14 Sep 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.
R’ YANKIE LIVES ON
Dear Vues Master:
I just read this letter on yeshivaworld.com mailbag & I felt compelled
to share it with your readers as well. With the tragic passing
of R’ Yanky aka Jack Meyer Z”L, dozens of organizations
and thousands of people are coming forward with their testaments
about his askanus and describing his brilliant and selfless
actions. They are right, but I also think there’s something crucial
missing. I’m a relatively young man. When I was growing up,
the name Yanky Meyer was almost mythological. As a child,
people aspiring to become a “somebody” other than a rebbi or
marbitz torah wanted to be a clone of Yanky Meyer. And when
we got a little older and some of us went into some field relating
to askanus, that image of Yanky Meyer remained. There are so
many askanim now doing incredible work who entry to the world
askanus stemmed from this superhuman image of Yanky Meyer
at accidents, rubbing shoulders with officials, and being the goto
guy for anything the tzibbur needed. They wanted to be like
him and now they are following in his footsteps. While Yanky
Meyer should be remembered for his astounding level of askanus
and recognized for his impossibly long list of chasadim he did
for others with no benefit whatsoever to himself. But we cannot
either lose sight of the fact that he’s still around, perhaps not
physically, but still living in every action of numerous askanim
around the world all trying to emulate and be a tiny reflection of
who he was.
Vues Master’s Note: Thank you for sharing! He was the askan
LETTER FROM MISASKIM
Dear Vues Master:
Please share this letter with your readers.
As we mourn the heartbreaking loss of our founder and mentor,
R’ Yanky “Jack” Meyer zt”l, we reflect upon his unmatched
initiative and ingenuity, his relentless efforts on behalf of those in
need or in pain, and his selfless dedication to all of Klal Yisroel.
Beyond his unparalleled legacy of chesed and achievements, R’
Yanky zt”l, through his deeds, left behind a blueprint for current
and future askanim, baalei chesed, and organizations to mirror,
emulate, and incorporate into their own work for generations
to come. His loss cannot be overestimated, and no number of
tributes can do justice to the enormity of his life work and colossal
impact of his altruism and self-sacrifice. Yet as we grieve,
we take solace from R’ Yanky’s remarkable perspicacity and
foresight, particularly his meticulous installment of supremely
competent and dedicated managers within Misaskim and Project
Yedid, as well as the entrenchment of his dedication, sensitivity,
and unfailing operational soundness in every aspect and facet
of Misaskim’s work. R’ Yanky not only founded Misaskim and
Project Yedid, but also designed them to be edifices of chesed beyond
his lifetime and immediate direction. As such, the mission
and services of Misaskim and Project Yedid endure. Our dozens
of members will continue forging forward, their commitment to
chesed’s calling unwavering and unchanged. Our offices remain
filled with dispatchers and support staff ready to answer each call
for assistance and every individual in need. The communal and
organizational tragedy of R’ Yanky’s loss cannot be overlooked
or overestimated, yet his presence is everlasting and will direct
our operations, services, and mission in perpetuity.
Vues Master’s Note: R’ Yankie lives on!!!
NO MORE SNOW DAYS
Dear Vues Master:
This is so sad! New York City’s public school students will be
deprived of their much-coveted snow days – perhaps forever,
an education official said. “There are technically no more snow
days,” David C. Banks, the city’s Department of Education
chancellor, said in an interview with WNYW’s “Good Day New
York.” He explained that the remote-learning technology implemented
during the coronavirus pandemic will allow students to
continue their studies on days when the snow is too heavy for
them to commute to school – when kids might have ordinarily
gone sledding with their friends. “So, sorry kids – no more snow
days, but it’s going to be good for you!” he said. Growing up my
brothers & sisters always looked forward to snow days. No more!
Vues Master’s Note: Don’t worry Yeshivas will not resort to
Dear Vues Master:
Driving last week on Ocean Parkway I was amazed how many
people were on scooters. There were more scooters than bicycles.
I was just wondering if going on an electric scooter is still
Vues Master’s Note: Almost as much as playing video games!
Dear Vues Master:
I feel duty bound to share with your readership details about Misaskim.
