Month: April 2010
Ready or not – here it comes!
Health care reform is upon us whether we like it or not. In this issue, we explore not only what it is and how it came to be, but how it impacts upon the Torah observant community.
Zman’s previous cover stories possessed an instant sense of relevance and urgency. The bachurim incarcerated in Japan and the Martin Grossman saga – each automatically resonated in the hearts and minds of concerned Jewish readers.
Health care reform, though dominating the news, does not typically generate the same sense of immediacy. And, in truth, its impact will only become evident over the next few years. Nevertheless, little else stands to change the landscape of our lives more than health care reform. Of course, by then it might be too late to do anything about it.
Therefore, Zman interviewed four prominent, Torah-observant doctors serving our community, asking them how they thought health care reform would impact upon our lives. Their answers are as eye-opening as they are relevant.
Will “death panels” become a reality? Will the quality of medical treatment, and the quality of doctor’s themselves, drop? Will America’s health care turn into something similar to Canada’s, where it is difficult to receive certain life-sustaining treatments, and many must wait weeks and even months before receiving them? Who will pay for the 30 million previously uninsured people the law is supposed to insure? Is it true that the middle class will bear the heaviest financial brunt of the bill? How, specifically, will Torah-observant communities be effected by this new law?
This Monday, April 19, I am scheduled to speak for Torah Umesorah on the topic of “Physical and Spiritual Resistance in the Holocaust.” Here is a PDF of the event: Lectures on Holocaust Education.
Rabbi Nosson Scherman will be speaking for men and women at 7:30 on the topic: “Going Like Sheep or Lions?”
He will speak for about a half hour. Afterward, the men and women will split up. I will speak for the men and Mrs. Lichtenstein, publisher of HaModia and author of Witness To History, will speak for the women.
It will be held at the Ocean Parkway Jewish Center. The address is 550 Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn, 11218-5899 (phone: 718-436-4900).
In HaModia’s Pesach edition there was a special supplement called “Kids of Hope.” I had two articles in there. One was entitled, “Girls At Risk” and the other was “Internet Addiction.” The latter included interviews with Philip Rosenthal, a therapist in the field and an expert on cyberspace crime, and Rabbi Yosef Viener, who offers to have anyone who wants contact him to be their internet policeman, so to speak. Here is an excerpt from the Internet Addiction article, specifically the part involving Rabbi Viener and his offer.
Rabbi Yosef Viener is a Posek, Halachah Columnist for HaModia and Rav of Kehillas Shaar Shamayim in Monsey, New York. As the first address for the community’s questions and concerns, every Rav is privy to things the average person has little or no idea about. Rabbi Viener not only fields shailos and hears peoples’ problems from his immediate community, but from many people all over the world.
Far from an alarmist, it is uncharacteristic for him to state with unusual absoluteness: “There is no single problem facing the individuals and the community at large greater than this. Nothing even comes close.”
He illustrates what he means:
A first-year beis midrash yeshiva bochur I had never met called me up. He had been home for bein hazman and was about to go back to yeshiva. He asked me if he could come over. I said yes. He came into my study, sat in a chair and proceeded to cry for the next twenty-five minutes. I couldn’t even hear what he was saying.