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There was a disturbing lack of balance in the reporting on the recent controversy concerning bus drivers being asked to work on Thanksgiving to transport Lakewood yeshiva students scheduled to attend school that day. For obvious reasons, anything that highlights differences between Jewish and non-Jewish observances needs to be handled with great sensitivity. Thankfully, the issue has been resolved. But the media’s singular focus – devoid of context – on the purported plight of drivers being forced to work on their holiday was unfortunate and merits scrutiny.
The Associated Press headlined a story “Bus Drivers Asked to Transport Jewish Students on Thanksgiving,” and began the report with:
Thanksgiving might be just another day on the road for school bus drivers in one New Jersey town.
Lakewood is asking drivers to work in order to transport 18,000 Orthodox Jewish students to and from their private schools in the township.
On its website, WCBS (Channel 2) headlined the story “N.J. School Bus Drivers Balk At Having To Work On Thanksgiving” and led with the following:
Forced to work on Thanksgiving? A school bus fight in New Jersey is pitting drivers against parents.
CBS 2’s Derrick Dennis talked with some drivers who said they would rather give up their jobs than their holiday.
School bus drivers in Lakewood, finishing their rounds, say “no thanks” to some holiday humbug which involves working on Thanksgiving.
“Who’s gonna work on Thanksgiving? I’m not,” bus driver Bill Fitzgerald said.
These themes were typical. One would think there was something downright un-American going on. What did not come through were some very significant parts to the story. In the school district at issue there are some 25,000 students – 18,0000 of whom attend private Orthodox schools that were scheduled to hold classes on Thanksgiving. So these students were not exceptions to the rule, they were the rule.
In addition, under New Jersey law private-school students in the state are entitled to free transportation to and from their educational facilities “when the non-profit nonpublic school is in session.” In order to accomplish this, the school district contracts with private bus companies specifically to transport the nonpublic school students.
So despite intimations to the contrary, what was involved in the controversy was not some mindless, parochial nastiness but at worst a request that people meet their contractual obligations – which were clearly understood to include service on legal holidays.
But there is a broader dimension to our concern. Why was it that the Lakewood story became a big deal when the media have virtually ignored a more significant one relating to major retailers requiring their employees to work on Thanksgiving? Sears and Walmart stores will be open for business on Thanksgiving this year. And with the expectation that the number of Black Friday shoppers will increase from 212 million last year to 225 million this year, retailers are trying to outdo each other in opening earlier and earlier Friday morning. Indeed, Toys “R” Us is opening at 10 o’clock Thursday night and Target will open at midnight.
Because of our special practices, Jews will always be vulnerable to charges that we are different and therefore subversive. The fact that some streams in the Orthodox community choose not to partake in the outer trappings of Thanksgiving has no bearing on the gratitude they feel to this country and what it means for Jews. They are loyal Americans and certainly appreciate the key role America continues to play in their survival. That element was noticeably missing from the coverage of the Lakewood school bus controversy.
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ZIM Piraeus isn’t Israeli-owned or flagged, incidentally, it is Greek operated.
Foolish me, thinking the goals were the destruction of Hamas thereby giving peace a real chance.
The free-spirted lifestyle didn’t hold your interest; the needs of your people did.
Several years ago the city concluded that the metzitzah b’peh procedure created unacceptable risks for newborns in terms of the transmission of neo-natal herpes through contact with a mohel carrying the herpes virus.
The world wars caused unimaginable anguish for the Jews but God also scripted a great glory for our people.
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His father asked him to read Psalms from the Book of Tehilim every day.
(Reposted with permission from author’s website) Moderate truth-teller Daniel Pipes (Dream) has further moderated his stance on Islam by actually entertaining the idea of “Moderate Islamism”, with Andrew C. McCarthy- whom I’ve debated about this- giving it some credence. We’ve gone from Naming the Enemy -Nazism, Communism- to Renaming the Enemy – “Islamic Totalitarianism”, “Radical Islam”, “Islamism”, […]
Maimonides: “Your 1 mitzva may tip the scales and bring redemption to the entire world and creation”
Jerusalem has been aware of the importance of China to its growth and security.
In other words, how by any rational playbook can one even begin to explain anti-Semitism?
Entire movements within “orthodoxy” propagate a Judaism of outlandish folklore and Jewish mysticism
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Since nothing is static in warfare, the lesson is clear: Iron Dome must be continuously improved to stay ahead of developments in any rocket technology Hamas and Israel’s other enemies might get their hands on.
The IDF pounding continued and it again seemed only a matter of time before Hamas would be forced to accept the Egyptian proposal.
Almost as one, Jews around the world are acknowledging the day-to-day peril facing ordinary Jews in Israel and the extraordinary service of the IDF in protecting them.
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