As Mr. Gray noted, when the rabbi and his family attempted to secretly sell the synagogue and it was discovered by the congregation, the Singers justified it by saying that the proceeds would go to charity (there are questions about which charities they are and if the rabbi and his family will benefit). It also shows the arrogance and contempt the rabbi and his family have for the congregants, who supported the synagogue for a great many years before Rabbi Singer became associated with it.

Thanks to Mr. Gray's article, an attorney has come forward and is representing the congregants. The congregants intend to stop the Singers and various organizations allied with them in their shameful and sinful attempt to close and sell this active synagogue.

Bruce Blutreich
Lower East Side

I wish to join many Lower East Siders in commending Geoffrey Gray for his article shedding light on the struggle to save the Stanton Street Synagogue.

Our synagogue was founded in 1913 as part of the teeming immigrant community of the Lower East Side. Its sacred walls witnessed war, the Depression, the Holocaust, the Civil Rights Movement, good times, and bad times.

Its mission—interpreting God's statutes to a diverse and vibrant area—was its hallmark. We are so astonished by this attempted "murder" of our spiritual home that we are in shock. To us, the congregants, our synagogue was a link between heaven and earth, between the transient and the immortal, between the creator and creation.

Kudos to your reporter. He has sketched for us human shortcomings that the prophets taught about.

Hyman Silverglad
Lower East Side


Peter Noel's article about the 11-year-old problem child "J.J." was interesting, but while it went into detail about his actions, it didn't tell the reader much about why he behaved that way ["Rude Boy: The Making of a Schoolyard Sex Offender," June 19].

I'm sure it's difficult to get a complete picture of what may have caused "J.J." to lash out at others, but the feeble and unsubstantiated explanation given at the end of the article—"The real culprits are the smut peddlers who robbed him of his innocence and force-fed him sex and violence"—was inexcusable. It would be stating the obvious to say that millions of children play Nintendo and watch James Bond without exhibiting this type of behavior, but if Noel has forgotten that this is true, maybe it's not as obvious as I would like to believe.

Scapegoating entertainment must be hipper than I thought. Or, as I am inclined to believe in this case, perhaps it's just a convenient alternative for a writer who failed to uncover the actual root of this child's emotional problems. Either way, this outdated notion doesn't belong in print.

Mark Yokoyama
Portland, Oregon


In "Aborting Crime: Fewer Fetuses, Fewer Felonies?" [Higher Ed, June 12], Norah Vincent falsely alleges that findings of the Stanford study linking legalized abortion to decreased crime are "being hailed as a victory for the abortion lobby." In reality, reproductive rights organizations (if we indeed are the "abortion lobby") have neither embraced this research nor relied on its controversial findings.

Furthermore, the right to choose abortion is not the "only choice on offer" by the reproductive rights community, as stated by Ms. Vincent. Women's reproductive freedom includes rights to make healthy and informed decisions about their reproductive lives and to have access to comprehensive reproductive health and family planning information and services to make these decisions. It is a woman's ability to continue with as many wanted pregnancies or to terminate as many unwanted pregnancies as she feels is right for herself and her family.

By gaining the right to control their fertility, women have vastly improved their own health conditions as well as those of their children. Access to reproductive health and family planning services and information has enabled women to make these very personal decisions, and to take charge of their educations, their careers, and ultimately, their lives.

Joan Malin, Chief Executive Officer
Planned Parenthood of New York City

Norah Vincent ("Aborting Crime') fails to understand that most pro-choice people do not advocate abortion in preference to other forms of family planning. Nor do they assume that those living in poverty do not have control over their reproductive habits. There is no "selective population control." The term "population control" is totally misleading and implies bigotry.

Nobody likes abortion. Most of us in the pro-choice movement see it only as a last resort. I agree with Vincent that providing family planning—including education, contraception, and abstinence counseling to every-one who wants it—is the way to go. Family planning reduces the rate of abortion. Pro-choice people especially want to eliminate illegal, unsafe abortions.

Audrey Bernstein, Chairperson
Population Committee
New York City Sierra Club


It's rare for the cultures of Papua New Guinea to be taken seriously in the American press, and I appreciated the time and care Robert Christgau took in his piece about my Bosavi recordings ["Chasing Waterfalls," May 15]. But I'd like to address a few misunderstandings.

Neither I nor Bosavi musicians regard the new guitar bands as a threat to traditional music, and while a few songs deal with physical abuse, it is by no means as "pervasive" in Bosavi domestic life as Christgau inferred. Also, the gisalo song Christgau attributes to Halawa was in fact by Aiba.

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