Letter to the editor

Freedom of speech?


Dear Friends:

This is an open letter which concludes with a notice of cancellation of Sunday’s event at the Great Neck Synagogue.

The synagogue, and particularly Rabbi Polakoff, merit a debt from American Jewry for an instinctive understanding of the need to awaken us all to a gathering storm. In the end, the pressure from left-wing Jews, deliberate media ignorance, “shtetl” mentality which informs that a problem goes away if you ignore / do not discuss it; and the resulting enormous cost burden for security and the fear engendered in our school kids’ parents - was simply too great a cost for the synagogue to bear. I understand it and none of us have the right to demand a different outcome. We do, however, have that absolute obligation in a larger context.

This is a national Jewish responsibility and our Jewish defense organizations have been woefully derelict. They expertly catalogue the murderous and or violent attacks on Jews in America with complete accuracy. They disclose that anti-Semitism is by far the greatest hatred per capita. Yet they engage in uni-directional dialogue with dubious partners who support or who themselves partner with supporters of those who plot against us – here, abroad and in Israel.

Let us note that experts on Islamic extremism did not speak at the El Al counter in Los Angeles or the JCC in Seattle or any of the hundreds of other U.S. locations where Jews have been attacked or murdered al kiddush Hashem. Pam Geller has never set foot in the Riverdale Jewish Center which Muslim extremists sought to bomb last year, nor any of these other places. The containment of our free speech is a dangerous ruse. That we all pay for security for years at Great Neck Synagogue is not a reaction to “speakers.” It is because there are those who have evil designs on us.

As the extremists are protected by the “tikkun olamers” and the leftists; as our opponents gain more influence in this great country, our situation will become more precarious. Security and related costs will continue to increase with NO speakers. Can you imagine the debates which will now ensue internally anytime there is a proposal for ANY speaker who touches upon sensitive subjects? I assure you that we will self-censor to a greater extent going forward.

Our synagogue did what it HAD TO DO. However, it bodes ill for all of us. OUR community was convulsed, but the Islamists and their enablers won. Rabbi Davidson – he of “no menorahs on my Village Green” – celebrates his victory and his love for the institution where Gazi Khankan preached that “Israel and the CIA” begat 9/11 to shame Islam and where supporters of Hamas speak openly.

We are now cast members in a “hefker velt.”

It is my sincere prayer that Rabbi Polakoff will consider addressing us with some perspective this Shabbos, so that our efforts shall not have been fully in vain. G-d was “on sabbatical” from 1939 to 1945. We just commemorated those years this past week. Today, we have those accursed years to inform us. The clouds gather – around Israel, in Iran, South America, Hungary, even here – wherever we Jews are available as “canaries in the coal mine.” Are we listening?

My brothers and sisters: if you want to know the future for your Jewish children in this great nation….

Just ask the Jews of Paris.

Good Shabbos. I love each and every one of you as my brothers and sisters – yes – even those of you who did not favor this activity.

“As the notoriety and media exposure of the planned program this Sunday have increased, so has the legal liability and potential security exposure of our institution and its member families. In an era of heightened security concerns it is irresponsible to jeopardize the safety of those who call Great Neck Synagogue home, especially our children, even at the risk of diverting attention from a potentially important voice in the ongoing debate. Accordingly, the Great Neck Synagogue Men’s Club will no longer be sponsoring the appearance of Pamela Geller this coming Sunday, and no event will be taking place in our facility.”

Jeffrey S. Wiesenfeld

Executive Board

Great Neck Synagogue

Editor’s note: The event was held on Sunday at Chabad of Great Neck. Pamela Geller spoke. There were no protests except for one man outside handing out leaflets.