Blue and White: Shmuel Sackett

Two Important Lessons from the Holocaust

Jews put a lot of focus on the past. We just concluded Pesach where we read, discussed, and even...

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By the time you read this, we may well know the result of the Special Election for the City Council. But if you think there will be a respite from politics, guess again. The big election this year will be the Primary on June 22. The winner has already started running for re-election and potential opponents are already gearing up. They will start collecting signatures to get on the ballot in less than three weeks.

This past week, a skit on Saturday Night Live (SNL) caused a storm in the Jewish world. Michael Che Campbell, a stand-up comedian, actor, and writer on the show, said the following (as part of his skit): “Half the folks in Israel have already gotten the COVID vaccine. I’m going to guess it’s the Jewish half.” Many Jewish groups immediately screamed “anti-Semitism!” and have demanded an apology from the producers of SNL and the executives at NBC. In my humble opinion, no apology is necessary. On the contrary! Israel needs to send a “Thank You” card to SNL for publicizing that fact. Yes, Israel takes care of Jews first…and we are very proud of that!

Many of us would not consider ourselves political individuals and do not put going to the polls on our list of priorities. Nonetheless, casting your ballot gives you a voice on issues ranging from housing and education to employment and healthcare. Being involved in the voting process allows you make a real difference in the makeup and decisions within your community. Casting a vote has dire consequences for the quality of life that both you and your family experience today and in the years ahead. From riding the bus or train to raising minimum wage to getting better textbooks in school, your vote decides how these issues will play out. Casting your ballot affords you the opportunity to delegate how your hard-earned tax dollars are divvied out for necessities like medical expenses and social services that many take for granted.

Over the years, many people have asked me, “Shmuel, I’d love to live in Israel, but what about my job? What about the kids in school? How do I know I’ll be happy with my new neighborhood? Will I adjust to the different medical system? How will I manage?” To all these questions, I have the same answer: “Hashem speaks Hebrew!” Huh? Let me explain what I mean.

Jews put a lot of focus on the past. We just concluded Pesach where we read, discussed, and even sang about what happened to our people over 3,300 years ago. Every Shabbat we read portions of the Torah, about Noah’s Ark, Yosef and his multicolored coat and even about Moshe hitting the rock. We celebrate Chanukah (which happened around 2,200 years ago), Purim (2,500 years ago) and are getting ready to celebrate Shavuot – the day our Nation received the Torah… 3,333 years ago (yes, I did the math!)