. This was just what the citizens of Maryland wanted. We elected a businessman not a politician. Now Hogan is traveling around the state thanking Maryland voters for supporting him.

The Sixth District has not had a Republican representative in the past 70 years. Its residents finally woke up and saw that the promises of the Democratic Party have not improved their town.

The Baltimore City Council just had a vote on a new tax proposed by Councilman James B. Kraft. He backed off the idea of charging a fee for plastic bags after the election.

He noted the victory of Hogan, who frequently criticized Democrats for passing too many taxes and fees. The council will now vote to ban the bag instead of a new tax. Even in cash-strapped Baltimore City — where a Republican hasn’t been mayor since the 1960s — a new mayoral task force is studying possible tax cuts. They are now hesitant to create new taxes. This is why we need both Republicans and Democrats in the Maryland Legislature. A one-party rule gives too much control to the ruling party. Two parties slow down the process and encourage the politicians to listen to their constituents.

Now is the time for Democrats who want to make a difference to switch to the Republican Party. It’s a winning team that will make a difference for Baltimore and the state.
Ruth Goetz is a Member, Baltimore County Republican Central Committe

Yes, Dems Have Veto-proof Majority

I noticed a mistake in your Nov. 14 editorial “Working with Goverenor-elect Hogan.” You say “Maryland’s General Assembly remains firmly in Democratic hands, although no longer with a veto-proof majority.”

That isn’t true. The Democrats do in fact have a veto-proof majority. To override a veto in Maryland, you need 60 percent, and both houses of the General Assembly are composed with Democrats well over the 60 percent threshold. Perhaps the JT thought it required two-thirds vote to override such as the U.S. Congress.


‘White Power’ Letter Is Insulting

I expected to see a letter or two about the election, but I never thought I would see what you published (“A Show of White Power?”).

I found Roy Amadeus’ comments unbelievable in 2014, almost 2015, and I also found them to be quite insulting to the almost 900,000 Marylanders who voted for Larry Hogan and Boyd Rutherford.

His arguments are off base. It’s interesting when Democrats lose an election it always has to be about race and not about the quality of the candidate. The election was Brown’s to lose, and he did just that. He was a weak candidate whose only accomplishment was being lieutenant governor for eight years. His one task, the Health Exchange, was a dismal failure, and his whole campaign was a negative attack on Hogan. He was endorsed by the Baltimore Sun and still lost. He had the support of every Democrat in the state and still lost. He brought in the president of the United States and still lost. He even managed to lose Howard County, where his running mate was the county executive.

The Civil War ended 149 years ago. Amadeus is the one who dragged race into this in discussing Rutherford. It’s interesting that O’Malley did nothing wrong eight years ago by putting Brown on his ticket.

Mary Landrieu, who Amadeus quoted, is in Louisiana, has little to do with us in Maryland and likely will become the next Democratic senator to lose in that state’s runoff election next month. Maryland actually remained in the Union during the Civil War. To equate us today with the South of the 1800s is a further insult.

And, to demean the people of the Eastern Shore and Western Maryland by calling them rednecks, as Amadeus did, is very racist.Amadeus and people who feel as he does will have to live with Hogan for at least the next four years, and the General Assembly will need to work with him during that time. It will be interesting to see how that plays out in Annapolis.


Indyk: Longtime Palestinian Supporter

Your Nov. 7 editorial (“The Mighty Dollar at Brookings”) raised legitimate questions about the influence of foreign governments that make significant donations to Washington think tanks, such as the $14.8 million grant by the government of Qatar to the Brookings Institution, of which Martin Indyk is director.

In the case of Indyk, however, there is ample evidence that his views regarding Israel and the Palestinians were set long before the check arrived from Qatar. In March 1997, he publicly compared Israeli construction in Jerusalem with a Palestinian suicide bombing in Tel Aviv that murdered three Israeli women. In November 1999, Indyk equated Hezbollah terrorism and Israeli self-defense, telling an interviewer that “civilians in southern Lebanon and northern Israel have both been victims of the escalating violence.” In February 2007, he testified before Congress that Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas “has met all of the requirements, including … ending the incitement [against] Israel in the Palestinian media” — a claim that was as absurd then as it is now. In a New York Times op-ed in August 2010, Indyk proposed that Israel should “withdraw from at least 95 percent of the West Bank and accept a Palestinian capital in Arab East Jerusalem.”

