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Re: Law School Hi - I am lobbying to change the rule at my firm re vacation days for the holidays. Currently we need to use some of our limited vacation days for Yom tovim, but Iíve been told that we try and match what other firms are doing.

Can the oilem tell me what their firmís policy is? I need the firm name too so please DM if donít want it public.

Thanks

September 20, 2018, 08:33:40 AM
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Re: Corona virus and your shul Dear Friends,

The news on the COVID-19 front shows more and more signs that home isolation and social distancing have been effective measures toward leveling the curve. That gives us something to be genuinely hopeful about.

At the same time, this necessitates a very serious call for caution. We can easily lose what our hard work and sacrifice has won for our community and our society. My message today is about how essential it is to continue to do what weíre doing. Let us celebrate the signs of hope but not let them prevent us from accurately seeing the bigger picture.
 
I want to acknowledge the sacrifices we have already made, for a moment.
 
For working people, confinement away from the work place has been a real hardship on many levels. For many, it has impacted their earnings in a significant way.

For children and their parents, the closure of school buildings and the distance learning model have created tremendous stress.  It has been extremely challenging, as well, for teachers and principals, who have been forced to create digital learning systems in a matter of days. Zoom is a great tool, but it cannot possibly replace the classroom. School tuition collections are down because some parents are unable to afford their payments without steady income.

There is so much anxiety about the future, about whether and when we will return to life as we knew it before March 2020, or whether there will be a strange and limiting ďnew normal.Ē
 
We wonder whether kids will be able to return to school before the end of June. What about graduations? Will summer day camps and sleep away camps be able to open? We wonder whether our planned milestone events will take place.
 
So many plans are on hold. This is a source of tremendous stress.

We, along with many religious Americans, wonder when we can return to our houses of worship. We urgently want to be able to return to the synagogue for daily services as well as Shabbos services.

We have sacrificed a lot. We are ready to be done with all this sacrifice.
 
So it is tempting to seize upon the good news and to begin to relax the inconvenient restrictions. But this would be a grave error.
 
The Talmud in Shabbos 151b tells us that we desecrate the Sabbath to save the life of a day-old child so that the child will live to be able to observe many Sabbaths. When we desecrate a precious commandment in order to save a life (and in this case many lives), we do so with a belief in the infinite value of human life, and with the hope and belief that the sacrifice will ultimately lead to the exponential sanctification of that very commandment, through enabling its observance many, many, many more times. 

That is the situation we find ourselves in. We must be patient for as long as necessary in order to insure that once we relax restrictions, we will not be confronted with a second lethal surge. (Let me remind all of us that after restrictions were eased, there were two deadly surges in the 1918 Flu pandemic). If we are patient, we will have many good days ahead of us. We will be together for many more daily minyanim and Shabbos services, if only we remain patient now.

Last week, fifty-seven community rabbis sent a letter cautioning all of us to carefully follow the safety guidelines that our doctors unanimously issued. Only four rabbis did not sign.
 
Most of us are not physicians. COVID-19 is a medical problem that only capable physicians can responsibly address. This is not the domain of laymen or Rabbis.
 
In a separate letter, thirteen Five Towns Rabbis (all of whom signed the other letter) stated that we will only recommend returning to public services when our panel of distinguished doctors gives us a green light.

A well-meaning Five Towns Jew wrote a letter to Yeshiva World News criticizing the letter signed by the fifty-seven rabbis in which we intructed our constituents not to have any outdoor gatherings or services. He correctly points out that there are violations of the socializing rules in the streets and outside of food stores. He asks, why can't there be services as well?
 
But his premise is wrong. We teach our children that two wrongs donít make a right. We all must be attentive to the guidelines. People who violate the guidelines could harm themselves and all of us. Because they err does not mean that we should encourage more errors even for reasons of piety Ė indeed, especially for reasons of piety. Our tradition discourages this emphatically.
 
The part of the letter that disturbed me the most is that it was anonymous. Only a coward criticizes others without identifying himself.

