2007-08-31 / Letters

Accused Of Indicting A Religion

Dear Editor,

Let me add my voice to the chorus of letter writers responding to Howard Schwach's rambling editorial published in the August 10 edition of the newspaper.

With a "wave" of his editorial pen, Mr. Schwach proceeds to indict religion in general as the root cause of all the maladies of the world and Orthodox Jews in particular for the demise of the Five Towns and Rockaway communities.

Representing a broad religious spectrum of Jews residing in these areas, those responding to Mr. Schwach's allegations did an admirable job in rebutting the baseless charges levied against the Orthodox Jewish community.

More disturbing however, is that the publishers of the Wave found merit in Mr. Schwach's vitriolic piece as to accord it the status of an editorial "fit to print."

Did the Wave even bother to verify or substantiate Mr. Schwach's editorial allegations prior to publication? Mr. Schwach would have us believe that a group of Yeshiva students having prior knowledge that he was to travel in his car on the Sabbath through a predominantly Orthodox neighborhood- gathered rocks and lay in ambush to stone his car as it passed by; or that Mr. Schwach just happened to have been present at the very moment that an altercation allegedly took place between a Five Towns shop owner and Rabbi regarding the Kosher certification of his establishment. Similarly, Mr. Schwach would have us understand that threats and pressure to shut all stores in the Five Towns shopping district on Saturday were brought to bear on proprietors in the area (Jewish law does not require non- Jewish storeowners to refrain from conducting business on Saturday). Indeed, one wonders which hallucinogens Mr. Schwach was indulging in when he penned this fantasy of an editorial.

The position of Managing Editor of a community newspaper, as Mr. Schwach should be aware, is a privilege, carrying with it the responsibility of editorial integrity to the community and its readership. Mr. Schwach unfortunately displays an abysmal lack of the qualities that are necessary for an individual charged with the editorial responsibility of such a newspaper. His focus, rather, should highlight community harmony, kinship, and commonality of the goals, dreams and aspirations of our thriving communities not divisiveness, acrimony and vituperation so often heard in Mr. Schwach's commentaries.

The High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are rapidly approaching. They are days where Jews throughout the world are exhorted to repentance, introspection, and penitence for the past years' transgressions. It would behoove Mr. Schwach to reflect upon his negative and prejudicial attitudes towards his neighbors and consider a path of true and heartfelt repentance as he attends services this year. And no, Mr. Schwach, you need not be concerned about being stoned as you traverse that path.

SAMUEL GROSS

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