Colors: Blue Color

What it means for us and the NYPD

By Shabsie Saphirstein

The sweeping nationwide “Defund the Police” movement hit the streets of New York City this past week and has left many confused and angry, as many argue that hardworking and law-abiding citizens will ultimately suffer if cities opt to decrease the presence of law enforcement. There are radicals who support this undertaking and are attempting to take over neighborhood policing. In Minneapolis, a veto-proof majority of the city council has said they will dismantle their police department. It is concerning, to say the least, but what does it mean for us and the NYPD?

Whenever the parshiyos of Acharei Mos and K’doshim converge, as they did this past Shabbos, I think of an old quip: “Acharei Mos” – after one’s death, “K’doshim,” people eulogize the niftar – regardless of the truth – that he was a kadosh – holy and pure. This past Shabbos morning, as my distinguished uncle, Rabbi I. Nathan Bamberger z”l, took leave of this world at age 95, I can say with absolute conviction that he lived his life with authentic k’dushah.

As many businesses remain closed and families still struggle with the repercussions of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Met Council, Council Member Stephen Levin, and the Williams Plaza Tenants Association distributed food to hundreds of families to get them through Yom Tov. Armed with 500 boxes fully packed with groceries, Councilman Levin and his staff distributed these kosher boxes to families to ensure they would have enough to eat before Shavuos in Williamsburg.

A classical phrase in the Torah is al kanfei n’sharim, literally “on the wings of eagles.” Today, the world is being transported on the wings of COVID-19. The SARS-CoV-2 virus, and its accompanying pathology, has dominated human behavior since first being reported in February. In March, much of the world went into lockdown and a tentative return to normalcy is just now beginning. What will the future look like?

On May 15 (or possibly later), Governor Cuomo will begin to “reopen” New York State for business. Ideally, it should be an orderly process, where priority will be given to services based upon their level of importance and risk as opposed to a single “open the gates” approach. For example, hospitals and medical practices should be first in line, as non-elective and elective procedures were given a backseat in order to make room for COVID-19 patients. As fewer cases are being reported, hospital wards are becoming emptier. This puts a major financial strain on medical institutions. Other places that should follow are banks and government offices, but it won’t be long before everywhere else will reopen. 

 Since the end of February most citizens in countries around the world have remained glued to their televisions. CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and various local news outlets have all dominated our brainwaves. Whereas in autocratic states the news media is simply a tool of the government, in democracies the role of the news media is to provide citizens with independent and objective reporting of the facts.