Two More Differences
Here are two more items for Stephen Moore’s list of differences between Right and Left (“Money Matters,” June 12):
1) The Right bickers. The Left speaks.
2) The Right sits. The Left acts.
On Black America (I)
Rabbi Pilichowski calls on readers to demonstrate empathy for black Americans, but to truly help black Americans, one needs to understand the root of the problems plaguing their community.
The black family is fractured today. This fact is often attributed to intergenerational trauma stemming from centuries of slavery, but this explanation doesn’t hold water. Following their emancipation in 1865, former slaves were quick to get married and have strong families. What destroyed many poor black families is the welfare system.
The proof is found in the U.S. Census. Thomas Sowell points out that in the censuses of 1890, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940, blacks had a higher marriage rate than whites. Only after the introduction of welfare did the black family begin to disintegrate.
Statistically, the single greatest factor associated with crimes committed by young men is growing up in a household without a father. But the welfare system almost encourages fatherless homes. It provides unmarried women who have children out of wedlock a safety net that they didn’t used to enjoy. In many cases, a woman gets more money by not working and by not being careful not to have a child out of wedlock.
The solution (in addition to stressing personal responsibility and strengthening religious education) is to reorganize the system so that a person doing the right thing gets more benefits than people who do the wrong thing.
Finally, while we should be empathetic of the plight of others, we must not forget the Talmudic dictum that charity begins at home.
Fort Lee, NJ
On Black America (II)
One can agree with Rabbi Pilichowski that treating everyone fairly is a Torah value, but it would have been nice had he attempted to articulate this point from an authentic Torah perspective.
Instead, we get the familiar leftist arguments about “systemic racism” and certain “unwritten rules of society” that divides society between the “disadvantaged” and the “privileged.” These arguments sound awfully Marxist, not Mosaic.
Rabbi Pilichowski also misinterprets the Torah’s commandment to help the widow, the orphan, and the destitute as a form of universal social justice rather than particular Divine commandments that were given to the Jewish people for the Jewish people.
Finally, Rabbi Pilichowski regrets that “Jews clearly don’t feel the need to listen to black people.” Pray tell, what on earth imposes an obligation on 14 million Jews to prioritize the interests of 40 million Black Americans who are positively represented in virtually all American media outlets and one of whom even became president – twice?
Meanwhile Jewish life in the West is drastically declining amidst anti-Semitism and assimilation, while the only Jewish state on earth is internationally condemned and constantly engaged in an existential war for survival.
How alarmingly disturbing that at a time when Jewish lives in America and Israel hardly seem to matter at all, Jewish people are expected to go the extra mile for others but not their own.
On Black America (III)
“Jews have gained from the system that allows us to advance while keeping black people back.” Thus wrote Rabbi Uri Pilichowski in an article in last week’s paper.
Most of our grandparents came to these shores with nothing and broke their backs to achieve success. No, they did not do it on the backs of black people. They did it all on their own.
Rabbi Pilichowski writes that the statistics about discrimination against black (which he acknowledges may prove that no systematic discrimination exist) don’t matter. “Black people feel discriminated against,” and therefore it is a Jewish duty to “act compassionately with love and empathy” just because they want us to. So is this movement about justice or about feelings?
In Judaism, we believe in helping those who seek to help themselves. In Judaism we believe in justice.
On Black America (IV)
Rabbi Uri Pilichowski’s op-ed last week was so filled with nonsense that it’s hard to know where to begin.
He argues vigorously that we need to feel the “pain” of black Americans – whether this pain is justified or not. Um, no we don’t. Do you feel the “pain” of anti-Semites who believe Jews are keeping them down? Do you feel the “pain” of arsonists who feel compelled to “lash out”?
When your child throws a temper tantrum and breaks a family heirloom, do you feel his “pain,” too? Or do you discipline him severely so that he grows up, learns to control himself, and never does such a barbaric act again?
It’s proper to feel the pain of people who have been wronged. It’s not proper – or nice – to feel the pain of people who make up stories. When you do, you only encourage these people to continue believing lies and to wallow in their own anger and sense of victimhood. You’re not helping them – not in the slightest. And you certainly can’t build long-term racial harmony based on a lie.
