Colors: Cyan Color

In February 1939, the German American Bund threw a pro-Nazi rally in Madison Square Garden that drew over 20,000 attendees. In the late 1970s, the National Socialist Party of America regularly demonstrated and marched in Chicago in support of neo-Nazi ideology, despite their numbers dwindling to a tenth of what they were. In 2017, with a few hundred on their side, neo-Nazis showed their face again in Charlottesville, Virginia. At each of these events and throughout the last century, most Americans ask themselves how it’s possible that people believe such a disgusting and perverse ideology that celebrates death and hatred. American college campuses are showing that not only does that ideology and mentality exist, but it is also in far larger numbers than American Nazis have ever had.

I went to the synagogue last Friday night to dance with the Torah and celebrate Shmini Atzeret, the last day of the fall Jewish holidays. My wife and I were overjoyed from experiencing the Chagim in Israel. We had prayed, sang and danced in the synagogue on Rosh HaShanah, davened fervently for a healthy and peaceful year on Yom Kippur, gone on family tiyulim (day trips), and spent long hours with children and grandchildren in our children’s Succah. On Shabbat morning, reality and the vicissitudes of life struck home. We were awakened at 6:30 a.m. by sirens signaling a rocket attack on Rehovot. Little did we know that by nightfall on that day, life in Israel would be changed for the foreseeable future.  

The news drifted around slowly, picking up fervor on the morning of Sh’mini Atzeres, as American Jews learned of the attacks by Palestinian terrorists into the heart of Israel. Hundreds of dead, thousands wounded, and a Jewish state declaring its first war in exactly 50 years. This is the time where even the most fair-weather friends of Israel back their actions, and the most despicable among us reveal themselves even more. The reactions from America are damning and telling.

I write this report from Yerushalayim where we spent a beautiful Sukkos holiday with our family. Beautiful until Shabbos Simchas Torah morning when news began to trickle out. The neighborhood we are in is all religious so no one was listening to the radio or checking their emails. So, the information was minimal, but enough to worry everyone. As the afternoon progressed, more news emerged. After havdalah, Motza'ei Shabbos/Yom Tov, we began to hear more detail, more horror, more deaths, more captives, more sorrow.

Fifty years ago, I was learning at Kerem B’Yavneh, a hesder yeshivah where Israeli students divided their time between learning at the yeshivah and military service. On the morning of Yom Kippur, we heard planes flying over the yeshivah, a clear sign that something was very wrong. As the day went on, students began to discreetly leave the yeshivah. Many of the students were in the army that Yom Kippur morning, conducting the t’filos. One was taken as a POW by the Syrians. Twelve never returned to the yeshivah.

Reality doesn’t care what political party you are a part of. Reality doesn’t have platitudes or talking points. Governor Kathy Hochul got hit with a dose of reality so hard that all the diatribes she gave when running for office fell flat on its face with the explosion of illegal migrants that is overwhelming New York.