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Posts Tagged ‘New Yorkers’

Nadler: Stop and Frisk Rightly Ruled Unconstitutional

Monday, August 12th, 2013

Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, released the following statement:

Today’s ruling by a federal judge that the New York Police Department’s stop and frisk policy violated the constitutional rights of New Yorkers is a step in the right direction. It’s unfortunate that it took a lawsuit and a federal court order to safeguard the fundamental, and constitutionally protected, right to be free from unwarranted police harassment. Racial profiling and other discriminatory policies have no place in our great city or our great country.

Senator Squadron to Host NY After Sandy Resource Fair

Saturday, December 8th, 2012

Tomorrow, Sunday, December 9, State Senator Daniel Squadron will host “New York After Sandy,” a resource fair and community conversation that will serve as a one-stop shop for New Yorkers in need of assistance or who want to get involved with recovery efforts and long-term planning.

Brooklyn: 11AM-2PM, Galapagos Art Space, 16 Main St (DUMBO)

Manhattan: 3PM-6PM, Murry Bergtraum HS, 411 Pearl St

The resource fair will bring together representatives from government agencies, utility companies, social and legal service organizations, volunteer groups, and others who can help in Sandy’s aftermath. As disaster assistance deadlines near (December 31st in many cases) and utilities remain out in many buildings, this will provide New York residents and businesses with an opportunity to have their questions answered and get direct help or sign up to volunteer.

The event will also include a community conversation on New York City’s long-term recovery and how the city can prepare for future emergencies — allowing New Yorkers to make their voices heard on next steps.

Thanking The NYPD Is The Least We Can Do

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

The recent shooting of four police officers in the normally tranquil Sheepshead Bay neighborhood of Brooklyn (bringing the total to eight cops shot so far this year) has confirmed a dangerous double standard that threatens the safety of police officers and all New Yorkers throughout New York. It must be confronted.

City police officers are being shot in frightening numbers, with heroes like Peter Figoski paying the ultimate price, killed in the line of duty just for doing his job. Yet the larger public is noticeably, even if unintentionally, absent from championing those officers who put everything on the line every day.

Worse yet, the ACLU-types who never miss an opportunity to vilify and malign Commissioner Kelly and the NYPD for any and every mistake (real or perceived) a police officer makes are conspicuously absent when cops are being used for target practice all across the city.

Instead of recognizing the inherent risks and difficulties of keeping millions of New Yorkers safe and applauding the grace and restraint police officers have repeatedly shown under fire, the armchair critics incessantly continue to heap on criticism and refuse to acknowledge the realities of keeping our city safe (while failing to offer an iota of constructive criticism).

Perennial publicity hounds like the Reverend Al Sharpton, who have made careers out of putting personal ambition and political theater ahead of public safety, exacerbate tensions instead of calming them.

Dedicated crime fighters deserve our staunch support and require the true and tried tools available, under the law, to go about their all-important task of keeping all New Yorkers safe. Second-guessing by clueless libertarians and partisan politicians is counterproductive and insulting to those of us who live and work here. We know the NYPD has made the quality of life for all New Yorkers significantly better. It is time we all said so publicly.

For the silent majority – the law abiding citizens – the NYPD has been doing a masterful job navigating the balancing act of keeping New York City safe while faithfully upholding the civil liberties U.S. law guarantees all citizens.

Are the police perfect? Is anybody? There are bad apples in every profession and the NYPD is not immune. Police officers who engage in wrongful acts should be held to the highest standards, but bad behavior by a handful of police officers should not instigate a broad indictment of the entire department and its practices.

Recently, ten Congressional Democrats, including a member of the party’s leadership and lawmakers involved in the House Intelligence and Homeland Security committees, inserted themselves into the NYPD spying program debate by criticizing Mayor Michael Bloomberg for his “underhanded and unprofessional” response to criticism of the spying program and calling for an end to the NYPD’s out-of-state spying on Islamic communities.

