For the love of ‘Shtisel’
I enjoyed watching “Shtisel” during the coronavirus lock down. It brought back many memories of 35 years ago when, as a teenage immigrant from Haiti, I worked for a whole year within the ultra-Orthodox community in Borough Park, Brooklyn, first as a janitor at the Bnos Zion of Bobov school, then as an order picker at Paskesz Kosher food warehouse.
I was fortunate to work alongside a “cool,” young Orthodox man who gave me an insider’s view of Orthodox Jewish life from A to Z: from matchmaking rules to weddings and family life, holidays meaning, kosher food, etc. etc.
These were fascinating stories to me and instilled in me a deep love and respect for Jewish life and Israel. I became and remain a loyal friend of Israel. I also admire the peaceful and simple pace of Shabbat and the various holidays. I believe “Shtisel,” the series, needs to be part of schools’ curriculum to instill understanding and appreciation between different cultures and people.
Trump’s heavy burden
What was Sheldon Goldberg hoping to achieve with his letter “Is Trump good for the Jews?” (April 9)? Surely he did not expect to change the opinion of those who support President Trump with comments such as “Trump has lied repeatedly,” inferring that it is the president’s fault that hospitals lack personal protective equipment and that states have insufficient test kits.
There are far too many individuals involved in procurement of these items to lay the blame on the president. Goldberg’s letter is merely another attempt to sway potential voters’ opinion with a left-leaning political viewpoint.
Who is likely to be influenced? The same number who might be influenced by my response: very few in this sharply divided country. I wish far more of us would be concerned with overcoming COVID-19, instead of throwing mud at the man who was elected as our president, and has the task of leading the nation through this catastrophic pandemic.
The Goldberg crisis
It was shocking to read the letter by Sheldon Goldberg in the Apr. 9 edition. This nation is facing the greatest threat to our existence from the pandemic and from an economic collapse. We don’t need a third crisis that undercuts public confidence in our leadership at a time when unity must be achieved. This third crisis is what Goldberg brings us.
His issue is not religion related, but plain old political. His comments reflect a deep animosity towards Trump, using a Jewish connection as a weapon. He suggests that moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem does not make America and Israel safer. He ignores the executive order to fight anti-Semitism on campuses and Trump’s well-known strong support for Israel. He implies that Trump is responsible for the shortage of equipment to fight the coronovirus epidemic.
The danger is that some people will believe him.
Sheldon Goldberg Replies
Thanks to Messrs. Orman and Manison for their letters (16 April 2020). The points they made only strengthened mine. First, let me be clear about me. I am not a ‘leftist’ having voted Republican ever since I cast my first ballot in1960. My 2016 vote, however, was a ‘write in’ for the republican candidate I believed best qualified for the presidency and it wasn’t Trump. Second, I had no intention to change anyone’s mind. Throughout my 46 years of military and federal service I have always dealt in facts, so I know that an individual’s mind can be changed only if they objectively examine the facts and begin to question their own beliefs. The main point I wish to make is that there are two basic tenets to leadership – a leader can delegate authority but not responsibility. So contrary to Mr. Orman’s belief, Mr. Trump is not carrying a heavy burden because he has absolved himself from all responsibility and placed the burden on the states. As for Mr. Manison’s contention that my letter undercuts public confidence in our leadership at a time when unity must be achieved, there is no leadership to undercut. Again, Trump has absolved himself repeatedly from all responsibility and, by definition, is not a leader. So yes, by putting the burden on the states, he is, therefore, responsible for the shortage of equipment to fight this virus.
And to quote Mr. Manison again, “the danger is that some people will believe him” [Trump] and drink the disinfectant just as some have been given the Hydroxychlorquine and died from it. After all, according to Mr. trump, they had nothing to lose. Hence the answer to my question “Is Trump good for the Jews or for anybody?” remains a resounding ‘No.’