Colors: Cyan Color

In a surprise announcement, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy lifted mask mandates on students and teachers, effective the second week of March.  With this move, the state joins a myriad of Western European countries moving to return to a semblance of normalcy for the first time in two years.  The question that New Yorkers should be asking is: Will Governor Kathy Hochul follow suit?

As Joe Biden circles the drain, both mentally and in his approval ratings, Republican executives are waking up to the fact that conservative governance is actually popular. Biden’s approvals have tanked during his first year not because he failed to deliver on promises he made, but rather because he is keeping those promises. While Democrats have the advantage on the campaign trail, the reality of governing benefits Republicans.

The 2020 census posed a difficult challenge for the Democrats in New York.  Years of their policies - both statewide and specifically in New York City - have decimated their population to the point where they have lost eight Congressional seats since 1980, dropping every decade during the apportionment period. Rather than giving the minority Republican voters a chance to have some representation both in Albany and Washington, Democrats are gerrymandering the state to continue their quest to make New York more like California.

In honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which falls out on January 27, let’s study the history of the Aliyah Bet, the code name for the illegal operation of refugee ships before, during, and after the Holocaust.

In 1994, I introduced Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to a group of Jewish leaders at the Young Israel of Forest Hills. I used the words that the Megillah used to describe Mordechai: “He sought the good of his people.” Nothing in the years since has changed that opinion. Yet, as I write this obituary, I cannot help but think of the words King David used to eulogize an ancestor of Mordechai, King Saul: “Woe how the mighty have fallen.” Like most people who accomplish significant things, Sheldon Silver was a man with a mixed legacy. He deserves to be remembered for the entirety of his work. Hatzalah, Ohel, the Met Council on Jewish Poverty, and many other Torah and chesed institutions are his legacy. He championed the cause of agunos and secured the right to burial according to halachah.

In a shocking turn of events, a New York State Supreme Court justice deemed Governor Kathy Hochul’s mask mandate for schools and public areas unconstitutional. This ruling takes away the final excuse that schools have to keep mandating the masking of children, and every parent should immediately demand that masking of their child be a decision made by them, not the school.