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Politics / Who did YOU think would win the 2020 election?
« on: November 07, 2020, 07:54:41 PM »
Vote now!

(This is a social experiment)

Politics / Trump 2024
« on: October 31, 2020, 10:48:30 PM »
Inspired by this post:
If we keep these numbers up, the Trump will win in 2024.

If (when?) Trump loses, would he be the favorite to win it all in 2024? I say probably yes. Reasons:

1) Trump would probably be the favorite to get the R nomination, as Pence would presumably not want to challenge him directly and heís extremely polarizing with a solid committed base. Might scare off other serious contenders.
2) Biden/Harris are nearly guaranteed to be presiding over a poor economy, feeling the true effects of 1-2 years of COVID and its accompanying effects, along with quite predictable policy decisions.
3) People are likely to remember Trump somewhat more favorably in hindsight than they do now, where heís at a relative low in his presidency because of COVID and some recent mistakes. Heíll probably be remembered for the excellent economy he had for most of his tenure.

COVID-19 Discussion Board / Second wave in (secular) NY and NJ
« on: October 07, 2020, 12:15:19 PM »
Itís virtually guaranteed that this explosion in our communities will trigger a second wave across NY/NJ, although it will hopefully be sharply mitigated by the fairly strict measures still in place. Anybody who thinks that we can completely self contain this is fooling themselves. Some new outbreaks in other Jewish communities around NJ have already been linked to people from Lakewood.

How bad will the outbreak be for everyone else? Will the measures in place in tandem with some population immunity effectively keep the numbers much lower than what theyíd been, or will they not be enough to ward off a major wave?

How drastic will the ensuing government actions be? If the past (and present) is any indication they will not hesitate to impose a full blown lockdown once again, even if the scope of the outbreak does not warrant it (as it did last time).

Will this be the cause of further anti-Semitism, with the outbreak being blamed (rightly or wrongly) on the Jews, or will it distract and cause people to forget where the initial spread came from?

Here is the exact question:

In the context of Trump telling people who work for him to slow down testing, do the following sentences mean the same thing or are they totally different?

ďI told them to slow down the testing.Ē
ďI asked them to slow down the testing.ď

Politics / ďConservativeĒ Supreme Court turns Liberal
« on: June 18, 2020, 03:24:06 PM »
Whatís up with the Supreme Court these days? One landmark liberal ruling after another.

COVID-19 Discussion Board / Did you test for antibodies? POLL
« on: May 14, 2020, 10:42:41 AM »
Please complete the poll for you and any family members who have tested for antibodies. Let me know if I missed any important options. Please only complete if you tested for antibodies and got the results already.


COVID-19 Discussion Board / Mass Aliyah in the wake of COVID
« on: May 10, 2020, 03:21:41 PM »
The following is an email sent to me by a relative:

The American Aliyah - Our Historic opportunity.

If you like this, please forward to your contacts.

This below concept is predicated on Israel's ability to accurately test Olim for Covid-19 ONCE! upon entry, which is a reality. Given the current inaccuracy in tests, medical experts say it would take two tests per person to be sure. Even three tests per oleh are within the current Israeli capacity, and are a small price to pay, per oleh.

Dear Israel,

You are currently contemplating a 100 Billion NIS stimulus package. It is highly questionable if it will work. America has already invested 100 times that amount in stimulus, and we've seen much of it go to waste, and it is questionable if even those funds properly allocated will have significant long term impact. Here is a far better idea for your 100B NIS;
The American Aliyah; Our historic opportunity, is also Israel's best stimulus. 100B invested in one million educated, accomplished, capable, wealthy American olim means hundreds of billions immidiately, and trillions of shekels long term, injected into Israel's economy.

How could it work?

First we need to understand the historical impediments of Aliyah.
Israel's many miraculous stories of mass Aliyah, have one central cause at their origin - persecution. The Holocaust, Arab persecution upon the founding of the State of Israel, Soviet oppression, and European Muslim and Neonazi anti-Semitism, have each resulted in a mass Aliyah, that Israel has facilitated through great sacrifice and expense.

Why has mass American Aliyah  never been a real possibility?
American Jews are comfortable. This comfort can be defined in four ways; Security, society, economy, and family. Let us examine each;

Security; America has been by far the most secure home that Jews have had in its thousands of years in exile.

Society; American Jewry boasts a vast, intricate, and accomplished infrastructure of shuls, schools, and community organizations, as well as an intracommunal economy that enables financial success within the community.

