There are many columns I enjoy writing. This is one I wish I did not have to write. The Five Towns Jewish Times had two front-page articles and The Jewish Home had two articles concerning the sudden death of Dr. Steven Krauss, who died on Shabbos Shuvah. I will not repeat what was stated therein. The articles addressed Dr. Krauss’ life after he moved to the Five Towns. At the funeral, people also talked about how helpful he was to the community, including the shul. I have a different perspective, having grown up with him in Bayside. I had known him since I was 12 years old. He was a year older than me. I will refer to him as Steve instead of Dr. Krauss, since I am sure he would rather have been called that.

This was a week where I had so many things to choose to write about. I was planning to write about the Supreme Court vacating the stay of the New York State court’s order and the education department rules, the New York Times article, and the reaction to both. Then I got COVID. I am writing this column on the third day of having the virus. Hopefully, by the time the column is published, I will back to normal, or as some may say, normal for me.

One of the advantages of a weekly column as opposed to a daily column is that you only have to write once a week. The downside is, by the time the column is published, the situation being addressed can change. When I wrote about COVID two columns ago, I thought that I would have COVID for a few days and then be done with it. It had been almost two weeks and I was still testing positive. Finally, after fourteen days I tested negative. After ten days I was able to go to shul with a mask. However, I needed to continue to isolate for activities that I cannot do with a mask, such as eating and sleeping. The weather has been very comfortable, so I was able to eat outside. I had been sleeping in a small room with a small bed. When I was younger, I could sleep on anything. Age has a funny way of changing people.  It is a great feeling knowing that my incarceration is over. I just hope and pray that I do not suffer any lingering effects from COVID. Unfortunately, I know people who still suffer more than a year later.   

Within a week, I went to two funerals and four shiva calls, one of my two guinea pigs died, Queen Elizabeth died, and it was the twenty-first anniversary of 9/11. There are some individuals who may look at this week and conclude that there is nothing but the dead and dying back in my little town. But I try to learn something from each experience.

I have no recollection of any major student protest the many years I was at the Yeshiva University main campus. I was not unique. YU, unlike some other universities, rarely had protests. While at YU, one of the protests that I did hear about involved Rabbi Soloveitchik (the Rav) in the late 1960s objecting to the change of status of the yeshiva to become a university. I did not think much of it, since I thought it had no practical effect. Years later, after the New York County Supreme Court Judge’s decision in the YU Pride Alliance case, I realized I was wrong. The Court relied upon the change in status as grounds to apply the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) to YU. I then investigated to learn about the protest involving the Rav.

For the past couple of weeks, I have written about the importance of not relying upon others’ opinions, whether it was a stock or whether CNN’s program was a whitewash. I recommended that you look at the original source the CNN program or SEC reports that companies must file. A review of Rabbi Schonfeld’s column indicates a third reason you should look at the original source.  If you look at the original document, you can see what is fact and what is opinion.