Sunday, November 15, 2020

COVID-19 and the Courtyard Minyans

Not long after the COVID-19 pandemic started it became known that the virus spreads quickly when there are a lot of people gathered in a closed space. For those of us who attend synagogue, davening became a potential "superpreading event". In Israel the government has put various limitations on public prayer, sometimes entirely forbidding worship inside buildings. These government regulations were the impetus for the creation of "courtyard minyans".

One can find at least one of these minyans on almost every street in Jerusalem. They may be taking place in the courtyard of a synagogue or an apartment building, in a parking lot, on a dead end street, or even on the median dividing a boulevard. Special canopies, tents, plastic "keter" chairs, and tables, in places where you would not expect to see them, were all signs that here is a courtyard minayn.

An interesting byproduct of these minyans was the creation of new congregations, based on geographical location more than on the religious rite or the style of the congregants. Asheknazim, Sefardim, Hasidim, National-religious Jews, each of which would usually prefer to daven in their own synagogues, were now davening together. Not that we needed any proof, but this once again showed that we really are one.

Now that the rainy season has begun, it will be interesting to see what will happen to these minyans.

Sunday, November 08, 2020

Biden, Harris and the Decline of American Jewry

At the moment that I am writing this, the final results of the 2020 presidential elections are not official.  The media has crowned Biden as the winner, although the Trump team has not given up and has turned to the courts for justice, claiming corruption and that a recount is needed.  But what I am about to write is true, regardless of who will be in the White House on the 21st of January.

American Jewry, as a community that is connected to world Jewry at large, is in free fall.  If the polls are to be trusted, 70% of American Jews voted against the man who moved the US Embassy to Jerusalem and recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.  70% of America's Jews voted against the man who signed an executive order making Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act apply to anti-Semitic acts.  70% of American Jews voted against who advanced peace between the State of Israel and several Arab countries.   This is a shocking lack of solidarity, not only with the Jews of Israel, but also with their own children who suffer abuse from the radical left on college campuses.

Now let us take a look at whom they did vote for:  Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.   These two people are living examples of the destruction of American Jewry through intermarriage.  Joe Biden's daughter is "married" to a Jew.  I blogged about that "marriage" and some of its disgusting aspects way back in 2012.  Kamala Harris is "married" to a Jew named Douglas Emhoff.    

When learning the history of Jewish communities in the Diaspora, a pattern becomes clear.  Each community has a period of growth until it reaches its pinnacle.   Eventually, there is a decline:  "But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot...".   Sometimes the decline is gradual. Sometimes the decline is speedy and violent.  Remember what happened to the Jewish communiites in Babylon, Spain, France, Germany, and Poland.  It seems to me the  Golden Age of  American Jewry is now officially over.  It is time to come home.

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