Tzemach Yehudah Richter

In Memoriam – Josef Neumann


On March 30, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a statement that renames domestic terror hate crime legislation to be known as –

The Josef Neumann Hate Crimes Domestic Terrorism Act.

A portion of his statement reads as follows-

“I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Josef Neumann, who suffered brutal stab wounds after an attacker invaded the home of Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg on the final night of Hanukkah three months ago.

“The morning after that horrific night, I went to Rabbi Rottenberg’s home and apologized on behalf of the family of New York and I promised him we would enact a first-in-the-nation law that calls this hate what it is: domestic terrorism. White supremacists, anti-Semites, anti-LGBTQ white nationalists — these are Americans committing mass hate crimes against other Americans, and the punishment for their vile acts must fit their crimes. These acts of hate may not have started in New York, but they must end in New York.

“I am going to rename this legislation in honor of Mr. Neumann, and I am calling on the state legislature to pass it in the budget due April1. We owe it to Mr. Neumann, his family and the entire family of New York to get it done now.”


Daughter Nicky Cohen’s Statement

It was shortly after the Monsey attack, that Nicky Cohen, stood in front of a group of reporters and said the following words among others-

“We hope he wakes to a changed world with peace, unity and love for all,” she added. “Let’s stand up together and stop the hatred.”

Who could have predicted that some of Nicky’s words would have become so true in only three short months?

But let’s look at her words again, because I feel they are very significant.

Nicky asked that we should “Stand up together and stop the hatred”. At the time, it seems everyone really listened by did not pay attention. But for sure G-d was, and decided to teach us all a lesson.

The Coronavirus has made us all do exactly what Nicky asked – “Stand Up Together And Stop The Hatred”. We are now confined to our houses. We are now together with our immediate families. We have no work, no Shul minyans, no outside vacations. Nothing but as Nicky says “ Stand Up Together” as one family, one unit.

Nicky’s words “Stop The Hatred” also have special meaning. Why should we hate our fellow Jew? Why should we hate our fellow man? We should all strive to do what Nicky, in the name of her father wants us to do, Stop The Hatred.

It seems like G-d has sent us all to our rooms, and told us to come out when we decide that we are not going to be naughty again. Not only ourselves, but our family unit as well. So that when we emerge from this terrible plague, we individually as well as together with our family, will be the better for it. If everyone takes this message to heart, then it is a lesson well worth learning for all of us.

Because once that happens, then we will be able to experience what Nicky wanted for her father Yosef as mentioned in her first sentence-“We hope he wakes to a changed world with peace, unity and love for all,”

So how can that be we all ask? When will there ever be in our life time a changed world with peace, unity and love for all?

The answer perhaps that G-d wants to emphasize is that if we have learned our lessons regarding how we ourselves should behave and have also worked hard enough for this to translate to our families, then the root of the problem has most likely been solved.

We can then go out of our houses and resume our everyday lives filled with the confidence that if we are nice to our fellow man, then our fellow man should respond in a like manner.

Nicky Was Right When She Was Hoping For “A Changed World”.

When Nicky said those words, who could have imagined what the world would be like in less than three months. It is mind boggling to see the rapid change that we here on earth have experienced. There is not one human being that has been spared from the worry about the Coronavirus.

Perhaps this is now the time when we will see miracles so that enemies will become friends, on not only an individual basis, but also countries who were previously enemies will finally decide that it is time to make peace with each other.

A Political Miracle Here In Israel That Hopefully Will Lead To Peace In The Knesset.

A Portion Of A Recent Blog By Blue And White Leader Benny Ganz Says It All

We are facing one of the most serious challenges in the history of our country. It is a global challenge of exceptional magnitude, and it has hit Israel at a time of crippling political deadlock and unbearable divisions — a lethal combination. Leadership has never been more necessary. Leading has never been more difficult.

As a soldier who has dedicated my life to protecting the State of Israel, I have vowed to carry my commitment to the country forward and inform my decisions as a political leader. At this time of crisis, I had no choice but to put politics aside and choose the only path that allows us to avoid fourth elections. Because at a time like this, pulling people out to the polls again — many of whom have lost their livelihoods and are riddled with anxiety about the future — is inconceivable. I chose the only path which positions Israel to effectively fight this horrific pandemic: the path of a national emergency government.

More than ever, Israel needs unity. Israel needs strong and capable leadership, able to relentlessly fight the coronavirus, while protecting Israel’s democracy.

And let me state clearly: No matter how fierce the battle, I will never compromise on democracy. I will never compromise on the principles underpinning the votes of the more than one million Israelis who voted for Blue and White.

 *     *      *       *       *       * 

I understand that there still may be disagreements between Bibi and Benny, but in the end, what really counts, one thing is for sure “It’s All About The Benjamins”.

Unfortunately Yosef Neumann Never Recovered And Passed Away From His Injuries –  

This is the difficult part to understand. Why such a Tzadik has to pass away from such a terrible tragedy. I had to think hard about this but as far I am I concerned, Hashem is calling upon Yosef at this time because of his strong point in giving Tzedaka or Charity.  If he did such a good job down on earth, then for sure he must be highly qualified for that position in the World To Come.

After all, that is one of the three major things that are included in Yom Kippur prayers when we want to avoid an evil decree – Tzedaka, Tshuva, Tefilla – Charity, Repentance, Prayer.

I heard that when great righteous men suddenly pass away, then this could be the preparation for Moshiach. And not only has the Chabad Rebbe been saying this for many years, but now I am hearing it from many other Rabbis and Rebbes. Everyone seems to be saying and thinking the same way.

So with the passing of Yosef Neumann, perhaps we are on the verge of seeing great miracles in the months and years ahead. It is now time for all of us to work on our ability to pray, give charity, and repent for all of our past wrong doings, which hopefully will speed up the coming of Moshiach.

                                                                                                                                           To Yosef Neumann’s family, May Hashem Comfort You Among The Mourners Of Tzion And Yerushalayim

About the Author
Born and raised in the Minneapolis suburb of St. Louis Park. Married to a South African, we lived in Johannesburg from 1979 to 1996. Made Aliyah with our seven children on Parshat Lech Lecha. BSB Accounting Degree from the University of Minnesota. Investment Portfolio Manager /Fundamental And Technical Analyst. Wrote in-depth research on companies, markets, commodities for leading financial publications. Served in the US Army Reserves Semi Retired spending quality time with my wife, children, grandchildren and attend Kollel while analyzing current events as they relate to Torah and Mitzvahs.
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