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November 27, 2014 / 5 Kislev, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘New Yorkers’

Separating Rudy From 9/11

Wednesday, September 5th, 2007

In a virtuoso display of the pettiness that has come to define the New York Times editorial page under Andrew Rosenthal, the Sour Gray Lady sniped last weekend against the active participation of Rudy Giuliani in the city’s memorial event marking the sixth anniversary of 9/11.

The reason for the Times’s snit is that Giuliani is running for president, and by actively participating in the event – Mayor Bloomberg asked him to read aloud a passage – rather than standing quietly on the sidelines with other invited politicians, he’ll be given an unfair “opportunity for politicking.”

The Times complained, in language so breathtakingly insulting it bordered on vulgarity – that “after turning the 9/11 attacks into a lucrative personal business, [Giuliani] is now elbowing his way to the top of the Republican field by making much of his response to the destruction in his city six years ago. The use of this terrible day as a political slogan should be taboo for any candidate who wants to show respect for the way that tragedy affected not only New Yorkers but all Americans.”

Of course, the idea that Giuliani’s post-mayoral financial success, and his standing as frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, is due solely, or even primarily, to 9/11 is nothing short of ludicrous.

Imagine for a moment that David Dinkins had been mayor at the time of the attack and that by some miracle had provided Giuliani-style leadership to a city shaken to its very core. Would that alone have given him a serious shot at the presidency? To ask the question is to answer it.

It was Giuliani’s record as mayor (a record even the Times had to grudgingly acknowledge when it endorsed him for reelection in 1997) – his reputation as a man who had, against all expectations, made New York City livable after decades of crime and grime – that made him a figure of national repute. His performance in the wake of 9/11 simply served as an unforgettably powerful exclamation point to eight sometimes contentious but nonetheless extraordinary years.

It is unthinkable that the man who led New York through the worst period in the city’s history should be shunted to the sidelines on an occasion marking those dark days because the Times (and this is the paper’s real concern) wants a Democrat elected president in 2008. Giuliani’s reassuring resolve on 9/11 and the weeks that followed will forever be linked to the attack itself.

But don’t take the Monitor’s word for it. New York Times columnist Clyde Haberman wrote on September 16, 2001: “In this crisis, Mr. Giuliani was majestic. He rallied New Yorkers and calmed them, inspired them and consoled them…. This mayor’s superb performance gave him one more claim to history, besides his helping bring rampant crime down to manageable levels.”

Another Times columnist, the intractably liberal Bob Herbert, wrote on September 20 of that year: “Traumatized by the trade center attack, New Yorkers are grateful to Mr. Giuliani for leadership that has been not only steadfast but inspirational.” And Herbert approvingly quoted David Letterman, who upon his return to the airwaves the week after 9/11 told viewers, “Rudolph Giuliani is the personification of courage.”

The Times editorial board shared those effusive sentiments, as was made clear in a September 14, 2001 editorial describing Giuliani as “the leader New York City needed in its worst moment.”

The editorial continued:

With little rhetoric and less poetry, he consoled a stunned populace trying to make sense through the smoke and beyond the jagged skyline…. A few scenes stand out. When the disaster hit, the mayor, who always identifies with the police and firefighters, acted like one of them and headed straight for the explosion. When the first of the World Trade Center towers collapsed, he was at a temporary command bunker less than two blocks away. He and his aides had to scramble out of the building and through the storm of dust and debris to safety. Early television interviews showed Mr. Giuliani, like many other surviving New Yorkers, with the silt graying his hair and dusting his shoulders. Even a day later, as he roamed through Manhattan, his soot-covered shoes offered a reminder that he had been running the city at street level….In the days ahead, the city will have different needs as New Yorkers suffer through the various stages of individual and communal grief…. Through these aftershocks, we hope Mr. Giuliani can continue to guide us as expertly as he has since Tuesday morning. Until then, he deserves our gratitude for being there to start the city’s revival.

Six Thousand Miles (Part I)

Wednesday, July 18th, 2007

         Like many other New Yorkers, during my 35 years of living in Brooklyn, I had rarely traveled outside the tri-state region and had never been to Florida, California, the National Parks or to most states outside the East Coast. After eight years of being Israeli, my wife, Barbara, and I took our three boys and flew coast to coast (Florida, California, some of the parks, etc.). As Americans we had only visited Israel, but as Israelis we have traveled to England, Europe, China, Alaska, Australia, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, Russia and the Caribbean.