We continue to rely on a large panel of local doctors who are cardiologists, pulmonologists, infectious disease specialists, and COVID-19 ICU unit directors. They are all Orthodox Jews. They understand our physical as well as our religious needs. They, too, long to return to their shuls. They, too, are pained that the doors of our beautiful institutions remain shuttered.
 
And they are unanimous in cautioning us that we must continue home isolation, social distancing, regular hand washing, wearing gloves, masks, etc. They are unanimous in emphasizing the absolute necessity of refraining from any form of social gathering, whether indoors or outdoors.

Unfortunately, many of our citizens are not taking this seriously enough. People do not understand that even when they feel well they could be asymptomatic carriers of the disease. If they recovered from the disease and think that they are no longer carriers, they could be wrong. It is not yet known whether those who have recovered from COVID-19 are immune to future infection.
 
Failure to follow the unanimous guidelines of our distinguished doctors puts everyone at risk! This is a matter not only of individual health, but of public health.

To put it most directly, if you infect someone, you could inadvertently harm them very seriously. (This is especially true of  people who are known to be particularly vulnerable to serious manifestations of the disease). And public health teaches us that it doesnít stop there. If you infect someone, then they can infect someone (or multiple people), and that person infects someone, and so on Ė and we have another outbreak where many can die. All from one source.

Hence, there can be no religious services indoors or outdoors. That includes in driveways, and parking lots, on lawns etc.
 
I want to have the opportunity to return to public prayer. I believe in it and I miss it as much as you do. We all want to go back to our synagogues immediately. But we cannot do that yet!

Those individuals and rabbis who continue to violate these directives are sincere in their desire to serve HASHEM. But they are misguided in their actions and are doing the reverse of what Halacha demands. They see themselves as acting for a greater purpose, but in reality they are selfish and guilty of the sin of hubris. Their blood is not redder than anyone elseís blood. And their desire for a minyan is not greater than our desire for a minyan.

I fully understand that there are safe ways to make public gatherings by abiding by proper social distancing rules and with masks and gloves. But that misses the point!! This matter is so serious that we must create an extra protective layer around it, just as Chazal added chumrot to protect the integrity of halacha.
 
Even if rules are relaxed on the premise of the communityís adherence to strict medical standards, they will be violated consistently, even if unintentionally. We all know how hard it is to actually remain 6 feet apart, and how we instinctively shift closer and closer to our fellow human beings. There will not be supervision. Everyone will create their own gatherings. We will inadvertently  socialize inappropriately. People will be infected. The numbers in the hospitals will spike and people will die. That is what the doctors tell us. I am sure none of us wants that to happen. In order for this isolation to work, everyone must comply until the doctors tell us that it is safe to do otherwise.

I know that my message has been grim. And weíve all have enough of grimness. We so badly want to look forward to something good. So let me return to my opening words.  I encourage you to hold onto the signs of hope. They are there. They are real. And if we continue to follow these guidelines, they will not be taken away from us, as they likely will be if we fail to do so. It is so hard to be patient. (Anyone who knows me knows that I find it hard to be patient)! But if we do this, then a time will come, and I pray it is not too far away, when we will safely be able ďto observe many Sabbaths in the futureĒ together, with social closeness, in our beautiful shuls.

RHB

Young Israel of Woodmere

April 27, 2020, 09:21:24 PM
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Re: Re: 5 Towns/Rockaway Master Thread
Of course 2 wrongs don't make a right. But why are the Rabbanim only harping on minyan? Why aren't they signing a letter against help or lack of social distancing while shopping? Is it because they don't think people will listen? Or, more disturbing, do they think people care more about pizza than minyan so they can't say anything?
any argument against outdoor minyan can be used against pizza motzei shabbos

My take, the yetzer hara is working both sides of the aisle.

What the hell do Rabbis have to do with a pizza shop? Minyan is in the spiritual realm and ergo in the rabbisí court. They are the rabbis of the shuls which have the minyanim.

Letís try not to be idiotic all the time.

And wtf is your comment about yetzer harah on both sides? Are you saying Rabbi Finerís yetzer harah got the better of him and he got lazy and decided heís still not interested in going to minyan?