When Hatzalah appeared at our door to inform us of the
bitter news that fateful Thursday evening, Yanky Meyer slipped
into our house and set up a mini OEM in our home. Like a well
oiled machine he followed a script which he must’ve performed
countless times before. The first order of business was to identify
the immediate next of kin and close family and dispatch social
workers accompanied by Hatzolah members to inform them of
the tragedy before they get the news from social media. The next
order of business was to get nearby relatives and family friends
into the house to support those of us at home. Then it was necessary to bring our 12 year old son and the grandparents home from the camp and country in the Catskills in the company of Hatzolah members. One of our married sons was in the air, en-route to LA with his three infants and they had to be located and informed, turned around in LAX and passage secured for them in sufficient time to make it home for what we hoped would be a Friday morning levaya. Yanky Meyer and the Misaskim organization arranged all that from our dining room table in record time, while allowing us to absorb the shock of our loss with the utmost sensitivity to our privacy. They were in touch with the Canadian askonim on the scene throughout the night and when it became apparent that the authorities would not release our son for burial immediately, Yanky went into overdrive and got in touch with the multitudes of politicians and bureaucrats that he has worked with before and remained one step ahead of the forensic investigators and medical examiner. Misaskim pulled a trick out of their hat and had a medical examiner from a US jurisdiction guide the French Canadians on how to deal with the conflicting agendas of kevod haniftar and their legal mandates. They were successful in obtaining a stay and the coroner’s office did step back and agreed to do non-invasive imaging, and toxicology labs as opposed to following their strict protocol. It is important for the readers to be aware that this didn’t occur on terra firma in New York where the askanim have long established connections. This was unfamiliar territory, Misaskim was dealing with suburban Quebec officials who in their entire careers haven’t worked from Friday 4:30pm until Monday 9am. All of a sudden they were getting calls from the Governors of New York and New Jersey on their private cellphones after hours….. The French Canadians took this case very seriously, as I heard from the top health ministry official of Quebec myself, on a conference call. “We have an obligation to society and to this young man in particular, to find out why this healthy young boy died and we will fight you in court at every level to fulfill our obligation. If you continue to fight us this may not be resolved for months, perhaps a year.” Yanky Meyer and his colleagues Yanky Landau and Mr.Wiel, accompanied me to my Rov and explained every detail to the leading Rabbonim that my Rov consulted with. Misaskim retained the Canadian law firm and Yanky Meyer ordered the stunned lead attorney “Get on the phone with so and so, the attorney for the local Muslim activists and consult with him. Ask him what his modus operandi would be in this situation. The response came back” Oh we follow your guy, he’s got a much better track record than we do.” At some point on Friday, Misaskim also contracted a private airplane that was sent with my eldest son to pick up the remains, at the moment that there was a chance that the Quebec health ministry would accede and accept the medical theory submitted by a prominent sympathetic frum doctor to get our son released. Dear readers, what I learned in the five days that Misaskim was ensconced in my house was that you only know a portion of what Misaskim does because they are highly sensitive to kevod hames and the family’s dignity. Boruch Hashem in our case, there is no cloud, Shmuly passed away in a yeshivah camp while his Gemara was open on the table. Misaskim is called to duty in many less dignified instances where violence self-inflicted or otherwise, is a concern. Remains of suicides victims, crib deaths, absentee parents and runaway teens are discovered and must be hastily and discreetly repatriated many a time. These cases are unfortunately not uncommon and cost thousands of dollars to resolve quietly and expeditiously. Yet it is done discreetly without the awareness of the public at large, to the financial detriment of the organization. After all, an appeal for chairs and water-coolers is much less poignant than the triumph of Misaskim against overzealous coroners. To me Misaskim is no longer just about tables and chairs, but so much more!
Vues Master’s Note: R’ Yankie Mayer will be sorely missed! Yehi Zichro Baruch!
Dear Vues Master:
Hi. There’s a prayer some people say if they lose an object. They believe it will help them find it. How about we say it when trying to find a shidduch? Will that work :)?
Vues Master’s Note: That would depend on who is the lost cause, the lady or the man.
