Years ago, I composed lyrics for a well-known holiday tune, while I was having difficulties with my supervisor at work. This year, I made a concerted effort to celebrate each day of Chanukah by wearing Chanukah attire to publicize the miracle in my own way.
I was overwhelmed by the different celebrations in the city. Baruch Hashem, so many to choose from! I began the holiday with my father in Washington Heights and was happy to hear his brachos while I helped him light. We invited two neighbors in the building, who came up and celebrated with us. One neighbor reminisced about how she had celebrated with her family. The other neighbor remembered how my mother would welcome guests to her table.
The second night, I went to MacDonald Park. We waited an hour for candle lighting, but it was worth the wait, despite the cold. As the Chabad rabbi climbed the ladder and lit the menorah, I was moved to tears, watching with pride the flame burn in the night sky for all to see. Am Yisrael Chai.
I celebrated one night with my son in Fresh Meadows. He and his wife decorated the house with colorful decorations.
One night, I invited neighbors in my building in Forest Hills to celebrate. Another night I went over to an Israeli neighbor and taught her how to play dreidel.
The last night, I went to my old shul in Washington Heights, Breuer’s, and witnessed the chazan stand on a ladder and light a large menorah with candles that burn 24 hours. It was quite a sight! I am so grateful that my father could enjoy the holiday together with family.
Now that the holiday is over, it leaves a void. I miss seeing the candles burning brightly in the window. A friend told me that she lights candles every night with a towel on her head, as she observed her bubby do when she was growing up. Chanukah seems to be celebrated more than any other holiday except Pesach and Yom Kippur.
Everyone has that spark within, which is waiting to be kindled by a neighbor, relative, or friend. How do we keep that spark alive? By nourishing it, inviting neighbors and friends to share our celebrations. As the song goes, we need a little Chanukah, right this very minute, candles in the window, latkes in the oven – yes, we need a little Chanukah right now!
In a move that was long overdue, the United States Military’s Covid-19 vaccine mandate was finally lifted as part of the $858 billion defense spending bill that passed last week. After continuous negotiations, the mandate was ended over the objections of Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin who still believes, despite all evidence to the contrary, that the mandate was important for the health of the force. Given that Covid-19 disproportionately affects the elderly, the obese, and those with pre-existing medical conditions, three groups that one would assume have little overlap with the US Armed Forces, one has to wonder how General Austin’s opinion comports with reality. Currently, US military recruitment is at an all-time low, at 23 percent below target levels. The Covid vaccine repeal, unlike Secretary Austin’s fears, will likely have the opposite effect by easing recruitment efforts, thereby improving the strength of the US military.
Refusal of Covid vaccine mandates have forced hundreds of thousands, if not millions of US citizens out of their jobs in sectors such as health care, law enforcement, and education. Meanwhile, the Biden administration has allowed millions of unvaccinated, illegal aliens to invade this country through our open Southern border. So, apparently the need to get vaccinated is somehow tied to your citizen status: If you are a US citizen, you should get the jab; if you waltzed in here illegally over our open Southern border, no need to bother with it.
Instead of deploying our US Customs and Border Protection workforce of 60,000 people to tackle an actual crisis, such as millions of unchecked people coming into our country, they are laser-focused on trivial matters. I am telling you this from experience. My wife, the lovely and talented, but often absent-minded, Mrs. Stark, who is a US citizen, inadvertently left an orange in her bag on a recent flight home from Israel. Upon deplaning, she was detained for over an hour by three Customs agents interrogating her over the orange. Looking for a practical solution, she offered to eat the orange on the spot, which only enraged one of the officers even more than he was already worked up over the offending orange. After about an hour, she was released sans the orange, but one has to wonder how much illegal fentanyl poured into this country over the hour that these three Customs agents were busy interrogating a frum mother of five over her Israeli orange.
Kvetch, kvetch + whine, whine + six hrs. + Netflix = $100 million. This is the formula for becoming a multimillionaire. Each of us has most of these elements, with the exception of a Netflix contract. For that, your names must be Meghan and Prince Harry, the perfect embodiments of narcissism.
