Late last week, a man came over to me in shul in Baltimore and said to me that he knew my father’s yahrzeit was approaching (27 Kislev). He then told me that he misses my father’s wisdom terribly. He said he wondered what my father would have said about the current situation with the Israel-Hamas War and the unfolding anti-Semitism in the American street and campuses. I asked the gentleman where he knew my father from, and he said that many years ago he lived in KGH, but I could not place him. He thinks of my father constantly, he said.

Naturally, my father would have been horrified and would say how the events today remind him of pre-War Europe, especially in Vienna where he lived as the Nazis rose to prominence. He always described how his closest non-Jewish friends abandoned him or betrayed him. I could go on, but there is no need to be more depressing, especially on Chanukah.

I was quite flattered by the number of people in touch with me as they recalled my father’s yahrzeit and what he meant to them. Even long-time friends who now live in Israel.

Interestingly, a senior person in Baltimore, who is related to us through extended family, told me that his son, who reads my column in the Queens Jewish Link online regularly (smart guy), claims that my political views are even more to the right than my father’s.

Just a note: My father, who was a classic dyed-in-the-wool Democrat, switched allegiance to mostly Republican when it came to Reagan vs. Carter. Some of you may recall that he gave the invocation at the Republican National Convention in 1984. It’s available on YouTube.

Yes, I keep it no secret that my politics are to the right. While we must be extremely grateful to the Biden administration at this time for its strong support of Israel, the time will come when we will have to examine how we got into the mess we are dealing with currently. But, as I say, that’s for a different time.

However, look around now. Who are our loudest supporters in the political arena? Certainly not Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who gave a very impassioned Shabbos HaGadol drashah on anti-Semitism from the Senate floor. Then he went back into hiding. I wish Jerold Nadler would have gone into hiding, as he voted against the bill to associate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism.

If you check the loudest pro-Israel voices, you will find the likes of Senate Republicans Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and John Kennedy. Add to it Congressman Mike Lawler and Councilwoman Inna Vernikov. Of course, I recognize Democrat Ritchie Torres of the Bronx for his courage in being an outspoken supporter of Israel in a sometimes-unfriendly district.

In Queens, we have been fortunate to be served by some truly great friends of the Jewish people and of Israel in the City, State, and Washington. Yes, all Democrats.

However, in my opinion, the ones who have accomplished the most to bring the scourge of anti-Semitism to the public arena are Republican Congresswomen Elise Stefanik and Virginia Foxx – both with almost no Jews in their districts. Following the presentations of some very courageous and articulate female students, they heroically grilled Ivy League university presidents at a televised congressional hearing about anti-Semitism on US college campuses. As you know, one of the heads rolled; hopefully the others will follow. In appreciation, I sent a check to the Elise Stefanik reelection campaign. You should consider that as well (Google her).

Yet, as you read Aaron Boehm’s letter in last week’s QJL, there is a serious problem with anti-Semitism on campus right here in New York City (CUNY) and specifically in Queens College. Pro-Hamas mobs and anti-Semitic graffiti have been left unchecked. Jewish students are made to feel unsafe at QC in campus and class, as they are threatened by the harassers. Why is the administration of Queens College not dragged out to be put on the public carpet for ignoring the growing anti-Semitism in their midst? Why are our political representatives not making the same fuss as Stefanik did, as they witness anti-Semitism right here in the college of our backyard?

I’ve written to a number of them, and the response I received was the expected one. They signed very strong letters condemning Jew-hatred on campus.

Very nice. But we need tachlis, action! Letters are important, but we need to see more Democrats conduct themselves like Republicans. That’s the very least to be expected if not an outright plea to vote Republican when possible.

I don’t know how much my father would agree with me on everything I write here, or the way I write it. But underneath, I know he would have nachas. (Can’t translate.)

Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld is the Rabbi Emeritus of the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills, President of the Coalition for Jewish Values, former President of the Vaad Harabonim of Queens, and the Rabbinic Consultant for the Queens Jewish Link.