Economy; American Jewry is fantastically wealthy. Within the wealthiest society in the history of the world, American Jews are in the top percentiles in income.

Family (and friends); This is perhaps the greatest impediment to Aliyah. People say "I would make Aliyah, if my brothers, sisters, parents, children, and/or friends would" This presents a cyclical challange. I would go if they would go, and they would go if I would go, so we all stay put.

Due to the pandemic, we are at a historical crossroads, where many, but not all, of the above impediments to American Aliyah are severely diminished;

Security; Two factors are currently in play that greatly diminish the American Jewish sense of security; the dramatic rise in antisemitism, and the threat of death from coronavirus. Recent shul terrorism has rocked American Jewry, and covid-19 has decimated our communities. This in contrast to Israel's miraculous success in combating the pandemic. There is also a real fear that the above two factors may compound, and that in troubled times, G-d forbid, antisemites scapegoat Jews. Unfortunately, now as never before, American Jews do not feel safe.

Society; American Jewish society is clearly greatly diminished. No shuls and no schools until when? No one really knows. We do know the following; Major Jewish organizations are talking about schools staying closed in the fall, and discussing how there may be no synagogue high holiday services. In the last week, without schools, shuls, or steady jobs, thousands of NY/NJ Jews have already migrated to the Catskills and Florida. Society as we know it has ceased to exist, and isn't coming back as it was, anytime soon.

Economy; The global economy, and the American economy in particular, are headed for a great recession, if not depression. How can a mass Aliyah help American Jewry in this challenge? see below.

Which leaves just one major impediment intact; family.

Here is the heart of this idea:
If one million American Jews made Aliyah this summer, the last and greatest impediment to mass Aliyah - family and friends - would be removed. We would all (or most/many) be going. A large financial incentive to spark this mass Aliyah, would be most effective in these uncertain economic times.

The American mass Aliyah. One million American Jews moving to Israel! Such a grand idea needs a spark. 100 Billion shekels could do it.

For one million American Olim, that breaks down to 100,000 Shekels per person. For a family of seven, that equals 700,000 NIS.
That's a huge incentive. How many American Jewish college students and recent collage grads would take 100,000 NIS to make Aliyah? Probably most. Given the scary times we live in, this financial incentive just may be enough to spark the mass American Aliyah.

Here is an additional way to supercharge this concept; frontload it. Give the first one hundred thousand olim double = 200,000 per oleh, and the last two hundred thousand olim half = $50,000 NIS per oleh. This would both get the ball rolling, and create societal pressure to get in early. Our above sample family of seven would probably make Aliyah for 700,000 NIS, especially with the prospect of many of their family and friends going (to a virus free state), but for 1.4 million, its virtually guaranteed to work.

One additional related point;
In these uncertain times, major American Jewish organizations are more influential than ever as American Jews look to them for direction. These organizations support Aliyah. Work with them to implement this plan.

The American Aliyah done in an honorable manner, would create unprecedented stimulus to the Israeli economy. Imagine, one million lovers of Israel, educated professionals and capable business people, making Aliyah at once, bringing with them 100 Billion NIS in financial incentives, AND hundreds of billions in personal wealth. This is not just another mass Aliyah, where persecuted and destitute olim are wards of the state for years, before getting on their feet. Past mass Aliyah initiatives have also come at great financial cost to the state, and this one would certainly cost much, but this mass Aliyah would pay far greater immediate financial dividends. Certainly, far greater economic impact than the current 100B NIS stimulus being proposed.

This is our Historic opportunity. Until a few months ago, none of the above would have been relevant. Please Israel, bring us home.

Libi BaMizrach,

J. L. Miller

Denmark and Sweden are next door neighbors, and both recorded their first Covid-19 death a day apart (March 11/12).  This is true apples to apples. Before you go down the density path, letís point out that Denmark ranks 65th vs. Swedenís 91st in worldís densest countries, so Denmark is more dense. I challenge you to find a better comparison, factoring in climate, location, political viewpoint, culture, etc.

There is only one gaping difference (that we know of today): their social distancing approach. Denmark was one of the the first in Europe to lock down, and one of the harshest, while Sweden was one of the last and is still not fully locked down.  Letís see how they compare.

Total corona deaths:
Denmark: 370
Sweden: 1,765

Note: the total deaths number is skewed, because Sweden has nearly double the total population of Denmark. Nevertheless, even after adjusting for population, Sweden is at nearly triple as youíll see in the next stat. Thatís aside from the jolting fact that Swedenís deaths per day is still sharply on the rise while Denmarkís is nearly down to nothing.