What did Meghan imagine would happen marrying into a super white dynastic family? Did she believe they’d be thrilled with the shidduch? Did she think curtsying to the Queen was some sort of joke? In addition, horror of horrors! Meghan had to wear muted-colored dresses so that she wouldn’t show up the Queen or her sister-in-law. It’s not as if someone asked her to put on shmatas instead of tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of dresses and shoes. My suggestion to her is that she read Megillas Esther and learn how to deal with monarchs.
Then we have Prince Harry, who is definitely no “metziah.” True, at a young age he lost his mother, but that was no reason to go to a party while wearing a Nazi armband. An apology does not “cut it.” Perhaps, if he had understood that his home country was almost decimated by Germany, he would have reconsidered his sartorial choices. I also suggest he read Parshas VaYeishev and understand what can happen if your brother or brothers hate you.
Yes, the press is hounding you, but you’re asking for it by giving up your positions and moving into an $11-14-million mansion surrounded by security, maids, and nannies. Find yourselves some real jobs, get your priorities straight, shop at Macy’s, and keep your mouths closed.
For years, I read in your paper how we should forget that Trump told us that there were “good people on both sides” when one side in Charlottesville were actual Nazis who chanted “Jews will not replace us” as they marched past a synagogue.
And we watched as many folks STILL ignore the fact that Trump threatened the 75 percent of American Jews who disagree with him, then had lunch with anti-Semites like Ye & Fuentes.
And now we have the Curious Case of George Santos, who made up an entire resume, likely committed violations of federal election laws, claimed his family fled persecution when the timeline doesn’t back it up, and now says he is “Jew-ish, not Jewish.” How long will it take for your newspaper to insist upon his resignation, when we all know that if it was a Democrat who invented a new autobiography from scratch, would it have taken a nanosecond for him/her to resign?
David S. Pecoraro
Former Vice President
Rosedale Jewish (not Jew-ish) Center
The Convention of States Project
Are you alarmed by the political trajectory of the United States? Are you apprehensive about the growing leviathan that is the federal government? Do you consider it disquieting that the federal government has exceeded its constitutional mandate many times over, and poses an existential threat to the states and individual liberty? While we wallow away in gloom and despondency, while we convince ourselves that there’s no tool at our disposal to reign in these federal abuses, I’m here to inform you that, indeed, there is a tool available to us that we can use to restore our constitutional republic to its former glory. It’s not some mysterious or obscure tool that nobody has heard of, because it’s been staring us right in the face this entire time. In fact, it’s enshrined in our very own Constitution of the United States. Allow me to explain.
Article V of the Constitution provides that, before the States ratify an amendment, it first must be formally proposed. It provides four methods of amending the Constitution, as follows: (1) Proposal by two-thirds of each house of Congress, then ratification by state legislatures. This method was used for all the amendments with the exception of the Twenty-First Amendment. (2) Proposal by two-thirds of each house of Congress, followed by ratification by popular conventions in each state. This method was used to adopt the Twenty-First Amendment, which repealed Prohibition. (3) Proposal by a “Convention for Proposing Amendments,” then ratification by popular conventions in each state. (4) Proposal by a “Convention for Proposing Amendments,” then ratification by state legislatures.
One of the aforementioned methods of amending the Constitution is called a convention of the states or a convention of states. The convention of states procedure begins when two-thirds of the state legislatures (34) adopt applications demanding that Congress call a convention on a particular subject. As soon as both chambers of the state legislature pass the application, that state becomes one of the required 34 states calling for a Convention. In order for the applications to be aggregated – counted together towards the 34-state threshold – they must all cover the same topic or set of topics for a Convention. Once the states reach the 34-state threshold, Congress must call the Convention and designate the location and time of the Convention. If it fails to exercise this power reasonably or at all, the states are at liberty to designate the location and time themselves.
The states then start the process of choosing their respective delegates or commissioners for the Convention. States are free to develop their own selection process for choosing their delegates. Historically, the most common method used was an election by a joint session of both chambers of the state legislature. Each state’s delegation participates in discussing, drafting, and voting on amendment proposals germane to the topic(s) stated in the 34 applications that triggered the Convention. According to historical precedent, each state has one vote at the convention. Amendments sent to the states are merely suggestions and have no authority until ratified by the states.