The mayor has repeatedly defended his department’s actions as lawful and necessary to keep New York safe and he and his administration have brushed off concerns, raised by lawmakers and civil rights groups, that the NYPD’s activities are constitutionally suspect.

And while many New Yorkers may often not agree with the Bloomberg administration on various issues, when it comes to safety and security the mayor has earned extraordinarily high marks.

Pragmatic citizens understand that the strategies employed by the NYPD are appropriate given the grave terrorist threats leveled against New York City and its residents. Moreover, with respect to more mundane day-to-day criminal activity, statistics confirm that the city continues to maintain impressive crime reduction numbers in most major categories.

It is reasonable to sympathize with the law-abiding members of the Muslim community who must endure the endless questions and increased scrutiny that have come their way since 9/11. The results, though, speak for themselves. Fact is, New York continues to be the world’s premier terrorist target and the very police officers who are so often criticized have crafted a perfect record in thwarting numerous terror plots hatched against the city since that terrible September morning more than 10 years ago.

Most of those major accomplishments are the result of an aggressive strategy of prevention, employed by a fair but unrelenting police commissioner, with the support of the mayor’s office.

Though it’s hard to blame anybody for feeling unfairly targeted, New Yorkers of all backgrounds must accept the dreadful reality of living in a large metropolis filled with illegal weapons and plenty of bad guys ready and willing to use them, especially on police officers. If added scrutiny is what it takes to save lives, then the police are welcome to stop and frisk me too. New York has come too far to regress to the pre-Giuliani days of rampant lawlessness and widespread fear.

Ray Kelly has earned the benefit of the doubt. Sensible people of all faiths and cultures, especially those of us in the Jewish community, should be thankful and deeply appreciative to the police commissioner and the thousands of heroic officers of the NYPD who daily risk their lives to protect us.

Addressing the ‘Beef’

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Dear Readers,

From time to time, members of The Jewish Press community take the time and trouble to write or e-mail me sharing their feelings regarding something I wrote. Most of the comments are supportive and encouraging – and some are not. Either way, I appreciate all reader input, negative or positive, as it lets me know that my thoughts and observations are having an impact.

Recently, I received a somewhat irate letter from an indignant reader who took issue with some of my opinions regarding problems in the community. In the article titled, “Putting a Stumbling block in Front of the Blind,” (Magazine, 09-04-2011), I stated that when there is a rabbinic call for teshuva, the focus is usually on shmirat halashon (guarding what we say) and tzniut (modesty). While improvement certainly is needed in these two areas, I felt that they were just two components of a much bigger problem in our community, that being a seemingly epidemic apathy to the biblical injunction to not put a stumbling block in front of the blind. The commentator Rashi concluded this was a heavenly admonishment to refrain from taking advantage of those who were naïve, weak, trusting, unaware, gullible – the “blind” so to speak -for financial or social gain. I stated that unfortunately, the pursuit of money often caused otherwiseehrlich Jews to stray from their Torahdik values.

With her permission, I am printing the letter below with my response to her tiynas, (beefs).

Hi Cheryl,

You made a statement in last week’s (Sept 4) paper about a frum female real estate agent-purposefully lying to a buyer about a non-existent higher offer. I am a frum female real estate agent and I and others I know have actually asked rabbis questions about how to proceed. As do all frum people in many, many different lines of business.

So my question is-since you made a statement/a fact –I’m concluding you were told this by an “out of towner” as something that happened to them. I’m sure you wouldn’t just make up this scenario or voice an unspoken fear that you/people may have. Correct? I mean, even if it happened (G-d forbid) how would the buyer ever find out such a thing? Was the house actually sold for an equal or lower amount of their offer? Any agent would know that this fact would come out in the end and therefore I presume-would never do that–even without being concerned about halacha. Jewish, observant (modern Orthodox through chassidim) are truly being maligned by this article. We work very, very hard and don’t make that much money (most of the time commissions are split 3 ways).

