Standing up for Lt. Col. Vindman
Our community has lost its moral compass. We’ve silently sat back and looked the other way in the face of every outrage President Trump has committed: the lies, the filthy language, the disgusting personal conduct, the moral equivalence of Nazi marchers and those who protested against them, the assaults on our fundamental freedoms and the Rule of Law. We’ve been silent about detention centers at the border where children are separated from parents and kept in cages, places that are likened to concentration camps by Holocaust survivors themselves.
The silence continues with the treatment of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a true American Jewish war hero and patriot, whose father brought him as a toddler from the old Soviet Union. First he was denounced as having dual loyalty. How long have we American Jews cringed at the dual loyalty canard? How many years did the American Jewish community demonstrate and march for Jews to be allowed to leave the Soviet Union? How we rejoiced when they could finally do so.
And yet when Lt. Col. Vindman, now one of us, a shining example of the best of us, was demeaned and slandered as not being a “real American,” a loyal American, the Jewish community was silent. Why didn’t we stand up for this American Jewish patriot who bravely came forward to tell the truth in an honorable and dignified manner in spite of the hatred he knew would be directed at him?
Last week — after he was fired, together, for good measure in true Soviet style, with his twin brother and ignominiously marched out of the White House — still not a peep. Now, with the president threatening further retribution, not one Jewish leader, not one Jewish organization, had anything to say in his defense. So many Jewish organizations; so much silence. This patriot, with shrapnel in his body from serving in Afghanistan, declined to return home like other wounded soldiers so he could finish his tour of duty. This man has served and sacrificed more for this country than anyone in this current administration.
So why the silence? Why the total abdication of doing the right thing? Are largely symbolic gestures, like the long sought move of the American embassy to Jerusalem or the one-sided peace plan put forth without negotiation, so earthshakingly important that we discard the very tangible values that have always distinguished American Jews?
If so, shame on us. This is not the morality that I was raised with. Nor, I’m sure, were your readers.
Say yes to Super Sunday
Recent events in our own backyard have shaken many of us to the core. This year, the Anti-Defamation League reported that New Jersey ranks among the highest in the nation for anti-Semitic incidents. Then, the horrific anti-Semitic tragedies happened in Jersey City and Monsey. All of this can make us yearn for an organization that we can count on to help address our concerns and keep us safe. That organization is Jewish Federation.
It is clear, we live in tumultuous and complicated times. But it is even more clear that the power of our Jewish community to influence change, and federation’s steadfast commitment to facilitating that change is something we can count on. And one of the critical tools federation uses to raise money is its Super Sunday annual phone-a-thon event. Where does an event such as Super Sunday fit into a world often connected by social media, but disconnected from in-person (or phone) conversations? Well, as long as there are needs in the community, Super Sunday is important.
Super Sunday raises hundreds of thousands of dollars every year from friends like you who answered the call (or text) and gave. And that money is put directly back into our community to aid safety and security measures, hungry seniors, young families building their Jewish identities, and our children through programs, schools, and camps.
As Rabbi Hillel famously said, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am not for others, what am I? And if not now, when?”
So, on Sunday, March 1, answer your phone (or text), and say “yes” to donating and helping us build a better Jewish community together. Because no matter how busy we are, it’s never been more critical to answer the call.
Standing now and always for ourselves and others.
Director of community outreach and engagement
Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey
Thank you, Dr. Selengut
Just writing to let you know how much I enjoyed Dr. Selengut’s opinion piece (“The new anti-Semitism,” February 14). I believe the he accurately defined and explained the current problem we as Jews are facing.
State of the Union speech praised
A letter, “Images from the State of the Union,” (February 14) illustrates the divide in our nation. The author uses the award of the Medal of Freedom to Rush Limbaugh and the removal of Fred Guttenberg after he disrupted the State of the Union address to press his point. The author was wrong when he wrote that he “left in handcuffs.” The video of his removal showed that he was politely asked to get up and walked out of the room with both hands free.
Rush Limbaugh was given the award for his radio program on the air for over 30 years. His program presents the Conservative view to millions of listeners in a media that is largely a barren wasteland of this philosophy. “Bo Snerdley” (James Gordon), an American Black, his call screener and producer, has worked in these capacities since 1992. Rush a racist? It has come to the point where certain individuals see racism everywhere. Even someone holding a sign “Blue Lives Matter,” in defense of the police, is called a racist.
President Trump introduced 22 individuals to illustrate what positives can be found in our nation. Stephanie and her daughter, Janiyah Davis, were presented with a scholarship so that Janiyah can attend the school of her choice in Philadelphia. Iain Lanphier was introduced before his great grandfather, Brig. Gen., Charles McGee, a retired fighter pilot of the Tuskegee Airmen. Iain hopes to emulate him by aiming for the skies as an astronaut. Deputy Chief Raul Ortiz is a member of the Border Patrol in Texas. And Carl and Marsha Mueller of Arizona are the parents of Kayla, who was kidnapped and murdered by al-Bagdadhi, the terrorist leader killed by U.S. forces. These were just a few of the guests of the president; they came from all walks of life and were Black, Hispanic and White.
The shame to be found within the confines of the venue of the State of the Union Address were the actions of many in the Democrat Party. They could not find it within themselves to applaud the positive accomplishments achieved under the Trump Administration. The lowering of unemployment, the raising of workers salaries, and the positive renegotiation of trade agreements, were met with silence. Some even walked out during his speech and the culmination of poor behavior was Nancy Pelosi’s planned tearing up of his SOTU Address for the cameras.
Hopefully during his second term, the Democrats will work for the nation instead of against the President.
Howard J. Cohn
The speech was disgraceful
The president of the United States has diminished the Medal of Freedom award by presenting it to Rush Limbaugh.
What a sad commentary to present such a high award, at the State of the Union Speech, to a man so unworthy of it.
Rush Limbaugh is nothing but a disgraceful, hateful bigot and racist. For decades he has used hate-speech to spread false conspiracy theories on his daily radio program. He is hardly worthy of a Medal of Freedom, which is the highest U.S. civilian award. It recognizes people who have made “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interest of the U.S., world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.” It was established in 1963 by President John Kennedy.
The person who deserves this medal is Marie Yovanovitch, the former American diplomat, who was removed from office by the president of the United States, was denigrated by him for no reason at all, and was smeared by Rudy Giuliani. She was called “bad news” and the president asked for her to be taken out. It is a shame that a woman who was doing her job and well liked all over the world was treated in such a disgusting manner.
Marie Yovanovitch, who is known for her measured demeanor and diligence, has represented both the Democratic and Republican administrations.
To paraphrase Senator Claire McCaskill, every woman in America should cheer for Marie Yovanovitch’s decades of service. She made America proud.