By Rabbi Jacob Klass
Presidium Chairman, Rabbinical Alliance of America,
Torah Editor, The Jewish Press
‘Pray for the Welfare of the Government.’ These are the words of our Sages in Tractate Avos. This prayer takes for granted that the ruling authorities have the power to govern and as such earn the trust of a citizenry who look to them for leadership. But what happens when those elected to lead are deficient, if not absent from their responsibility?
It is obvious that throughout America, today, many local and state progressive leaders have let down those law-abiding citizens, whom they are charged with protecting. Our president as well as state and local leaders on the right have shown themselves to be on the job at a time when there is such great need.
As to the Covid19 pandemic people were warned not to assemble and for the vast majority of our community that warning carried the day, with the endorsement of our Rabbinical leadership. We were told by a host of medical experts that close contact enables the spread of the virus.
Recently the Mayor of NYC singled out the Jewish community as a whole for a breach of his rule when a group of our people gathered to give kovod acharon to one of our revered Rabbonim Tolas Yaakov Rav Hagaon Rabbi Chaim Mertz Zt’l.
The same Mayor and governor who kept the city in lockdown with all sort of threat of enforcement and arrest for breach of such., now sanction if not applaud demonstration to honor the memory of George Floyd, an innocent victim of one brutal man, a police officer in Minneapolis. The looting and destruction ongoing at the time of this writing is beyond belief.
At the time of this writing I had a conversation with Brooklyn City Councilman Chaim Deutsch, a tireless self-sacrificing individual who I can credit with showing that level of leadership so necessary at this critical juncture. This is especially so when fears throughout the community are at heightened levels. He assured me that he and others in the community will continue to advocate and be at the fore in the current crisis, one that is marked not by honoring the memory of an innocent victim of brutality, but rather upending it thus rendering it a celebration of looting and general lawlessness.
I hope all join me in showing solidarity with Councilman Deutsch and all those community leaders who toil tirelessly on our behalf to secure the safety of our cities and neighborhoods.
Rabbi Klass, Rav, Kahal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush, Brooklyn, is Torah Editor of The Jewish Press, He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org