Forum Replies Created
Callahback wrote that pink ties are out. Is that case if I wear one of my pink ties with one of my pink shirts?
Joseph, the Young Israel of Southfield is hardly an Agudah. The Mogen Avraham schul is now a branch of Agudah. My uncle davened there for many years when there was barely a minyan. I spent many a shabbos and yom tov in that schul. His son, my cousin still davens there.
“modern orthodox gedolim”
its very difficult to comment on this phrase without saying something that might anger you.
let me just suggest, though, that i have the feeling, that it is just possible, that perhaps you may have a somewhat limited understanding of what a Godol in Klal Yisroel means.
The same might be said of those who denigrate and refuse to recognize the greatness of rabbanim like R. Herschel Schachter, R. Mordechai Willig, R. Michael Rosenzweig, R. Aaron Lichtenstein, or of past giants like R. Joseph Soloveitchik, R. Shlomo Goren, R. Isaac Herzog, R Bernard Revel etc. The same might be said of those who say things like “R. Dovid Lifschitz could have been a gadol but he taught at YU.” People say such things about him, about the Lomze Rav. People say things to the extent that R. Yerucham Gorelick was a gadol despite teaching at YU. Perhaps it is they who have a “somewhat limited understanding of what a Godol in klal Yisroel means.”
Southfield. My family was one of the founders of the Young Israel of Southfield.
PETA lost all moral authority when they sent a letter to Yaaser Arafat protesting the use of donkeys in terrorist attacks against Israel. PETA didn’t care about the PLO’s killing of innocent Israeli’s. They were only concerned that the donkeys not be harmed.
was thinking about NCSY too. But. My frame of reference re NCSY is well over 20 years old. NCSY was geared to focused, secular or more assimilated kids, from public schools and yes, Jewish schools, maybe Solomon Schechter types.
I grew up in Suburban Detroit. NCSY was basically a social outlet for kids who attended the local co-ed day school. There were some non-religious kids who came to the events, and one chapter was located in a Chabad schul so there was an aspect of kiruv rechokim, but it was msot definitely a secondary emphasis, as far as I recall.
You might be right to an extent, but again, the end does not justify the means. We may not do things against the torah in order to achieve a good outcome. I would consult a Rav if such issues (hopefully not) do come up.
Posted 11 hours ago #
I agree with intellegent we cannot go about doing something wrong to achieve something good, especially making children think that doing what they are doing is ok, which it is not.
First off, I don’t think i need to consult a rabbi on something so basic as my chidren’s safety. Second, the precendent is set; it’s called NCSY which is endorsed by rabbis whom I am machshiv.
Again this is a safety issue. More than wanting them frum, I want my kids alive and safe. If I have to tolerate coed socializing to accomplish that, I’ll hold my nose and tolerate it. At the same I’ll make sure to teach my kids appropriate conduct around members of the other gender. I’ll make sure they are supervised, that the lights stay on at all times, that no one wanders off to a secluded area alone. Conversly if it’s the coed situations that presnt risks to my kid’s safety, they won’t go their either. It’s a far more dangerous world than it was 20 or 30 years ago. Parents can no longer assume that a gathering safe simply because it seemingly comports with Halachik strictures. I want my kids safe, healthy, happy and well adjusted and I’m certain G-d will forgive any slight tresspasses I comit along the way to achieving that goal.
Joseph as far as I recall, lo shinu et malbusham referred to tzitzit and shatnez; nothing else.
Mariner, you’r right, I didn’t address the Novarodek practice (which was renmarkably similar to the Kotzker approach to clothing, vestigially observed by the Karlin-Stolin chassidim)since it’s no longer in practice in contemporary yeshivot. Theses days, there are two extremes in yeshivish dress; boys who look like they just came out a dry cleaner, and boys who look like unmade beds.
