Time to Take Back New York

On Rosh Hashanah my Rabbi, Rabbi Jonathan Morgenstern, urged the congregation to step up our game when it comes to showing support and solidarity with Israel. Wearing baseball caps instead of a kippa?  Ditch the cap and break out the kippa! After all this is New York, not Paris.

So, in that spirit, I would urge everyone here in New York to take Rabbi Morgenstern’s advice, get out from behind your computer, and stand up and be counted. And sadly there are lots of opportunities now to do so.

First on the list should be protests against the disgusting, vile, anti-Semitic “Death of Klinghoffer” opera due to open at the Metropolitan Opera – the Met in the middle of Manhattan!  — on October 20.  While an initial protest there on the opera’s opening night drew about 1,000 protesters, that was a weak turnout compared to the force that could be brought to bear if only we have the will to do so.  Why protest you ask?  Let’s look at some of the “tunes” to be played as part of this grotesquery:

“You Jews are always complaining of your own suffering, but you get fat off the poor, cheat the simple, exploit the virgin, pollute where you’ve exploited – America is one big Jew!”

This is truly Nazi-level anti-Semitism.  Are you really going to sit home and do nothing when a few miles away the rich and infamous are indulging in a Jew-hate fest that glorifies the murderers of an old, sick, crippled man who was shot point blank from behind and tossed overboard into the ocean just because he was Jewish?  This is neither art nor free speech, it is hate speech pure and simple.

While many bemoan that Jews need better PR, one simple answer is to get off the couch and speak up!  Every Yeshiva in Manhattan, Long Island, the Bronx, Westchester, Staten Island and New Jersey should show up on October 20 if they still dare to go forward with such a monstrosity.   Given the world we are facing, it is not too soon to teach our children and grandchildren how important it is to engage in civic protest in solidarity against this abomination.  Every sisterhood and men’s club in every NY and NJ shul, and every other Jewish organization – left, right and in between – should appear in person and show our outrage.

The power of showing up to state your cause is well known to our enemies – it is effective because the message it sends is that we are here because our cause is right and just.  As it says in Pirkei Avot said,  “If I am not for myself, who will be for me?”

I am going to post future “opportunities” for your consideration.  Never again must mean never again, and that means that we must mean what we say and nip these horrific developments in the bud now.

It’s time to take back New York.  Contact your communal and political leaders and demand that they mobilize our people, get outside and do something about this atrocity before it is too late and New York really does become Paris, or worse, G-d forbid.

For more information on the protest that will be taking place on October 20 and other evenings. See http://stopdeathofklinghoffer.com/protest-news/.  You can also write a letter of protest to Metropolitan Opera manager Peter Gelb at pgelb@metopera.com. Or go to http://stopdeathofklinghoffer.com/write-for-us/ for a list of board members and donors.

Am Yisrael Chai!

About the Author
Rachel is currently an MD/PhD student at the NYU School of Medicine.