Thirty-eight states must ratify any proposed amendments before they become part of the Constitution. Each proposed amendment is ratified separately by the states even if proposed as a package (like the Bill of Rights). Ratification may be done by state legislatures or by state ratification conventions, which represent the people more directly. Historically, ratification has been by state legislatures (with the exception of the Twenty-First Amendment, as mentioned previously).
So, what is so unique about a convention of states? Why have I expended this much time explaining the process of a convention of states? It’s because this is the tool that I referenced earlier in my letter that the Framers of the Constitution provided to us to reign in the abuses of the federal government – by bypassing the federal government entirely. The Framers understood that the federal government would, sooner or later, extend its claws beyond the boundaries set for it by the Constitution. They heeded the lessons of history, which were two-fold: (1) that government power invariably grows and will continue to grow, if it isn’t restrained by those who created it in the first place; and (2) that governments do not voluntarily restrain their own power and authority. Do you honestly believe that Congress will adopt any amendment that constrains its powers, such as term limits, or a cap on spending? Obviously, it will not.
Thankfully, there’s an organization that has been expending a copious amount of time and energy working on this very subject, called the Convention of States Project, whose president is Mark Meckler. COS was founded to address some of the most pressing issues of our day – from the spending and debt crisis to the regulatory crisis, to congressional attacks on state sovereignty.
A convention of the states is the most effective means at our disposal to reign in the abuses of the federal government. But we can’t do it alone. We need to rally the troops, and we need the support of every patriotic American who loves and supports our Constitution and Bill of Rights. So, call your state representatives today and strongly urge them to support a convention of states. You can sign COS’s petition at https://conventionofstates.com/sign_the_petition.
Please join me as we fight to preserve our liberty and freedom. Nothing less is at stake.
Mr. Hecht is worried about “far-right extremists” in the Republican Party. Whether you think she’s extreme or not, Marjorie Taylor Greene is inconsequential. She plays no role in defining where the Republicans stand on a particular issue. The party is currently being run by the Freedom Caucus in the House, with whom soon-to-be-Speaker Kevin McCarthy had to negotiate in order to get the votes needed to win the speakership. So, it’s clear that those who follow the Constitution, who love freedom and private property rights are driving the agenda. Not the “extremists.”
Hecht’s beloved Democratic Party, which has been completely highjacked by the Marxists – all this transgender ideology, Critical Race Theory, our non-existent southern border, the war against fossil fuels – demonstrates that. This is all going on today, and those aren’t “moderate” positions at all. So, Mr. Hecht, once again you worry too much about what’s going on with the other side, when you’ve got serious issues of your own.
Mr. Hecht doesn’t define what a “traditional Republican” is. Does he mean “Republican In Name Only” [“RINO”]? Mitch McConnell, John Thune, John Cornyn, Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, and Mitt Romney: Are they your definition of traditional Republicans? They have no principles. Zero. They are oysvarfs. All of them! They all voted to pass a $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill that’s over 4,100 pages. Not a single one of them read it. It’s like what Nancy Pelosi said in 2010 about Obamacare: “We have to pass it to see what’s in it.” What’s in it is a bunch a wasteful spending on stupidity. $410 million for Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, Lebanon, and Oman for their border security. Are you kidding me? This is your definition of a traditional Republican, Mr. Hecht? Giving away our tax dollars when over five million illegals are crossing our southern border? And when Arizona tries to do something about it, AG Garland, the political hack that he is, goes and sues the State of Arizona to block them from securing their border!
This isn’t a balanced budget and it’s terrible public policy. The Republicans need leaders like Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and Ron DeSantis, principled Constitutional fighters, who understand the laws of economics. Clearly those others don’t, and those of us who pay attention can’t stand them. Time for term limits.
In 2022, just as in the past 23 years, Senator Chuck Schumer takes pride in visiting all 62 counties in New York State. He just visited Saratoga Springs to complete his tour. These annual visits provide him with a better understanding of the needs for residents of each county.
When was the last time he visited our southern border? He could view firsthand our ongoing invasion of illegal immigrants. For the second year in a row, it will exceed two million.
Schumer could also learn from border agents about their fight to stem the smuggling of fentanyl. This drug is killing over 100,000 Americans every year. Why doesn’t Schumer travel to El Paso, Texas, and observe this crisis firsthand? Perhaps it will convince him to stop holding up fully funding the completion of the construction of a border wall to protect our sovereignty as a nation.
Great Neck, New York