Let’s look at history shall we? Has anyone paid attention to the famous picture of the Alter of Slabodka, the one in which we wears a silk top hat and holds a silver tipped walking stick. His rainment in that picture was the epitome of upper bourgois dress in his times. He dressed like a banker or statesmen. The Alter wanted his students to adopt the trappings of the polite society of his day (malbusho shel adam kvodo hi). He expected his boys to eat with proper ettiquete (i.e. with a napkin in one’s lap, knowing which utensil to use and when, to fold the napkin when leaving the table etc) and to dress accordingly. That explains why he abandoned the traditional broad brimmed hat of Polish rabbis in favor of the “hoch tzilinder,” and why his students were seen in black and grey stripped pants, black jackets and bowler hats; the way a proper young man dressed in those days. As clothing styles changed, yeshiva bochurim followed suit. Look at the pictures of the students at the Mir in the 1930’s. They were all stylishly dressed (and I point out the hats mostly not black). It wasn’t until the 1960’s, when JFK killed the hat industry by not wearing one to his innauguration, that there arose a “yeshivish” style of dress, which was basically a rarification of the style of dress in the last non-Jewish generation to regularly wear hats. In short yeshiva bochurim dressed like IBM salesmen (IBM having had the most conservative dress code in the corporate world). But while IBM moved on in their sartorial development, the yeshiva bochurim stayed put, giving tangential expression to the newly popular separatist ultra-Orthodoxy that began post WWII. Not only were theu different than the rest of the world, they now dressed differently also. Now what was your question?
I’m someone who is generally on the recieving end of the vitriol here. I take it in stride. When people here deride my religiosity or impugn my piety and belief in response to my POV, it tells me that I’ve seriously challenged their way of thinking and made them momentarily uncomfortable with their entrenched biases. In short, it tells me that I’ve made my point and made it well.
I like Hatikvah better. It’s more Jewish.
muchcommonsense, it is entirely normal for teenagers to be interested in the opposite sex. Halacha challenges us tro channel that interest into appropriate venues for expressing that interest, but asking a teenager, or any normal person for that matter, to explain/justify their interest in boys/girls is like asking someone to explain why they are interested in food.
Thank G-d, for now I’m not “in the parsha” of parenting teenagers. My oldest is only seven. But it seems to me that I’d rather know where my my kids are and that they be where I know they are safe and away from highly at risk behaviors (i.e. drugs, drinking, unprotected sexual activity etc.) and with whom they are asssociating. If that means I have to tolerate boys and girls (with equally concerned parents) spending time together in order to vouchsafe that my kids are socializing with other wholesome “safe” people their age, so be it. What’s worse/more dangerous, platonic co-ed activities, or a group ot frustrated shiftless boys on the prowl? I’d gladly risk my son kissing a girl at a supervised co-ed gathering over risk his getting in a car with a drunk boy driving it.
Still all the fluff and not the real point. Why do they feel a need to “hang out” to begin with? They have nothing else to do with their lives but hang out?
Posted 20 minutes ago #
Two answers: First becuase they are teenagers. Second, adults also like to “hang out”
cantoresq, and nebech look at what became of you! (Thats a joke.)
The seperation of genders works very well in the Charedi world (despite the relatively infrequent incidents.) We have far less of the problems cantoresq mentions in his high school years (and he came from a co-ed pre-high school background.)
And Chareidi marriages, coming from no mixed gender settings, work out proportionately FAR better than the secular world or even the non-secular “modern” world.
Will, take it from a oisvarf 🙂 like me, you’re wrong. It’s simply that much of the mischief is still below the societal radar. In my profession, I’ve come to learn of a alot of it. Homo-erotic sex play, frequenting strip clubs, use of prostitutes, even fooling around with the heimishe “maidel next door” all abide in chareidi circles. And it’s becoming more and more frequent. Ignoring it only increases the frequency of it. This isn’t about a numbers game. Does it really make a difference if “only” 15% of chareidim have pre-marital sex as compared to 35% of non-Chareidi Orthoodx as compaed to 90% of non-Jews? (I made up all the numbers) the fact is that there is a problem festering in our midst, and it seems nothing is being done, except to try to hide it and deny its existence. As to chareidi marriages, I defy you deny that the divorce rate in chareidi communities is increasing every year and keep a straight face.
