By Larry Gordon

No one appreciates, advocates, or even minimally supports the idea of separating children from parents at the U.S. southern border — even when their parents commit a crime by illegally crossing the border from Mexico into the U.S.

The liberal left seek, however, to distort the imagery here so as to use it to continue their campaign to denigrate President Trump as they continue what is already an 18-month campaign to damage the Trump presidency in the run-up to the midterm elections in November. It is at that point that Democrats and the left are hoping to achieve a majority in the House of Representatives if not in the Senate, which is less likely.

So let us not delude ourselves. This is not about immigration, borders, a border wall, or the placement of the children, which is the same today as it was through the eight years of the Obama presidency. This is almost exclusively about trying to keep the Trump presidency on the ropes and to characterize current policy in the cruelest and most inhumane context as possible.

For us, however, there is another dimension to this issue of the day that we need to deal with. And that is the absurd idea that has some elected representatives and other commentators comparing the situation at the border to the Mengele selection process of Jewish children at the death camps during the Holocaust.

Drawing this parallel is offensive and an insult to all victims of the Holocaust. It is, however, an illustration of Democratic Party desperation that, simply stated, wants to stack up Trump with Hitler and Republicans in Congress with Nazis. That position and opinion is intolerable; actually, even worse than that.

Using this reference casually to draw a comparison between what is going on at the southern border with young children and what took place with children during the Holocaust is dastardly and unconscionable.

It should be unnecessary to note that the children in Auschwitz-Birkenau were not fed three meals a day plus plenty of snacks and housed in relatively comfortable sleeping quarters. And even more so, the families that were separated and murdered during the Holocaust did not volunteer to be there or appear as a matter of their own choosing. They were pulled out of their homes, rounded up, and stripped of all their possessions. Those children and their parents would have given anything to be sent back to the homes they came from in their towns and shtetlach. Most of the one and a half million children separated from their parents during World War II were gassed, shot, or starved to death. How dare anyone draw a parallel to the current immigration crisis at our southern border?

Not only is this an offensive and insulting comparison, it shows a blatant lack of sensitivity and understanding of what it meant to live through the Holocaust experience or to die a violent death at a young age, as was more often the case during the war.

And more importantly, at this point, the situation is far different at our southern border today than it was for Jewish children—and adults as well—during the Holocaust. One official on CNN went as far last week as to say that if you are a Donald Trump voter than you are complicit in the Mengele-like selection process at Auschwitz where the man dubbed the “Doctor of Death” swiftly and arbitrarily, with the flick of a finger, chose who was going to live (if being consigned to crushing slave labor can be considered “living”) and who was going to be gassed to death.

Of course the comparison is asinine, but that did not stop former CIA and NSA Chief Michael Hayden from tweeting out a photo of the crematoria at Auschwitz-Birkenau along with his comment on the matter of the current government policy to temporarily separate children from their parents who just entered the U.S. illegally.

The use of this type of imagery should be widely condemned. But instead there is mainly silence because it seems that being politically incorrect is OK so long as it is in a historical context and does not lend itself to any kind of commentary on a contemporary basis. That is, of course, unless it is a matter dealing with something as unfeeling as a statue of General Robert E. Lee or something along those lines.

Separating children from their parents at the border with Mexico is an awful thing that should be fixed immediately. But we should not even have to write the words to articulate that the situation cannot be compared to what happened to six million Jews, including 1.5 million children, in the Holocaust. There is a big difference between what happened there and what is taking place now. And that difference is that those children were all murdered.

Our Kids Know About Drugs

Community leaders say that it is our obligation to act and not just react when tragedy strikes.

They are referring to the use of drugs and the matter of drinking excessively amongst the youth in the Five Towns community. They caution that the incidence of kids getting sick, and even worse, from drug overdoses and alcohol poisoning is on the rise, and it is in our best interest as a community to take steps to put a stop to it before something terrible happens.

To that end, Rabbi Ya’akov Trump of the Young Israel of Lawrence-Cedarhurst is joining a number of other area leaders in organizing a community-wide event on Monday evening, July 16 at Congregation Beth Sholom in Lawrence on the effort to raise awareness in the community about drug and alcohol abuse. The program is billed as “a vital event that will be a worthwhile and relevant evening for every responsible and caring parent and older teenager in the community. We will hear from veteran rabbanim, physicians, first-responders, leading law-enforcement and mental-health professionals, and even parents who have lived through the heartbreak and devastation that substance abuse can lead to. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn more about this scourge, and, most importantly, to hear the message of hope and the many critical resources available in our community to help address this important problem.”

This is a multi-sided social issue that is particularly difficult to challenge because the problem comes at us from an assortment of directions.

Another key community leader involved in organizing this event is Rabbi Dr. Aaron Glatt, chief of medicine at South Nassau Communities Hospital and an assistant rabbi at the Young Israel of Woodmere. He concurs that the breeding grounds for these bad habits are multifocal and can include poor home situations, unrecognized learning problems, social problems, and many other factors.

“In the course of all my years in medicine I have treated many cases of drug abuse,” Dr. Glatt told us on Monday. He adds that none of the cases of overdosing began with drugs like heroin; in most cases, it always started with a gateway drug like marijuana or with drinking excessive amounts of alcohol.

So I ask Dr. Glatt whether there is something inherently troubling in the frum community today that has allowed these problems that plague society in general to seep into our communities and homes. And he says that while it is mostly the overflow from that which is plaguing the world at large, there are troubling things that are taking place specifically in frum homes that are negatively impacting many of our families.

“The emphasis on what kinds of alcoholic beverages there are at a Kiddush in shul and how different types of bottles are worshipped is not lost on young children who observe these things,” Dr. Glatt says.

The program organizers point out that the objective here is to act and to prevent tragedy from occurring. In anticipation of the July 16 event at Beth Sholom, over the weekend of June 23, rabbis in shuls throughout the Five Towns sought to bring to the attention of the community that the first step in preventing these types of tragedies from occurring is speaking openly about it, educating the community, and making everyone aware of the dangers.

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