Good Jews throwing away G-d's latest miracle and Why Do We Continue to Follow Nonsensical COVID Rules? BY DAVID SOLWAY, PJ MEDIA and Zoom Can’t be the Formula for a Post-Pandemic Jewish Future By Jonathan S. Tobin and Proud To Vaccinate Against Coronavirus! By Jacob L. Freedman, MD and Netanyahu: Everyone Over 16 Will Be Vaccinated By End of MarchBy Hana Levi Julian
Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher, and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money, and spiritual engagement.
Don't bother me with the facts, my mind is made up, has been attributed to various writers, but we don't have to worry about where the statement originated, we are living it in Israel today.
Israel is the land of miracles. It is also the land where miracles are so common that Jews think they are a dime a dozen and routinely throw them away.
The most famous example in recent history was the 1967 war. The country was preparing for another holocaust, turning parks into potential graveyards, and G-d not only saved us, but tripled the size of the country. In one of the most impressive miracles, he gave us back the Temple Mount, presumably so we could build the Third Temple, and Moshe Dyan turned it back to the Arabs to avoid upsetting them. After all, they just tried to massacre us, why should we upset them.
In the greatest turmoil of our lives, greater than wars, earthquakes, or the 911 tragedy, a virus has turned the world upside down, and not necessarily in the importance of order, closed our synagogues, put our businesses and economy on life support, and stopped grandparents from seeing their grandchildren and people shaking hands and having each other over for Shabbat.
To add insult to injury, it became clear in many parts of the world, even our precious America, that we had no civil rights, the government could decide health triumphs all and you must stay and cower in your home from the deadly virus, least our hospitals should be overrun.
What did we do to combat all of the above? Mostly, everybody sat around and prayed for the day a vaccine would come so we could get back to our lives. Well, G-d made a miracle, we got the vaccine, and in a miracle that makes the splitting of the red sea look small, the FDA approved n emergency use of the vaccines without waiting for 10 years to see if they were effective. So what is the Jewish people's reaction? In Israel, a million people got vaccinated in two weeks. What about the other 9 million? They spend their time on the internet looking for any Tom, Dick, or Harry that will tell them to be fearful and wait until more time has passed because the vaccine was approved too fast! If a commentator is a Doctor or went to Medical school or is a Rabbi and he says to wait, now we can justify our fears and not take the vaccine!
The very miracle that G-d made to get us the vaccine without having to wait 10 years is used to justify not taking it, because obviously, G-d can't make miracles. The second attack on the Vaccine is that it is a new unproven technology that will change your DNA OR RNA makeup by taking the vaccine. What is new about the vaccine is that in previous vaccines, you were given a small amount of the actual disease and then your body built up immunities to it. This new technology DOES NOT GIVE YOU THE ACTUAL DISEASE. It mimics the disease without you actually getting it, so that you can build up the immunity yet not get the disease.
Yet, every anti-vaxor searches for news stories showing that a few people still got the disease so the vaccine must have given it to them, which is of course impossible. They had the disease and would test positive whether they got the vaccine or not.
One of my favorite jokes is the man asking the hand Doctor, "Doc, Doc, after my hand surgery will I be able to play the piano?" Of course, the Doctor assures him. "That's great", he says, "I never could before!"
Elderly people die whether they get the vaccine or not. So a few have died after getting the vaccine and it has been shown that it has nothing to do with the vaccine, but my MIND IS MADE UP, DON'T CONFUSE ME WITH THE FACTS.
Yes, there may be some side effects. But death from the virus is a pretty serious side effect for elderly people (and a few young ones as well), and that is why we prayed for the vaccine from Hashem.
And think about the other when you confuse them and say you aren't getting this vaccine. You may be directly responsible for that person dying from the virus. Think about your words as they could kill.
Please don't throw away G-d's latest miracle!
Netanyahu: Everyone Over 16 Will Be Vaccinated By End of March
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Thursday night in a televised address that by the end of March, every Israeli over the age of 16 will have been inoculated against the novel coronavirus.
"Our agreement with Pfizer ensures there will be enough doses of vaccine to vaccinate all Israeli citizens over age 16 by the end of March, and perhaps even before that," Netanyahu said.
"The first plane will arrive on Sunday, and there will be more after that. Israel will be a model country for rapid vaccination.
