Queens Jewish Link readers are rightly deeply concerned about increasing incidents of anti-Semitism. A powerful, simple way to show our Jewish communal response will be on Tuesday, January 31, at 9 a.m., when Matthew Mahrer and Christopher Brown are due in New York State Supreme Court, Criminal Term, 111 Centre Street, Manhattan, room 733, before Judge Diane Kiesel.
Readers will recall that the pair were arrested on November 18 at Penn Station after threatening on social media to attack an unnamed synagogue – could have been yours, or mine – as early as the next day. Police confiscated from them an illegal gun, ammunition, a hunting knife, body armor, and a Nazi armband.
Although Brown remains in jail, Mahrer – who lives around the corner from Congregation Ohab Zedek in Manhattan – incredibly has been allowed out on bail, without even an ankle monitor. Our message must be clear: Until trial, put Mahrer out of public circulation, where he’s a potential menace and could still be ingesting online hate 24/7. Even if you can’t make it to the court, you can help spread this message to family and friends.
Thank you for publishing quality content in your newspaper week after week. I agree with Larry Penner that the Letters to the Editor section is one of the most popular sections in the paper. Personally, it’s the first section of the paper I check every week.
Larry’s take on fiscal policy and Debbie Horowitz’s weekly pot luck submissions are great. Jason Stark’s exposure of political hypocrisy and his takedowns of the medical establishment are always on the mark.
I have one suggestion: Have Warren Hecht “cc” his column to Shalom Markowitz so we don’t have to wait a week and can read the rebuttal in the same paper.
A young guy in shul this morning, who is visiting from Israel, asked me what time we would get to Barchu. I know from experience that lots of my fellow Orthodox Jews keep a sharp eye on the clock while they are davening; in fact, the amud that the baal t’filah uses in my shul has an actual listing of the various times he should be reaching the various sections of the service.
I find this notion absolutely ridiculous! I told the young man, “I have no idea. When I’m davening, I’m talking to Hashem, not looking at the clock.”
Why on Earth are we so very obsessed with time during prayer when we should consider ourselves to be in a place beyond time and space? There is one guy in my shul who, after Minchah, announces how many minutes and seconds we have until Maariv. This is amazingly stupid for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that in the days of the Gemara there was no such concept as seconds. They hadn’t been invented yet! And to imagine that G-d is standing in heaven with a stopwatch, timing us to see if we start the one precise and proper moment – and that it matters – is something that a small child should be embarrassed for thinking. When do we get smarter?
It reminds me of that pathetic joke: Someone asks a young Orthodox Jew whether he ever thinks about G-d. The young man responds, “Are you kidding? I get up in the morning, say my prayers, wash and get dressed, do Daf Yomi, then I’m off to Shacharis, then to yeshivah where I learn all day, then attend a series of shiurim, then there’s Minchah and Maariv, and then the rav gives a class. When am I supposed to find time to think about G-d?”
So, the news has finally broken that Joe Biden mishandled classified documents. What does this really mean? Probably not much for Biden, but everything for Donald Trump.
Before the big revelation, Trump’s prosecution was full pedal to the metal. Biden’s classified documents case is arguably worse, as he never had the power to declassify the documents in question when he was Vice President. Moreover, according to a New York Post story, he was storing the documents in the garage of a home belonging to his degenerate son, Hunter. Given these developments, and given that the US Department of Justice is essentially the prosecutorial arm of the Democratic Party, it is very unlikely that Biden will face any severe consequence for his actions. Under the hyper-partisan Merrick Garland’s DOJ, laws are meant to be used to prosecute Republicans. Any law that must be equally applied to Democrats will be disregarded.
That said, what we have here is offsetting penalties or a double technical foul. The most likely scenario for how this plays out is Garland gives Biden the same treatment James Comey gave Hillary Clinton for her classified documents case. He will intentionally misinterpret a strict liability statute by reading intent into it and let Biden go with a slap on the wrist. For all those hyperventilating Never-Trumpers like Warren Hecht, this also likely means their dreams of seeing Trump behind bars are likely crushed.
The DOJ knew about the Biden classified documents during the first week of November. Yet, like the Hunter Biden laptop story, law enforcement again protected Democrats by sitting on an extremely negative Biden story until after an election. Warren Hecht facetiously wrote last week that he “can’t wait for the so-called “law and order party” to investigate the FBI, the Department of Justice, and “woke” prosecutors.” One can reasonably infer that Mr. Hecht naively assumes all is on the up and up with these agencies, and any investigation into their corrupt, partisan practices would be frivolous.
