Remember the Occupy movement? You, know, that 2011 protest wherein a group of people held a sit-in for a number of days to remind the world that people who earn less than $500,000 a year existed? Or what about Black Lives Matter? That was pretty popular for a couple of years. March For Our Lives? The protest against the gun lobby? Or what about the Tea Party? Remember that movement of Conservatives and Libertarians to fight for a smaller federal government and a reduction of the national debt? What ever happened to these movements? You hardly hear about them anymore. Well, the truth is that they all faded over time. That’s what happens with fads. You are able to catch lightning in a bottle, exploit it for a time, and eventually the novelty fades. The truth is that all of these “movements” still exist. They have founders, heads, and websites, and still are involved in activism - albeit not necessarily the activism with which they started. But by and large, these movements go by the way of the fidget spinner – the interest decreases over time.

Before Pesach, I wrote an article explaining the potential dangers of government overreach during this pandemic and its ramifications on life after the virus has passed. Highlighted in the piece was a threat made by the worst mayor New York City has ever seen, Bill de Blasio, wherein he made the statement that synagogues and churches (not mosques) that choose to remain open will be forcibly shut down, and may even be closed permanently. Now while I am certainly not in favor of houses of worship choosing to stay open at this time, I am certainly not going so far as to abolish the First Amendment to do so.

Dolt de Blasio has never cared about the city’s Jews. Now he’s scapegoating us.

 Well, it’s happened. Who would have guessed that appointing his unqualified wife to head an inane COVID relief taskforce wouldn’t be the worst thing he did that day? Just when you thought Bill de Blasio couldn’t be any worse of a mayor, he goes out and says something so egregious that he got hammered by almost everyone, ally and foe alike. On April 28, de Blasio tweeted, “My message to the Jewish community, and all communities is simple: the time for warnings has passed. I have instructed the NYPD to proceed immediately to summons or even arrest those who gather in large groups. This is about stopping this disease and saving lives. Period.”

By now, there are very few shuls remaining open in the northeastern part of the country. Certainly the ones remaining open are doing so in secret. In fact, I can’t imagine that there are many synagogues across the country, and even around the world, that are still open. However, we know that there are. And this issue isn’t exclusive to the Jewish community. Every day, there are stories of not only synagogues, but churches and mosques being found open despite the mass requirement of social distancing. This has resulted in the new formation of “snitch culture,” where members of a community call the authorities to put an end to gatherings within their own communities. Religious leaders are being arrested and prosecuted for holding services – for choosing to disobey orders to remain closed.