"This year, on the night of the Pesach seder, we will sit around the seder table with our grandparents, and the rest of our families. When we ask 'Why is this night different from all other nights?' we will be able to answer, 'Everything has changed. Everything is different.' We will all be vaccinated, together."
The vaccine distribution companies in Israel have received an update to prepare for the arrival of Pfizer vaccine doses on Sunday at around 4:30 pm, the prime minister said. An agreement was made with Pfizer to increase the number and speed of the vaccine arrivals in Israel, he said, transforming Israel into a "model nation" for how to exit the coronavirus pandemic.
"This . . . will take us out of the coronavirus crisis, and return us to life," the prime minister said.
In addition, the shipping company that delivers Moderna's vaccine doses to Israel – which also arrived this week – has also received a notification to prepare for another shipment that may arrive as early as next week as well, according to Channel 20 TV.
Another shipment of at least 100,000 Moderna vaccines is expected to arrive to supplement the Pfizer vaccines.
According to the information sent to the company, there may be two more deliveries by the end of January, possibly more.
Earlier in the day, Netanyahu approved a request by Defense Minister Benny Gantz to give priority to vaccinate teaching staff with the arrival of the new shipment of vaccines. "I thank the prime minister and the defense minister for accepting my recommendation to prioritize education and other school staff," said Education Minister Yoav Gallant.
Beginning this Sunday, hospitals and HMOs are expected to begin the second jab for those who have already received their first dose of the vaccine.
Health Minister Yuli Edelstein, who also spoke at the briefing, said that 18 percent of the Israeli population has already received their first dose of the vaccine.
Moreover, 70 percent of those who are considered at the highest risk are already vaccinated, he said. On Saturday night, those who have received their first dose will now begin to receive their second dose.
"Next week we will start the new vaccinations for the rest of the population."
Zoom Can't be the Formula for a Post-Pandemic Jewish Future
After a horrendous year of pandemic, poverty and polarization, will the coronavirus vaccine soon return the Jewish world to a semblance of normalcy? That's the question without a clear answer as 2021 begins amid another surge of coronavirus cases, as well as the first rounds of vaccinations that will hopefully put an end to the plague.
The American Jewish world that will emerge from the crisis understands that back to pre-pandemic business as usual isn't an option or even something they want to do. Some believe that their recently acquired dexterity with technology is a formula to better help them survive the challenges that were facing them before being sent home to wait out the pandemic. Yet even amid the sometimes forced optimism, we're hearing from Jewish leaders, they also know that even their new skills are no substitute for directly engaging those they are supposed to serve.
Jewish life, whether religious or organizational, is inherently communal. If the old cliché held that you can't be a good Jew on a desert island because you need others to perform mitzvot, it's equally true that for all of the herculean efforts expended on connecting with people during the past year, real communities aren't virtual.
Synagogues, organizations and philanthropies have all had to reinvent themselves in one way or another since the first lockdowns in March. And, as is characteristic of Jewish culture, many are sounding an optimistic tone and talking about how they turned lemons into lemonade. Some think the lessons they learned about how to wrangle the Internet, Zoom meetings and services, webinars and even YouTube videos instead of relying solely on in-person gatherings—as was the case with most of them before the virus struck—has helped them become more user-friendly and able to reach constituents in ways they'd never previously contemplated.
Indeed, the brave new world of Zoom Jewish life is sometimes described as an improvement. Some, though clearly not all, non-Orthodox synagogues claim that more people often log in for services than showed up in person for them in the past. The organizational and philanthropic world has also learned that virtual events, informational lectures and symposiums, as well as virtual fundraising "galas," can enable them to provide far more programming for content-hungry members and consumers than they previously undertook. Equally important, these online gatherings are generally attracting far bigger audiences watching on home computers, tablets and phones while costing a small fraction of what it took to put on programs that required people to actually attend in person.
Nor will the Jewish world be likely to quickly abandon online events even after the pandemic has been quelled by mass vaccinations.
It's a given that a certain percentage of Jews—both haredim and secular believers in New Age theories—will listen to the misinformation spread by the anti-vaxxer movement. Even before the current crisis, it was a factor in reviving the spread of measles—a disease that had already been wiped out by scientific advances. If anything, the conspiracy theories and lies that duped many people into refusing other vaccines will become even more persuasive now that the traumas of 2020 have increased the susceptibility of many people to such tactics.
