You all know me as Goldy Krantz from the “Dating Today” column. Well, I am writing as Michelle Gruber today, and as a lifelong resident of Kew Gardens Hills (minus the 12 years spent in Rego Park during my childhood). I am the type of person who takes notice of what’s around me and who is around me – it all stems from the episode of “Oprah” I watched when I was 15 about being careful where you walk and basic actions you can take to protect yourself. Anyway, I am an observant person. I notice things. I am very much aware of who lives in my neighborhood. Even if I don’t know your name, I have seen you in the grocery store for years; we pass each other with a “hello” type of smile. I see the same parents in the two Shabbos parks I have been visiting for the past four years with my children. I know my neighbors who walk their dog (and don’t pick up after the dog poops, on the sidewalk. Oh yeah, I see you). I recognize the husband-and-wife team that has circled my block and surrounding blocks for hours each day since COVID hit (no, we don’t make eye contact). I see the same people leaving food for cats on various street corners for years… I notice things. And don’t you think when our newly-renovated library underwent another renovation one Shabbos, and the workers were there long after 5 p.m., I noticed that, too. “Can’t be Union,” I joked to my husband on a Friday night walk around 8 p.m. Paper was taped to the library windows so curious onlookers were unable to look in and had to keep guessing as to what is going on.
Once the windows were uncovered, I saw that our library, which took years to renovate, was once again renovated almost over a weekend, with fake wooden floors covering the carpet (tape can be seen along the edges), magazine shelves and chairs moved. And then the lines started forming. As I walked my son to daycare every day, I saw lines in front of the library. First, just a couple of people with masks, then dozens, until today, when before 9 a.m., the line snaked around from Vleigh Place to 72nd Drive for people to get tested for COVID.
Don’t get me wrong or try to be Rashi and read into my words here. I mean exactly what I write and nothing else. Who are these people? Are we the only testing site in Kew Gardens Hills and surrounding areas? What effect, if any, do the results of their tests have on our ZIP Code? Are people coming to our neighborhood library to get tested for COVID and they are not from KGH or its immediate surrounding areas? What if they test positive? Are their positive results affecting the positivity rate of KGH, even if they don’t live here? Or are their results being added to the ZIP Codes that they live in? If that is happening, then fine, go ahead. But I don’t want people who do not live in our area affecting if we are a red, yellow, white – or any other color zone.
I asked one of the staffers, when I passed one day on my way home from daycare, this question, while she was on a cigarette break outside the library. Are the results of this testing site affecting our ZIP Code or are the results sent to “the ZIP Code where the people live?” I actually asked that. The woman turned her back on me. She probably didn’t hear me. Again, I asked the question. She turned around and said, “I don’t have to answer.” Well, that was a telling statement, but it didn’t tell me much. I waited a couple of days and asked the security guard who was sitting outside the same question. He said he honestly didn’t know and was just there to make sure everything is “okay.” I tried once more the next day when I saw a young man come out of the library wearing a white lab coat and mask. His answer: “I don’t know. I just work here.” Hmm... I left it at that.
I am accusing no one of anything, but I find it very curious that by now hundreds of people have been tested for COVID in the Vleigh Place Library and we don’t know if their test results are affecting the positivity rate in our community. If their numbers are affecting KGH, then I am concerned and angered. If their numbers don’t, then I’m fine with that, because dozens of people are already lined up by 9 a.m., and from someone who has lived here the majority of her life, I’d like to know if my neighborhood zone color has been affected by these people and results. Many libraries are closed now. In my opinion, all closed libraries should be testing sites, shouldn’t they? I welcome anyone who may have the answers – and yes, I called the hotline and went onto the World Wide Web to find out the answer, and all I am now is more confused than before.
You all know where to reach me if you have the answer. If you know it, please share. It will take one less issue off my mind.
I would like to address Daniel Weber’s letter criticizing Rabbi Schonfeld for writing about current American political issues last week rather than the passing of Rav Dovid Feinstein and Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, zichronam livrachah. I find it distasteful that he would censure the rabbi not only for what he said in his article, but even for discussing the political situation at all.
I for one look forward to reading Rabbi Schonfeld’s articles every week, as they are written with daas Torah (superior Torah knowledge). It would be so easy to sit on the sidelines and never give an opinion. However, the Talmud often talks about the lenient position on a particular halachic question because it shows the courage of a rabbi who goes out on a limb to give voice to his position: “Koach d’heteira adif.”
Yasher koach, Rabbi Schonfeld, for all that you do for Kew Gardens Hills and klal Yisrael!
Are we the only ones observing the “Warren Hecht Paradox”?
For the past few years, we have read many Letters to the Editor. But the tenor of the criticism for the columns written by Mr. Hecht, who receives the most letters, is harsher, meaner, and crueler than for any other columnist. Yet, his column is clearly the most popular. The undersigned are proud to say to Mr. Hecht that we love his columns and agree with his views.
