Some things are simply unique

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    There are some subjects that cant be “borrowed” or applied to the present day because they are simply unique.

    An in depth discussion of this concept is found in the discourses if Rabbi Soloveitchik. He explained that the טעות of אהרן and מרים lay in not understanding that the נבואה of משה רבינו was fundamentally different and unique.

    I feel that the Holocaust should similarly be treated as a unique event. Historically, it represents a dephth of corruption and depravity that is simply unequalled.

    It seems to becoming acceptable to label anyone we agree with a Natzi, kapo, moser, antisemite, etc. Labeling every obstacle as evil cheapens the term, and denies our own responsibility to meet the challenges of the moment.

    Specifically, in March and April, the lockdowns took everyone by surprise because they were unprecedented. It was a unique situation, and מוסדות had to suddenly adapt to distance learning, with varying degrees of success. When schools reopened, it was with the understanding that they would have a plan place to revert to distance learning if the disease reasserted itself. Many מוסדות recieved funding from federal, state, and local governments specifically to help them navigate the restrictions dictated by the pandemic.

    Unfortunately, the rate of infection is specific areas has begun to rise. Rather than labeling the governor or mayor anti semites or Natzis, why isnt anyone asking the most pressing question:

    There should be a plan in place to deal with another school closure. Children shouldnt be missing even a day of school. If Zoom or teleconferencing had issues, then מוסדות should have soent the last 6 months improving them or finding substitutes. For example, learning pods, where small groups children gather at a designated home’s rather than starting individually at a computer screen, have been successful.

    Neither the governor or the mayor have outlawed the study of Torah. And yes, there were yeshivos that continued the study if Torah even in the concentration camps.

    But labeling every Democrat a Natzi cheapens history and is simply irresponsible.


    Was the holocaust truely unique, or do we say so to avoid the unfortunate truth that is really wasn’t. While the numbers were higher, the percentage of European Jews who died was similar to other events in out history (though the geographic range greater, a function of improved transportation). Similar acts of genocide have been quite common as well (consider the Middle Passage, the Irish hunger, and the genocide of the indigenous inhabitants of the Americas). While we like to say this time it was different because it was seen as a crime, had the Germans won the war it is unlikely (but not impossible) anyone wold have objected to the holocaust for many centuries. The period of rights and prosperity we have enjoyed in America the last 75 years is what it unique.

    And looking at the rhetoric from the American left, we have reason to worry that matters will soon revert to the past, unpleasant, norm.

    The little I know

    The first lockdown was accepted almost universally, albeit reluctantly. We all knew there was a terrible thing happening, and that we were additionally handicapped by the fact that this was a pathogen that was previously unknown and poorly studied. As much as there was a pandemic of a disease, there was a reaction of shock, bewilderment, and the infusion of a huge amount of folklore and foolishness that tends to attempt to fill the gaps.

    This second wave, though predicted, encounters quite a different ambience. Many have had it and recovered. There is a proliferation of tests (with varying degrees of accuracy), and there are more treatment options. There is, at least, some awareness that there is a psychological side to this disease, and that isolating the afflicted person from the world is not the answer.

    The yeshivos had varying success with remote learning, and it would be interesting to see some empirical data to analyze. Meanwhile, it was clear that remote was only second best, and that prolonged closing was harmful in the short and long term.

    What is not unique is how the politicians are dealing with this. NYS has encountered a contemporary Haman, who brazenly admits that he is basing his decrees on fear, not science. So far, the numbers do not support his discriminatory manner applied to the lockdown. NYC has watched the mayor, whose true colors are now more apparent, support domestic terror while attempting to crush everything religious. This is not unique. Jews have experienced pogroms, inquisitions, concentration camps, and persecution. We just did not expect to find it in the “land of the free”.

    A major difference is that we, even Jews, can vote. And we can do our best and bravest to oust these evil anti-Semites from public office. They are part of the movement to reshape the ideology of America. It has become fashionable to claim victimhood. The liberals have advanced that to making ridiculous claims of Jews being perpetrators. That must be abolished, and the voting booth is the only place to do that.

    Remember in November.

    Decency is Key

    Prior to the Nazi rise to power, Jews in Germany were as well accepted and respected in society as we are here. They held positions in government, held leading positions in every profession. Not only that, but they were viewed as more ‘mainstream’ than we are here due to their ‘yekish’ appearance.

    Do you think the Germans woke up one day hating the Jews? They were systematically brainwashed through the media, Goebel’s use of false tropes specifically aimed at dehumanizing the Jews, describing them as repulsive, money hungry and spreaders of disease. Laws were enacted to alienate the Jews and force those who were still sympathetic to Jews to avoid them. Do you think there was no outcry in Germany, or Jews partnering with government officials, who assured them that “the idiot” would never succeed? Holocaust survivors have described and recorded their experience, you just need to listen.