Yet fear of the virus won't soon disappear, even if a critical mass of the population is given the vaccine and a certain degree of "herd immunity" is created.
It's true that a lot of people can't wait to return to their old lives and the way they previously lived. But the impact of the months spent under lockdown and the constant drumbeat of information about the perils of going about unmasked or without social distancing will have a disproportionate impact on both the very young and the old.
For children, experiencing the new normal of the pandemic is likely to be one of the formative experiences of their lives. Much like those who grew up in the Great Depression, and who carried the fear of poverty and want with them for the rest of their lives even after they achieved affluence, fear of contagion will remain with those youngsters who were forced to shelter at home lest they infect or be infected by COVID-19. The assumption that these children will be quick to embrace the old paradigm of Jewish life may be misplaced.
Equally affected are the elderly who were, unlike the kids, the principal sufferers during the pandemic. Anyone who assumes that older people, who have had it drilled into them that they are the major target of the disease, will soon be venturing out to be part of crowds or attending indoor events or services even if masked and inoculated is probably mistaken.
That's particularly significant for Jewish institutions. Not only does the Jewish population skew older than most other demographic groups. Older people were and still are the backbone of non-Orthodox Jewish organizational life and constituted the overwhelming majority of those who were likely to show up for any sort of event or discussion, as well as services. That will impact attendance at in-person events in the Jewish world for years to come.
All that means that the Zoom paradigm we've gotten used to in the last 10 months is likely to become something of a permanent aspect of synagogue and organizational life.
But will a Jewish world and synagogues that operate primarily in cyberspace with the instant access and mobility that implies be enough to sustain the institutions that have transitioned so much of the efforts to reflect the new reality?
To some extent, that might be true. But as is the case with the rest of the economy and other sectors, including education and the arts, it may be a case of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer.
If you are a potential consumer of religious or Jewish content stuck at home, then you have a lot more choices now than you might have had a year ago. But that also means that if you want to watch a religious service from home, your local synagogue is now competing against large institutions from around the world. The same is true for other sorts of activities, including philanthropic groups. Small local groups are at a disadvantage in our brave new Zoom world, and it would be shortsighted to ignore that fact or to expect that the impact on their futures won't be significant.
Yet as much as technology threatens to be as important to teaching and organizing as other skills, it would be equally foolish to imagine that these virtual skills can replace the impact of in-person services and gatherings. It also can't replace efforts like kosher-food delivery, visits to senior homes and to hospitals, Jewish holiday packages and other hands-on charitable work.
Just as has been proven largely true of education, where online efforts are a poor substitute for traditional schooling, this also applies to those tasked with building a connection to the broader Jewish community or inculcating the principles of faith or peoplehood. Indeed, for all of the often unfair abuse that has been directed at Orthodox institutions that have not relied exclusively on Zoom as have the non-Orthodox, no one doubts the power that gathering together has had on their ability to continue to inspire their constituents.
The notion that other sectors of the Jewish world can ignore those lessons while boasting of their new technological skills is wrong. At some point—whether it is on a more limited scale or not—synagogues, groups and other institutions must bring Jews back into the same room with each other. The business of building and maintaining a community will have to involve a large amount of virtual programming going forward. Yet real communities are not Facebook groups, listservs or Zoom gatherings. Without people-to-people contact, the values that link the generations are lost. The greatest Jewish challenge for 2021 will be in remembering that.
Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium, totam rem aperiam, eaque ipsa quae ab illo inventore veritatis et quasi architecto.
"Fat chance i'm getting vaccinated, who knows what sort of poison they will shove into our bodies!"
Why Do We Continue to Follow Nonsensical COVID Rules?
The only demonstrable result of government-imposed COVID-19 lockdowns has been the destruction of national economies, the crippling of domestic and cultural life, the suffering and death of multitudes due to untreated prior medical conditions, and the drastic rise in suicide rates. The lockdowns themselves have seemed to do little to prevent the onset of the disease, hence one lockdown after another has led to no discernible effect—apart from the fact that the virus appears to strike primarily a designated older cohort of the population already suffering from comorbidities. A recent graph charting the effects of repeated lockdowns in the province of Ontario would appear to indicate that the lockdowns themselves are super-spreaders. Texas Tech professor Gilbert Berdine sums up: "After taking the unprecedented economic depression into account, history will likely judge these lockdowns to be the greatest policy error of this generation."