I had much the same upbringing as SJSinNYC, excpet that I went to modern schools. The boys and girls in my neighborhod socialized together in our homes. Whether it was a Friday night oneg with some learning and then socializing, or Shabbat afternoons doing playing board games and being around togehter, we socialized in our homes under parental supervision. Nothign inapppropriate ever happened. We all grew up and, for the most part, married and have stable families. It wasn’t until high school, when I went to a yeshiva that the sneaking around started. Friends in my class had to be very careful not to be seen in public with their girlfriends, lest they be expelled from school. The solution was to frequent “treif” establishments where no one knew us, and no one cared what we did. A group of kids getting together on a Friday night to learn or hear a talk about Jewish life in Communist Romania (my uncle gave it many times) or meet in the local pizza parlor, devolved into sneaking out to a far off pool hall or night club with some of learning “their” ways. Being cool was no longer being affable and liked in a very benign kosher setting. Rather being cool became knowing how to inhale a cigarette without coughing, being able to hold one’s liquor, and the ultimate prize; doing things with the girls we would have never done in our parent’s living rooms. The net result of all the sneaking around was one teen pregnancy (and this was the 1980’s when such things didn’t happen in white middle class America, at least not in out midwestern suburbs, let alone in the Jewish community) and alot of confused kids. Mayim genuvim yimtaku is an absolute truism; especially as applied to teens. It has to be as much a part of our approach to tzniyut as everything else.
Can’t be done. It can lead to mixed dancing.
Mowing the lawn yourself assumes you have the time and ability (it is one of the things I can and enjoy doing myself, B”H). It also takes investment in the proper tools, which many people can not afford.
If one can’t afford or is unwilling to maintain his home and yard up to community standards, he should not own the home.
Zalman a few questions: 1) Where can I get a ggod shtickle chazer? 2) when you eat chazer, do you “mutche die marech fin die beinen?
This topic was SUPPOSED to be about cleanliness but I think the way this Topic was worded by FrumCouple calls for a discussion of a much deeper and more important topic.
Only if you want to avoid this important topic.
Now what have you BERLIN? (Some “YESHIVA UNIVERSITY source” that argues on the above Gemora, Shulcahn Orach, Rambam, etc? Please share the laugh with the rest of us who are not members of your FLAT-EARTH SOCIETY.)
Zalman when was the lest time you learned in RIETS, the Mazur Yeshiva program or any of the other learning tracks which comprise Torah learning at Yeshiva College? Allow me to make you aware of certain realities which may temper your smug condescending attitude toward Yeshiva University and those who learn(ed) there. You are no doubt aware that the school is populated by many young men who chose to forego sttending the finest universities in this country (i.e. Harvard, Yale, University of Pennsylvania etc. personally I gave up the chance to go to the University of Michigan, a fine school) in order to spend their undergraduate years in a Torah atmosphere, learning Torah on a daily basis. When I was a student there (and I know it to be the same today), my day began with Shacharit at 7;30, followed by a quick breakfast. I was in the Beit Midrash at 9:00 and learend morning seder until 12:30. Shiur was every day from 1:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. At 3:00 began the first college course, which for those of us in the Yeshiva program usually was a Bible class (yes indeed those apikorsim/amei ha’Aretz spend an hour a day actually studying the Chumash or other sifrei Tanach in depth far beyond anything done in any chareidi yeshiva). Classes generally ended at 7:00 p.m. and most of us had a night seder for between one to three hours a night. I and my colleagues and the students there now started our homework at 10:00. Rarely did I get to bed before midnight or 1:00 a.m. Might I remind you that many of those students who learn for between six and eight or nine hours a day also carry a full college courseload. Some of them are pre-med, pre-law, in the business school etc. Interestingly it is generally a boy in the highest shiur who is also the valedictorian or salutorian of his class. They are moser nefesh for limud haTorah in ways you and your ilk can never fathom. And they do so with the simchas hachayim that only limud Torah can bring to one’s soul. I daresay that even the outstanding bochurim in the chareidi yeshivot could not pull off that lifestyle with anything near the grace and elegance and actual accomplishment of his YU counterpart; if they could manage it at all. I defy you and your snide cohorts to ever do what I and they have done and continue to do. It’s easy to sneer and insult; especially when you no nothing about what it is you deride.
