30 Sep Speak Your Vues
SPEAK YOUR VUES WITH THE VUES MASTER
Please note that the author of Speak Your Vues is in no way affiliated with the publisher of this paper. The author of this column is an independent third party contributor. The views and opinions expressed by this author may not reflect the views and opinions of the publishers. If one has any issues with any of the views, please write a letter to the Vues Master.
THE JUVENILE DEBATE
“If the King has a certain quality, many of his subjects will adopt it.”- Avraham ben HaRambam, “The Guide to Serving G-d” For the first time in my life I’m embarrassed to be an American. I speak Hebrew with a heavy American accent, and while I know I sound funny, I’ve always been proud to have been born and raised in America. After watching last night’s debate I am ashamed that these are the two people that America has chosen to lead them. Their behavior was atrocious; name calling, cutting each off, yelling over each other, telling each other to shut up. I don’t let my children speak to each other in the way the President and Vice President spoke to each other last night. I’ll be honest, I don’t expect better from President Trump. He’s acted this way for decades. In parts of his life he can be stately, generous and refined, and all too often he’s uncouth, miserly and rude. Many times I’m convinced he’s acting in order to enrage his base. Vice President Biden knew that President Trump was going to come in as a bully, insulting and acting exactly as he acted. Biden and his supporters claim that he’s more Presidential than President Trump and that he’ll return dignity to the White House. I don’t believe that anymore. Instead of doing what any mature person does in responding to a bully, taking the high road, ignoring the insults and waiting him out, he got in the dirt with the bully and mirrored his behavior. They say a nation gets the leaders they deserve. Well, these are the leaders that America has chosen. These aren’t dictators, they were both chosen by the people. Avraham ben HaRambam said a people take after their leaders, but I’m worried that in a Democracy the people chose leaders just like them. It’s disheartening and embarrassing.
R’ Uri Pilichowski
Vues Masters Note: We all know that pigs love to roll in dirt and that is what politicians are!
I saw this article on Matzaz.com from S Ginsburg. We all agree that the goal of our community is to keep schools and shuls open and to enable families to live their lives as normally as possible. Yet there are some in the community who suggest and even mandate that testing–and the ensuing quarantining–is the answer. In reality, COVID-19 testing of asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic individuals is both unnecessary and counterproductive. Human-to-human transmission of viruses can only take place if a live virus is present and the viral load is sufficient. When virus carriers remain asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic, their viral loads are small. According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, “Even if there is some asymptomatic transmission, in all the history of respiratory born viruses of any type, asymptomatic transmission has never been the driver of outbreaks”. Furthermore, the WHO admitted in June that asymptomatic transmission is extremely rare. (When the WHO later “retracted” this statement, the WHO stated that even though human contact tracing studies showed that asymptomatic transfer is “very rare”, their computer models suggest otherwise. It goes without saying that computer models should only be trusted when they model reality–not when they contradict reality.) If both recent contact tracing studies and the entire history of respiratory viruses suggest otherwise, what is the basis for the claim that asymptomatic transmission is a major factor in driving this pandemic? The answer lies in the fact that many–in fact, most–people who test positive for COVID remain asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic . For example, the CDC estimated that as many as 40% of COVID carriers are asymptomatic. In another study, out of 3000 inmates who tested positive for COVID, a whopping 96% were asymptomatic! Yet there is an alternative explanation for the prevalence of asymptomatic COVID. PCR tests are known to generate false positive results. For instance, in 2006 PCR tests suggested the existence of a pertussis (whooping cough) outbreak at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center when 146 individuals tested positive for pertussis. However, a gold standard test later revealed that not even 1 individual actually had pertussis! At least two other pseudo-outbreaks implicated PCR tests, leading the CDC to proclaim that “overreliance on the results of PCR assays can lead to implementation of unnecessary and resource-intensive control measures”. Currently there is no gold standard COVID test that is commercially available, but direct DNA sequencing can be used to validate PCR test results. When a group in Japan used direct DNA sequencing to confirm PCR tests, they found that 30% of positive tests were false positives . A study in Norway that did not use direct DNA sequencing concluded that 93% of positive COVID tests were false positives , and the New York Times reported just last week that 90% of positive COVID tests are from people with clinically insignificant viral material . The sensitivity and specificity of PCR tests depend on the number of amplification cycles the test performs. The higher the number of amplification cycles, the higher the sensitivity; the lower the number of amplification cycles, the higher the specificity. Mildly symptomatic patients were detected with amplification cycles as low as 18-20 , and presymptomatic patients were detected with a median cycle threshold of 23.1. Researchers at the Robert Koch Institute in Germany found that any viral load detected beyond 30 cycles was unable to be cultivated in a lab, and according to the CDC it is extremely rare to find live virus particles when the amplification cycle is higher than 33. The European CDC says that any virus detected with more than 35 amplification cycles may be due to reagent contamination. Shockingly, the