Incidentally, I wonder if Rabbi Pilichowski feels the pain of the 800 policemen who have been injured the last two weeks. Or the pain of the several blacks and whites who have been murdered in cold blood because of black “pain.” Or the pain of the 18 inner city blacks in Chicago who were murdered in one day two weeks ago by fellow blacks because the police had pulled back from their community.
I also wonder if he feels the pain of everyday black women trying to raise their kids in safety. Or is it only the “pain” of radical 20-year-old black radicals that he feels?
On Black America (V)
In his op-ed last week, Rabbi Uri Pilichowski fails to mention some significant historical facts – e.g., Jews sacrificing their lives to promote civil rights in the 1960s, the destruction of the black family (thanks to Democrat handouts); and the high rates of anti-Semitism among blacks (higher than among any other minority group).
As a society, over the last 50-plus years, white Americans have bent over backwards for black Americans – and what has it gotten us (or them)? All these decades later, when certain blacks don’t like something, they riot, loot, and murder. Who can forget the riot in Crown Heights, which started when a Jewish driver accidentally killed a black child?
And they have people like Al Sharpton to egg them on. Where is the justice in that, rabbi?
My Torah says we should treat all individuals fairly – not just the black individuals. And fairness requires that we do not help the multitude of Al Sharptons in the black community.
East Brunswick, NJ
On Black America (VI)
I found Rabbi Uri Pilichowski’s piece disturbing in a number of ways. For example, he writes that “the unwritten rules of [American] society provide less opportunity for black people than white people.” I don’t know which America Rabbi Pilichowski is writing about. In the America I live in, a black child who has the ability, works hard, and makes smart choices (avoids drugs, crime, and pregnancy) can expect significant advantages over whites in getting into top colleges and graduate schools.
In 2018, The Harvard Crimson reported:
“Asian-Americans admitted to Harvard [from 1995-2013] earned an average SAT score of 767 across all sections…. By comparison, white admits earned an average score of 745 across all sections, Hispanic-American admits earned an average of 718, Native-American and Native-Hawaiian admits an average of 712, and African-American admits an average of 704.”
A good portion of my family perished in the Holocaust and my parents immigrated to the U.S. in their forties without money or knowledge of English, let alone a network of connections. When kids shouted anti-Semitic slurs and threw pebbles at me when I walked to school, my parents told me there are stupid people in the world and I should ignore them.
The notion that I was a victim and therefore entitled to extra help did not exist. I was told, “You have the ability to do anything. Apply yourself and you’ll succeed.”
Of course, Rabbi Pilichowski is correct in saying we should empathize with those who suffer. But to instill in any American child the belief that he or she is a victim of “the unwritten rules of society” is a terrible thing. Not only because it’s untrue, but because of the toxic effect it will have on the child’s sense of self, trust in others, and hope for the future.
Miriam Grossman, MD
On Black America (VII)
Rabbi Uri Pilichowski writes that “the unwritten rules of [American] society provide less opportunity for black people than white people” and that black “college graduates face an unemployment rate that is two times the average of their white counterparts.” His condemnation is false and misleading.
A 1995 study by liberal economist June O’Neill and conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza refuted the common belief that income disparity between Caucasians and African-Americans is due to racism.
The disparity is actually due to many non-racial variables: Age: African-Americans are a younger population. The most common age for a black man is 27. The most common age for a white man is 58. People earn more later in life when they have had the opportunity to move up the corporate ladder.
Geography: The black population is predominantly concentrated in the South, where wages are lower across the board than elsewhere in America.
Education: When comparing similar levels of schooling and SAT scores, the supposed wage-gap shrinks.
In sum, the evidence shows no pattern of businesses paying a qualified white and an equally qualified black different amounts.
Rabbi Pilichowski also glides over the strangulation on inner-city public schools systems by teacher unions and a common belief amongst certain inner-city black youth that striving for academic success is for whites and that blacks desiring to succeed are “Uncle Toms.”