People, this topic is not about anti-Semitism. It’s about adhereing to commuinal standards of conduct. There is nothing in the torah that forbids us from keepiing our homes and yards clean. There is an issue chamur is propogating a chilul Hashem in any arena however. Hamayvin yavin. Vehaeino mavin, lo yihyeh lo chelek v’nachala b’soich ha suburbia asher Hashem nosein lachem.
Does her father wear slip on shoes or lace shoes?
Do they use only a white table cloth for shabbos and yom tov?
How much money does her father earn?
what dress size does she wear?
Perhaps people have better things to spend their money on, like tuition? I think even you agree that paying tuition is better than paying some illegal to mow your lawn.
Here’s a great idea. MOW YOUR LAWN YOURSELF!!! No one is entitled to a gardner and inability to afford one does not pater you from tending to your home and yard. Sheesh!!!
Thanks Nameless. I already don’t liter, not in my yard or anywhere else. I don’t allow my children to either, and I hold them responsible for their guests. Guess what? Over the summer I frequently heard my five year old daughter tell her friend to pick up her candy wrappers and not throw it on the ground. I hate to say it, but drive around Rockland County and compare the state of yards in areas of smaller frum concentration with those of great frum presence.
Regarding Wise, I never read anything substantial about him, so my information is tangential. I think he was a product of his times and his enviornment. Wise, a Reform rabbi, functioned in a highly structured world, a very firm class system. Jewish philanthropy and activism in those days in his community was very much “trickle down.” A group of powerful magnates formed a committe, poured money into it and the rest of the world was supposed to gratefully accept the beneficence. It was this attitude and the resentment other Jews felt for the German “Yahudim” and other Jews’ desire to be part of the leadership that led the demise of the greatest attempt to unify the entire New York Jewish community under one broad umbrella in what has come to be known as the “Kehilla Project” spearheaded by Judah Mages, the then rabbi of Temple Emmanu El, and later first Presidence of the Hebrew University.
Stephen wise lived in that enviorment. The model I described above worked during WWI and Jewish leadership saw no reason to depart from what they thought they kinew to be a succesful model. That model, based on the old European system of the “Hoff Jude” or court Jew/Stadlan meant a centralized body speaking (often behind the scenes and very obsquiously) on behalf of the Jewish commnuity. That body was supposed to be the only representative of Jewry in the portals of power. Additionall euqally important to helping Jews was the absolute necesity of not provoking anti-Semitism anywhere. Additionally these people did try to curry personal favor with the people they lobbied. This was not merely about ego or personal gain however. These Jews (Sulzberger, Wise, Rosenmann etc.) genuninely believed they were the sole stewards of Jewish survival. If people liked them personally, Jews stood to benefit. What Wise and company failed to understand was: a) the greater Jewish community would no longer accept such a system b) circumstances were radically different than thirty or forty years before. It was this failure to adapt that led to internecine squabbling to the detriment of Klal Yisrael. On balance, I think these people meant well. Tragically they were so entrenched in a rarified system of Jewish leadership, they failed to see the forest for the trees.
I think the title was perfect. It grabbed our attention, and the OP raises a very valid point; many Orthodox Jews seem not to care about the local community values when it comes to maintaining our yards. And while indeed there is a big difference between correlation and causation, when this feature of Orthodox Jewish life appears to be widespread, one begins to wonder if it reflects a cultural more`.
Hope springs eternal. From the ashes the Phoenix rises!!!
Joseph, both you and teenager might be correct. Prejudice and discrimination need not be overt, and indeed its mroe subtle form is often as hurtful as its blatant counterpart. The same people who lavish crocodile praise upon Baalei teshuva may at the same discriminate against them. Then again those roshei yeshiva who instruct their talmidim that they cannot learn mesorah from ba’alei teshuva just might be the same people who stand in their presence and are the most welcoming of ba’alei teshuva into our midst. You just never know.