And it fosters mistrust that is not warranted. I’m not sure what makes you think that you are an authority on advising the entire Jewish Press community on their behavior concerning greed, arrogance, jealousy, apathy, indifference and placing stumbling blocks. I advise you to consult a rav before scolding us all and making factual statements about our behavior. Perhaps just encouraging good behavior would be better than assuming the absolute worst of the community. In the end you are very guilty of loshon hora on a grand scale. I would appreciate a retraction or the publication of this letter.

Be well.”

To be honest, my initial response was that this person “doth protest too much,” but I now believe that she must be a very honest businesswoman, hence her rather emphatic indignation over my statement regarding a real estate agent who misled the buyer regarding a higher non-existing higher offer. I never said that this is the rule, rather than the exception in this profession, just that it does happen.

How do I know? I have heard several stories of people being misled by realtors as to bogus offers or the integrity of the property. To their deep chagrin, buyers ended up paying more for their property, and/or found that there were structural problems that they (deliberately?) were not told about in order to make the house more sellable. How did the buyers find out? They asked the seller or found out after moving in!

Out-of-towners who did not have the time or money to scope out real estate in the city they were moving to were especially vulnerable.

I can tell that the writer assumed that when I wrote out-of-towners I meant non-New Yorkers moving to the Big Apple and that I had maligned New York realtors. That is not the case at all. By out-of-towner I refer to people who live in one geographical area and are moving to another. If you live in Cleveland and are re-locating to Atlanta, for example, than you are an out-of -towner. Everything is relative, and there are heimishe communities beyond New York that people actually move to.

I was also rather perturbed by her claim that I am, “very guilty of loshon horaon a grand scale.” Nowhere did I name a specific person or place – and I am confident her rav would agree that a general observation does not translate into loshon hara. If that were the case, rabbanim sending out a kol koreh before Pesach forbidding unreasonable price gouging by food retailers are conceivably guilty of loshon hara, as their proclamation implies that an unethical practice is taking place; ditto for community activists and heads of social services who claim there are frum pedophiles, abusive husbands, people with unsavory addictions, etc. – as well as most of the op-ed writers and columnists in The Jewish Press.

I was also confused by her conclusion that I had set myself up “as an authority on advising The Jewish Press community on their behavior.” Huh? I simply made some observations based on the reality of human nature, and incidents experienced first-hand and or shared and related to me. Am I acting as an “authority” if I see a child wheezing and coughing and “advise” the mother that he is sick and should be evaluated by a doctor?

Sometimes the facts are in front of you and not pointing them out or sweeping them under the carpet ends up tragically backfiring and harmfully counter-productive.

Please accept my bracha that this new year bring with it a heightened awareness of ahavas Yisrael, of putting the other’s best interest before your own, thus hastening the coming of our final redemption. To that end, may you all have a successful davening!

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 5/27/11

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Dear Readers,

In the column before last you were led to believe that the subject of community values (or lack thereof) was coming to a close. Please bear with us for one more round of commentary as three readers sound off – including the young married woman whose letter started it all. Thus, we’ve come full circle; no more letters on this topic, please, for now.

 

A focused reader with a practical outlook

Dear Rachel,

Regarding the couple forced to move without help from neighbors: some apartments in Israel have no elevators, making moving from the 5th floor of one building to a similar floor of another building hard work. One option is to hire a handyman with a van or small truck to help load and unload.

About the friends or acquaintances who had supposedly declined to assist this couple, could it have been simply a case of bad timing? These people may have already committed themselves to other plans.

As for the relative friendliness of the large city versus the small town, in the former it is virtually impossible to keep track of who may be moving in from another city or whether someone is simply getting a larger apartment on another block. Most people that I know in large cities have guests over for meals every Shabbos, and most are involved in some sort of community activity, such as helping out in their children’s yeshivas.

While the sheer number of volunteer organizations existing in the large city is astounding, there are doers and non-doers in small towns too. Anyone habitually taking advantage of others might eventually find these others less than eager to get involved. Luckily this generation is not post-war and is not directly involved with coming to the aid of refugees or building a community from the ground up.

