I remember January 1, 2020. It was only a year ago, but it feels so long ago and in a different world and time. On that day, I was at MetLife Stadium celebrating the Siyam Hashas. It was the most enjoyable January 1 I have ever had. The enjoyment felt by those tens of thousands who were there was clear for all to see. The secular society was also having their New Year’s Eve and New Year’s celebrations.  It was a new decade with anticipation. Who would’ve expected that the year would turn so tragically so quickly?

I remember twenty years ago when I heard the arguments in Bush v. Gore, and I was proud of the process. I did not agree with the decision, but I believe it was based on the law and not on politics. On December 13, 2000, Vice President Gore, who was disappointed with the outcome, accepted the result. He gave a speech that the country is more important than one person or party. As a result, the U.S. moved on, united with George Bush as president. Gore had won the popular vote, and the difference between Bush and Gore was about 500 votes.

This past year there were 43 letters to the editor written in response to my articles - 2 positive and 41 critical. Most were written by frequent critics. I have a better average than the president and his allies have had in court in trying to overturn results of the election. Despite what people would expect, I encourage everyone who wants to comment to send in to the paper. On occasion, it helps me focus on my message and explain an argument that may have not been as clear as I thought.

My father, whose 10th Yahrzeit is the fourth day of Chanukah, did not like to talk about his growing up in the Lower East Side. It was an experience that he wanted to forget. However, one story he did mention on more than one occasion was his experience working in a kosher butcher. He remembered that that the owner, who was a religious man, would put his thumb on the scale when weighing the meat to increase the weight. This had a profound negative effect on the level of his religious observance. I am sure he was not the only one whose level of religious observance was negatively affected by conduct of religious Jews.