This latest bombshell development, shedding light once again on institutional corruption at the highest levels, should put that notion to bed.
In Rabbi Schonfeld’s column a few weeks back, titled “Trump Chump,” he described how President Trump went from champion of the Jewish people to someone willing to sit down with virulent anti-Semites. I’m not a psychologist, but the explanation given for Trump’s transformation from hero to villain seems a bit simplistic. Perhaps I can shed some light on Trump’s evolution with a mashal.
Once upon a time, there was a large company. The company under the leadership of a smooth-talking CEO, who promised great things for the company, underperformed greatly for almost a decade. Shareholders decided they wanted a change and selected a new CEO who happened to be a businessman with a more pragmatic, no-nonsense approach than his predecessor. This new CEO appointed many Jews to fill the top, prominent positions of the company. The company’s performance wildly exceeded expectations and they were extremely profitable for the next three years.
However, there was a problem. There was a bunch of long-term employees in the company. Although they never really contributed much to the profitability of the company, they were entrenched there for decades. Some of them had some very Jewish-sounding names such as Schiff, Schumer, Nadler, and Raskin. These employees decided they needed to save the company from their own perceived predations of its CEO. They led an internal plot to oust the successful CEO. The plot was based entirely on falsehoods. One of the employees, named Adam, went on TV every day promising to all that he was sitting on a mountain of evidence of the CEO’s scandalous wrongdoing that would lead to the ouster of the CEO. With the help of the media, much of the public was convinced of the CEO’s guilt. Eventually, there was an internal investigation that lasted many months. The investigation, which cost the company tens of millions of dollars, yielded none of the scandalous results that were promised by Adam, and the CEO retained his position. The CEO was never able to fire these rogue employees, although he continued to harbor extreme distaste for their underhanded tactics.
I could go on with the mashal, but I think what has occurred is pretty obvious to all. Trump, who did wonderful things for the Jews and Israel while he was President was paid back with a barrage of unfair and dishonest attacks that unfortunately were led by a bunch of our co-religionists. I do not condone any of Trump’s current repugnant behavior, nor do I support his current candidacy for President, but let’s not overlook some of the root causes of Trump’s turn for the worse.
Those Who Live In Glass Houses...
The Gemara in Kiddushin (70a) offers a psychological analysis into those who are quick to criticize others. The Gemara there says “Kol ha’poseil, b’mumo poseil,” translated as “All who invalidate, invalidate with their own defect.” The idea here is that one who criticizes or puts down others should first look within himself to see if that specific defect is actually part of his own makeup.
The lessons from the Gemara are timeless, of course, but they are particularly appropriate in today’s times – a lesson that President Joe Biden and his supporters could really use. The President went on CBS’ 60 Minutes program last year and criticized Donald Trump for holding classified documents in his Mar-a-Lago residence, stating, “How could anyone be that irresponsible?” Then, last week, news emerged that Biden himself was holding onto classified documents in at least two different unsecured locations. The elites in mainstream media are contorting themselves into Talmudic pretzels, attempting to explain to us, the unwashed masses, how Trump’s actions are worthy of prison while Biden’s transgressions are far less serious.
Biden and his cohorts for years decried the “inhumane” and “racist” border policies implemented by the Trump administration. Yet how many thousands of illegal immigrants have been killed or trafficked under the de facto open border policies of Biden? How many Americans have been killed by the fentanyl that is being imported into this country daily by the drug cartels?
In 2020, Biden mocked Trump for being too focused on the soaring stock market while he claimed the economy was doing poorly. He promised to be “laser focused on working families, not the wealthy investor class.” Since Biden took over, the stock market has cratered. 2022 saw the stock market plummet about 20 percent. This of course hurts all Americans, not just wealthy ones. The working class have had their 401k’s decimated, and Biden’s economic policies have unleashed the greatest regressive tax in American history on the poor in the form of record inflation.
In a Labor Day speech last September, Biden accused Trump and the MAGA movement of “anger, violence, hate, and division.” Yet Biden stayed silent for months on the BLM riots that caused mayhem and devastation across the country while his running mate at the time, Kamala Harris, publicly supported the Minnesota Freedom Fund, a fund used to bail out BLM rioters and looters.
