Colors: Green Color

A few years ago, I wrote an article titled “How Crazy Are We?” In the article, I decry the fact that so many Jews, including those with yarmulkes, are seen protesting Trump and his policy on immigration. I was upset that these Jewish kids had shown no appreciation to Donald Trump, warts and all, for all that he had done for Israel, but instead chose to trash him. I was also upset that these same kids did not see the need for legal immigration the way our parents and grandparents arrived in this country.

The rising tide of anti-Semitism sweeping across Europe, bringing in its wake propaganda and physical attacks eerily reminiscent of the years before the Holocaust; the fanatic hatred of fundamentalists towards the State of Israel and the Jewish people in general; the readiness of nations to appease tyrannical regimes such as Iran rather than face them down… all drive home the clear message that the world community is yet willing to tolerate the demonization and destruction of entire peoples.

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.

Ask the average lettered Jew: Which instances does the Torah explicitly describe the reward of long life for performing a mitzvah. The odds are heavily that they will respond with Kibud Av VaEim, honoring parents (Sh’mos 20:12), and Shiluach HaKein, sending away the mother bird when taking her chicks (D’varim 22:7).

It was the summer of 2005, about 13 years after I left my shul in Staten Island to become the assistant rabbi of the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills. It was also about a month before the expulsion of about 10,000 Jews from Gush Katif in Gaza under the direction of Ariel Sharon. At that time, I was invited by my friend Rabbi Moshe Meir Weiss, rav of the Agudas Yisroel of Staten Island at the time, to address their annual dinner.