Corona deaths per million:
Denmark: 64
Sweden: 175

New corona deaths on April 21:
Denmark 6
Sweden: 185

Total corona patients in the ICU:
Denmark: 81
Sweden: 515

Active corona cases that we know of:
Denmark: 2,625
Sweden: 13,007

Mind you, itís not because Sweden is testing more- on the contrary, Denmark has conducted 6,000 more tests than Sweden, which after adjusting for population size is nearly double the tests per million.

As of today: Denmark is starting a gradual reopening of the economy, albeit ready to put the brakes on immediately should they see a sharp rise in infections. The reason? New infections and new deaths have been dramatically slowing down for more than 2 weeks already as of late April. Descent started in March.

As of today: Sweden has been putting consistently harsher measures in place. The reason? They see a consistent doubling of new infections and deaths, still sharply rising as of late April. In all likelihood this will continue for months.

I didnít do this with California/NY, Israel/Italy, Taiwan/UK, Singapore/Spain, South Korea/France, etc. These two countries are really really similar and were hit in really similar fashions and at a similar time frame. The data is really hard to refute.

Again, we donít know everything. But we do know that the suffocatingly overwhelming evidence points to extreme social distancing being really effective and the only proven solution to this virus thus far. The stricter and faster, the better.

Will there be a second wave? Will we discover a cure or vaccine? Will it go away ďlike a miracleĒ? Will the virus mutate and kill us all, leaving only those who acquired immunity? Alternatively, will the virus erupt in a worse form inside those of us who were already infected at another later date like in chickenpox (can erupt as shingles years later)? Only G-d knows the answers to these questions, for now. But if weíre focusing on today, on the 45,000+ deaths already in the US (still sharply rising, btw- over 2,800 deaths today!), on all of the lives (of people we know and love! Many deaths of people we know well!) we can be saving now as we ramp up testing, data on how and how fast transmission occurs, research on immunity potential, procurement of medicine and evidence of treatment protocols.. there is only one true hishtadlus. SAVING LIVES IN FRONT OF OUR EYES.

I might point out now that significantly more people have died of corona in the last 5 weeks in the U.S. than car accidents all year 2016 (which sported the highest number of car fatalities on record).

Itís also useful to point out that literally every single extra interaction during an outbreak greatly increases the likelihood of the actor and his/her close family and social circle getting and spreading the disease. Looking to others doesnít matter: some people will always break rules, laws, etc. and unironically, those people will suffer from outbreaks disproportionately. Itís just math. Iím pretty sure Darwin has a theory about that.

I donít want to be mekatreg on niftarim so Iíll keep this general- anecdotally, itís highly likely that youíll find a strong correlation between those who werenít serious/didnít follow the rules early or well enough and fatalities or serious illness later on in our communities. I will not point to specific examples but I have done a bit of research to the extent that I was able. You can use a rolling timeline of people falling ill/dying to see who was later in the cycle. Obviously this isnít true of everyone, not close, but there is a strong correlation between late cycle illnesses and rule breakers.

There. I think Iíve provided some enlightening empirical evidence which begin to show the efficacy of social distancing.

Iím trying to work on the numbers to see if I can unearth some coherent statistics on just how deadly itís been in the US, using the Orthodox community as a sample. We are in a unique position to calculate approximate number of deaths in our community by percentage of total population.

If anyone has pertinent information with concrete death/hospitalization numbers (Hatzolah, news sources, etc.) and sizing of the Tri State Jewish communities, please post it here. If you want to work with me, PM me.


Iím looking to put together a Shabbos in a nice points hotel in a nice place within a 3 hour drive of Lakewood/NY for this or next Shabbos. Price of Shabbos is just the room/rooms you book, and we chip in for bought meals. Just basic Shabbos meals, no major standards, from a store with an accepted Hechsher. Everyone welcome!

Hopefully if we have enough people join we can ask the hotel for separate swimming hours and free use of a conference room for minyan/meals, or weíll chip in for that as well. Another idea is to chip in for babysitters etc.

Please reply here if youíd like to join. Options are to either be within walking distance to an existing minyan (check out this for some ideas) or to create our own minyan from scratch if we get enough response.

Has this been tried here before? Donít remember ever seeing an attempt.

Please chime in with ideas for a location. If youíve had a family getaway or Shabbos Sheva Brachos in a nice hotel that can work please share.


There's nothing to say about this area but @Talmid Muvhak suggests that this area is big enough to warrant its own thread.

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