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Sandro Rosell
FC Barcelona President
Saturday, October 21, 2017

Should Trump Be Forgiven?

Dear Editor:

Jewish Week asks if President Trump should be forgiven? My answer is that Mr. Trump is not doing or undoing anything that needs forgiveness. Everything Trump does is not subject to judgment by the Almighty. Mr. Trump is not consistent and sometimes he is frivolous. The halacha is that a bad intention of a non-Jew can be considered a punishable sin. Mr. Trump shows no such intention. As the Psalm says: “He Who Sits in Heaven Laughs.” And that is what we see here.


Professor Heskel M. Haddad, MD (Rabbi)

The Fate of a Boro Park Synagogue

Dear Editor:

On Rosh Hashanah Jewish communities around the world will gather to pray about the year ahead. Who will live and who will die, who will die at his predestined time and who before his time; who by water and who by fire . . .

One community, however, will be praying for the very future of its synagogue. Will it live to welcome another year of congregants celebrating and praying in its walls or will it be destroyed, hacked and bulldozed?

The fact that developers want to destroy the oldest synagogue in Borough Park, home to the densest Jewish population outside of Israel makes the wanton destruction of the this historic institution all the more troubling.

Built in 1906 at the corner of 41st Street and 12th Avenue, the grandeur of the yellow stuccoed-style synagogue, with vaulted ceilings painted to look like the sky, remains a testament to how cherished the sacred space was to its congregants. Originally part of congregation Beth El Synagogue, the building was sold to Anshe Lubawitz in 1914.

In 1957, the community entered a new era of growth. Rabbi Yitzchak Ushpal, a dean at the Central Lubavitcher Yeshivah, took over as rabbi of Anshe Lubawitz. A popular and beloved pedagogue, many of his students followed their mentor, moving to Borough Park and becoming members of the synagogue. Over the years the building has been cared for and modernized. An ark to house the Torah scrolls was built by artist and holocaust survivor Yitzchak Oksantsav.

The synagogue was sold for $3.1 million. An independent broker estimated that the synagogue property is worth upwards of $4.5 million. Some 19 members submitted affidavits to the court that the synagogue was sold without the knowledge or consent of the membership.

The developer is supposedly going to build a new synagogue on the first floor and basement, but the congregation will need to payback the developers some $3 million to move into its new home under a high-rise apartment building planned for the lot.

One wonders how destroying a historic building to sell it at $1.5 million below market value without the knowledge or consent of the members will benefit the congregation.

On October 19th, Judge Martin M. Solomon will decide the fate of this historic synagogue.


A Congregant of the Oldest Synagogue in Boro Park

Kneeling During the Nat’l Anthem

Dear Editor:

Let me ask those of you who take a knee when our National Anthem is being played . . . those of you who hate President Trump for being a different kind of President, one who keeps his promises; one who puts this nation first; one who has in a just a few short months, effectively become the leader of the Free World by demonstrating his extraordinary skills at dealing head-on with even the most long-standing, complex, vexing problems and obstinate people, both foreign and domestic.

While other recent Presidents have made much noise about inheriting difficult situations, President Donald Trump assumed the Presidency that immediately followed the most disastrous eight years of Obama, who did his best to destroy all that has made the USA the exceptional nation it is.

If anyone can legitimately claim to have inherited the greatest possible mess, it is President Trump. And, he faces the most unAmerican media, the most demonic Democrat leadership in the Congress and an entire generation of Millenials who are bent on destruction of the status quo for no intelligent reason except, they are so totally clueless that they think Bernie Sanders makes sense.

If the absolute, worst-case should occur, meaning that the moronic masses should overwhelm the Trump Presidency and Administration - -

what part of GONE FOREVER don’t you understand?


Mort Kuff

History of the Second Avenue Subway

Dear Editor:

Common sense shows that people who move into a new home or business prefer a permanent rather than a temporary certificate of occupancy. This also applies to the past Second Avenue Subway opening. Construction of the $4.5 billion Second Avenue Subway, which began in 2007 and was completed at year end in 2016, on time and on budget was never true. Governor Cuomo and others made this claim sound more like revisionist transit historians attempting to rewrite past history. In the 1950's, bond money intended for construction of the Second Avenue subway was spent elsewhere.

Work starting in the late 1960's was suspended in 1975 due to the municipal fiscal crises faced by the late NYC Mayor Abe Beame. This resulted in a funding financial shortfall. A second ground breaking took place in April, 2007. The opening day service date of 2013 within a year was revised to 2014. At a later date, due to cost overruns, it was delayed until 2015. It ended up taking until January 1, 2017 based upon several recovery schedules to the original base line construction contract. While the project reached beneficial use, it has yet to reach substantial completion followed by project close-out.

Nine months later, thousands of punch list items for station finishing along with testing for fire alarm, communications, mechanical and electrical systems and final payment to contractors are still outstanding.

Using safety crews as a substitute for completion of all outstanding testing for fire suppression equipment cost more money. Who pays for this? With increasing numbers of subway track fires, following his logic, shouldn't NYC Transit assign staff to all the other 468 subway stations to perform the same function?


 Larry Penner