I, like so many other members of klal Yisrael, am grateful to HaKadosh Baruch Hu that the little boy Yosef was found safe and unharmed. I am proud of how volunteers mobilized to join together and rejoice in the positive outcome. However, one issue that I have not heard addressed is why did this happen and how can it be avoided? I state clearly here that I have no inside information into the camp nor their policies; I will merely speak from personal experience as this incident brought back tremendous emotion.
Nearly ten years ago, when my son was just a couple of years older than Yosef, he was attending a local day camp that bused boys to parks, to swimming, to trips, etc. One afternoon, while I was at work, I got a call from an unknown number on my cell phone. At first, I ignored the call as I did not recognize the number, but when it rang a second time, I picked it up. It was my son. He was calling me from Vleigh Park where he had been left all alone. Here is what happened to the best of my recollection.
The camp bused the boys to the park for Leagues. While there, my son needed to use the bathroom. He asked one of the junior counselors if he could use the facilities and proceeded. When he came out, the boys were gone, his backpack was gone; he was all alone. I thank G-d that a caring mini-bus driver saw my son crying next to the fence. Not wanting to frighten him, he passed his cell phone through the fence and watched him make a call. My heart still races when I remember having my son on my cell, telling him to stay exactly where he was, while I phoned the camp from my work phone. The camp immediately raced to pick him up and I heard him reunited with a staff member. I let the camp director know under no uncertain terms that I expected a call that evening to let me know why exactly I should send my son back to camp the next day!
Now, let me say straight out, that while the junior counselor made a mistake, I hold no ill feelings towards him whatsoever. He himself was just a teen and the responsibility could not fall fully on his shoulders. That’s why, however, there must be checks and balances. These checks and balances are quite simple: Take attendance! Take attendance when your campers arrive in the morning. Take attendance when they board the bus. Take attendance before they reboard the bus to return. It is inconceivable to me that this is not emphasized, and as a parent who has sent five children to numerous day camps, I have seen this grievous error time and time again.
Perhaps Shomrim and Hatzalah volunteers could work with camps during orientation to emphasize this procedure. It shouldn’t be necessary, but it clearly is. And I believe if this simple common-sense practice were taken more seriously, future incidents could be avoided. Visual counts are not sufficient. Constantly taking attendance is the best and clearest way to keep track of our kids throughout the day and make sure that we never need to relive this experience.
Let’s work together to keep our children safe!
CHANGING DECK HANDS ON THE MTA FINANCIAL SS TITANIC
The recent departure of MTA Chairman Pat Foye was nothing new. They come and go every few years, but the status quo will remain under the new Acting Chairman Janno Lieber. It is the equivalent of changing captains on the Titanic. Both City Hall and Albany will continue to decrease hard cash contributions to the MTA by billions under MTA Five Year Capital Plans. This included past Governors Mario Cuomo (Democrat), George Pataki (Republican), Elliot Spitzer (D), David Patterson (D) and current Governor Andrew Cuomo. Both Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio have to date provided little of their respective $3.5 billion dollar promised contribution toward funding the MTA’s $51 billion 2020 - 2024 Five Year Capital Plan. Billions more are still needed from the state to make up for past cuts over previous decades. Everyone insisted that the MTA continue financing more and more of the Capital Program by borrowing. As a result, going forward by 2024, 23% of the annual MTA budget will go for covering the costs of debt service payments. This has grown over six capital programs or thirty years. By 2030, it could continue to grow even higher. This means less money is available for operations to provide more frequent safe reliable service to riders. It also means there is never enough money to reach a state of good repair. All MTA Chairman have no real independence to make real change as they are beholden to the Governor, their benefactor.
On August 12, you featured a story, Remembering Yitzchak Katzburg, written by Shlomo Teitz.
Yitzchak was recently tragically taken from us. His dear friend Shlomi Teitz wrote a moving tribute about him, capturing some of Yitzchak’s spirit.
There are a few inaccuracies we’d like to bring to light.
Yitzchak made aliyah in 2006.
2- Yitzchak served in the Israeli Army. However, he served only on Israeli territory, not in enemy territory. He and his unit did go into Arab villages to arrest terrorists, but it was not in enemy territory.
May the g’ulah come speedily and may we know of no tzaar in the Jewish nation.
Yerachmiel and Esther Katzburg
A few comments about Goldy Krantz’s column, “Being a Shadchan Doesn’t Mean You Are an Investigative Journalist” ( QJL, 8/4/21).
Goldy mentions the experience of her cousin with a shadchan. When the story begins, her cousin is described as in her late 30s; however, a few lines below, that supposedly relates to the same episode, she is said to be in her mid-40s!
An additional episode, with greater significance, discussed in this article is the description of a shadchan suggesting to another woman in her mid-40s that she should consider freezing her eggs. Goldy seems to think that suggestion is out of line and inappropriate for a shadchan to provide to a single seeking a spouse. However, Goldy is ignoring how caring, pragmatic, and valuable this advice could prove to be. It might enable this woman to pursue motherhood down the line when it would be too late if she hadn’t explored this option. Many women today are having children from eggs frozen when they were younger. There’s a huge number of single Jewish women doing this (best done by their mid-30s) and having children that they otherwise would be denied. Why withhold information that can make someone’s dream of motherhood come true?
With the shidduch crisis affecting virtually all segments of the Jewish community, coupled with our people’s demographic crisis, such options should be pursued and this advice should be much appreciated, not condemned.
I am responding to Warren Hecht’s article (“Not always Political”). In his article, Warren bemoans the fact that people do not trust the Biden administration. He goes on to blame Tucker Carlson and the rest of the “right wing” media for this state of affairs.
Here are the facts:
- The Biden administration has opened the southern border and is allowing COVID-19 patients to flood this country. People who come here illegally are not tested for COVID and do not wear masks. Even a four-year-old child could tell you that this is not the way to deal with a pandemic. Vice President Harris stated before the election that she does not trust the vaccines and would not take them. Now she says to take the vaccine because Trump is no longer president. The Dems falsely stated that Hydroxychloroquine is dangerous and will not help against COVID. They even banned doctors from using the drug. Now they admit that they lied. They only railed against hydroxychloroquine because Trump supported it. How can anyone trust a government that does this?
- Speaker Pelosi has demanded that Banks and Jordan be kicked off the committee investigating January 6. She narrowed the scope of the investigation to only testimony and evidence that could be used for a third impeachment of Trump. The important questions will not be answered.
For instance, Trump asked for the National Guard to be called up to protect the Capitol on January 6. Pelosi blocked this request. WHY? Trump called for a peaceful march to the Capitol. Pelosi ordered the word peaceful be deleted from the record. WHY? Ashi Babbit, an unarmed Trump supporter, was murdered by Capitol police. WHY? The Capitol police invited the demonstrators to come onto the Capitol. The vast majority of Trump supporters that were arrested simply walked around the Capitol and took selfies. They were charged with criminal trespass. The Antifa/BLM rioters who burned buildings and threw Molotov cocktails were not prosecuted. Why? I have much more to say on these issues, but this will suffice for now. I challenge Mr. Hecht or anyone else to answer these questions.