We also want to say that we all have the right to disagree, and the right to our opinions, but we should disagree with respect and respect differing opinions. We also want to say that we appreciate that the Queens Jewish Link, unlike most other religious Jewish newspapers, publishes all political viewpoints.
The 5T and Beyond 4 Biden-Harris 2020 WhatsApp Chat
I would like to thank Rabbi Schonfeld for his comments on the election. Some people have had the temerity to accuse him of being too political. I strongly disagree. A rabbi is a leader of the community, and as such, he is required to speak on topics that affect his community and the Jewish people as a whole.
The Democrats have gone far left and have many anti-Semitic and anti-Torah policies. For example, Democrats support partial-birth abortions, aid to Iran, aid to Hamas, and aid to suicide bombers. Trump has opposed these policies, and unfortunately he has been defeated by fraud.
I think any unbiased observer would have to conclude that the Democrats in Detroit, Atlanta, and Phoenix filled in enough phony mail-in ballots to put Biden over the top. The fact that they resist any audit of these mail-in ballots is proof of the fraud. We need leaders such as Rabbi Schonfeld to open our eyes and see the truth.
We must hope and pray that Hashem helps us and the Republicans to keep control of the United States Senate.
Take care and keep safe.
In the past few months, we have all witnessed firsthand the actions the radical left is willing to take to eliminate its opposition. Just this past week, David Atkins, member of the DNC, called for “deprogram[ming]” conservatives, adding “We have to start thinking in terms of post-WWII Germany or Japan.”
Not long ago, Democratic Socialist AOC asked on left-wing Twitter, “Is anyone archiving these Trump sycophants for when they try to downplay or deny their complicity in the future?” – to which the answer was of course “yes” from a group of Democrats who have created the “Trump Accountability Project.” This absurd and disgusting project is a website doxing the names of people associated with the Trump administration, in the hopes of blacklisting these people from future jobs. Add on top of this an “objective” mainstream media that cannot be trusted, the recent surge in Big Tech censorship and involvement in politics, general cancel culture, as well as authoritarian local/state governments making people’s health decisions for them, and you have a very dystopian picture, indeed. And I can’t go without mentioning a horribly corrupted election with more details of fraud coming out every day.
Many conservatives are correctly comparing this sad state of affairs to the beginnings of an Orwellian-style regime, where the State and its media allies control our daily lives, abolish free speech, push socialist agendas, and destroy all opposition. Who needs a secret police when you have the Twitter mob at your disposal, always waiting in the wings ready to doxx, harass, and send death threats and hate mail to anyone who commits wrong-think. Members of our own community have lived in similar regimes, and we all know how bad socialism can get.
In my opinion, the problem is that the left is so much better at this stuff than the right is. Right-wingers are too busy taking care of their families, living fulfilling lives, to be able to combat this sort of thing effectively. To paraphrase Ben Shapiro, the left thinks collectively, the right thinks individually; and as such, the left is far better at collective action and manipulation than the right. The left is Big Tech, the media, Hollywood, and social media. The right is alt-tech, alternate media, isolated voices, and the “silent majority.” We aren’t bullies; we are rational thinkers. We aren’t corrupt politicians and social justice warriors; we are hard workers just trying to live our lives independently. To quote Monty Python, we “are all individuals,” and that can put us at a disadvantage. However, we must learn from the left how to become more effective at politics. We need to learn how to stand up to fear, effectively speak up for ourselves, educate ourselves and those around us, march peaceably (as we have been doing and we must continue), petition, and turn out the vote.
Conservatives are facing a reckoning, and we need to learn how to fight if we want to maintain our way of life. We cannot let the socialists win.
Thankfully, we recently received good news in the form of two new vaccines to fight against the coronavirus. It would be better news if the powers that be would allow their usage. I can understand that vaccines need to be reviewed, but we are now in a crisis mode with the amount of infections growing by the millions on a monthly basis.
The Chinese, who clearly are doing a far, far better job than us containing this virus, have been much quicker to distribute their vaccines, and I wonder if the fixation with science is similar to the non-wearing of masks: just a subtle form of defiance. It is wonderful to pursue the perfect vaccine, but not at the cost of ever-increasing infections and deaths. As the pasuk says: “ha’terem teida ki avdah Mitzrayim”: The holidays are coming, which will only dramatically increase the number of cases. What we need is people lining up to get their COVID shots – not to be tested.
We must believe that Hashem decreed that Trump would have a tremendous blind spot about the importance of COVID, in that Trump conducted rallies that were super spreaders and role-modeled that masks were not important. So 57% of Democrats believed that COVID was the driving force of the election, and 23% of Republicans felt that way. I don’t know what the figure is for Independents, but we can surmise that a sizable portion of them considered COVID the driving force.
On that score, Trump was the substandard candidate and therefore lost. It made no sense that Trump should take that approach, but we must believe that Hashem decreed that Trump should no longer be our president for whatever reason. Maybe we weren’t zocheh enough to have his continued dedication to Israel.