Generally speaking, I really don’t see the young as more selfish or less committed.

Out-of-towner from many towns

 

A levelheaded New Yorker with mixed emotions

Dear Rachel,

I’ve lived in New York my whole life and have felt the lack of hospitality here. I’ve been divorced for a while, and although I have wonderful extended family who always invite me out for Shabbos meals, I feel that the people in my neighborhood are into their own lives and don’t pay that much attention to others. That being said, I also see the tremendous chessed that goes on in our community (as the letter writer wrote in response to the reply about arrogant New Yorkers).

Despite some problems, one cannot negate the good. Though I have many neighbors steeped in chessed who don’t realize that there are people living right in their midst who can be the recipients of their chessed, it would be stupid for me to say that New Yorkers are arrogant and only care about themselves. Yes, it hurts me tremendously, but I can’t knock an entire community because of this.

When I read the letter from the original letter writer, I also felt that she came across as expecting too much. Yet, when I read the responses, I started realizing that it’s our constant judging that is the root of many problems. I work very hard at not judging my neighbors, although at times it is admittedly difficult not to do so. When Tehillim groups and various other projects are organized in my neighborhood, I feel like crying at how in tune “they” are to some problems while being completely oblivious to others. I know that this (not judging) is something I have to work on; to say this is the way “New Yorkers” are would be foolish.

Life is not simple

 

The last word from the young woman who started it all

Dear Rachel,

I thank you for publishing my letter, which seems to have generated some spiteful responses.

To the woman – a member of the older generation – who dared to take me to task: Your criticism of my “self centered attitude” makes it apparent that you missed some of the details included in my previous letter. It also demonstrates a lack of class on your part. Perhaps I was a little harsh with the younger generation after all, since it seems like the older generation can be just as cold and selfish (based on the way you’ve described yourself).

Like you, I am not a mind reader — though I do try to give people the benefit of the doubt. And why would you put people who mooch off their parents in the same category as those who ask for help every now and then? Where is the logic in that comparison?

I used to be involved in chessed projects; at the present time I host people for Shabbos, those who have nowhere else to go. Furthermore, when I host guests I make sure to give them attention and not shut them out, for that’s how I was raised. When my parents hosted people, they made it their duty to make guests and newcomers feel welcomed in their home and did not ignore them.

I happen to be from New York, and while I have met decent people I have also experienced rude behavior, selfishness and arrogance firsthand. People there seem more concerned with their level of frumkeit than with kavod habriyos (respect for their fellow-man).

I find it rather shocking that people would be so hasty to attack me rather than delve into the matter. I was not looking for sympathy nor was I asking you for an apology. I was simply trying to raise communal awareness, which ironically ruffled your feathers.

Who are you to call me out for being self-centered when you are incapable of judging people favorably? You don’t know me and are therefore not in a position to make blatant accusations against me. So excuse me for asking people to have a little propriety. You may jump to conclusions about me, but only the One Above knows what I have been through.

Community (lack of) values

* * * * *

We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories via email to  rachel@jewishpress.com  or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 4915 16th Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11204. If you wish to make a contribution and help agunot, your tax-deductible donation should be sent to The Jewish Press Foundation. Please make sure to specify that it is to help agunot, as the foundation supports many worthwhile causes

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 5/13/11

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Before getting on with the final go-round (hopefully) of the back and forth that was started by the young married woman who lamented the “narcissistic behaviors” of the “younger generation” (see letters in Chronicles 3-18, 4-8, 4-29 & 5-6), please allow me to acknowledge those readers whose letters have been in a holding pattern on account of this unexpectedly prolonged series: We are deeply appreciative of your input – you, from New York, from New Jersey, from New-Anywhere – on the varied topics comprising genders, BPD, disgruntled husbands and tznius. I assure you that, G-d willing, we will get to y’all.

 

New Yorkers In Defense Of New Yorkers

Dear Rachel,

To the irate husband who wrote to defend his wife’s letter (Chronicles 4-29):

I am one of the respondents who took your wife to task for her self-centered attitude. While it is commendable that you came to your wife’s defense, you must realize that the readers of The Jewish Press are letter readers, not mind readers. They only know your wife as she presented herself.