AMERICA AND THE
Dear Vues Master:
As the producer and director of a PBS film on America’s response to the Holocaust some years ago, I was at first delighted to learn that Ken Burns has now likewise made a film for broadcast on PBS about how our country responded to the Nazi genocide. But some advance publicity for the broadcast raises questions as to whether his film will accurately portray key issues such as U.S. refugee policy and the failure to bomb Auschwitz. My film, America and the Holocaust: Deceit and Indifference, was first broadcast in 1994 as part of the PBS history series The American Experience. I have been most gratified that it has become a staple for American history and Holocaust education in many secondary schools around the country. Ensuring that young people learn about these difficult periods in our country’s history is essential to our future as a morally responsible nation. When I set out to tell the complex and troubling story of our nation’s response to the Holocaust, I believed it would be most effective to chronicle those events through the experience of a single person. I was fortunate to discover the moving story of Kurt Klein, a German Jew who immigrated to America in 1937 at age 17, and then spent several years struggling against a wall of Roosevelt administration obstacles that stood in the way of rescuing his parents from Nazi Germany. My film examined the profound social, political and economic factors that led the American government, along with much of American society, to turn its back on the plight of the Jews. America and the Holocaust explored the decisions that President Roosevelt and his State Department made to block news about the growing genocide, as well as to keep Jewish immigration drastically below the legal limits that the existing quota system allowed. That policy’s result: nearly 200,000 Jews, eligible for entry to America, such as Kurt Klein’s parents, were prevented from immigrating and were murdered in the Holocaust. Not surprisingly, there were some viewers at the time whose fond memories of FDR—a fondness I have always shared—made it difficult for them to accept the president’s disturbing choices. For filmmakers, one of the most important elements in the process of making a historical documentary is to have as our advisors historians who are experts in the subject material. I was fortunate to have the late David S. Wyman as my main historical advisor. As the author of the definitive work in this field, The Abandonment of the Jews, Prof. Wyman was able to bring to our collaboration a comprehensive and nuanced appreciation of the historical issues and materials. For The U.S. and the Holocaust, Ken has worked with writer Geoffrey Ward, his longtime collaborator. I hope they have examined the historical research published in the years since my film came out. And that they have made room in their expansive documentary for some of the uncomfortable truths about FDR, such as remarks about Jews behind closed doors. That information may help us better understand Roosevelt’s decisions concerning Jewish refugees. Inevitably, portions of The U.S. and the Holocaust will echo the social, political, economic story we told in 1994 about what America was like during the Roosevelt years and how that impacted the U.S. government’s response to events overseas. The racism, antisemitism, and isolationism of those years— found in both political camps—is by now a well-known story. But what will merit special scrutiny in the new Ken Burns film is how he presents the key controversies: Does he attempt to blame “American society” — as if the president was a helpless captive of public opinion? Does he attempt to blame everything on the State Department — as if that branch made its own foreign policy? Does he make it seem as if the immigration quotas in themselves were the problem, instead of acknowledging how FDR’s policies kept the quotas vastly unfilled? Does he convey the impression that bombing the railways leading to Auschwitz was too difficult to accomplish, when we know that U.S. planes bombed railroad lines throughout Europe—with multiple bombing raids on German oil factories in the vicinity of Auschwitz, some less than five miles from the gas chambers…? Like many other Americans, I will be watching closely to see if The U.S. and the Holocaust honestly portrays these issues or fails to confront the difficult truths that need to be faced.
Vues Master’s Note: Thanks for the history lesson! We must remember the Holocaust!
Dear Vues Master:
A woman sitting in the seat behind the bus driver held out her hand and asked if he would like some peanuts. “Sure,” he said. A few minutes later, she asked him if he would like some more. “OK. Thank you,” he responded. When she offered him nuts a third time, he thanked her and said: “That’s very generous of you, but why don’t you eat them yourself?” “I don’t like peanuts,” she answered. “I only eat the chocolate covering.”
Vues Master’s Note: Disgusting! I would go nuts on her!
