“Some people can’t bring themselves to see a photo of cars on fire? Or of a bombed-out house? Really, is that too much to ask of you?”
Restored My Power of Speech [Outlook / Issue 982]
The searing eloquence of Yonoson Rosenblum’s “Thoughts on Waking to a Nightmare” relieves me of the sense of strangled muteness that has afflicted me as an American Israeli since the events of October 7. To forward it to leftist friends and family in the Diaspora is like having my power of speech (and thought) restored.
Inspired by Maury [Halls of Power / Issue 982]
I would like to thank Maury Litwack for raising awareness about the importance of contacting and thanking our pro-Israel elected officials. As a resident of Southfield, Michigan, a.k.a. Detroit, our representative is Rashida Tlaib, who is clearly no friend of Israel or the Jews. However, one of our neighboring districts is represented by Shri Thanedar, who was mentioned in the article for his support of Israel. Inspired by Mr. Litwack, I immediately penned a letter of thanks to Mr. Thanedar. Literally within seconds of my having sent it, Mr. Thanedar responded with heartfelt appreciation, from his personal email no less.
For those who are on the fence about writing such letters — go ahead and do it. We must not underestimate the effect that each of us can have.
No Choice [War Coverage / Issue 981]
Your coverage of the war is excellent, and there is absolutely nothing to apologize for. In your last two issues, you managed to provide us with the facts, but also with raw emotion as your writers described their experiences.
Yes, we like nice stories with happy endings. We like feel-good tales that strengthen our emunah. And Mishpacha always gives us that.
But this is the very first time (and hopefully the very last) that the situation was so horrific that you absolutely had to include photos that might have made some people uncomfortable. What other choice did you have?
We in chutz la’Aretz need to see these disturbing images in order to understand the true horror of what occurred. You can read an article about the war, you can hear stories about it, but when you see a photo, then suddenly you really understand what a tragedy this was. Nothing hits home like a photograph. And if some people found the photos disturbing, well, wasn’t that the whole point?
(By the way, as we all know, there are pictures from that Simchas Torah that are a thousand times worse than any that you chose to publish.)
So keep up the good work, Mishpacha. And let’s hope and pray that your next issue will feature Mashiach on its cover!
Too Graphic [War Coverage / Issue 981]
Firstly, thanks a lot for your beautiful magazine.
We look forward to it weekly and enjoy it immensely.
We were very bothered with your war articles and pictures last week. The pictures were gory, the articles were too graphic, and I and some others were unable to sleep after reading them.
I understand that you must write up what happened, but since it is a sensitive situation, I would think that writing just in Mishpacha would be enough and not in Family First as well.
At a time when we and Klal Yisrael need to strengthen ourselves in our emunah and bitachon it would be nice if you could write articles to strengthen that and not to tell us all the gory details.
Thanks for understanding.
We look forward to read uplifting and beautiful articles that will enable us to see Yad Hashem in this dire situation.
Too Much to Ask? [War Coverage / Issue 981]
As I read the inbox letters complaining about the “gory coverage,” my first reaction was — am I so desensitized that I don’t remember seeing such horrible pictures in Mishpacha? So I looked back at the previous week’s coverage of the Hamas attack. Then I looked through it again, then at the entire magazine page by page, and I started to feel truly sickened. Not from the pages you printed, but from the letter writers who write of the “traumatic impact that the photos would have” and that they have been “compelled to rip out pages to not expose children” — to what exactly?
After the horror inflicted upon us, there was not a single photo of burned bodies, of children or mothers killed, of bloody rooms, or of the hundreds killed at the music festival. No photos of any of our elderly murdered or of the horrible, horrible atrocities that were committed against the Jewish people of Israel.
As of this writing, 1,400 mainly Jewish people were killed — mostly civilians. Over 220 are still being held hostage by Hamas — some mere infants, children, and elderly. And some people can’t bring themselves to see a photo of cars on fire? Or of a bombed-out house? Really, is that too much to ask of you?
The magazine had no images of blood, no graphic bodies, just a bombed house. One photo of Hamas with a hostage who is completely covered — is this what is meant by “disrespect and complete disregard” for those we lost? For those taken?
