Home / Torah-time / Choose-to-shine-57


Choose to Shine 


I prepared to write an inspiring article about Shavuos. I wanted to elaborate how we receive the greatest gift from Hashem. What is more important than the most important Jewish holiday? What occupies my mind and feels more urgent than the holy holiday of Shavuos when we receive the Torah?

As I have been writing over these last ten years in this space, we are living in America on borrowed time.  We all know that we are in galus. We know that until the Moshiach arrives to redeem us, our residence here or anywhere is temporary. My Rav, Rabbi Chaim Halberstam, told us 20 years ago that America is only a temporary respite after World War II.  His predictions are now eerily coming to light. With protests calling for death to America, death to the Jews (using whatever euphemisms are in vogue), we find ourselves more isolated every day. The voices in our favor are drowned out by the avalanche of people calling for our destruction and the State of Israel’s demise. Regardless of how you feel about Israel, its government, or other sects of our religion, our enemies make no distinctions. We are all in this together whether we like it or not. All we have is each other and Hashem. This is not news to any of us.

Is this how it felt just before the War when people were still able to escape to relative safety? We all believed it couldn’t happen here, but isn’t this reminiscent of the stirrings of hate before the War? Is it time to leave? That is not for me to say.  But if we choose to stay, there is something we can, should, and must do. It is something we have failed to do in unison in the past. While certain individuals diligently vote in every election, the majority of our community does NOT show up at the polls. I am not sure why that is so. Rav Moshe Feinstein wrote in a special letter that we have an obligation to vote to express gratitude to a country of kindness. So why are we known as a community that does not vote regularly? Are we afraid of jury duty? Do we not have five or 10 minutes to cast our ballot, with 10 additional days of early voting?

On June 25th there is an important yet little-known primary election. A seat in the New York State Assembly held for 44 years by the wonderful and very helpful Helene Weinstein is up for grabs. No other races are on this ballot, so turnout should be abysmal. If we show up as a community and cast 1000 votes from Marine Park, that will go a long way towards securing this seat for decades. We need more people who will fight for our interests and speak out against the hate that threatens to overwhelm our way of life here.

This race is unlike any other in my lifetime. We should have a representative from every shul in Marine Park to help us secure a commitment for a certain number of votes from each shul.  This will include high school seniors, elders, parents, and anyone who can commit to showing up.  We have even arranged to use the JCCMP hall on Quentin as an early voting site, so nobody has to feel uncomfortable walking into a church or a public school.

I encourage people to make themselves available to get out the vote – to register new voters, and to show up on election day. The secret here is that the primary is the key. Whoever wins the primary wins the election. Helene Weinstein has personally endorsed Kalman Yeger for the 41st district of the NYS Assembly, and so have Senator Simcha Felder and Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein, who need another fighter by their side to deliver for our community.

On a separate note, unrelated to the JCCMP or my shul, I endorse Kalman Yeger for this seat. He has been a bulldog on the New York City council to fight for our interests, block by block, neighborhood by neighborhood. He has earned my vote.

I wish everyone a happy Shavuos!

Other author's posts
Leave a Reply
Stay With Us