One of the letters to the editor suggested that Sholom Markowitz and I exchange my column and his letter to the editor before publishing so they both can come out the same week. This idea has many logistical problems, including that I do not know anyone named Shalom Markowitz. If we both davened in the same shul or if he were someone I’d known for a long time and had his contact information, that may be a different situation.
I was planning to write a column about the problems in our political process, but I decided this week that I would try to stay positive. I saw in another paper that Senator Chuck Schumer secured $1.5 million in federal funding to renovate Yeshiva University’s Lamport Auditorium. This was not the first time that Senator Schumer has secured funds for Yeshiva University. For example, last year he made sure YU received $1 million for renovating Weissberg Commons.
What is significant was the timing. Yeshiva University is in the fight of its life. Last week, I mentioned three Jewish State Senate committee chairs who were investigating YU’s use of funds. It was clearly due to YU’s position in the lawsuit against it by the group YU Pride Alliance. In stark contrast to the chairs, Senator Schumer, instead of buckling to the pressure of the LBGTQ crowd, stood with YU. He even appeared with the Yeshiva University president to announce the award. He should be commended for his courage. I would hope that those who are quick to criticize Senator Schumer other times will have the intellectual honesty to praise him now.
Another story which on its face seems to be kind of a drag can be looked at with a positive message. Republican Congressman George Santos was accused by a then-homeless veteran of taking money that was raised for the veteran to pay for an operation for his dog. A GoFundMe page was sent up by Santos, which raised $3,000 for the veteran to pay for his dog’s operation. This was enough to pay for the operation. But the veteran never saw a dime. The dog did not have the operation and died. The veteran was so up upset that he contemplated suicide. The positive spin to the story is that people donated more than enough so that the dog could have the operation. It is one example of caring about others and putting their money where their mouth is.
On Sunday, January 22, I went to a charity hockey game with my son-in-law, an Islanders fan, at the rink at Eisenhower Park. The game included Islanders and Rangers alumni and nonprofessional hockey players who donated to the charity. The players on both sides should be commended for donating their time to help a charity. They raised $50,000.
It was the first time I had gone to an alumni game. I wore my 1994 Rangers Stanley Cup T-shirt. To my surprise, I did not notice anyone else in the sellout crowd wearing the same shirt. There were players from the 1994 Stanley Cup team, including Stéphane Matteau, who scored the most famous goal in Rangers lore during my lifetime, as well as Adam Graves, Alex Kovalev, and Doug Lister. Also appearing were two players who started playing before the NHL mandated helmets in 1979. One of them, Ron Duguay, looks like he is only in his fifties. It is amazing to see the skill level of the players even after all these years. A fun time was had by all for a worthy cause.
Helping charitable causes is not limited to these public events. In my neighborhood there are chesed committees and rabbis who have charity funds. A tremendous amount of help is done behind the scenes to respect the privacy and dignity of those who need help. Howevere, these feel-good stories are overshadowed by the dysfunctional government or violence we see reported daily.