I applaud Izzo Zwiren for his excellent article in last week’s issue of the Queens Jewish Link, titled “Are Jews White?” Izzo makes clear the neurosis that Jews have in dealing with anti-Semitism. It is always with an “excuse me” attitude for pointing to that form of pernicious racism that has plagued us since our very foundation. An example cited by Izzo is the case of New England Patriot Julian Edelman, who was brave enough to react harshly to the outright anti-Semitic remarks by NFL player DeSean Jackson, which included brandishing words (falsely) ascribed to Adolf Hitler ym”sh. Yet Edelman found it necessary to excuse his reaction by offering to take Jackson to the Holocaust Museum in exchange for his going to the Museum of African American History and Culture.
I recall years ago, in the 1980s, when Louis Farrakhan first came to prominence as a vicious anti-Semite with a public address in Madison Square Garden, that Mayor Ed Koch spoke at the entrance of the Garden to strongly condemn Farrakhan. He started off so stridently, it made me proud as a Jew to listen to him as part of the audience. Then came his zinger: “And just as we condemn this awful anti-Semite, so do we condemn hatred coming from Jews such as Meir Kahane (which he pronounced ‘Meyer Kahanee’)!” The crowd, of course, ate it up.
I was stunned. What does Rabbi Meir Kahane, an ardent fighter for Jewish causes, have to do with racist hatred? More importantly, why the need to “excuse himself” for condemning anti-Semitism by saying that Jews are also guilty of hatred? Yes, even the great, outspoken, proud Jew Ed Koch was bitten by the Jewish neurotic need to make sure everyone is comfortable with him. A great article on this topic was written by Zahava Englard Shapiro in the July 9 edition of JNS, titled “The Nochkshleppers.” I am hopeful to write about that article in a future column for the QJL.
I did write a letter to Koch at that time, and to his credit, he did respond. But it was something mealy-mouthed about how hatred must be condemned no matter where it comes from. Meanwhile, our incredible rally to “Back The Blue,” held this past Sunday, which attracted over 500 cars to support our police, shows that if we stand tall and united, we can be a real force in the public arena.
Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld
I have to write in about Sergey Kadinsky’s article last week, “Blue Lives Matter Should We Attend?” Even the title of this piece is absurd. Why would Sergey have to even think about supporting the brave, hardworking, and often maligned members of the NYPD? I was at the Pro-Police rally in Bayside on July 12; although BLM had a demonstration alongside ours, there were no overt clashes between the groups.
Why would Sergey say that “for the time being” he supports individual expressions of support for the police? Does he expect his support to change? Why did Sergey attend a Black Lives Matter rally recently? Is he not aware of the anti-Semitic, anti-American, and Marxist stance of this organization?
Although he gives the impression that he is pro-police, Sergey Kadinsky’s words and actions have certainly indicated otherwise.
Rabbi Schonfeld’s “Independence Day?” article was wonderful and spot-on, except for the last point about shuls.
We Jews have always known that the backbone of any society is home and family. Societies can survive without public houses of worship, but without strong family units, they disintegrate. When we Jews build new communities, the first public facility that we build is not the shul or beis midrash, but the women’s mikvah, because that facilitates the strong family unit.
I hope that our shuls can reopen safely and soon. But I also hope that we can all learn the important lessons of the COVID crisis and start paying a lot less lip service and a lot more real respect to home and family.
As someone who spends countless personal hours each week facilitating shidduchim on behalf of single girls, I’d like to address a sore subject matter. I truly sympathize with the pain and frustration of singles and their parents. Too many have been enduring the hardships of shidduchim over the years while continuously searching for their bashert within a broken system. To add insult to injury, the current pandemic has compounded their situation. However, I am finding that many exhibit very poor behavior to shadchanim, from lack of gratitude, having a major sense of entitlement, failing to return a phone call when the shadchan leaves a message, or simply displacing their wrath upon a shadchan when dissatisfied with the offer. There’s an old saying: “You don’t bite the hand that feeds you.” With this kind of treatment, you need not wonder why more and more shadchanim throw in the towel daily and no longer bother with this mitzvah.
Over the past few months, I have found that many older single guys were more willing to be introduced to girls they never would have dated in the past. Because the country was on lockdown, the guys experienced more loneliness and felt that committing to a Zoom date was quite easy. Of course, we all know that virtual dates are not the most effective means of establishing a relationship. However, they seemed to serve as an easy screening process for the guys, and as a result, several engagements – and weddings – took place.
Over the past few weeks, I left a message for several singles or their parents that I was calling regarding a shidduch. It turns out that I secured a yes for them, and they had no clue, because they never bothered to pick up the phone or return the call. Others returned the phone call a week later and by that time I informed the boy that since they did not respond, he should move on. Whether someone is busy or not is simply irrelevant. Proper etiquette dictates that a call should be returned regardless; one can easily tell the shadchan that he or she is presently unavailable. Many complain that shadchanim do not pick up their calls, so why not behave in the same manner? Firstly, two wrongs don’t make a right. Secondly, the shadchan is spending his or her precious time to do you a favor, and not the reverse, so beware of burning your bridges.
In life you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. If one behaves poorly, and has no gratitude or appreciation for someone trying to help him or her, they should not expect a favorable outcome. Studies show that people who express gratitude experience more positive emotions and have an easier time dealing with adversity. Words on their own are cheap! The words “thank you” alone may be insufficient and meaningless when they are not sincere and heartfelt. Perhaps spend a moment or two reflecting about the time and effort someone actually expends on your behalf.
MTA Chairman Pat Foye said, “Everything’s got to be on the table” concerning his budget crisis. When will he acknowledge that the MTA already has the financial resources without a second $3.9 billion federal bailout? The MTA has $12 billion worth of Federal Transit Administration funding for projects and programs in active grant. Has a forensic audit ever been conducted to see what portion of these funds have not been spent? The FTA made available $1.4 billion in 2020 federal funding. The MTA can reprogram all of these dollars toward covering capital improvements and operating deficits as a result of COVID-19. FTA will make available $1.5 billion in federal fiscal year 2021 funds for the MTA as of October 1. This assumes Congress does their job for a change and passes a budget on time for the President to sign.
There is also $4 billion of local funding for the $6.9 billion Second Avenue Subway Phase Two, $1.5 billion for the Bronx East Metro North Penn Station Access and 1% Arts in Transit capital projects expenditure requirement. Stop wasting millions on outside consultants. All combined could provide the MTA with $6 billion more toward COVID-19.
Uncle Sam has a $26.5 trillion long-term debt. It will grow by another $1 trillion annually until 2030. Who is going to bail out Washington? Everyone can’t continue spending money we don’t have. A million Queens residents are making due with significant income loss. The MTA needs to do the same.
This Week’s Headlines
Hillary Clinton says she’s looking forward to her second term as president
The Washington Post: Nazis were ‘mostly peaceful’
AOC: To combat gun violence, ban murder
Trump decried as dictator for executing his constitutional duty of protecting Portland’s citizens from complete lawlessness and violence
In latest move to spice up his campaign, Biden promises everyone 12 months of paid vacation
Brilliant: After Trump reminds everyone about the importance of safe driving, liberals vow to boycott seatbelts
Nation descending into moral depravity still wondering why it’s being punished with a deadly virus
Report: Trump presidency to win award for most entertaining show ever
In bold move, England to cut off everyone’s hands to fight surge in gun violence
Synagogues start hiring female rabbis after learning they only earn 75 cents for every dollar a man earns