I also take umbrage with the way you smeared the entire in-town community with one ugly paintbrush.

I, too, am an out-of-towner. I grew up in a small town in New Jersey. When I first came to Brooklyn, I did encounter some individuals who were cold and uninviting, but I met many more who were warm and welcoming. Al tadin et chavercha applies to you, too. You cast unwarranted aspersions and engage in mudslinging against an entire community. (Talk about being rude!) No one called you an uneducated, incapable Southerner. Only you called yourself that. And your educational background is totally irrelevant.

You take pride in the fact that you don’t mooch off your parents, so how is it that you find it okay to mooch off of strangers? I fail to understand your rationale for that.

If, as your wife wrote, you didn’t like your placement at the Shabbos table of hosts who had invited you, chances are you communicated that displeasure via your body language. That type of attitude is not very likely to garner you more invitations.

Your attitude of entitlement is a major turnoff and won’t win you any friends. No one owes you anything! There is no automatic entitlement, even with your pitiful situation, as you describe it.

You may be fine, wonderful people, but you must modify your expectations. Express your gratitude for whatever is offered and take the initiative to proffer a hand (and invitations) to others in friendship.

It is time for a serious attitude change.

 A member of the older generation

 

Dear Rachel, 

The letter from the young woman in Israel (formerly from a small town in the USA) who bemoaned the New York community’s lack of values in having refused to help her when she asked for assistance generated harsh criticism. The writer’s husband then tried to explain what lay behind his wife’s angry letter. He professes not to fully comprehend the way “city slickers” behave, having come from a small town where friendliness and help-thy-neighbor is a creed chiseled in stone.

The next letter of that column is from a woman who ends her bitter remarks with the words “….so typical of arrogant New Yorkers who don’t seem to help their own enough….we can always recognize NY transplants.”

Her misplaced sentiment created a clash of thoughts in my mind. On one hand, I had to chuckle. You see, I was born in Israel and was raised in New York. And let me assure you that I can hold my own with every so-called “arrogant New Yorker.” But the arrogance of Israelis is second to none! In a competition, the Israeli takes the gold medal hands down!

The second thought to enter my mind after reading the words “…arrogant New Yorkers who don’t seem to help their own enough…” was that the writer is either a moron or simply ignorant. Let me point out why.

I don’t believe there is another community anywhere in the world that epitomizes the word chessed as does the New York one. No other city in the world has sprouted so many self-help groups and organizations whose only reason for existing is to help the needy Jew.

Yes… we, those arrogant New Yorkers the writer laments about, are the creators of Bikur Cholim and Hatzolah, of Bonei Olam, Tomchei Shabbos, Shuvu and Chai-Lifeline, of Shomrim and Misaskim.

Millions upon millions of dollars are donated and spent for the benefit of others. Numerous volunteers spend hours upon hours, day or night, winter and summer, to bring relief to the hungry, the injured, the elderly and to those for whom the pain is the last call before departure. Hundreds of thousands of hours are spent by dedicated New Yorkers – those arrogant New Yorkers – for the benefit and wellbeing of all, including “transplanted Israelis” whose arrogance supersedes their obligation to say “thank you.”

Gemilas chassodim runs through the veins of New Yorkers. They thrive on giving, helping and assisting. They will go that extra mile, give that extra dollar, and carry that extra load so that the fellow Jew will get what he or she needs.

It is simply impossible to describe their deep dedication and commitment to the task at hand — while risking their lives, health and sholom bayis.

Arrogant? So be it!

* * * * *

We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories via email to  rachel@jewishpress.com  or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 4915 16th Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11204. If you wish to make a contribution and help agunot, your tax-deductible donation should be sent to The Jewish Press Foundation. Please make sure to specify that it is to help agunot, as the foundation supports many worthwhile causes.