Dear Vues Master:
Rav Meilich Biderman related that story of R’ Shmuel Katz z”l, who passed away this past week 21 years after he was saved on 9/11. R’ Shmuel worked on the 85th floor of the World Trade Center. He requested from his boss to be allowed to come to work two hours later and leave two hours later in order to avoid the pritzus and immodesty of rush hour on the NYC subway. He was granted this request. As a result of his daily delayed schedule, on September 11, 2001, R’ Shmuel was not yet at work when the planes hit the Twin Towers. He was saved thanks to his adherence to a high level of shemiras einayim and kedusha. Now, 21 years after the catastrophe from which he was spared, R’ Shmuel has passed on, with a special zechus to his credit, a 9/11 story that will be repeated by his descendants for generations.
Vues Master’s Note: What an inspiration!
Dear Vues Master:
Why are boys yeshivas open on Sunday 9/11 when so many frum people perished on that horrible day?! Also Hatzolah risked their lives that day and many helped with rescues afterward? Some may have health issues from that day . How heartless to act like this is just any other national day. Also yeshivahs should close on yom hashoah day. If they do open, they should have special programs and kaddish should be said too!
Vues Master’s Note: We should never shut down a Yeshiva as the Torah is what protects us!!!
Dear Vues Master:
The Yaavetz writes, if you can afford it, then it is perfectly OK to enjoy the good things life has to offer. Hashem created all these nice things for humans to enjoy. As the passuk says “you shall be happy with all the good Hashem gives you!”
Vues Master’s Note: I really enjoyed this vort! Thanks for sharing!
Dear Vues Master:
Children are people. Treating children as though they were not people is bad. You’re allowed to have an event and not invite children. After all, it’s your event. But you’re also allowed to not invite people over 50, people of Latino descent, etc. It just makes you a bigot, that’s all.
Vues Master’s Note: Maybe we should let infants vote as they are people! Come on there are things for children and things for adults and things that are for both children and adults! Enough of Political correctness.
OUT OF THE BOX
Dear Vues Master:
I was home recently reflecting upon myself as that is the message of Elul, “Am I wasting my time all these years helping so many people and organizations as a teacher for the last 45 years and a magician for the last 55 years? I walked out of my apartment building to do some chores after having the thoughts above. Immediately, as I exited the building, I saw a young non-Jewish, African-American sitting on a brand new black
motorcycle. He had a huge smile and signaled me to come over. He said to me, “Hi Magic Man! “YOU SAVED MY LIFE!” “I want to cry right now but I am holding back my tears. 20 years ago, when I was 21, you showed us a magic trick with the number 9 outside the apt. building. Many of us were standing in a circle and could not figure it out for 45 minutes. You took me to the side and explained it to me. You told me, “THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX!” “Those words “To Think Outside the Box” changed my entire life! When I was 21, I was involved with a lot of felonies. I stopped because of you. I kept thinking of your words to me, “Think Outside the Box!” Now, I am 41 years old. For the last 7 years, I have been a bus driver for NYC. I have a great salary and benefits. I have a 10 year old son. I plan to start a business in the basement of my home and live upstairs. Thanks to you, I will guide my son with your words too “To Think Outside The Box!” “I want you to know and I want G-d to remember you “that YOU saved my life!” I told Aubrey, “I KNOW G-D is using you as a messenger to say these words to me!” I realized during this conversation, “I am not wasting my time helping others for all these many decades.” My skills as a magician have surpassed the realm of magic actually, saving lives! This is a lesson for me that I must NEVER forget. I give my word to Hashem to continue to assist others, the many organizations, Shuls, etc. and not hesitate or self-doubt myself and to do it “even more so!” The need is still there and there is still much more work to do. May this true story inspire you “To Think Outside The Box” and be a force for good!
Vues Master’s Note: Great story!