Why do we need to continuously be holier than tho? When did minyan become the new religion? Is it that it gives us the ability to escape the house a bit?

Iím honestly perplexed - our Rabbanim got together and said (based on medical advice) that itís a sakanah now to daven with a minyan - and all of a sudden every shmoiger knows better and needs to daven with a minyan.

And how does the argument of there are dangerous situations in our community hold any salt? So we should make it more dangerous by having minyanim?

Pizza stores and people shmoozing are wrong and you should stay away from those people. If one really need/ a Rabbi to tell him how to live every step of his life then I cry for the generation of idiots we have created.

April 27, 2020, 10:49:08 PM
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Re: Re: 5 Towns/Rockaway Master Thread
This Billet fellow has a real leftist agenda.

First of all, out of the 57 signatories, many are not near the stature of the ones that did not sign. In addition, there were more than four that did not sign, and some that did "sign" say their signature was forged. Some of our greatest local Rabbis are either giving permission for people to have legal backyard minyanim, davening themselves by these minyanim, and some are even hosting them. I will not reveal their names, you can do your own homework. There are more than four.

Besides, this issue is issue is not exclusive to our community. In Brooklyn and Lakewood most Rabonim are permitting minyanim within the health guidelines. The police and government officials have visited many of those minyanim and gave their o.k.. In Eretz Yisroel almost everyone is davening in outdoor minyanim with permission of the government. All these places are following the guidance of their Rabonim. Their Rabonim also speak to medical professionals and decided it was fine. Our local doctors and some Rabbis are alarmists. Go listen to Dr. Glatts speech and you'll hear what an unrealistic alarmist he is. (The truth is, right now there are less people who die from Covid per day than there are who die from the flue during flue season. And in NYC every death now is considered a Covid death whether tested or not. The leftists are trying to keep the numbers high.) The true risk factor also plays a roll in Halacha.

I personally spoke to some of the signatories who told me there was heavy pressure from "the left" to sign. But even if 57 local Rabbis did sign. there are hundreds of very great reputable Rabbis who disagree with them. This is not merely a local issue. For Billet to declare "Those individuals and rabbis who continue to violate these directives... are misguided in their actions and are doing the reverse of what Halacha demands. They see themselves as acting for a greater purpose, but in reality they are selfish and guilty of the sin of hubris. Their blood is not redder than anyone else’s blood. And their desire for a minyan is not greater than our desire for a minyan" is total blasphemy and utter Chutzpah. Many of these Rabbis around the world are greater than he, and these 57 are definitely outnumbered.

The government regulations already take into account extra precautions. To add on to them is ridiculous. It ends up backfiring. Billet is not Chazal, and does not have the right to "add chumrot to protect the integrity of halacha". Especially when most Rabbis in the world disagree with him.

I know people are going to say"Well I know Rabbi so and so, and hes also against minyanim". But the truth is, some of the anti-minyan Rabbis are the vocal ones. The rest are just doing what they feel is the right thing, and telling their followers to do the same. I just got off the phone with a friend from Brooklyn. He told me there are four minyanim on his block, three times a day, all strictly adhering to social distancing rules. He told me that's what it like all over Brooklyn. They are not stupid. They also don't want to get sick. They keep all the rules strictly. And they are all under Rabbinic guidance.

I believe Billet missed the point of the letter writer on YeshivaWorld. His point was that for some reason the so called 57 signatories did not write a lengthy letter against cleaning ladies or shopping or the like. They only wrote about minyanim. At this point in time, shopping in our stores is far more dangerous than davening outside. There seems to be a clear agenda against minyanim. It's not only them. For example, the frum webstites post headlines about Rabbi Meir Stern from Passaic prohibiting minyanim, then post a letter from someone else in Passaic not even quoting Rabbi Stern with regards to the current situation! Fake Headline. They do it all the time.