FDA does not specify a standard number of amplification cycles for COVID PCR tests and empowers commercial manufacturers and labs to “set their own standards” . And most PCR tests being used in the United States are using 40 amplification cycles, with some using “only” 37! Is it any wonder, then, that people can test positive for COVID for three months after becoming infected even if they were not infectious for more than 5-10 days? If the number of amplification cycles was limited to 30, 70-90% of positive tests would become negative. Put differently, even if a person tests positive for COVID, the chances that the person has “clinically significant” or “infectious” COVID is only 10-30%! This is probably why the CDC revised their COVID testing guidelines and no longer recommend testing of asymptomatic people even if they were exposed to COVID or did not practice social distancing in a COVID setting. In fact, the CDC states that even mildly symptomatic individuals do not need to be tested for COVID if they are not vulnerable (e.g., immunocompromised) individuals. How, then, can we assume that all people who test positive for COVID are indeed infectious when we know that the vast majority are not?!? How can we mandate quarantines of asymptomatic people who were merely exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID (e.g., family members, schoolmates, shul members) when the CDC itself states that such measures are unnecessary?!? And what do we gain by testing asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic people for COVID other than scaring individuals and the community about COVID cases that are very unlikely to be infectious? The calls to perform COVID testing in classes, schools, and the community need to stop. The calls to quarantine asymptomatic family and friends of people who test positive for COVID need to stop. The calls to test people with mild symptoms that may be due to COVID or many other illnesses (e.g., cough, headache, runny nose, nausea, etc.) need to stop. And when we stop detecting irrelevant COVID cases and over-relying on PCR tests, we may find that schools, shuls, and batei midrash can remain open without the implementation of “unnecessary and resource-intensive control measures”.
Vues Master’s Note: I hope we all pass this difficult test of Covid!
Dear Vues Master: Hodu lashem… In my house we made a lchaim and danced around the table in spirited dancing when we heard the “sad” news of the passing of one of the worst people for the Jewish people and their conservative values. I hope y’all did the same.
Vues Master’s Note: I think that might be an extreme, maybe she did teshuva at the end of her life.
Dear Vues Master: Can a g-d faring Jew really rejoice over the death of another Jew. Even if RBG didn’t hold the same values as you, she was still a Jew. A tinokes shenishba. We must all mourn her life and her death.
Vues Master’s Note: You are right. We can rejoice in the fact that hopefully we will have a new member of the Supreme Court who will be a little more morally accepted to Hashem!
BEING QUIET AT WHAT COST
Dear Vues Master: Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, the most prominent American Jewish leader of the 1930s and 1940s, was a renowned orator who did not shy away from using his sermons to address social and political controversies. But on Yom Kippur in September 1942, as the Holocaust raged in Europe, the cat got his tongue. On August 25, 1942, Wise had received a stunning telegram from his trusted colleague in Geneva, World Jewish Congress representative Gerhart Riegner. Citing an informant connected to “the highest German authorities,” Riegner reported that the Nazis intended to deport “all Jews in countries occupied or controlled by Germany” to locations in “the East,” where they would be “exterminated, in order to resolve once and for all the Jewish question in Europe.” Wise immediately contacted the State Department, where Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles pretended to be surprised. In reality, he and other Roosevelt administration officials had received Riegner’s information days earlier, but suppressed it for fear it would cause Jewish leaders to press for U.S. intervention. Welles said he would investigate Riegner’s message, and asked Wise to withhold it from the public in the meantime. Rabbi Wise’s agreement to temporarily suppress the telegram has been the subject of much controversy ever since. Several factors need to be considered. First, it is clear from Wise’s private correspondence that he believed Welles would be able to confirm or deny the news in a matter of days. Second, Wise had no way to independently confirm the information, and he did not want to risk spreading news that might turn out to be false. In addition, Wise feared that defying Welles’s request would jeopardize his relationship with the State Department, whose assistance he might need in responding to the mass killings. Yet Rabbi Wise went much further than Welles requested. The undersecretary asked him only not to reveal the Riegner telegram; he did not ask Wise to refrain from discussing any other Nazi atrocity reports. In the weeks to follow— the three and a half weeks leading up to Yom Kippur—there were many such reports. Yet Wise chose to hold his tongue about them, too. On September 3, Wise and other Jewish leaders received a telegram from Switzerland-based Orthodox rescue activists that reported: “German authorities have recently evacuated Warsaw Ghetto and bestially murdered about 100,000 Jews. These mass murders are continuing.” A few days later, Wise received a report from the Geneva office of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, based on “two reliable eyewitnesses (Aryans),” that over 100,000 Jews had been systematically slaughtered in Poland and Lithuania “in camps especially prepared for the purpose.” The Jewish Telegraphic Agency’s Daily News Bulletin, which was required reading for American Jewish leaders and served as the major source of international news for the U.S. Jewish news media, provided additional information in the days to follow concerning atrocities in German-occupied territory. In Velizh, the JTA reported, 900 Jews had been confined