Donald Trump’s presidential legacy includes an array of highlights, but the appointment of Amy Coney Barrett as the 103rd justice on the United States Supreme Court will forever be a notable climax. The first decision where her influence weighed heavily was passed down late on the eve of Thanksgiving, giving many a welcome surprise this past Thursday morning in a ruling that has temporarily barred New York State from enforcing the restrictive 10- and 25-person attendance limits at houses of worship in red and orange zones, respectively.

The Three Weeks is the time period during which we mourn the churban of the [First and Second] Beis HaMikdash as well as the countless atrocities that klal Yisrael has endured over the centuries at the hands of those who hate us and want to annihilate us. We know on an intellectual level that life without the Beis HaMikdash is not as it should be. We also understand that there was much pain and suffering during the Spanish Inquisition, pogroms, blood libels, the G’zeiros Tach v’Tat, and the Crusades. But many of us are most able to relate on an emotional level to the more recent events that hit closer to home. There is an abundance of museums, books, videos, testimonies, and programs designed to ensure that the Holocaust will never be forgotten. Despite the fact that the number of Holocaust survivors is dwindling, our generation continues to be impacted by their experiences and inspired by their spirit and m’sirus nefesh. It is especially poignant when there is a personal story within one’s family.

Questions of "annexation" have taken center-stage lately. Since the revealing of President Donald Trump's Peace Plan, pundits and politicians have been asking: Should Israel annex "Area C," a/k/a Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley, as outlined in the Oslo Accord? Before we can answer this question, which evokes mixed feelings worldwide, we must question whether "annex" is the correct word at all.

This year’s Independence Day marks the 245th year of the United States, a country that has been attracting more immigrants than any other throughout its existence. The freedom of religion and economic opportunities made this nation the leading diaspora country for the Jewish people. Our expression of gratitude for this country is limited this year not only by the coronavirus pandemic that restricts our presence at public celebrations, but also this year’s Fourth of July occurring on Shabbos.

Part 2

Continued from last week

 After living peacefully among their non-Jewish neighbors for many years, the lives of the Jews of Kittsee changed drastically right after the Anschluss. They lost their rights, were humiliated, and eventually were thrown out of their homes on Pesach. They wandered from border to border for days with no food or drink, begging to be admitted to another country but no country would take them in.

Donovan Richards was born and raised in Southeast Queens. He received an associate’s degree in Aviation Management from Vaughn College of Aeronautics and went from there to the Academy of Aviation. In March of 2003, after the fatal shooting of his childhood friend in front of his home, Donovan committed to be involved in politics. In 2011, Richards became chief of staff for NYC Councilman James Sanders, Jr., and when Sanders was elected to the New York State Senate, Richards won a 2013 special election to the NYC Council to succeed him, serving a district that includes South Jamaica and Far Rockaway, an office he still holds. During his first term, he secured more than $1.5 billion to help fill the enormous sewer infrastructure problem of flooding in Southeast Queens. In the second half of his term, Richards was at the center of Mayor de Blasio’s push for affordable housing across the city. Donovan has had the benefit of a religious education, at a Christian Academy, a time that he says he will never forget, and this guides his concern with the work he does with the yeshivah school system.

Most Read