    They weren’t just rounded up one day. They were dehumanized, made to be ‘other’ and ‘less than’ through law and indoctrination. It didn’t start with the Gestapo beating the Jews on the streets, it was German citizens first. Hitler youth walked through the streets preying on Men, Women, Children, Elderly – anyone who could be identified as Jewish. All of this began in the early 30s and continued for years before Hitler even decided to pursue his “Final Solution” and Jews were rounded up to be exterminated.

    Jews in Germany tried following the law and laying low, thought if they complied it would all pass. They blamed it on the communist Jews and the illegal Polish-Jewish refugees, who weren’t as well off or as polished as they were. They normalized and minimized the persecution until it was too late.

    Yes, it’s different in the sense that this isn’t a public attempt at rounding us up and exterminating us. However, the beginnings of a tragedy are peaking around the bend and it’s frightening that you can just sit back and write it off. Did you know that a large percentage of American youth have no idea about the magnitude of the Holocaust? A pretty high percentage even reported that the Jews CAUSED the Holocaust. Statistics show that there’s an average of more than one physical attack on religious Jews each week in NY. Do you think that Cuomo and DeBlasio’s rhetoric haven’t played into that? Other minority groups have had a MUCH higher positivity rate than the Jews, with many more cases. Can you imagine either the governor or mayor getting away with slandering them and blaming them the way he does us?

    Non-Jews are literally walking down the street yelling at Jews to put on their masks. “Jews spread COVID.” Jews have faced 56.9% of ALL violent religious hate crimes in the US, we’re just a mere 1.7% of the population. And that was in 2018, imagine how high the percentage would be this year, with more than one violent incident being reported each week. Does that not spark fear in your heart? Is it okay for the government to malign our community with false reports, such as the “planning a mass wedding” or “Mass gatherings” in shuls who had the audacity to have 20 people in a building that could accommodate hundreds?

    200 years ago, owning slaves in the US was lawful. In Nazi Germany attacking and murdering Jews on the street was lawful. In Brooklyn NY, violating our fourth amendment rights by breaking into batei midrashim through windows without a warrant, threatening attendees with arrest is ‘lawful’. Violating our first amendment right to assemble is lawful.

    Do you know that our communities have NOT had the highest rates over the past month? Cuomo staffers stated that there was no consistent method used in identifying ‘Red Zones’. Secular establishments, streets and parks all over the five boroughs are filled with non-Jews who aren’t wearing masks, in neighborhoods with higher transmission rates. I see this with my own two eyes while driving to and from work. And we’ve been testing at crazy high rates, just trying to appease the government and prove to them that we aren’t “disease spreaders”. It is a targeted attack on the Jews, an attempt at blaming us for this current, PREDICTED rise in cases.

    It scares me that you can write this off while blaming your fellow Jews.


    Decency, it is ok to be concerned, but please start by telling the Jews around you who misbehave to stop it. And test those who might be sick in order to stop transmission instead of purposely testing healthy people to run up the numbers. If this testing is subsidized, this is also geneivah in addition to retziha,


    Decency is Key

    I live in a community in which nearly everyone complies, and they are forced to comply in shuls because the Rabbis are careful. The schools have safety measures in place, support the use of, and provide, PPE. The fact is, you expect the entire religious community to take responsibility for the few thousand people who refuse to comply. You believe that we all brought any hatred on ourselves. All this, when there are non-Jewish communities with higher rates and less compliance, who are NOT being scapegoated and slandered by the government and the media.

    The blatant non-compliance by the few is wrong, but the target on our backs is not our own fault. Two things can be true at once.

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    Decency – beautifully stated. I hope everyone heard you.


    the fact is, and always was, that people see Jews as a group. How “few” are “few”? You can count yourself by number of people here who protest masks; by number of announcements of levayas and requests for tehilim; by statistics coming of Israeli towns.

    Those responsible are wrong even if the whole world will be doing the same thing.

    Maybe those without masks should use Rambam’s advice – if you are really into an aveira, go far away, and do it there. He does recommend dressing up in despicable black, but maybe at least take the hats off.

    Reb Eliezer

    Maybe religuous Jews are supposed be looked up to and examplary, so more is expected from them. The Shlah Kadadash says that the remembrance of our forefathers is park of the tachacha making it worse if we didn’t learn from them.

    Reb Eliezer

    Also above should be, Shlah Hakadash says.

    Reb Eliezer

    Above should be, is part of the tachacha.

    Decency is Key

    It’s evident that you’ll insist on placing the blame on the Jews regardless of the argument.
    Generalizing, placing blame, and falsely portraying an already-marginalized community is not a problem with the community it’s problem with those spreading the misinformation.

    Yes, we need to be especially careful as visible Jews and acknowledge that we, by nature, represent our community, but it takes no time at all for those reporting to confirm that the rest of us are NOT flouting the rules.

    We are not more to blame, nor more responsible, than the other minority communities who have higher infection rates. And we shouldn’t have to take it from the anti-Semites who are capitalizing on this opportunity, nor from individuals like you.

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