The Way It Iz

The OU Biennial Convention

On Sunday, The Orthodox Union held their biennial convention at the Young Israel of Woodmere. It...

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Last week, Lufthansa Flight 401 from JFK to Budapest became quite the story when a large group of Chasidic Jews were unable to board the plane after the first leg of the flight to Frankfurt. According to an extremely detailed report from Daniel Elef of DansDeals, it seems as though a small number of passengers were charged with not wearing their masks during the first leg of the flight. This caused major outrage that oddly united both the Right and Left wings of Judaism (antisemitism tends to do that).

Strawman arguments are funny things. Sometimes they have the power to shift an entire argument and other times they are undeniably self-defeating. To illustrate this, we are going to look at the current ongoing example, which just so happens to be the largest scaled strawman argument of my lifetime. The definition of “strawman argument” we will be working with for purposes of this discussion is “an intentionally misrepresented proposition that is set up because it is easier to defeat than an opponent’s real argument.”

Two events occurred last week that were so monumental, so significant, so life-altering, that they were able to distract Americans from the fact that there is a war going on in Europe. What were these two earth-shattering events that distracted the country from all-out war? Disney lost its right to self-governance in Florida, and Elon Musk bought Twitter. Honestly, neither of these events should be significant enough to overtake the headlines from Ukraine and Russia, but it seems that Americans have grown bored of talking about the war at this stage, and are looking for other topics to occupy their time.

Recently, the Senate unanimously passed a bill that would make Daylight Saving Time permanent. Of course, many of us immediately thought about the halachic implications of this change. Most notably, the winter months would be a very difficult time for Shacharis, as the early risers who already need to be mindful of the clock, would have to wait an extra hour for talis and t’filin. Minyanim would not be able to think about beginning until 7 a.m. here in New York, and some days would be even later. Hashkamah minyanim on Shabbos would be affected as well. This is a greater problem for shuls that have one room wherein the second minyan starts after Hashkamah ends.

What is hate? It’s a word that is thrown around a lot these days in slogans produced by the most radicalized among us. There is hate directed towards race, political affiliation, religion, gender, gender identity, wealth status, profession. Every group of people seems to be able to claim some sort of victimhood status based on the fact that there are some people out there who they claim hate them. And of course, there are those out there who do absolutely hate others for any of the reasons listed above, and definitely others. Hate exists in our world and always will.

In the midst of its ongoing war, Ukraine made the difficult decision to enact martial law and require all men between the ages of 18 and 60 to remain in the country to defend it from invading Russian forces. This has led to a large number of women and children fleeing the country without their husbands, brothers, fathers, and grandfathers. It is truly tragic, as the last time these families possibly see each other alive is being torn apart at the border.