Steve Wenick

A time to be silent and a time to speak

Ecclesiastes 3:1-7 states that there is “a time to be silent and a time to speak.” Neither Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer nor the prominent American Reform rabbi, Stephen Wise heeded that advise, to the detriment of the Jewish people.

Chuck Schumer should have kept quiet and refrained from calling Netanyahu ‘an obstacle to peace’ and calling for elections in the hopes of replacing him as prime minister, especially at a time Israel is battling against an existential threat. Although Schumer did not state it, it is obvious that he and Biden as well as more than a few of their fellow Democrats chose to speak against Netanyahu because they “view him as the Israeli equivalent of Donald Trump, and they hate him with a comparable fury.”

During the time leading up to WWII, tragically, Rabbi Wise and his community of ultra-liberal admirers were too blinded by their loyalty to FDR to see the shadow of death casting its penumbra across the European landscape. Wise advised the Jewish community to refrain from marching and demonstrating against Germany’s war against the Jews, for fear of rousing the ire of his close friend, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and the anti-Semitic US State Department. Years later, in the wake of the Holocaust, Wise stated that he regretted his decision to urge the Jewish community to remain silent.

The Jewish people have paid a terrible price when its political and religious leaders failed to heed the wise council of our sages. There was a time when Schumer should have remained silent, and a time when Wise should have spoken up. Regrettably, both put personal considerations ahead of doing what’s right. Unfortunately, both leaders were delinquent in their moral obligation to publicly fight against the enormity of the crimes against the Jewish people, Israel and all of humanity.

About the Author
Since retiring from IBM Steve Wenick has served as a freelance book reviewer for HarperCollins Publishing and Simon & Schuster. His reviews and articles have appeared in The Jerusalem Post, The Algemeiner, Jerusalem Online, Philadelphia Inquirer, Attitudes Magazine, and The Jewish Voice of Southern New Jersey. Steve and his wife are residents of Voorhees, New Jersey.
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