The same applies, mutatis mutandis, to the mask mandate, somewhat less destructive but equally absurd. After touting home-made, cloth, and sundry other masks for six months, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam have discovered that Canadians should be wearing three-layer masks—a tacit admission that the single- and double-ply masks we have been wearing for all this time are patently inadequate. Apparently, no-ply also works, given that our Minister of Health Patty Hajdu was spotted at Toronto's Pearson Airport unabashedly maskless and happily smiling, like her American counterparts Anthony Fauci at a baseball game and Governor Newsom of California at his favorite restaurant.In fact, masks do not screen out (or keep in) viral microns averaging 100 nanometers in size; the weave of all masks, with the partial exception of the medical N-95, is far too large to repel the coronavirus particle, which varies between 60nm and 140nm. Further, masks may cause hypoxia and consequent immune deficiency through the ingestion of one's own CO2. It gets worse. A 50-state-wide controlled study showed that there is no correlation between mask mandates and fewer cases. On the contrary, there is a reverse correlation: non-masking states and counties did better than their masking counterparts. There is no weeding around the graphic evidence. One wonders if CO2 -forced immunity depletion had something to do with this.
As for home isolation and travel restrictions, they are not taken seriously by our authorities. According to the Associated Press, Denver's mayor flew to Mississippi to spend Thanksgiving with his family, after urging others to stay home. A Pennsylvania mayor banned indoor dining, then patronized a restaurant in Maryland. The governor of Rhode Island was photographed at a wine tasting. The mayor of Austin, Texas, flew to Cabo San Lucas on a private jet after hosting a wedding for 20. It's common knowledge that Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker & family have blatantly violated his own travel ban. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer's husband was caught attempting to sidestep her shutdown.
Similarly, Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator, after declaring that anyone who traveled over the Thanksgiving weekend should assume they were infected with COVID-19 and should limit celebrations to "your immediate household," traveled to her vacation home in Delaware during Thanksgiving, "accompanied by three generations of her family from two households." These people must know something the rest of us don't. As IT professional Alexander Scipio writes, the political, social, and economic devastation we are suffering is not caused by a virus "with a survival rate of well over 99%," but by a political and financial class—international oligarchs—seeking absolute power via "a weaponized virus from China." But we go along with it, dutifully obeying the mandates, as if we were characters in A Midsummer Night's Dream bewitched by fairies and spells. "Shall we their fond pageant see? Lord, what fools these mortals be!"
"We as a society are becoming ever less bookish," writes the great Theodore Dalrymple, which means we are becoming ever less informed, ever less knowledgeable, ever less educated. Indeed, we are on the whole ever more incurious and credulous, which is no doubt the permanent condition and status of the majority of human beings—except that never in the history of mankind has the accessible intellectual horizon broadened, at least potentially, to the extent that it has today: university education on offer for all, books readily available, libraries, museums, theaters, concert halls (pre-lockdown) open to the public, a World Wide Web and computers proliferating as domestic items. And yet studies suggest that genuine IQ is deteriorating, people are as gullible as ever, and mob psychology and identity politics are increasingly replacing the independent thought of the questing individual. One might call it Twitteritis.
We are content to remain in a low-information twilight zone and, just as bad, to outsource common sense to our political betters, their hired-gun health officials, and so-called "experts" who can't keep their stories straight. Thus, there is an irresistible tendency, in the face of government decrees with respect to COVID, to behave like lemmings obediently surging toward the cliff, "willing to obey the demands and commands of the world elite," writes Sucharit Bhakdi, Chair of Medical Microbiology at the University of Mainz. He deplores the complete over-reaction to a virus that could have been handled differently and far more wisely. True, one must acknowledge those brave souls who have marched and demonstrated against government imposition of unconstitutional measures, but they are small in number, regarded as dissidents, troublemakers, and "spreaders" by the surrounding population and disavowed by majority opinion.
