Jew-Hate Shouted Aloud

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “Jew-Hate Shouted Aloud.”

We were walking to synagogue today for Shabbat services, and were taken aback when out of the window of a speeding car someone yelled, “Heil Hitler!”…While I value all the freedoms we have in this country, including the freedom of speech (especially as I am a writer), I am concerned that if the anti-Semitism can’t be addressed through law enforcement action when it’s at the verbal stage of offense then what does that leave—it has to escalate to violence for the police to be able to take action against the haters and perpetrators?


Just as it is illegal to yell “fire” in a crowded theatre and cause danger to the public, I believe that shouting vile hatred and incitement should be illegal for the same reasons. We don’t need to be able to punish people for thought crimes, but we do need to be able to protect people from hate-mongers who are openly leading up to violent expressions of their deep-seated Jew hatred, by identifying hate speech as a bona fide illegal and punishable crime.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Anti-Semitism: Preparedness Can’t Be Blind

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Anti-Semitism: Preparedness Can’t Be Blind.”

As I’m standing there, I feel someone coming up behind me and then running into me. Of course, with anti-Semitic attacks prominent and growing, I may have been at a slightly higher state of alert, and I turn around ready for whatever or to give someone a few choice words…And then I see the cane from a blind person.


So even in these times, when there are gangs, drugs, violence, and anti-Semitism, and “we can’t be careful enough” (especially given our long, deep history of religious persecution), at the same time, we need to judge our fellow man favorably first and foremost, and still we must be prepared for, G-d forbid, the worst at any time.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

‘Uncut Gems’ Cuts Deep

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Uncut Gems Cuts Deep.”

Yesterday, we went to see the new Adam Sandler movie, Uncut Gems….Ratner’s life is full of shlemazel of his own making. While he has a good wife, kids, and extended family (maybe with the exception of his loan shark uncle), a fancy-schmancy home in the suburbs with a newly renovated pool, his own jewelry business that even caters to some big-league sports players, and a shiksa girlfriend on the side (who seems to love him), Ratner is never satisfied or happy and is always pushing for more!


In the movie, Howard Ratner was driven by greed and made bad life choices, and to me, it was a shame that the he was portrayed as a Jew, which can feed the vicious cycle of discrimination and hatred that has often been anchored around money. With the vicious machete attack on Chanukah at a Rabbi’s house in Monsey this week (after a slew of other anti-Semitic incidents, including an attack on a student for wearing a yalmulke on the NYC Subway to beatings and tire slashings of Jews in Brooklyn), we are reminded that there is once again a resurgence of prejudice and hate against Jews, but also that it’s the light of Chanukah that “drives out the darkness,” and that money and materialism are a mere shabby substitute to finding true security and success whether you work in the dense NYC Diamond District or live in the sprawling suburbs of America.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Celebrating With Security

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Celebrating With Security.”

Take a look around you at the new security measures and people risking their lives for yours and your family. Take a moment to thank them. But also, recognize that the security isn’t there just for show, it’s there because the hatred and threats have tangibly increased along with the ever present means to carry them out. It is critical that we continue our vigilance and the strengthening of our security measures, because those that hate us for who we are and for our faith are not going away, and unfortunately, they may even continue to grow in numbers and resolve. However, none of us should live in fear and be forced to stay away from our religious institutions, our Torah study, and prayer, but rather to the contrary, we need to stand up strongly–in defiance and in faith!


While I don’t know what specific security measures we will see next Rosh Hashanah, I can say with almost absolute certainty that it will be more and not less and that you should definitely be taking notice.

(Image by Robert-Owen-Wahl from Pixabay)

Shootings in El Paso and Dayton

Another bloody weekend…this time in El Paso and Dayton. 


With at least 29 dead and 53 injured in mass shootings.


We still don’t seem to be able to get a state of security in our country. 


Whether it’s gangs and violence in our decaying cities (yes, like Baltimore). 


Or mass shootings by racists and nut jobs attacking our schools, houses of worship, shopping malls, and places of work. 


People can buy assault rifles with mega mags of ammunition and go crazy.


And they do!


While I was impressed with the response in Dayton especially, they killed the perpetrator within 30 seconds of the start to his killing spree, in other cases it takes considerably longer,


Moreover, while generally the first responders are brave and heroic in going after and taking out the bad guys, in places like the Parkland shooting, the officer apparently hid behind a tree while the students got massacred. 


We need a rethinking of how we deal with these terror situations. 


Can technology help (and I know these may sound crazy, but we have to think out-of-the-box at some point)?


We have the ShotSpotter technology to pinpoint where shootings are occurring. 


Why can’t we have persistent armed drones on patrol with AI ready to swoop in (even through an open door or window) and respond and neutralize the shooter (while law enforcement makes their way through our busy city streets). 


Other ideas…embedded chips in humans (yes, it is coming) that would drive the privacy wonks nuts, but can identify occurrences of extreme violence and potentially stop it.  


I am sure there are other technology ideas out there.


Certainly, we do need to balance privacy with safety, and it will be tricky to make sure the AI is getting it right, but as we figure this out, tragically there are fathers, mothers, children not coming home because they are dead.  😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

I Pray For The Day

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “I Pray For The Day.”


While I am a staunch supporter for the security of Israel, I pray for the day (a miracle) when Jews and Arabs can be brothers again–shoulder to shoulder–that embrace and help each other, rather than enemies “at each others’ throats.”


In my mind and heart, there has got to come a time when the hatred and violence ends, and when instead peace can and will prevail. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Wig and Taped Mouth

Thought this was a pretty scary mannequin. 


Aside from the disheveled hair covering her head and half her face. 


You can see that her mouth and nose is taped over with clear masking tape!


Clearly she looks like she has been abused or worse, and the image is that she can’t even scream for help. 


Why anyone would advertise women’s fashion in this misogynist way should be beyond all of us. 


There are a lot of crazy nuts out there.


This photo is a small reminder of what we face in terms of ugliness in this world. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)