Why do we have a local Rabbi calling the police and being moiser on another Rabbi who doesn't agree with him? Nothing illegal was being done. This conduct is unheard of! Rabbi Shternbauch just put out a very strong letter against being moser other people to the government. He says mesirah has always been from the worst aveiros a person can do. Probably even worse than davening with a minyan.

I understand there are great Rabbis who feel minyanim are a no-no. But those great Rabbis on not belittling those who disagree with them. They are not going on any campaign.

One of the great leaders in America recently spoke privately to his talmidim and slammed the anti-minyan campaign and called it all a maaseh satan. (The speech was not made public. It was over the phone on a hotline and not recorded. It was intended for his kehilah alone.) Somebody told me he spoke directly to Reb Dovid Feinstein who said if a Rov wants to conduct a legal outdoor minyan, he may do so.

So, stop the campaign! We respected you more before you started writing on websites and pushing your agenda. And btw, I assume the letter on YWN was written anonymously because the writer was afraid of Billet and his henchmen. The same reason many of the 57 signed the letter. Look what happened to some of those who did not sign. They are being ripped to shreds.

Ok now we’re have a &$@/ contest on the stature of Rabbis? 57 Rabbis signed the letter. Not sure where political affiliation gets involved. Rabbis Perr, Bender, Jeager, Feiner etc. Don’t do it for you? There are a handful of holdouts and I know personally that one of the holdouts is facing an uproar from his mispallelem who are calling for his job.

Why can’t we have nice things? Why can’t we have one time when the entire community gets together and says as one “we are going to take on a hardship so we don’t continue spreading diseases?!” Without it being an opportunity for some of to show off how much more we are “machshiv teffilah bitsibur” than our neighbor.

I do love the fact that you call Dr. Glatt an alarmist? Where is your medical degree from? Watsapp, DDF or FDU? The man is  CHAIRMAN DEPARTMENT OF MEDICINE, CHIEF, INFECTIOUS DISEASES AND HOSPITAL EPIDEMIOLOGIST at a local hospital directly dealing with COVID cases.
He gives a weekly update that is totally fact driven - you should give a listen.

Please let’s stop with yeshivesh boich sevaras. Ordinarily I could care less but let’s not kill people today, hmm?

April 27, 2020, 11:05:20 PM
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Re: Re: 5 Towns/Rockaway Master Thread

The letter was written and signed as community leaders, not shul rabbis. So yes, if they think the community is doing something wrong they should say something about it. They also have sway over the vaad hakashrus. If they see something dangerous they can stop it.


My point about yetzer Hara, not talking about a specific Rav or medical professional advising them, is that there is ego involved and that makes coming to the correct conclusion more complicated.


I personally don't worship minyan and will listen to the letter even if I don't agree with it completely because that's Torah thing to do. I'm just sad by the conclusion.


For some reason I hit a nerve with you and I apologise if you took anything personally.

Sorry I usually try to avoid “frum” media and forums because of the heartache it causes but I checked in tonight and was blown away by how unhinged some of us have become.

I haven’t been to a pizza store in months so I can’t speak to what the lines are looking like but I do agree there was failure of leadership when it came to supermarkets - they should have gone delivery only right when this started - but I put that more on the “askanim” and the supermarkets themselves than the Rabbis.

I can’t speak to all 57 Rabbis but the ones I have the pleasure of knowing I would happily attest to the fact that I can guarantee that no ego was part of the decision not to have minyanim.

I think the situation is sad not the conclusion of the letter. Our community has been hit unbelievably hard by this. By way of reference we had a zoom meeting today with a substantial part of my firm and no one else knew anyone personally that had even gotten the virus let alone died. I knew over ten people that passed away from it. No question our minyanim and other large social gatherings was a large reason why.

There’s just been too much death already - let’s hold off until we are 100% sure that we won’t cause anymore. I don’t think this is an outlandish idea by any means.

April 27, 2020, 11:26:52 PM
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Re: Re: 5 Towns/Rockaway Master Thread
can you please elaborate?
I canít say I agree with everything, but to say there isnít 2 legit rabbinical opinions on this is being stuck in a little box.
What so hard to understand?