Dear Vues Master:
I understand that the New York Times and certain others who have raised the issue before had bile in their hearts and were not looking out for the best interests of our community. I understand that those who champion this cause use anti-Semitic tropes to fan the flames of hatred against us using education of our children as a pretext to sow hatred against the very children they claim to protect. They must be condemned loudly. This topic is not about them. This topic is also not about the parents’ right to choose to educate their children however they please. Let us assume that this is an absolute right and the only question is – should a parent choose what we have now or should a parent want more for their children. This topic is about us. Those of us who pay 50% or more of our income to pay tuitions because we value Torah and learning Torah. Those of us want to see our children develop a love for Torah learning that they carry with them every day for the rest of their lives. Those of us who have rejected the culture of society and choose to live in a different culture that is based on Torah values. Are we ok with the state of education in our yeshivos? Do we believe that there has been a decline in the quality of the education? Do we believe that our children are being given the same Yeshiva education we received? Or have so many yeshivas become glorified babysitting centers where the children graduate without the basics of math, english, science and history and even worse, only a cursory understanding of Gemoro, Halocho, Tanach, etc. Are we comfortable with the sight of too many our brethren struggle to string together coherent sentences in English? Do we want our children to be able to express themselves in written and spoken word? Are they given these tools in school? Our world has a strong work ethic as anyone who knows the community or even visited the recent Satmar Business expo can tell you. Do we not want every one of our children to work in any kosher field they choose – even those that require an advanced education and degree? Or am I the crazy one? Is everything perfectly fine? Is there a problem here – at all – that needs to be addressed?
Vues Master’s Note: Not all Yeshivas were created the same!
JTA AND THE BOMBING OF AUSCHWITZ
Dear Vues Master:
While most of the American news media looked away, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency –the leading Jewish news service– repeatedly publicized appeals to the Allies to bomb Auschwitz and the railways leading to it in 1944. The Roosevelt administration’s refusal to strike Auschwitz was among the issues raised in Wolf Blitzer’s recent CNN special about the Holocaust, and will be discussed in Ken Burns’s upcoming documentary film on America’s response to the Holocaust. During the spring and summer of 1944, as hundreds of thousands of Hungarian Jews were being deported to Auschwitz, at least thirty officials of Jewish organizations or institutions urged the Roosevelt administration to carry out air strikes on the railways and bridges over which the deportations were taking place, or to undertake precision strikes on the gas chambers and crematoria themselves. Nahum Goldmann, head of the World Jewish Congress, and Rabbi Jacob Rosenheim, president of the Orthodox advocacy group Agudath Israel, were particularly active in pressing the Roosevelt administration on the bombing proposals. Usually such pleas were made behind closed doors. On occasion, however, the bombing idea spilled out into public view. On July 10, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) published a dispatch from London, reporting that recent escapees from Auschwitz were urging: “The crematoria in Oswiecim [Auschwitz] and Birkenau, easily recognisable [sic] by their chimneys and watch-towers, as well as the main railway lines connection Slovakia and Carpatho-Ruthenia with Poland, especially the bridge at Cop, should be bombed.” On the day the JTA article appeared, and during the several days before and after that date, eight trainloads of Jewish deportees from Hungary arrived in Auschwitz. More than 30,000 Jews were gassed in that four-day span. Those were the last trains to come from Hungary, but deportations of Jews to Auschwitz from other countries continued. The JTA’s mention of “the bridge at Cop” is significant because some contemporary pundits have argued that the Germans were capable of quickly repairing damaged railways. But bridges that were bombed could take days, even weeks, to repair—which is why the Allies frequently bombed bridges throughout Europe. Four days later, the JTA again highlighted the issue of the railways leading to Auschwitz. It reported that in a radio broadcast to Europe,
