The Republican Party for years has been known as the party of law and order and staunch supporters of law enforcement. They always attacked the Democratic Party as being soft on crime and more interested in protecting the rights of the defendants and being haters of law enforcement.

On Tuesday, October 26, the Kew Gardens Hills community was shocked to hear of the passing of Rabbi David Keehn. This occurred just three weeks after the death of Marc Hoschander. There are many parallels. Marc was born on May 23, 1967, and died on October 1, 2021. Rabbi Keehn was born on June 21, 1967, and died on October 25, 2021. They both died of massive heart attacks right by their places of work. They were both well-known and respected in the community.

When I am working on a criminal appeal and I want to raise the issue that the jury’s verdict was against the weight of the evidence, I focus on the witness’s testimony, exhibits, and the judge’s instructions to the jury focusing on the elements of the crime. Appellate Courts are loath to reverse a jury’s verdict. They like to say that a transcript is a cold record. In other words, a transcript is only a copy of what was said but not how it was said. It does not reveal the body language of the witness or the tone of voice or how the witness presented themselves. An example from the political realm of this dichotomy between the words and the seeing the person occurred in the Nixon-Kennedy debate in 1960. Polls showed that people who heard the debate on radio thought Vice President Richard Nixon won but those who watched it on television thought Senator John F. Kennedy won. Kennedy looked youthful and exuberant, and Nixon had a five o’clock shadow and looked ragged.

“Uriah Phillips Levy (1792-1862) was one of the first Jewish officers in the United States Navy and a prominent citizen of New York. Circa 1833, Levy privately commissioned Pierre-Jean David D’Angers, France’s most prominent sculptor of the time, to create a statue to memorialize Thomas Jefferson because of legislation Jefferson had introduced establishing religious freedom in the armed forces. Levy presented the bronze statue to Congress as a gift to the American people. It is on display in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. Levy donated the plaster model from which the bronze artwork was made to the people of New York. The model was installed in the Governor’s Room of City Hall circa 1834. It was later moved to the Rotunda of City Hall before being installed in the City Council Chamber in 1915” (nyc.gov).  For Levy, it was personal, since he was subject to religious discrimination while in the Navy. He did become the first Jewish commodore in the Navy. Levy also brought Jefferson’s home in Monticello, Virginia, after Jefferson’s death, and restored it to its prior grandeur. Levy was a member of Congregation Shearith Israel and is buried in Beth Olam Cemetery in Ridgewood, Queens.

Although I have never met him, I wish to give a mazal tov to Rabbi Gary Slochowsky on being an honoree of Yeshiva University’s Chag HaSemikhah. I tip my cap to HAFTR for publicizing this accomplish of its alumnus by putting a full-page ad in the Queens Jewish Link. It has been a difficult last thirty days, so it is good to be able to comment on a joyous occasion.

A few years ago, there a buzz about a frum teenage ping pong champion, Estee Ackerman, from West Hempstead. There was talk about her trying out for the United States Olympic Team for the 2020 Olympics. If she had made the team, she would’ve been the first orthodox member of the United States Olympic Team. I believe this paper previously published a story about her. I had forgotten about her story until I read an article in the Jewish Home. It mentioned that Estee was ready to try to make the Olympic Team, but the trials were from Thursday through Sunday. The United States Table Tennis committee was unwilling to make allowances for her so she would not have to play on Shabbos. Estee decided that Shabbos was more important, and did not participate in the tournament. She gave up her dream to make the Olympic team in 2020 because it conflicted with her religious beliefs.