Joseph, we have thus argued these issues to a stale mate.
cantoresq, to claim that Hungarian Jewry was well aware of the death camps (and went on the trains like sheep to the slaughter) is patently absurd.
Why, because it doesn’t “fit” with the way you want to history to read? I assume you are very willing to accept that the Allied government knew about the Holocuase as early as 1942. Most chareidim believe that Stephen Wise tried to supress that information, but it was known, it was reported about in the Times and other papers. Why do you assume that Hungarian Jews were in the dark? Besides, I have an eyewitness (my father z”l) who told me that the annihilation of European Jewry was well known in Hungary.
cantoresq, War was raging throughout the continent. Jews are always the first scapregoats. Atrocities were clearly being committed against the Jews. But Hungarian Jewry had an inkling about ANNIHILATION and CREMATORIAS?
Why was the Vrba report so shocking?
I’ve let you mis-charachterize my words for too long. I only referred to the Vrba report as being incredible in the hypothetical sense, as a possible reason for supressing it until its contents could be further verified. Please do not confabulate that comment into more than it is. As to your question, yes I believe the Jews of Hungary knew, should have known, could ahve known, about the annihilation of their brethern. The Nurenberg laws were well known. Dachau and other camps in Germany were no secret. Jews from Poland and Galicia poured into Hungary with stories of gehttos and deportation. In Hungary itself, anti-Jewish laws, like the Numerous Clausus and subsequent Numerous Nulus, the expulsion of Jews from the professions, the ascendancy of the Nyilas Party, the ban on shechitah and the forced enlistment of Jews into the munkaszalgolat brigades all very clearly demonstrated that Hungarian Jewry was in for singular and devastating persecution, all prior to the German invasion.
There is a section of the speech in which R. Mordechai of Bilgoraj rhetorically addresses a claim that people might bring about having been advised by rabbanim not to flee the churban in Europe. The only way such a passage would have made sense to the audience is if they knew what was happening to other Jews in europe.
to cantoresq and ,parenthetically to joseph,
The Holocaust raised gigantic theological questions. I just don’t want to start another long drawn-out debate on this here…the only thing that can explain that catastrophe is “hester ponim” to the N’th degree.
I’m also not itnerested in discussing theodicy as related to the Holocaust. The theological issue to which I referred has to do with R. Elchanan Wasserman’s reported last words, that he would be a korban through which klal Yisrael would be redeemed. I have difficulty with that concept. Around 2000 years ago another Jew said much the same thing before he was executed. We’ve had nothing but trouble ever since.
cantoresq, I don’t know what you believe regarding the matter or not, but the canard that the “European Rabbis” somehow prevented European Jewry from escaping is one of the major so-called “defenses” of the zionists for their WWII activities.
Until the discussion about the Bilgoray Rav’s spech in Budapest, I concerned myself only with r. Elchanan Wasserman’s position on the issue. I concnetrated on that becuase there is a documented letter from him stating that it is better to die a physical death in Europe rather than immigrate to America and die a spiritual death. This BTW fits in well with his reported last words before being executed, where he exhorted people to repent so they could be more perfect korbanot and save klal Yisrael that way (which raises a whole host of theological issues). As to other rabbis giving similar advice, it may have happened. I don’t recall seing anything along those lines published however.
Joseph I’ll defer to your better knowledge on this one. As a relative outsider to the day to day goings on in the chareidi world, there is no way for me to know better than you.
If you speak to Rebbes today and ask them the question as to how was this possible (that gedolim could not see the truth), they will tell you that Hakodesh Boruch Hu took away the capacity of Gedolim to know and see the truth. It was a “hester ponim” for which we have no answer.
The hester panim explanation resolves nothing. Why should an average yid seek the advice of a gadol on any issues if there is the possibility that G-d is “mastir panav,” and therefore the gadol has a distorted view of the world? More poignantly, since G-d knows that Jews will seek the guidance of gedolim, perhaps He skews their understanding and not that of more pedestrian people so as to achieve His goals? Might that be p’shat in the ma’amar Chazal that bizman hazeh prophecy is the purview of lunatics and children? They see clearly when G-d blurs the sight of the gedolim?