The Brookings Institute, a left-leaning institute, found that to avoid poverty, one needs to make sure to do three things: graduate high school, not have children out of wedlock, and get a job.
According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the out-of-wedlock birthrate amongst blacks skyrocketed from 20 percent in the 1960s to its current level of over 70 percent.
We will not be able to address any claims of societal disadvantages to blacks – real or perceived – unless we include in the honest conversation all the above-contributing factors.
Michael Cohen, Esq.
Annexing the Jordan Valley
With the increasing probability that the Democratic Party and Joe Biden will be victorious in November and considering their pronouncements that have been less favorable toward Israel, Netanyahu has no option now but to obtain the minimum needs of the Jewish state pertaining to the West Bank.
With vigorous objections from Arab countries and even concerns from settlers in Judea and Samaria (West Bank) who fear that partial annexation will define the future area of that region, there appears to be little room for Netanyahu to maneuver.
Under these conditions, the smartest course would be to focus on the critical and generally uninhabited Jordan Valley. Annexing this small but militarily important buffer between Israel and Jordan should meet with U.S. approval, settler acknowledgment, and friendly Arab understanding.
New York, NY
The Slogan Isn’t Racist
I have heard people complain about the phrase “Black Lives Matter.” They claim it should be “All lives matter.”
But saying “Black Lives Matter” doesn’t mean you don’t think all lives matter. You are just calling attention to what you think is a travesty committed against a particular group of people.
The other week, MK Naftali Bennett touted the demolition of a terrorist’s home, calling it a deterrent against future attacks on Israelis. “Whenever anyone attacks us, we will hit them back. Jewish blood isn’t cheap,” he said.
In saying that, he didn’t mean to imply that other blood is cheap. He was focusing on a travesty committed against the Jewish people.
It’s All Coming Apart
We are witnessing the destruction of our history and democracy. And it’s all being orchestrated by George Soros et al.
Police reform – not de-funding – is the key. Most of our policemen are good people. A few rotten apples in the barrel are being used to give a bad name to an institution that has protected our citizens honorably.
Where are black leaders like Al Sharpton, Jessie Jackson, and Louis Farrakhan? Why don’t they deal with the real issue, which is poverty in the inner cities due to an almost total absence of fathers?
Children are raised by their mothers or grandmothers. They are poor and mostly on welfare. The kids have no one to read to them, no one to help them with homework at home. Why should they try to excel under their circumstances?
They grow up to be very angry young people because the difference between the haves and have nots is so vivid to them. Thus the recent looting.
Yes, we do need change but Black Lives Matter is not the organization to bring it. It hates its own black brethren. It hates Jews. It hates Israel. It only cares for the “cause.”
Sports stars and the Hollywood elite, though, support Black Lives Matter and say nothing about the absence of black fathers. After all, they don’t live in the inner cities or communities. They are hypocrites living in million-dollar mansions with their own security force.
I was very surprised and disappointed by The Jewish Press endorsement of Felix Ortiz last week. This past term alone, he voted for around 100 bills that hurt our community. I’m sure when you endorsed him, you didn’t realize that he was a co-sponsor of New York’s assisted suicide bill (A02694), which puts the lives of our grandparents in danger.
He also voted for a bill (A08421) that requires all religious exemptions to New York’s LGBT rights law to be interpreted narrowly so that LGBT rights always trump religious rights.
These two bills alone could endanger our community in ways we cannot imagine. While Ortiz might be great for our community in his New York office, he votes against us at every turn in Albany.
In a recent broadside against Trump, former Secretary of Defense James Mattis writes, “The Nazi slogan for destroying us was ‘Divide and Conquer.’ … Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people – does not even pretend to try. Instead he tries to divide us.”
If Trump’s favorite “Mad Dog” General James Mattis is openly comparing the tactics of his former boss as those of the Nazis, it’s well past time for traitor Trump to resign! Attempting to hang on to the American presidency by hook or by crook to avoid federal prison will not be a successful sale for Trump in 2020.
With this in mind, it’s time for some courage from the normally craven conservatives. Dump Trump at your coronavirus convention! Just do it for America, already. No more excuses!