to a pigsty, which the Germans locked and set ablaze. In Kovno, 800 Jews were herded into a fire station, where they were starved for eight days and then shot en masse. Most alarming was the report that landed on Wise’s desk on September 20, the morning before Yom Kippur, presumably just as he was preparing his remarks for that solemn occasion. According to that day’s JTA Bulletin, “massacres of Jews on an unprecedented scale are now taking place all over Nazioccupied Poland,” as part of German’s strategy “of total extermination of the Jews in Poland.” Rabbi Wise’s annual High Holiday sermons at his Free Synagogue, in Manhattan, attracted the largest audiences of the year, as well as the possibility of coverage by the New York Times or other news media. It was a prime opportunity to call attention to the issue that most concerned him. And as the name of the synagogue indicated, Wise founded it on the principle that the rabbi should be completely free to speak his mind. Yet when he rose to speak on Kol Nidrei evening, the issue Rabbi Wise chose was not the escalating persecution of the Jews in Europe. It was the compatibility of Judaism and American citizenship. Others might find themselves confounded by “conflicts of loyalties” between their religion and their country, but not the Jews, he assured his congregation; “we have long known that there is no such conflict for us, that our own is an utterly undivided and indivisible allegiance to our country.” Then, on Yom Kippur morning, Wise began his sermon by posing what was apparently the second most urgent question on his mind: “Who is not enthralled by life’s grandeurs?” His answer: While “others” lived lives in which “barbarism and willful savagery obtain,” the Jews appreciate that “every day presents new and thrilling proofs of the deathless quality of life.” This, he concluded, “was what our fathers meant” in their teachings concerning Yom Kippur. Rabbi Wise’s decision to refrain from speaking on Yom Kippur about the mass slaughter in Europe was not the result of his promise to suppress the Riegner telegram; nothing in Wise’s pledge to Undersecretary Welles precluded him from using his Yom Kippur sermons to speak about the other reports of mass murder. Rather, Wise’s choice reflected an unfortunate human quality found among some leaders of Jewish organizations in every generation— the tendency to get stuck in familiar patterns of behavior, to resort to the same old sermons and press releases and slogans; the inability to think outside the box, to recognize new realities, and to respond in ways previously unimagined. Elderly, ailing, and utterly unwilling to share his power with younger colleagues, Rabbi Wise proved to be the wrong man, at the wrong the time, to stand at the helm of American Jewish leadership. Yet even as we note Rabbi Wise’s shortcomings, it is fair to ask: Have today’s American Jewish leaders learned from Wise’s mistakes? How often does it happen in our own time that the leader of a major Jewish or Zionist organization, who has held office for decades, is willing to forego the perks of power and finally recognize that the time has come to step aside?
Vues Master’s Note: How many victims of the holocaust could have been saved? Scary to think.
Dear Vues Master: Reb. Naomi Kaufman was my third grade teacher at BYA. Third grade was not easy for me. I was going through some trauma at the time. And just like a great teacher should, I think Mrs. Kaufman knew more about what I was going through than I was aware of. Every day I went to school and put my head down on my desk. I didn’t want to be there, and was actually afraid to be there. But once the afternoon came around, I started to lift my head up to see Mrs. Kaufman. Her classes peaked my interest and slowly as the days went on, I lifted my head up higher and higher. I remember Mrs. Kaufman came in one day. I was sitting up nice and tall with a smile plastered on my face. I guess I was having a good day. She told me what a nice surprise it was to see a smile on my face. It felt like such a victory to me that she noticed my smile. I was so proud of myself and I knew she was proud of me. Sometimes we had assemblies. Each class went up on stage to show off some of their skills and to give everyone a little taste of what they learned that month. During practice, Mrs. Kaufman announced that I would perform the last paragraph of our poem as a solo. I was shocked. Nobody ever had a solo before. Why me? I couldn’t understand why. As they say in parenting, it’s not about treating all children equally, it’s about giving each child what they need. I think she knew I needed that time to shine. I still remember my part: “Your nose is there through thick and thin, and remains between your eyes and chin.” Mrs. Kaufman always had a firm gauge on how the class felt. When morale was low, she had us stop everything we were doing and told us to get up on our feet. We sang silly songs like “we come from Boston jolly jolly Boston” as we skipped around the room. Sometimes she had us take a break during writing assignments and we chanted “exercise exercise do your daily exercise” as we stretched our fingers out. I still remember all the songs and sing them to my nephew. He loves them and asks me to sing again and again. On September 22nd, I was face-timing my nephew and he asked me to sing all the songs that Mrs. Kaufman taught me. He hadn’t asked me in months and I was shocked he still remembered them. I had to rack my brain but it all started coming back to me. “Once upon a time, a goose drank wine and a monkey went up on a street car line.” “I won’t go to Macy’s anymore more more, there’s a big fat policeman at the door door door.” When I found out that Mrs. Kaufman passed away on September 22nd, I was spooked. I was singing her songs that day. My nephew was laughing and asking for more. Little did I know she wasn’t here in this world anymore. People make an impact in many ways. In this case, I think Mrs. Kaufman did more for me than I can understand and more than I can thank her for. She encouraged me with positivism, pushed me to succeed, and gave me care without my knowledge. I’m sure she has impacted many girls like me and she will be terribly missed.
