The Way It Iz

A Tale Of Two Stories

 Governor Andrew Cuomo is facing two major allegations that have the potential to be the catalysts...

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So here we are. One week before Election Day. The fate of the next four years will be decided this Tuesday. Once again, we hear the same old tropes: “This is the most important election in history,” and, “The future of the nation in your hands.” We have an endless stream of “get out the vote” movements, whether from pop culture, sports, social media, or a random ad on a YouTube video. There’s early voting, mail-in voting, absentee voting, and it’s hard to remember, but you are allowed to vote on Election Day itself. Regardless of how you choose to get your information or entertainment, you are being told to vote.

In the waning hours of 5780, America lost an icon. Ruth Bader Ginsburg left behind a tremendous legacy of the fight for equality, especially in the realm of women’s rights, and for a more comprehensive look at the life of the Supreme Court Justice, I recommend checking out Sergey Kadinsky’s piece from last week. The news of her death brought on an immediate debate about what to do with the vacant seat, and that was covered by Moshe Hill last week. I realize now that the Queens Jewish Link has talked a lot about RBG, but she has left an indelible mark on society, and that mark is the one I’d like to talk about this week.

This week’s parshah (I know, not how I tend to start a column) lends us a hand in understanding two very different mentalities currently at odds with each other in this country. Noach is described as an ish tzadik tamim haya b’dorosav, being a righteous and pure man of his generation. Rashi discusses the two ways to read this pasuk. The first is that Noach was a righteous man in a terrible generation, and had he existed in a different time, he would have been even greater. Opposing that is the opinion that Noach was only great in comparison to his terrible generation, but had he existed in a time period with greater men, he would not have been of note.

Just when you thought 5780 couldn’t do any more damage, the waning moments of the old year left us with the news of the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Between fights over coronavirus, social justice issues, and climate change, 5780 gave us plenty to argue about. Now we can add Supreme Court nominations to the list. If there is one thing this country could not afford right now, it’s another heated debate.

Ever since the worst mayor in New York City’s history came out with his plan to curtail the spread of COVID in several New York City neighborhoods, and the subsequent minor changes made by Governor Cuomo, one could not help but hear a lot of accusations and anti-Semitism against two of the highest-level lawmakers in the state. There have even been accusations of Nazism levied against the two.

This year will mark my seventh Rosh HaShanah that I will be leading Musaf. I began in 2014; and from the outset, I decided that each year I will focus on one aspect of davening to improve. The first year, I focused on Malchiyus, Zichronos, and Shofaros. The next year, it was Hineni. However, there was one other part of davening that I chose to set my mind to changing every year: U’N’saneh Tokef.

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