guarding a synagogue (illustrative)
guarding a synagogue (illustrative)Serge Attal/Flash 90

Welcome to the Hebrew month of Elul. In my household, just like in many others, Elul starts the discussion of going to cemeteries to visit the graves of loved ones. I even go to my great grandparents. For me, it’s a constant reminder of how lucky I am, I can visit their graves. For many of my friends, that is not possible. They can’t. Their ties to knowledge of their great grandparents went into the gas chambers and mass graves of the Holocaust.

In a different time, those same forebears killed for being Jewish enjoyed the preparations for the holidays, of buying new clothes, learning new recipes and extending invitations just like so many of us do.

This year, things will be different. Will Jews be safe going to synagogue?

I am not talking COVID-19. I am talking about walking the streets of Manhattan, Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington, DC.

As we get closer to elections and as the country of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is having a war within its borders, how will the Jewish communities be protected under the laws of the land and with the tax dollars so many of us work hard to pay?

How are we to walk the streets of Amsterdam Avenue, around the area of the Pico and the Grove and now, Michigan Avenue when promises of more destruction, attacks on police and more looting are promised and accepted by local government?

Is it any coincidence that most of this is occurring in Democratic-run areas? Is it any coincidence that this is embraced by those who support illegal immigration and bewail their suffering, and by those who call for the destruction of Israel? Is it any coincidence that many involved speak out to deny the Holocaust?

Now, we ask ourselves, will the same New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio, who publicly denounced Jewish religious gatherings publicly on social media in the past, be able to guarantee that we can wear yamulkes, carry Tallis bags and walk dressed for the holidays, strolling with baby carriages in the five boroughs of New York City without intimidation and threats of physical attacks?

Are we asking Los Angeles Jewish mayor, Eric Garcetti, who can’t control the constant graffiti on shuls or the robberies of Jewish-owned stores to guarantee we can pray and travel to and from home safely?

Just this week, Bill DeBlasio blamed Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn for a spike in coronavirus cases after a wedding he knew of took place. The riots and demonstration participants must have been immune.

As Joe Biden and Kamala Harris run on a platform to redistribute wealth, suburban communities like The Five Towns, Deal, NJ, and Beverly Hills are at risk as well.

Both Joe Biden and Kamala Harris think that marriages (Biden’s two children and Harris herself) visiting Israel and attending a Jewish organization event where they meet donors, makes voters see them them as pro-Israel. Sorry, it’s the history of your voting record that makes you pro-Israel. Harris embraced Black Lives Matter during the Democratic Convention telethon. Four nights of embracing every cultural group, not not including Jews, proved enough for me.

Both embraced defunding the police and more money going into public education that embraces an anti-Judeo-Christian curriculum. They embrace the progressive agenda and stay silent on “the squad.” Pro-Israel candidates don’t fear saying, “Your words and actions against Israel are wrong.”

I receive contacts almost daily asking if I can use my “connections” to the Trump administration to help get the street safe in New York. If it were up to President Trump, this situation would have never started in the first place. But it is not in the federal government's power. Actually, it’s the governors, mayors and local municipalities that are in charge of your safety.

And most of the areas targeted for riots are those with Jewish populations. President Trump has publicly stated that he would assign federal law enforcement teams to cities like Seattle, Chicago and Manhattan, but local and state leaders don’t want it.

What about private protection? Of course there will be security of all sorts. But will it be enough? Do all shuls have the funds needed for it? Does that security guarantee safety to and from our homes, in our neighborhoods and homes and cars? With these progressive leaders and their bail reform laws, those who want to target Jews and harm them will be on our streets within an hour of being caught to cause havoc again and again.

Human nature teaches us that we should learn from the past in order to protect ourselves from the present.

Times like these are too often compared to the pre-Holocaust years in Germany. If Joe Biden should win the presidency, if the House of Representatives stays under Nancy Pelosi’s control and somehow the Senate flips into democratic leadership, Jewish life in America will change forever. Like stories of the pre-Spanish Inquisition in Spain or the lands of Iran, Iraq and Egypt, The United States will be a “what was” of stories, and relics.

Can everyone make Aliyah? I don’t know. Am I painting glom and doom unrealistically? I am not a fortune teller. However, with at least 20 more progressive candidates projected to win national elections, things don’t look good.

Before you start opening your checkbooks to Democratic leaders seeking offices in blue states, demand to see what actions have been done, not promises of what will be done. Don’t be bought by some money for Jewish institutions but a lack of total respect and public acknowledgement of anti-Semitic words and actions. Next year’s mayoral race is in already on. Do you really want to trust someone like Eric Adams, who befriends Louis Farrakhan?

Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur are usually a time of reflection and questioning. Who shall live and who shall die?

Avinu Malkeinu, hear our voices.

We have sinned in Your presence.

Have compassion on us and our children.

Rid us of disease, war, and hunger.

Rid us of every oppressor and adversary.

Will we be able to attend services safely? Covid is not what we fear, we can celebrate within the social distance guidelines. It’s the politicians risking our lives allowing the wrong gatherings, riots by Jew haters and those demanding the defunding/reorganization of the police.

Cindy Grosz can be reached at [email protected]