I’m not sure what these people expected to see after the single worst day of violence against the Jewish People since the Holocaust — flowers and memorial candles?
During this time of incredible outpouring of chesed, of the Jewish People feeling and acting “k’ish echad b’lev echad,” I would think that the complete disregard would be directed to those who don’t want to be bothered to look at a car burning or a destroyed house as just the smallest taste of the tragedy our people just went through.
Thank you for the incredible coverage of the most difficult of topics.
Don’t Bury the Story [War Coverage / Issue 981]
After reading the letters against Mishpacha’s reporting of the war, I was perplexed enough to look over the magazine and see if the letter writers had a point. As I didn’t see any explicit or offensive images, I remain perplexed.
One of the terrible atrocities of the Holocaust was the non-reporting by the newspapers and media of all that was happening. Had the letter writers been non-Jews, we would be aghast at the desire to bury the story of what is happening to Yidden in Eretz Yisrael.
I hear and read the reports of the barbaric, heinous acts of Hamas and think we need to know and let the world know. This is happening to our brothers, sisters, and mishpachah, and it is incumbent on Mishpacha magazine to report accordingly.
The magazine did a professional job reporting and giving us just enough information. Unfortunately, any details of this war are upsetting, but that doesn’t justify or necessitate keeping it out of the magazine.
May we be zocheh to the Geulah sheleimah bimheirah!
Family Connection [A Light from Lublin / Issue 980]
I appreciate all the articles printed on Yeshivas Chachmei Lublin and Rav Meir Shapiro.
My father, Rabbi Avrohom Yisroel Zytman z”l, grew up in Lublin and attended Yeshivas Chachmei Lublin. He was a direct descendent of Rabi Akiva Eiger.
This past winter, my siblings and I, together with some children and grandchildren, went to Lublin to see and get a feel of what my father’s life was like before the war. We slept in Yeshivas Chachmei Lublin, which is now a hotel, and the night we came, we made a yahrtzeit seudah for Rav Leibel Eiger. We davened in the beis medrash, which is still there and fully stocked with seforim. Beautiful pictures are hanging all over the building of the talmidim of Rav Meir Shapiro.
My father left behind his whole family, who were killed in Majdanek, and escaped to Shanghai, where he remained for five years.
My father lived and breathed his life, held on to it after the war and built a beautiful mishpachah together with my mother. Now his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren are baruch Hashem following in his direction.
Sara (Zytman) Webster
Conflicting Messages [Heart of the Matter / Issue 980]
The topic of “kids at risk” has been covered many times in your pages, and I’m constantly confused by the lack of consistency.
We’ve had Gedalia Guttentag talk about those who drift due to their taavos. Then came the fierce backlash of letters by those of your readers who disagree and a conciliatory follow-up by Rabbi Shimon Russell, claiming it’s due to trauma. And Allison Josephs saying it’s the parents’ fault for not helping their children develop strong attachments.
And now we have Mechy Brandwein of the Lev Teen Center (who is clearly doing wonderful and important work), saying that “somehow when people talk about the reasons kids go off, they forget to mention that, yes, there are kids who just fall to extreme taavah… a strong core of them.” I’m wondering why you would air such an opinion, after strong rebuttals to this approach have been published in the pages of your own magazine.
In the past, there have been discussions on how to relate to these children. Zero expectations. Unconditional love. I distinctly remember stories in Mishpacha about parents who were advised by their poskim to give their children whatever they wanted — one father who took his daughter to buy her an iPhone (unfiltered, I’m sure), and another who took his daughter to buy un-tzniyusdig clothing.
Yet here we have Rabbi Brandwein saying, “The kids whose parents buy them the cheeseburger aren’t happy,” and that reasonable rules are acceptable — “A kid can’t destroy a home... kids will roll with it [some basic rules], everyone wants a place to sleep.”
I’m certainly not qualified to say which side is right, but please consider those of your readers who are struggling to parent their struggling kids in the best way they can, based on advice from experts, who are now reading this and doubting themselves all over again.
Note: Please be aware that the Pendulum history supplement in our Succos package contains sheimos on p. 21. Please dispose of it properly. We regret the oversight.
(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 983)
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