Last year we invited two single guys to join us at the Purim seudah (meal). One of them backed out because he was worried about COVID. He was one of the smart ones who realized early on that this is serious. The second person canceled at the last-minute, stating that his relatives were having a meal and he wanted to join them. I will never know whether that was the real reason or if he already might have had COVID, since he died shortly thereafter from the coronavirus. Tragically, he is part of a large group. On Purim 2020 there were 760 reported cases and 23 deaths in the United States. A year later there are 28,554,887 cases and 511,998 deaths. Queens County has the fifth highest number of deaths by county in the country. Right above Queens County is Kings County. The president held a ceremony acknowledging the milestone of 500,000 deaths. I must get used to Biden doing the cross at these events. It is not traditionally done by presidents and it is not something Jewish people do. Nevertheless, in a country where the trend is to be anti-religious, there is something refreshing to seeing its leader use religious symbolism.

At times during the Trump presidency, I felt like I was the only one speaking out against Trump. My isolation was not only in the columns I wrote. One would look at the letters to the editor which mirrored the ideas of my fellow columnists who discussed politics. It was few and far between for anyone to criticize the Trumpian columnists no matter how extreme their positions had become. It was not because everyone agreed with them. I would frequently receive support via email or in person, from those who agreed with what I say. Some would also tell me that I am the only one in the paper who they agree with. However, they were afraid to say anything publicly because of fear of being berated in the paper or in the community. Someone told me that if they came out against Trump they would lose their job. Now there is a new president, and maybe the tide is starting to change. In the January 28 Queens Jewish Link, there were two letters to the editor taking to task the comments of three of the Trumpian columnists. Another letter from a frequent critic begrudgingly admitted that “there are just too many people who think like Warren Hecht.” Keep it going. I look forward to the day when the majority of the letters will be in support of the new administration and against the Trumpians.

Rudy Giuliani is being sued for defamation by Smartmatic Voting Company and Dominion Voting Systems for over one billion dollars because of his claims that their machines were used as part of the fraud to steal the election away from Trump.

I understand the position that the House Managers were in after the vote to stop the hearing because it is unconstitutional to try a president who is now an ex-president. The motion lost 45-55, but it showed that the Managers were not going to get the two-thirds majority to convict. I’ve been in similar situations, having to go ahead on an appeal that I knew no matter what I would do, that it was a loser. It is not a great feeling.