News From the Hills by Chanita Teitz

 

The black community needs new leadership. Many years ago, when Al Sharpton was rabble-rousing in Crown Heights, I read an article that said leadership in the black community perpetuates a cycle of poverty, crime, and drugs. It is time to end the treadmill of failure, the hamster wheel of welfare.

I recently read another article asking why Jews still vote for Democrats. The past immigrant generations saw the Democrats as the party of the underdog, and the Jews saw themselves as such. Always persecuted throughout our history, having a political party advocating for our needs seemed logical and a blessing. Whoever advocated for Jews in the past?

But the author said we are past being the underdog and we need to stop voting like we are stuck in that frame of mind. I would say the same thing for the black community. There will always be racists, but don’t stay bogged down in the mentality of oppression.

It is time for black leaders to come forward and build up the confidence of the community. Build up the confidence in the youth to stay in school and get a good education. Those black people who have succeeded need to give back to their communities by going out to speak in schools and community centers about the opportunities available to all Americans. Stop playing the role of a nebach. Stop playing the role of the oppressed. Stop using the race card every time something bad happens. Stop blaming society and start believing in yourselves. Resorting to crime just feeds the impression the white community has of fear and racial profiling. What does looting, setting fires, and attacking police officers and shopkeepers protecting their businesses have to do with the injustice of George Floyd’s death? How does stealing a Gucci bag make any positive changes?

There were two incidents last week in Kew Gardens Hills, one on Wednesday night just a little after 8 p.m. after the curfew began. A car came barreling down 147th Street and then turned onto 72nd Drive going the wrong way towards Main Street, jumped the sidewalk, and bulldozed up the street, followed by police. Thankfully, there were no children out on the sidewalk at that time. Perhaps the curfew was a blessing in disguise with the sole purpose of protecting our block.

On Friday, there were several police cars at the corner of Main Street and 73rd Ave. I read something about an altercation in front of Wasserman’s. On Shabbos there was what seemed like a peaceful march past Queens College. Reacting to the inappropriate actions of one policeman and the inaction of the other policemen who just stood and watched is understood. Protest, make changes, and hold those cops accountable. But looting, killing, arson, and destruction don’t solve anything or change anything. It doesn’t avenge George Floyd’s death. It just feeds the selfishness of the takers; the looters are just thinking of themselves and what they can get.

Thanks to all for letting me vent. Stay safe!

On Wednesday night there was a Zoom community meeting with Congresswoman Grace Meng who is running in the Democratic primary for re-election. She has served our community well as a friend of the Jewish community and a friend of Israel. But recently, Mrs. Meng endorsed Alexandria Ocasio Cortez for her own reelection in her district. AOC is known for supporting Black Lives Matter and Palestinian causes and is virulently anti-Semitic. She is a member of “the Squad” of congresswomen who are outspoken against Zionism, Israel, and Jews. Mrs. Meng was asked to clarify her endorsement and her position.

She said that she is “the same person” she always was and doesn’t agree with everything that a colleague believes in. She was emphatic in stating that she is not a socialist. She feels comfortable in her own opinions to state them even with AOC standing next to her. She will continue to represent our district and she cares about our safety and the safety of the Jews in Israel.

I accept her explanation, but I regretfully have to say that I think she made a mistake to endorse AOC. Bad associations, even with a colleague, are a discredit to what we depend on from a friend of our community. I hope that Mrs. Meng will distance herself from Alexandria Ocasio Cortez in the future.

Shevach Students Recognized As National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists

Shevach is proud to announce that two of their juniors, Elana Adler and Sarah Press, were named as National Merit Scholarship semifinalists. From the 1.6 million students across the country who take the PSAT, those who score in the top 1% achieve the distinction of National Merit semifinalist. These academically talented high-school juniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million that will be offered next spring.

Shevach High School

To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition. Over 90 percent of the semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and about half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title.

“These semifinalists have demonstrated outstanding potential for academic success,” commented a spokesperson for NMSC. “These students represent a valuable national resource, as well as the key role their school plays in their academic development.”

Shevach takes great pride in these two students who excel not only academically, but also in their middos tovos and maasim tovim. May the entire community continue to schep nachas from these outstanding young ladies.

Yediyos Klalios Contest Winner

Mazal tov to Navah Tehila Sadon, fifth-grader at Bnos Malka Academy, who won a prize in a Yediyos Klalios contest sponsored by 613events.com. Navah got 99 out of 100 questions right — what a super accomplishment!

This Week at YCQ

This week at Yeshiva of Central Queens, the first virtual Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) Supperette was held to honor some staff members. A special tribute was paid to Gary Schwartzman on his retirement. After more than 16 years at YCQ enhancing the physical education program, including daily gym classes and team sports, Schwartzman will be retiring. Over 100 parents and staff gathered on Zoom on June 2 to listen to a meaningful dvar Torah followed by words of gratitude towards the honorees for the dedication and devotion they have given over the years to YCQ. Assistant principal of general studies in the JHS, Mrs. Lauren Golubtchik, will be pursuing a new career, leaving behind a legacy of years of commitment to her staff and students. Warm words of hakarat ha’tov were offered to honorees, Mrs. Liron Friedman, director of transportation, and teachers Mrs. Jessica Miles, Mrs. Michali Fuchs, Ms. Miriam Kavian, and Ms. Barbara Young, as well.

A show of appreciation to all teachers from the YCQ administration and the board

Returning after Shavuot, teachers began to prepare for the last few weeks of school in the virtual learning environment. In this new and temporary environment, teachers showed their commitment to their students. First-grade students received small personalized packages from their teacher, some third-grade students joined their morah for a cupcake-decorating session, and NYS Assembly Member Daniel Rosenthal joined the third-grade classes for a Zoom meeting and question-and-answer session. Throughout our time in quarantine, one thoughtful young man from kindergarten, Jacob Gol, stopped by each home of students in his class celebrating birthdays under quarantine and delivered a gift and sign, and, more importantly a huge smile.

To show appreciation for the hard work from all the teachers, the administration hand-delivered “YCQ Teacher Zooms Here” lawn signs and a Shavuot gift from administration and the board to all teachers.

Chanita Teitz is a real-estate broker at Astor Brokerage in Kew Gardens Hills, serving the entire Queens vicinity. For all your real-estate needs, call her at 718-263-4500 or email chanita@astorbrokerage.com.

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