E R Vues
Master’s Note: Yes we lost another great one! May Hashem give strength to her Husband Reb Simcha to keep up his great work being mechanech children and his children should have hatzlocha in all their endeavors. The family is an example of what it means living for others. May they be comforted with all of Klal Yisroel.
Dear Vues Master: Do you think our favorite NY Mayor-Mayor Deblasio, is an antisemite, an idiot or both?
Chaim from Kensington
Vues Master’s Note: This is a statement not a question. This idiot is constantly looking for ways to pick on Jews!! His real name is Wilhelm and we know where his lineage is from.
Dear Vues Master: I saw last week on a whats app group that I’m a part of that people that have students in yeshiva that test positive for Corona should NOT report it to the yeshiva, but keep their child home. The reason for this is because if a yeshiva has 2 or more students that test positive for Corona the yeshiva will be forced to close down. I think its still important to let the Yeshiva know. What do you think?
Friedy M. from Flatbush
Vues Master’s Note: What do we need to know? Keep the child home and don’t ruin it for everyone else especially where there is a double standard as far as Jewish schools go. Notice there are no numbers to back up these claims everything is arbitrary. Fake News is constantly leaking and being dis proven. Facts are the way you want them to be. Science and Data are contrived by politicians!!
Dear Vues Master: I heard last week that Corey Johnson left the race for Mayor because of depression. I’m very happy that he dropped out for many reasons.
Eliana from Midwood
Vues Master’s Note: Be careful what you wish for we sure don’t know who will take his place. It is also sad that he has personal issues. We hope he gets better soon!!
Dear Vues Master: My kids are going to go crazy for this Chol Hamoed. This is the first time in MANY years that I can’t take them to a Yeshiva Boys concert over Succos. We are big fans of Eli Gerstner & YBC and follow them wherever they go. I’m hoping that this magafa is over soon for many reasons but one of them is definitely so that I can take them on Chol Hamoed Pesach to a YBC concert.
Shoshie from Woodmere
Vues Master’s Note: Maybe in the zchus of our Yomim Noraim Hashem will bring us to zman Simchasenu that we can celebrate properly!
INTERVIEW THE GRA
Dear Vues Master: We love the fun question every week in the Jewish Vues, but was wondering how did Ari Hirsch interview the GRA last week (LOL) for the fun question, what’s the most difficult mitzvah?
Baruch from BP
Vues Master’s Note: Wait a second you don’t know how old Ari Hirsch is! I heard he is 450 years old.
Dear Vues Master: I hear a lot more people from the city are going to the Country this Succos. It should be nice upstate. I really hope people are careful and wear masks and are socially distancing. Have a beautiful Yom Tov!
Pearl from Lawrence
Vues Master’s Note: Makes no difference where you are, we all need to be safe. And most of all safe from the stupid politicians who have a hard time giving up their power grab!
VUES ALL OVER
Dear Vues Master: I just wanted to tell you that I was upstate for Rosh Hashana and saw the Jewish Vues everywhere. I was so happy to get it going into Yom Tov. Everyone in my colony that was upstate was talking about it the entire Yom Tov. Keep up the good work!!
Vues Master’s Note: Thanks for sharing! It is always nice to know that we are read all over!!
Dear Vues Master: During the Israeli war of independence in 1948-9, more than 6,000 Yidden were killed which was 1% of the entire Jewish population. There were tens of thousands more who were wounded. Someone reported this to the Brisker Rav Zt”l and added that this all happened because of the Zionist who declared and created an illegal State which is against the Torah. The Brisker Rav answered him “ When יונה הנביא was on the boat, with the other passengers who were all עובדי עבודה זרה , it never entered his mind that the fault lies with them. He immediately said הגדול הזה עליכם כי בשלי הסער
Vues Master’s Note: We should take this lesson to heart. The world revolves around the Jew. In Yiddish they say “Dort vee ess yidelt zich dreit zich der Velt”