 

         Now that my wife and I are retired Israelis, it was time to see more of America. We chose the Northern U.S. and the Canadian Rockies as our main destinations. Many tourists would have hopped a plane to the Canadian Rockies, but my brother, Avi, and his wife, Martha, chose to drive us on this tour. They began their 9,000-mile trek from Boca Raton, Florida before they picked us up from O’Hare Airport in Chicago, where our 6,000-mile motor adventure began. Avi and Martha own a comfortable van, and Avi likes driving.

 

         I hope this Jewish travelogue will be both interesting and helpful. This first installment will discuss kosher food on the road, while future parts will discuss Shabbat home hospitality, some attractions, saving money, and interesting tidbits from along the way.

 

         Our secondary goal was to find and visit new (to us) Jewish communities. While still in Israel, I used the Internet to find and contact Jewish communities, and I used the AAA Internet site to plan our route, make a list of attractions that might interest us, and print maps and directions. This AAA free service proved very helpful, as I could easily modify routes, check mileage from stop to stop, and read about recommended attractions. After this month-long exercise in planning, I have a better understanding of the work done by tour operators and their value to travelers.

 

         Most attractions, for example, were open from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. Time must be allocated to driving the often hundreds of miles between points, while still arriving at an attraction still open. Often we had to choose which of several attractions to see because we could only visit two or three attractions during any travel day. It was not easy to coordinate and plan.

 

         While we did not always choose famous attractions, almost every place we chose to stop was listed as a starred (recommended) attraction in the AAA book and on the Internet site. We usually did not travel on major highways (which can be monotonous) but often chose scenic secondary roads, where we often saw and stopped in Middle-American small towns.

 

         One of our first challenges as Orthodox Jews was to find kosher food during this month-long tour. Prior to starting out from Brooklyn and Boca, each couple purchased several La Briute and Meal Mart meals. Both meals can be stored without refrigeration, and La Briute meals do not require a microwave. Each La Briute meal has a heating element triggered by a saltwater solution, which is included in the package. Pareve and meat meals are sold, but after a taste-test prior to the trip we only purchased meat meals.

 

         Meal Mart meals usually required a microwave but are double-wrapped, permitting us to use any microwave in a motel. Here, too, we only purchased the meat meals. We rarely found any of these meals in a supermarket on the road. And if we did, there was no selection. We were happy that we purchased the meals in Brooklyn and Boca before the trip.

 

         Some of the meals on our trip consisted of tuna or salmon, while some were nosh. We were pleased to find in the 7-Eleven or in local supermarkets many products with an OU, or Canadian or Chicago kosher certification. In Minneapolis, Calgary, Edmonton and Toronto we also found kosher stores or non-kosher supermarkets with large kosher sections run by Orthodox Jews. In some, we were able to purchase cold cuts, franks and barbequed chickens. In the van we were able to carry canned vegetables, fruits and lots of nosh. Every motel had ice for our cooler, which stored our milk, cheese, drinks, meat and other items requiring refrigeration.

 

         We found a kosher supermarket owned by Gitle Ort in Milwaukee, a Berel’s Bakery in Calgary, and the kosher sections of Byerly’s in Minneapolis and Sobeys in Edmonton. Berel spoke of the need for more community support because many of the younger families were purchasing their kosher-baked goods in Costco or supermarkets, and this cut seriously into his business. In Edmonton, Gary Segal gave us great service at the Sobeys supermarket, telling us about the meat products and Cholov Yisroel items the store brings in from Toronto.

 

         The Mall of Edmonton, Canada, owned by an Orthodox Jew, had an excellent fast-food fish and pizza restaurant and a kosher caterer. The owner subsidized both, since they did not have enough clientele. It was interesting that just as we found the kosher restaurant, our Chabad host for Shabbat was standing there, and we were able to confirm our Shabbat arrangements – along with getting directions. He is the caterer’s mashgiach, and we sat with him in the kitchen discussing the community while the women shopped at the mall.

 

         Another “food” incident occurred in Binghamton, NY, our last stop. My wife’s job each morning was to check the kashrut of the breakfast available. In each motel she requested to see the ingredients (usually printed only on the bulk packaging), and I guess the motel staff assumed that someone had an allergy. In our last motel, the obviously non-Jewish woman Barbara approached asked, “Why, are you Jewish?” Surprised, Barbara responded, “Yes.” The woman replied, “I am sorry but I do not think that you will be able to eat most of the products.” After a short discussion Barbara found out that the woman’s daughter had converted to Judaism, lives in Beitar Elite, Israel, and her grandchildren “have those little curly sideburns.”

 

         PART II: Shabbat In Wonderful Jewish Communities

 

         Comments may be sent to dov@gilor.com.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/six-thousand-miles-part-i/2007/07/18/

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