Joseph, how easy is it for a ba’al teshuva to be m’shadeich with a well known respected yeshivish family? Why do shadchanim ask a single person is s/he is a ba’al teshuva? How easy is it for a ba’al teshuva to get his child into a well established “premier” cheder or yeshiva k’tana? I wonder if the praise of which you speak is actually reflective of true attitudes.
My point isn’t the one instructions to one student. Any number of factors could have been involved. Perhaps he foresaw that this particular student if he went to secular America would lose his religion, and better for him to risk losing his life than risk losing his soul.
You made the clear insinuation that many Rabbis prevented many people who had the ability, means and authorization (i.e. exit and entry visas) to leave Europe from doing so.
As I recall it the student did in fact come to america and remained a very Orthodox Jew. So much for your notion of forethought. I made no such insinuation, and defy you establish such.
Jospeh, what can I tell you, I read alot. I recall seeing that definition of the term in some publication. I’d be happy ot hear I’m wrong in this instance and that therte is no denigration of ba’alei teshuva in the yeshivish velt.
catoresq: who are you but a little pipsqueak and dust at his feet to condemn, or speak in in condemnatory tones, about R. Elchanan Wasserman ztk”l? You and rabbiofberlin originally posted as if the Rabbonim of Europe prevented masses of people who had the ability of escaping, from escaping. When asked for examples, after hemming and hawing, you could come up with one purported Rav advising one purported talmid in one purported instance. And when asked for a source? “A famous letter.”
Do you think I’m mistaken with this? If you do, say so, and I’ll go through the trouble of finding the source. But I think you know I’m accurate in my description of R. Elchanan Wasserman’s attitude on the subject. Indeed I may be a “pipsqueak.” But that does not make me wrong.
R. Aron Soleveitchik referred to such albums as “tovel v’sheretz b’yado.”
I believe in yeshivish parlance “Harry” is a derogatory term for a ba’al teshuva.
cantoresq – Pardon my curiosity, but I’m wondering how a Hungarian Yid as yourself uses the Sefardic havara, as you refer to “Shabbat” above (rather than Shabbos)?
If rabbiofberlin is still eavesdropping, I also wonder where your minhug of writing “MatisJahu” instead of MatisYahu stems from.
The standard form of transliteration in all English scholarly literature is in Sephardic. That’s why I use it was well. I daven with an Ashkenazic pronounciation, when not in Israel.
cantoresq, I’ve read it. In fact he advised the kehila they would be saved. So it demonstrates no such advanced knowledge. The masses were surely unaware of the pending doom.
Saved from what? People knew what the Germans were up to. As I said before Hungarian Jews hoped they would be spared. But they full well knew of the annihilations that had taken place in Russia and Poland. More than anything Kasztner was accused of doing or not doing, it may have been this speech and (perhaps) other such “reassurances” from rabbanim that molified the Jews of Budapest into inactivity. Certainly the Belzer Rebbe and his brother the Rav of Bilgoray, who had come form Polish Galicia, knew what was happening in Poland. Why did they not arouse the Jews to do something? And before all you start to flame me, this is not my complaint. R. Teichtal in the Eim Habanim Smeicha made the same accuastion.
Joseph, read the speech made by the Belzer Rebbe’s brother. The relevant portions of it are quoted in Moshe Sokol’s book, Personal Autonomy and Rabbinic Authority. From the text of the speech, given in 1944, it is obvious that the annihilation of European Jewry was common knowledge.
Let me be clear, the Jews of Hungary knew full well the fate that awaited them. They hoped that it wouldn’t happen and that the war would end before the Germans could annihilate them. There is no other way to explain the sermon given by the Belzer Rebbes brother before they took the train out of Budapest in 1944. That sermon was publised in two editions of the pamphlet Haderekh and in abridged form, Matzmiach Yeshua.
cantoresq – Your logic would dictate that no one other than Eichmann and Kastner can speak of the events in question, since they were the only two in the negotiating room. And since Eichmann is ruled out, you must insist that we take Kastner at his word – since you deny any other parties ability to impugn what was negotiated between him and Eichmann.
