On September 8, 2019, I rode in the New York Century Bike Tour. Although it was my first time riding the Century, it was the 30th and last time they were doing the tour. It went through four of the boroughs (not Staten Island). Unlike the Five Borough Bike Tour, the streets were not protected. Thus, we were like any other cyclist dependent on whether there was a bike lane. We did ride on some streets without a bike lane, which upset some drivers. One woman driving on Myrtle Avenue threatened to run us over.

Although we read Eichah on the night of Tishah B’Av, the destruction of the First Temple tends to be overshadowed by a discussion of the destruction of the Second Temple. It is only natural to address what is closer in time and what directly affects us. However, I would argue that in many respects the destruction of the First Beis Hamikdash (Temple) was a greater loss.

One of the disadvantages of flying standby is that you may be limited as to where you can fly. If you have a confirmed ticket, then you know where you are going. Sometimes you have to fly to a country you really do not want to be in, just because all other options are closed. This happened on my trip with my wife to Europe. The only airport in Europe that had flights from the New York area was Berlin.

It is written in the Talmud (Gittin 55b) that the Second Temple was destroyed because of senseless hatred. The Talmud mentions an incident involving Bar Kamtza and an unnamed individual who hated each other. This man had a friend named Kamtza and an enemy named Bar Kamtza. One day the man made a banquet. The man’s attendant accidently invited Bar Kamtza, who accepted the invitation and went to the banquet. When the host saw Bar Kamtza he asked him, “Why you are here? You are my enemy. Get up and get out.” Bar Kamtza offered to pay for his meal, then for half of the banquet, and finally the entire banquet. His requests were refused. The host grabbed hold of Bar Kamtza and threw him out. The rabbis were there and did not rebuke the man. Bar Kamtza subsequently went to the Caesar and told him that the Jews are rebelling.

In the July 25 edition of the Queens Jewish Link, in an article entitled “Building Up the Squad,” I wrote:

“Trump is building up the “Squad” for his own political purposes, while the women are self-promoting themselves. In other words, Trump and the “Squad” are on the same side when it relates to them becoming more important and powerful members in the Democratic Party. Also, Trump, by his over-the-top comments, is making these women into sympathetic figures.