Are there local medical experts saying itís ok to have minyanim? Is no one else sick of all the levayos and absolutely frightened of experiencing it again? Did Minyan become yaarog val yavor? This is not an abstract anymore we have all seen how deadly this is. 57 rabbis, chassidish, modern, yeshivesh old and young - got together and said based on medical expert advice - do not have any minyanim. This is is not a shailah of Halacha or hashkafah itís literally Pikuach nefesh. How can there be two sides?

Usually Iím a live and let live guy - but here you maybe literally killing others - what is the tzad to take that risk if the rabbonim and medial experts say not too. Do we need more dead? Do we not care for the elderly and the sick amongst us?

We can be michalal issuri deorasya for Pikuach nefesh - but a minyan not? I understand the strong desire to return to life as normal which for us - minyan is a very important part of it. But alas we cannot yet - hopefully soon we can have some sense of normalcy and minyan is some sort of form can start taking place again along with children returning to Yeshiva but all at the right time.

So hereís the problem with eilu veilue here - one eilu will kill people.




April 28, 2020, 12:47:47 AM
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Re: Re: 5 Towns/Rockaway Master Thread
you made a good case.
Do you think that there might be a possibility that a posek would look at it differently?

I just donít see how. If the argument is but people are doing X and Y anyway so we should do Z thatís idiotic and I sure hope we donít have Poskim who think and pasken like that.

Are there qualified medical experts who are backing the other side up? I admittedly only spoke to one of the four holdouts (a Rabbi who I otherwise extremely respect and consider a good man) who said he did not consult with any expert but heís taking necessary precautions and then started ďthe what about XĒ argument.

I donít know - the whole situation absolutely sucks. But was there anything worse then 2/3 week period where there was just death after death? We have medical experts telling us itís getting better (because of what we are doing) but to not lighten up the restrictions yet. Why canít we just say - ok great news, we understand and please keep us updated? Do we need another wave of what we went through?


April 28, 2020, 01:13:08 AM
1
Re: Corona virus and your shul
Doom & Gloom. Please enough is enough. The country is reopening slowly but surely Bh and you keep on with your warnings.

Yes letís stick with ostrich defense - itís working out so well.

April 28, 2020, 01:40:38 AM
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Re: Re: 5 Towns/Rockaway Master Thread
they might and Iím sure they do have different reasons than the one you stated. Some of the ones that are מתיר are known leading Rabonim in the medical field.

What? Whom? What is a Leading Rabbi in the medical field? Is that better than a Doctor? Does this Rabbi have a better understanding of a brand new virus than the medical experts?

Isnít that the reason that the necessary precautions were activated in the first place?

Right - where we getting at here?

They are following the national guidelines set by top US doctors.Agreedthese minyanim are in place since the beginning.

Not following here either. There are National guidelines for minyanim?

Again ordinarily I could care less about what Yenem is doing but to advocate against a clear precedent established by 99% of the Rabbis and the leading doctors and you can potentially kill people - I donít understand the need to find loopholes and argue. We are talking about people dying - how is that not the end of the conversation?

Do you think Rabbi finer doesnít want to daven with a minyan? Rabbi Perr? Rabbi Jeager? Rabbi Brown? Our utmost respected and revered Roshei Yeshivas the ones we put our childrenís education in their hands, but they give a ruling based on medical experts that could potentially save lives and we all know better?

I am perplexed.

April 28, 2020, 11:03:09 AM
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Re: How should schools and parents deal with tuition? I havenít even tried with my kids schools - I know the answer will be HELL NO. I consider the administrator of my kids Yeshiva a Rashah who is personally responsible from keeping Yiddish neshamas being brought into this world because of parents afraid of paying more obscene tuition costs and the absolute humiliation and degradation one must go through to even being considered for a discount - which never is granted if you have a decent job. They just take it all.

Problem is multiplied when when the Board consists of gvirim and today ever increasingly itís populated by trust fund babies who never had to worry about money a day in their lives and whose parents set up foundations to pay the tuition for all the einklich.

April 28, 2020, 11:43:53 AM
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