a leader of the International Federation of Transport Workers had urged railway workers in Hungary, Poland and Czechoslovakia “to prevent the deportation of Hungarian Jews to [Nazi] death camps [in Poland] by sabotaging rail equipment being used to transport the Jews.” Wolf Blitzer’s late father David, who was a prisoner in Auschwitz, remarked on the railways issue in excerpts from his 1983 oral history interview, which were aired in CNN’s August 26 program. “Every day, thousands of people were burned and gassed in the camps, only because [the Germans] had the possibility to bring those trainloads of people,” the elder Blitzer recalled. “If those rails had been bombarded, they couldn’t have done it so perfectly.” On July 20, 1944, the JTA raised the bombing issue again. This time, it reported that “liberal circles [in London] are demanding that Britain and the United States act to save the Jews of Hungary by, first, bombing the extermination camps of Oswiecim and Birkenau in Poland…” Some other Jewish publications picked up the cry. Editorials or columns calling for bombing Auschwitz or the railways and bridges appeared in the National Jewish Ledger (in Washington, D.C.), the national Jewish magazine Opinion, the New York City Yiddish-language daily Morgen Zhurnal, the Independent Jewish Press Service, and Jewish Frontier, the monthly published by the Labor Zionists of America. Unbeknownst to the American Jewish community, however, the Roosevelt administration had already made the fateful decision that would shape U.S. policy on bombing Auschwitz. In memoranda and policy meetings in early February 1944, senior officials of the War Department (today the Defense Department) decided that as a matter of principle, the U.S. would not use military resources “for rescuing victims of enemy oppression.” The officials claimed “the most effective relief which can be given victims of enemy persecution is to insure the speedy defeat of the Axis.” Four months later, when Jewish leaders first began urging the administration to bomb the railways to Auschwitz, Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy used language directly from the February decision. “The most effective relief to victims of enemy persecution is the early defat of the Axis,” McCloy wrote. Bombing the railways to Auschwitz was “impracticable,” he claimed, because it would require “diversion of considerable air support essential to the success of our forces now engaged in decisive operations.” The truth, however, was that no “diversion” would have been necessary, because American bombers were already preparing to strike German oil factories located in the Auschwitz industrial zone. On July 8—two days before the first of the three JTA articles was published—Allied planes carried out their fourth reconnaissance mission over the oil factories. In his book Night, Elie Wiesel described how he and other Jewish slave laborers in the oil factories were “filled with joy” when U.S. bombers struck on August 20, 1944. Even though the prisoners’ lives were endangered, they were ecstatic at the possibility that the mass-murder machinery nearby would be destroyed. Despite the efforts of the JTA and others to publicize the issue, despite the behind-the-scenes pleas by Jewish leaders, and despite the fervent prayers of Elie Wiesel, David Blitzer, and other prisoners, the die had been cast long before. The Roosevelt administration had decided it would not bomb Auschwitz or the railways, and it never wavered from that tragic decision.
Vues Master’s Note: We must remember this and Never again!!
Dear Vues Master:
I just read this on Matzav .com It is expected that new regulations aimed at controlling yeshiva education will be presented to the Board of Regents on Monday, September 12th. The Board would vote on these regulations on Tuesday, September 13th – with less than 24 hours of deliberation. Yeshiva representatives have not been invited to comment at the Board of Regents meeting. When approached, neither the State Education Department nor the Board of Regents was willing to even confirm when the vote will take place. The current regulations target only yeshivos. There are changes that effectively exempt all non-Yeshiva private schools from regulation. Most Yeshivas across the state, however, will now need to pass inspections. Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, executive vice president of Agudath Israel of America warns, “If the Board of Regents votes to authorize such an attack, we dare not — we will not — stand idly by.” Only Governor Hochul has the influence to step in at this late hour. Even as she runs for reelection, the Governor refuses to comment on these regulations. She even has refused to sit down with the yeshiva community to discuss them. Her Republican opponent in the upcoming November election, U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin, has expressed strong opposition to the proposed regulations. Mr. Avi Schick, an attorney involved in defending yeshivos, has said “she is gambling that the frum community will forgo its principles come November. That is a bad bet.” A recent poll shows that the governor’s trace has tightened. We must think long and hard. Does Governor Hochul deserve our vote? Matzav.com
Vues Master’s Note: Unfortunately we know that money talks! We are in a terrible rut of voting for the party we think that will give us more money and they in return try to control our religion!
Dear Vues Master:
Tablet online magazine claims that since 2018 only 1 hate crime against Jews has resulted in jail time. Is this true? Is there really a conspiracy between local DA’s, the attorney general of NY, the US attorneys, the FBI and kapo Jewish judges to cover up hate crimes against Jews?
Vues Master’s Note: As long as we have bail reform, anti-semitism will be displayed. The rag New York Times openly writes anti-semitic articles despite thier woke mentality! Funny how woke does not protect Jews who are a minority, but does protect Muslims that are a majority.