And regarding Hecht vs. Porter vs. White, you are the party who constantly resorts to ad hominems to disqualify anyone expressing facts not to your liking.
Indeed only those who were there for the negotiations knew what actually happened. But there is more to it than just that. The type of conspiracy you and others allege just seems so implausible. How could Eichmann have pulled it off? How could he get it by his superiors in the Reich? How could the Jewish community not have found out what Kasztner was up to, asuming he was doing something so nefarious? My father was in Budapest at various relevant times, and I’ve met others who were there as well. Budapest was a rumor mill of epic proportions. Nothing in the Jewish community was a secret. Everyone knew what was coming. Even in the hinterland, Jews knew that Auschwitz was a train ride away. At my bar mitzvah my father spoke of the last package he recieved from his parents. He was a student in the Rabbinical Seminary in Budapest and his parents were in Kisvarda. They sent him a package from the ghetto shortly before they were deported. That package contained a few pairs of socks, some smoked goose liver (my grandmother’s specialty), and all the family photos and vital documents. My grandfather also wrote my father that he knew the family would probably not survive what awaited them in Poland (my grandmother had diabetes, my uncle suffered from some form of muscualr dystrophy and my grandfather was not a robust man. They knew they would not last long in Poland, and in indeed my grandmother and uncle were killed upon arrival in Auschwitz. At best my grandfather lasted a few weeks), and that my father should do everything in his power to avoid falling under the Russians; the Americans would be safer. They knew; everybody knew. A cousin of mine told me how he traveled to Kisvarda from Munkacs, to save his father from deportation with a forged Swedish passport. His father preferred to be deported with his wife, and could not bring himself to abandon her. They knew, everybody knew. Incidentally, my cousing gave the passport to a friend rather than waste it. The friend survived the war as a result. No one needed Kasztner to tell them anything. Hungarian Jews just hoped that war would end before the deportations began. Sadly they miscalculated.
This will be my final post on this subject. I’ve grown weary of it. I perused Perfidy over Shabbat and I read a good deal of Gil White, as well as an attack on his intellectual credibility by Jared Israel on a related subject. At the end of the day, I really can’t definitively conclude if Kasztner ended up a Quisling or a saint. The scholarly community looks favorably upon him, but as someone, in a different discussion of Kasztner said “he just can’t seem to wash clean.” Ben Hecht certainly succeeded in rendering him a traitor to the Jewish people. But at the same time, I wonder if Hecht would have gone to all the effort had Kasztner been Revisionist zionist ala’ Jabotinsky, and not a Labor zionist? There is no doubt that Shmuel Tamir was a better trial lawyer than Haim Cohn. There is no doubt that Kasztner was a terrible witness. His arrogance and conceit along with the psychological damage done to him during the war, coupled with his poor Hebrew made him his own worst enemy. Indeed he also made himself a number of enemies during the way for his conduct during the war. As I said before when you lay down with dogs you wake up with fleas. Anyone who didn’t make it on to the train had good enough reason to hate Kasztner. Since the allies were determined not to bomb the railways leading to the death camps, Vrba would naturally be frustrated and incensed by the lack of a tangible response to this report. That he blamed Kasztner is not surprising since he entrusted Kasztner with a copy of his report. I long ago conceded that Kasztner may had made errors in judgment which become apparent only with the benefit of hindsight. The next time a tyrant stands to annihilte us, those who endeavor to save Jewish lives might learn from the sad experience of Israel Kasztner. But I simply don’t believe that he began his activities intending to sell out Hungarian Jewry simply to save his family. After all, if that is all Kasztner wanted to do, his father in law and other family members in Cluj could have simple walked to Romania and survivied the war there. No I think Kasznter had the best of intentions. They paved his road to Hell.