Repeal “No Bail” Law
My mother often recounted how her brother, at the young age of 14, arrived home one day, suitcase in hand. He reported that the “shkotzim,” the local thugs inspired by the Nazis’ antisemitism, had broken the windows in his yeshiva in a nearby city in Slovakia, and he understood it was time to leave. Without consulting anybody, he packed up and took the train home.
Less than one year later, by my estimation, he had already been deported and murdered in Auschwitz.
I can’t say I never thought it would happen here — Jews punched and beaten in the streets, Jews stabbed, Jews shot. I did think it would happen eventually. But I didn’t think it would accelerate so quickly. How could I have anticipated that our American elected officials would do nothing more than mouth — or tweet — ineffective, meaningless banalities about “antisemitism having no place in our city/state” at the very moment in time that they’ve legislated the immediate unconditional release of thugs who attack us. I expected better than that.
Don’t talk to me about fostering better relations between communities. Don’t talk to me about the hate coming from Washington. The hate is always there. It just waits to manifest itself when there is a breakdown of law and order, when authorities wink at the violence, and it is clearly demonstrated every day that there is no consequence for attacking a Jew.
The New York State bail reform law taking effect this week immediately releases, without bail, anyone arrested for a “non-violent” offense. That includes punching a Jew in the face as he or she walks down the street. Striking a Jew IS VIOLENCE even when it doesn’t cause serious lasting physical injury. Progressing from knocking off a hat to punching to murder has taken a matter of days. Not years. That’s why every act of antisemitism needs to be treated as an attempted murder. Because that’s exactly what it is.
We must call upon our elected officials to immediately repeal the “bail reform” legislation. If the justice system will not protect us, who should? Must we regress to vigilantism?
Watching the painful video footage of Jews being hit, kicked, thrown to the ground; hearing of the terrible wounds of men and children who have been stabbed; and seeing the puddles of blood and the mourning for those who have been killed, I am reliving the beginnings of the horrors my parents knew too well. How quickly it has become my turn to be in danger when I walk in the street, travel in the subway, teach in my school, or even celebrate in my home with friends — because I look like a Jew!
Our government has an unequivocal obligation to effectively protect all its citizens and maintain law and order. Let us insist it fulfill that obligation.
Let’s Make a ‘Framber’ Alert
I grew up in a neighborhood where anti emitism was normal. We were spat at, threatened, and thrown off our bikes fairly consistently. I never realized how much it hurt. All of a sudden, a lot of trauma is coming back to me — and I’m reliving it for the first time. I am angry and physically sick about it. A few days ago, a bunch of high school-age kids mumbled racial epithets at me while passing by. I’m not OK, and I’m surprised at my own reaction.
I say, bring back the “Chapsem.” For those of you too young to remember the lawless Dinkins days of NYC and earlier, Chapsems were developed by certain chassidish communities to fight back against the city’s enabling of antisemitic crimes. If a person was threatened, he or she would yell “Chapsem!” (Yiddish for grab them) at the top of their lungs and everyone who heard would run out and stop the crime. A reverse Kitty Genovese.
This time, the Litvish should get smart and join the movement. It’s not an accident that there are certain areas to this very day in Williamsburg and in Boro Park that one can walk at any time of day or night. Having an office in Boro Park, I have personally witnessed young children (pushing baby carriages holding even younger siblings) running to the grocery store at 1 a.m. erev Pesach. Encoded within every NYC street thug’s DNA is a deep knowledge within their collective unconscious that one should not tread over the threshold of this holy ground. On those few blocks, there is no fear of crime. I could stand on 13th Avenue and 53rd Street near the Shomrei Shabbos shul at 2 a.m. and wave a fistful of dollars and remain safe. (Ok, perhaps I will be mobbed by schnorrers, but that’s mostly harmless. What does it matter if a 78-year-old man for the past 40 years has been collecting money for the wedding of his only daughter? A relatively victimless crime.) It wasn’t the NYPD that created this wonder of modern life. It was a tight-knit community that said collectively, “We are not having any more of that.”
In 2020, we need a “Chapsem App” that is tied into our GPS. Whenever you push the button, every registered user within a few blocks radius gets a text and GPS instructions where to run out and show up. A “Framber Alert,” if you will.
The time has come. This letter is an appeal to a smart, frum app developer. Seriously, if someone approaches me with the ability to develop the app, I’ll bli neder use further articles as a forum to promote it.
Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
I take issue with Bret Stephens’s article regarding “Jewish Genius” (From The Editor, January 3). Regardless of how smart or successful Jews are as a group, we must be “insane” if more than three-quarters of us continue to exhibit the same repetitive behavior that is toxic to us. Voting Democratic has proven toxic, especially since 2016 when Donald Trump ushered in a new approach for America and especially Jews. Yet Jews in politics and the mainstream media for the most part continue to exhibit this irrational behavior towards someone who has been in our corner for a change. They continue to demonize him when in actuality he is doing something for us and America. This past Sunday’s march in New York “to end hate” is a clear example of not understanding what our politicians have done — or rather have not done — for the Jewish community.
The political leaders leading the march are the same ones with the inane laws regarding crime and the same ones incapable of addressing antisemitism in terms of Congressional censure for Tlaib or Omar. They are the very same ones who have led to disastrous policies that make us less safe as Jews and as Americans. Under their misguided policies, criminals do not have to post bail, and can be repeat offenders without the criminal justice system making it clear that antisemitism, hatred of Jews, is not going to be tolerated. Throwing education and money for security is only half the answer. Clear actions that have real consequences in terms of stiff penalties, including monetary fines and imprisonment, will act as deterrents. Marching with those who have created the problems to listen to their empty promises is irrational. Only voting can change laws regarding antisemitism!
Our Incredible President
Another terrific editorial (“Donald J. Macabee,” From the Editor, December 27). I would think it takes a lot of courage to write what you do, knowing that you would get repeated flak from liberal Jews. Kol HaKavod to you.
If you have not seen it, there was a really nice write-up on Melania in last Thursday’s New York Times. No way to explain it except as another Chanukah miracle.