These are just a few examples from two decades of statements and actions by Martin Indyk that demonstrate his support for the Palestinian cause long predated his acceptance of nearly $15 million from Qatar.

Moshe Phillips, Benyamin Korn Members of the Board, Religious Zionists of America
New York City

JT Misses Mark on This On

The JT’s reporting on the Obama administration’s position on Israel is disappointing (What’s Next? Nov. 14). Vice President Joe Biden’s statements of support lack any substance when both the State Department’s spokeswoman and the president’s deputy national security advisor make statements that Israel failed in the Gaza operation to minimize civilian casualties. Yet, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey recently noted that U.S. armed forces visited Israel to learn how [the IDF] minimizes civilian casualties.

When asked about this, the spokeswoman stood by her earlier remarks. This is an example of why, despite speeches from people such as Biden pledging U.S. support, the Obama administration is not a friend of Israel. And the JT should be presenting a more measured and accurate picture of this administration’s position on Israel.

ZOA’s Klein Should Apologize

Zionist Organization of America national president Morton Klein defamed me (“Your Say,” May 21) by calling me a liar — and thereby impugning my integrity — claiming that mycharacterization of the ZOA (“Your Say,” April 24) as inimical to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem was false.

Proof of my truth telling (and Klein’s duplicity) may be found in the Oct. 29 “Your Say” letter of Marc Caroff, who, speaking in the name of the ZOA of which he is its Washington Chapter president, asseverates Israel’s “lawful claims to sovereignty within defensible borders, from the Jordan Valley to the Mediterranean Sea.” He further pontificates that “the ‘two-state solution’ is clearly no solution at all.” In a similar Sept. 26 “Your Say” letter, Caroff had denounced the “two-state chimera” and, affirming a Greater Israel agenda, insisted that “the incorporation of Judea and Samaria into Israel is a viable, just and realistic option.”

According to Rashi, “God’s seal is truth.” As a God-fearing Jew, Klein (and the ZOA) owes me — and the readers of the Jewish Times — an apology. The State of Israel deserves better.

Mikvah Trust Is of Utmost Importance

Before anything gets taken out of context, we need still be cognizant of the fact that Rabbi Barry Freundel’s actions are still undergoing the legal due process, and in America, innocence is assumed before the final verdict is rendered.

That said, it is important to note what and where the crisis is not. It is not a crisis in the level of acceptability of conversions that Rabbi Freundel oversaw. According to everyone, the status of those real and sincere converts remain inviolate and absolutely kosher. Where the crisis does exists is in the crisis of trust and faith in the process and ritual supervised by male rabbis, and, not least, the violation of the most private intimate and spiritual moments undergone by the female candidates.

One cannot begin to fathom the compounded vulnerability of the individual at that critical time in the mikvah, the depth of emotions, both ecstatic and complex, as she prepares herself to engage in this most invigorating of Jewish ritual. Numerous
reasons draw Jewish women to this area of Jewish law, and, whatever they may be, there is a need to protect them with the privacy they need, the sensitivity they desire and the feelings that have drawn them to respond in a most positive way to the mikvah ritual.

One sad and sickening action does not destroy the entire applecart, as it shouldn’t. But there might have to be a real need to place the entire mikvah process more in the hands of expert female decisors who themselves could oversee the procedures necessarily inherent in the entire gamut of mikvah-related needs as well as be present in the final act of ritual immersion. There really should never be a need for a male rabbi to be present in or near the mikvah any time women are utilizing the building.

It is in this regard that steps will have to be taken to restore the faith
and trust in this most personal of Jewish ritual so that it truly retains its high point of Jewish spirituality for the female members of the community.