Lastly, Biden and his supporters have often pointed out Trump’s personality flaws, including infidelity, which in politics certainly is fair game. They hailed Biden’s election as a “return to normalcy.” Finally, decency was back in the White House. Just don’t look too closely. And certainly, don’t look into the past. In 2020, allegations emerged of a 1993 assault by Biden on a campaign staffer named Tara Reade. This story was summarily quashed by mainstream media. Further evidence of Biden’s alleged improprieties with his own daughter were uncovered last year when undercover reporters from Project Veritas got possession of Ashley Biden’s diary.
Given the exhaustive list of Biden’s mumim, perhaps one would expect some contrition and humility. Instead, we get a steady diet of denials, misdirection, and outright lies from Biden and his handlers. The DC swamp doing what it does best!
Mr. Hecht, I wouldn’t be so giddy if I were you. But since Democrats love historical firsts, then sure, let’s celebrate. This administration is about to have three members impeached and one of them is the sitting President. DHS Secretary Mayorkas has clearly snubbed the Constitution and his duty to protect our southern border. In fact, Articles of Impeachment have already been filed against him by Representative Fallon of Texas.
Secretary Buttigieg has been a complete failure from the time he was sworn in. First was a supply chain crisis that had over 100 shipping vessels off the coast of California waiting to get unloaded. Then, we had a near rail strike that took Congress to act to avoid the strike. (As an aside, I thought Democrats were union guys. Then why get involved in the labor dispute?) Next, we had a disastrous holiday season at our nation’s airports, Southwest Airlines having huge problems; and now the FAA computer system goes down and the US had to ground all domestic flights, which hadn’t been done since 9/11! He’s on the hot seat.
Which brings us to good old Joe. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Is he going to get the Hillary Clinton treatment? He, like Clinton, clearly violated the Espionage Act. The bar is gross negligence, not intent. President Biden, it appears, has had top secret classified US documents in very accessible areas. His son, Hunter, was dishonorably discharged from the military and has no security clearance. He had access to some of those documents. If that’s not gross negligence, I don’t know what is.
Now the mainstream media and the lefties are trying to compare this to Trump. It’s not even close. Mar-a-Lago is under Secret Service protection and the documents were not in a box in the garage. No one can just waltz into President Trump’s office and see our top secrets. President Trump was the President. By definition, he is the Executive Branch and, as such, he and only he can classify and declassify materials. Joe Biden was the Vice President, and he had no such authority.
Mr. Hecht, when you live in a glass house, don’t throw stones. This is nothing to party about.
As for Mr. Hecht’s characterization of the Freedom Caucus members as extremists, I’d beg to differ. Those fighting for our Constitution and individual liberties are not extremists. You know who is? Rashida Tlaib. She had the audacity last week to go on the floor of the House of Representatives and claim that Israel is an apartheid state and that the US must stop sending aid there.
Another example is our pathetic governor. Her war on natural gas and trying to ban gas stoves is beyond the pale. Natural gas is clean energy and cost-effective. Her climate agenda is as radical as can be.
Last example is George Soros. He has infiltrated every DA’s office in every major city in the country. Now he is purchasing AM radio stations to take on conservative talk radio. So far, he’s purchased two Spanish-speaking stations in the Miami area. The man is pure evil and is the epitome of one who hates our freedoms and individual liberties.
My new password is "Stupid1" or "Naive2." That's how I've been feeling lately. The other day, I looked at my messages and noticed in bold letters that my Netflix account had been deactivated. Well, this was a bombshell. How would I view (okay, binge on) my favorite Israeli, British, or American shows? Without Netflix, I would have to finish reading that 400-page book that never ends, start sorting through old clothes to give away, comb through my Pesach box to see what I have to update, polish silver, or actually cook.
I carefully filled out all the information they requested and felt so proud of myself. I'm not exactly a tech maven, and when possible, I prefer to listen to a human voice rather than fill out boxes. However, after revealing what even I believed to be too much information, I questioned this site's veracity. Sure enough, upon rereading the message, I noticed a spelling mistake, which is a telltale sign that something is amiss. I then realized this wasn't legit.
Swallowing hard, I had to admit to my daughter and son-in-law my folly. Thank goodness, they didn't berate me, but instead took steps to cancel cards and clear my name. I already knew about the "grandson scam," where someone purporting to be your grandson calls you up, tells you he's in prison, and asks you to post bail. But this Netflix scam should be a cautionary tale to anyone who thinks that too much information is being requested online. Learn a lesson from me. It's better to be cautious than sorry.