No Hate Like Liberal Hate

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011
Need further proof of how hopelessly liberal the mainstream media really are? Just consider the coverage of the accusations of incivility and incitement hurled at Republicans and conservatives by Democrats and liberals in the aftermath of the December shootings in Tucson.
The charges were almost without exception reported in the most matter-of-fact manner, with hardly any provision made for context or examples given of liberal hate speech against conservatives – of which volumes could be written using a sampling of quotes from the past decade alone.
The fact is, President George W. Bush was ridiculed and vilified and demonized by liberals and leftists on a scale dwarfing any of the verbal abuse to which President Obama has been subjected.
But the left’s animosity extended well beyond one man sitting in the Oval Office. Liberals spent the better part of eight years spitting scorn and rage at those of their fellow Americans benighted enough to actually vote for a man routinely likened to a terrorist, a mass murderer, and a war criminal.
During the fight over ballot counting in Florida after the 2000 presidential election, Al Sharpton accused Republicans of wanting to “do the same thing to us” that “Hitler in his wickedness and evil” did to Jews.
In 2004, Newsday columnist Hugh Pearson took a look at the Republican National Convention, held that year in New York, and was reminded of “Nazi rallies held in Germany during the reign of Adolf Hitler.”
New York Post gossip queen Cindy Adams welcomed Republican delegates to that convention with a column stinking of condescension and class superiority, as in her remarks that “not all our hotels are goat-friendly” and that “I met one delegate’s girlfriend. She was a cow. A real cow.”
Adams was just getting started. “I welcome them,” she wrote of her countrymen whose only crime was attending a Republican convention in her city. “I understand them. Their Architectural Digest is Home Depot. Class is Anna Nicole Smith. Couture is Sears. For their collections, they go to Wal-Mart. It’s the Evening Wear section when buying corduroy . Even their faces are polyester.”
The novelist Jane Smiley, writing shortly before the election about why she would be voting for John Kerry, called Bush “an amoral prevaricator and ruthless opportunist,” adding, “I consider a vote for Bush a vote for tyranny.”
Bush won, of course, and Smiley, by now marinating in a stew of hate and hysteria, knew why, writing a post-election analysis that castigated Bush voters for their brutish violence and “unteachable” ignorance – she used the latter word or a variant of it no fewer than 11 times in what was a relatively short essay, as in “The election results reflect the decision of the right wing to cultivate and exploit ignorance in this country” and “The error that progressives have consistently committed over the years is to underestimate the vitality of ignorance in America.”
The day after Bush’s reelection, The New York Times canvassed liberal New Yorkers for their reactions. A Manhattan resident described as a “retired psychiatrist” told the Times he was “saddened by what I feel is the obtuseness and shortsightedness of a good part of the country – the heartland. This kind of redneck, shoot-from-the-hip mentality and a very concrete interpretation of religion is prevalent in Bush country – the heartland.”
Another New Yorker quoted in the article declared, “New Yorkers are savvy. We have street smarts. Whereas people in the Midwest are more influenced by what their friends say.”
(This coming from a liberal Manhattanite – a class that has no equal when it comes to sheer insularity and susceptibility to groupthink, as witness the late film critic Pauline Kael’s lamenting after the 1972 election that saw President Nixon carry 49 states, “I don’t know how Richard Nixon could have won. I don’t know anyone who voted for him.”)

Keith Burgess-Jackson, an academic writing at the conservative website FrontPageMag.com, hit it on the head several years ago when he described the liberal mindset in words that ring just as true today:

 

Conservatives are ignorant, stupid, and evil, or some combination of the three . Liberals, of course, are the opposite of all these. They’re knowledgeable, intelligent, and good. Note that if you believe your opponents to be stupid or evil, you don’t try to reason with them. Stupid people, like animals and children, need guidance by their superiors . That, in a nutshell, is the liberal mentality. It explains why liberals are so angry, hateful and spiteful . Take it from me, a former liberal.

 

          Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/media-monitor/no-hate-like-liberal-hate/2011/02/02/

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