Written by Yosef Chaim Brook
The observant Jewish community is no longer welcome in New York. Our way of life is being trampled on, our needs are dismissed with ease, our vote is irrelevant and cannot change a thing.
We are being mocked, humiliated, and relegated to third-class status with shockingly cocky dismissiveness by politicians who are often invited to our Synagogues and claim to be sworn friends of the Jewish people.
I’m only 40, born, and bred in Brooklyn and I can still remember feeling like New York is for all practical purposes a Jewish city. Our community makes up a substantial portion of the city’s population. We are politically connected, with friends in high places who can get whatever is needed “done”.
We run so much of New York’s economy, and make up an important part of its tax base. We believe we have the respect and consideration of city and State government since they understand and appreciate our contribution to New York.
That’s what most of us thought.
Then came Corona and everything we believed to be true about New York, turned out to be false.
We learned that not only do we not have a special status in New York but inf fact we don’t even have equal status to other residents. As a matter of fact, we have no status, unless you consider taxation without representation a status.
You see in the name of public health New York officials told us that:
Our Synagogues must be completely shuttered until the time that the “Public Health Experts” decide they can reopen, which could be at any time or at no time. This was strictly enforced by NYPD who were very scrupulous at kicking people out of Synagogues if G-D forbid they found one in operation.
We may not pay final respect to our beloved parents and grandparents who passed away. We were forced to hold no funerals at all or funerals with a handful of people. If you dared try to hold a funeral even if it was outside, even with the most extreme social distancing you had police cars follow you around until you dispersed.
We were told we cannot visit our parents or grandparents in the hospital leaving many of them to die at the hands of careless or overwhelmed nursing staff.
We were told our small and medium-sized businesses needed to remain shuttered until the time that the “Public Health Experts” decide they can reopen, which could be at any time or at no time; While big box stores were allowed to remain open. If any of us dared roll up the gate of their store more than a few inches they were handed a fine to the tune of thousands of dollars to make up for all the lost revenue the city has endured due to lack of parking tickets.
We sat through all of this quietly. In our hearts, we knew it was wrong, at least some of it. We knew it was a gross overreaction. We knew these draconian limitations on life were extended well beyond what was necessary but we also understood that our city and state are run by progressive democrats and that comes with a price so we remained quiet.
But then came the George Floyd protests.
All of a sudden, Public Health was out the window. Social Distancing, nonexistent. Only small crowds under ten people, non-applicable.
To add insult to injury the very same Public Health Officials who made up all those rules and city and state officials who made sure they strictly enforced, had an overnight change of heart and seemingly change of science facts and data.
What was unacceptable for the Jews ie communal prayer and funerals as a start, was perfectly fine and encouraged for George Floyd protests. One NYC Public health official even went as far as saying that should there be an increase in Covid infections after the protests it can only be blamed on racism and not on the lack of social distancing exhibited by protestors. I must have missed it when the same official said that should there be a COVID outbreak as a result of large crowds at a Hasidic funeral it can only be blamed on antisemitism, oh you mean he didn’t say that?
You see when it came to the Jews the Mayor had harsh words: “My message to the Jewish community and all communities ( I wonder who he meant by “all communities” because we never saw any enforcement of this kind against any of the other ALL communities, but I digress) is this simple, the time for warnings has passed”. Ooh what a tough guy this mayor is, against Hassidic Jews at a funeral, I must have just missed it when he stated the time for warnings has passed to the looters.
Then just to twist the dagger a little more, we all saw the images of nurses all dressed up in PPE’s walking out of a Manhattan hospital entrance to clap for the protestors and support them. You remember those sweet nurses that were featured in ads telling us to stay home so that they may stay alive? You remember those sweet nurses that told us we can’t sit at the hospital bedside of our parents because of the public health risk? (only to later learn that untold numbers of our greatest generation were literally left for dead under the care of the sweet nurses of New York, but I digress again). Anyhow THOSE nurses were now cheering the protesters who were violating the public health guidelines.
When an Orthodox journalist confronted the Mayor on his hypocrisy and double standard when examining his treatment of the Jewish community, its sensibilities and needs, vs the Goerge Floyd protestors, the mayor didn’t even flinch. He went on a rant explaining to the reporter that 400 years of slavery simply overrule any and all other considerations, Science, Public Health, facts, data, be damned. But if those Jews put a minyan together all will break loose.
As a side note last week, long after the George Floyd protests were upon us, those rebellious Jews in Williamsburg had more than ten children at once at a public playground. They forgot their George Floyd protest signs at home so guess what happened, I won’t keep you in suspense yep NYPD cleared them out.
As looters were looting and destroying store after store in New York City with no one there to stop them, we remembered why there were no cops available for that. They were too busy handing out fines to store owners in Brooklyn who were guilty of the crime of trying to conduct business to feed their families and serve their customers after being denied that right for over three months.
Then came the latest decree from Emperor Cuomo, Thou shalt not have any sleep-away camps this year. Why not? because I said so. George Floyd protests? Sorry, the answer is no.
So now after three and a half miserable months, our kid’s summer plans for the next two months get trashed yet again.
So how does it feel to be a proud New Yorker today?
This city and state are the heart of Jewish life in America right?
Let’s pause and think for a moment.
What exactly do we get out of living here?
We have to fund our own Ambulances and first responders because city ambulances arrive long after the pronunciation of death.
We have to fund our own community security organizations because NYPD is simply not enough to keep our communities safe.
We have to self-fund all of our schools because religious Jews have no right to expect that their children’s education is paid for like any other resident in the city.
Oh, I forgot there is one thing we do get and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention it. We get an extra Garbage pickup in our neighborhoods on Erev Pesach-don’t say no one is thinking of us! Come on, that’s got to be worth a few billion dollars in taxes no?
Why do we still live here? we shouldn’t.
Here’s a crazy idea, We’ve all heard the word defund thrown around lately which got me thinking.
I was thinking defund NY has a good ring to it.
Let’s pack ourselves and our businesses up and Jexit NY to any place in America where entrepreneurs are appreciated and religious freedom is celebrated.
I don’t know maybe some exotic place like Florida or Texas. Let’s domicile our businesses and residences in those states and bring all our tax revenues along.
Even if we won’t receive any appreciation or notice at least we won’t be trampled on as we currently are in the big rotten apple. But just one favor to ask before we do that let’s all register our kids to public school for next year. Let’s see how New York figures out where to educate 100 thousand children overnight.
I’m feeling a slogan that goes something like “no schooling no peace” as we get on jet blue to FLL or MCO.