As Purim comes around, I am reminded of the Purim Parade and Carnival we used to have on Main Street. Everyone has fond memories of the parade and carnival. It was an event that really brought the community together. The last time the event occurred was in a February, and I remember it being really cold that day and the carnival was mostly deserted; however, in years with better weather, I remember it being well attended. At that time, Kew Gardens Hills was smaller than it is today. Perhaps this parade and carnival could be revived – however, as a Lag BaOmer Parade and Carnival. The weather is better in May than it is in February/March, when Purim occurs.
There is already a small Lag BaOmer event run by the Chabad House on Main Street, and they close 77th Avenue; but they have this event on the exact day of Lag BaOmer, which isn’t always a Sunday, when this event should be held. He does get some people to attend, so there is a demand for this event.
I am suggesting that our local elected leaders, our community leaders, our rabbanim, and local businesses get together and revive this event. I do not know what such an event would cost or what permits would be required, but it could be obtained. We have some fairly decent-sized businesses in the community that could help sponsor the event and provide things like food and rides. There is also some city money that can be obtained for community events. (There is a Labor Day parade and carnival in Electchester, which could be a model for this event.)
First, Senator Charles Schumer, while speaking at the Sunnyside, Queens, St. Patrick’s Day Parade, stated that “President Donald Trump is not welcome in Queens.” He went on to support the LGBT community. Schumer’s hatred of Trump is so strong, that, should Democratic Socialist Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders win his party’s nomination, Schumer would enthusiastically endorse him, regardless of his less-than-friendly support for Israel.
Next, Schumer, speaking at an abortion pro-choice rally on the steps of the United States Supreme Court, said about Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, “You have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price. You will not know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.” Imagine if you or I made such statements about the President or Justices of the Supreme Court. We would be visited by members of the President’s Secret Service or the FBI. Perhaps Senator Schumer forgot about civil discourse in America. Democrat, Republican or Independent, Liberal or Conservative, we have a long-held tradition of respect for our government institutions, be it the President or the Supreme Court. Perhaps Schumer missed attending his Civics class at James Madison Brooklyn High School, Harvard College, and Harvard Law School.
Schumer’s continued arrogance “that it is my way or the highway” is disappointing to those who are looking for bipartisan cooperation and compromise. No wonder political gridlock continues in Washington. Perhaps Schumer is part of the problem, as opposed to part of the solution. Voters should remember this in 2022 when he stands for re-election.
I just watched a debate about what a “socialist” is and is not. It included Paul Krugman, who is an Opinion columnist for The New York Times newspaper, as well as a Nobel Prize-winning economist.
He clearly explained what a socialist is and is not. Yet, I was taken aback by many of the online comments. They either did not understand what he is saying or did not want to understand what he is saying.
I want to explain it to you and your readers as I did to my students when I was a college professor/teacher:
A socialist is someone who wants to totally abolish our market-based capitalist economic system and to replace it with a socialist economic system in which “the means of production” (in other words, the workplaces) would be owned and controlled by some entity such as “the state,” “the workers,” “the government,” or “the people.”
They would not be owned and controlled by individuals and groups of individuals. I want you to know that there has never been a large-scale society (such as ours) in which a truly socialist economy has ever been able to produce enough wealth to meet the survival needs of its members. That’s why, if you have the brains that G-d gave to little chickens, you do not advocate for a socialist economy, and have enough sense not to call yourself a socialist. It has never “worked.”
The Democrats, whom conservative-Republicans insist on falsely and incorrectly and dishonestly calling “socialists,” are actually “liberals” and “progressives” who want our capitalist economic system to be made “more humane” by spending more on federal government social programs such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and College Student Loans, as well as to pass some new programs such as passing a national health insurance program to cover everyone, such as the one that exists in Ontario, Canada.
What Krugman is pointing out is that if you simply believe in and support a social program like Social Security, that does not make you a “socialist.” My students “got it.” Do you?
Stewart B. Epstein
(Stewart is a retired college professor of Sociology, Social Work, and Psychology who has taught at West Virginia University, Slippery Rock University, and Keuka College.)