And there in a nutshell is the marrow-deep problem we are confronting. We can expect our nominal leaders, with few exceptions, to be incompetent, restrictively educated, partisan zealots, profoundly unintelligent, and visibly hypocritical. The spectacle of our politicians brazenly violating the very rules they have sternly imposed comes as no surprise. That is par for the course. But the public that should be keeping our politicians' feet to the fire are, at least, equally undistinguished, as well as easily malleable and fundamentally incurious.
I speak to my neighbors, to people I meet in the public square, and to our professionals, medical, legal, and otherwise. When I point out certain obvious facts, I am usually met with glazed incomprehension or outright condescension. When I am informed, for example, that Sweden, which did not lock down, is currently experiencing the same winter spike in COVID infections as lockdown countries, and therefore that not to lock down is a failing strategy, I wonder at the incapacity for logical deduction. If the results are the same, I reply, then why in heaven's name not keep the kids in school, allow bars, restaurants, and small businesses to stay open, and preserve the economy intact? No response. (Sweden, incidentally, remains one of the few sane countries on the planet.)
When I point out that pro-pandemic agitator and Director of the World Economic Forum Klaus Schwab of Great Reset fame and a major influence on our Prime Minister has paradoxically confided in his book COVID-19: The Great Reset that COVID is "one of the least deadly pandemics the world has experienced in the last 2000 years," the reaction is: Who is Klaus Schwab? Should I recommend familiarity with the police-state program called the Great Reset and its partner UN Agenda 2030, again, no interest.
When I suggest that it might be worthwhile to crack the spines of a few definitive books like Liberty or Lockdown or Corona False Alarm?, written by world-acclaimed specialists and epidemiologists—my interlocutors hem and haw. They are busy with work and family. They already have the truth—it was on CTV or Global. They prefer to park their confidence in the pronouncements of our Provincial Health Officer, who has already changed her mind three or four times.
I suspect my anecdotal observations could be universally generalized. One recalls Churchill's famous (alleged) remark: "The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter." Of course, the same cognitive defect would apply across the board to the citizens of any other political system.
The Surgeon General of the United States Jerome Adams advises, "I hope that people will do their research and do the right thing for themselves and for their communities." Of course, Adams assumes that people will follow the official guidelines, recommendations, and mandates, the presumable "right thing"—but what if prolonged and meticulously conducted personal research leads to other conclusions? Adams has nothing to say about this outcome. It must be admitted, however, that the odds regarding individual citizens actively pursuing a research program on their own initiative, exercising their curiosity, investigating the validity of government edicts, wishing to learn about what has disrupted their lives, spending a few hours reading a book—is probably statistically insignificant.
I realize I am belaboring the obvious. Still, one works, so to speak, one person at a time. Perhaps we need not wholly despair. Two of my correspondents, employees at the local supermarket who were avid lockdowners and maskers, did in fact follow up, check out my suggestions, and have recently told me they have changed their thinking. They are compelled to wear masks on the job, but discard them as soon as they leave the premises. They recognize that the lockdowns are the height of institutional folly—though they may not suspect the Machiavellian planning behind them.
Nonetheless, minor victories. At least, something.
While I generally hate needles, I was thrilled to take a coronavirus vaccine today. And while I am excited about this little injection, I am also proud of fulfilling my obligation by taking the vaccination. As a physician, I am the doctor to thousands of patients both here in Jerusalem and abroad. It is my responsibility to be vaccinated against the coronavirus to protect myself against infection and to prevent myself from spreading the virus to my patients. Healthcare professionals have a further responsibility to live healthy and safe lives as an example to the general population. Just as I am careful to wear a helmet when I ride my bike and a seat belt when I drive my car, I receive my vaccinations—for coronavirus, flu, and other communicable diseases—to show the general public that this is the safe thing to do. As an active member of my community, I owe the hundreds of families living nearby to be a good neighbor. Whether or not a person remains asymptomatic when infected with coronavirus, by preventing myself from being a carrier, I can ensure that the other families on my street will be safe. By vaccinating, I also ensure that local businesses will not be forced to close due to rising numbers of infection. As a father, I have a responsibility to ensure that my children will not be infected so that their school can stay open and they can continue their studies. Vaccinating also allows me to continue working in my office and to provide for my family. As a son, I know how badly my parents miss me. As a grandson, I know how badly I want to visit my grandma at her assisted living facility. The thought of seeing them again after nearly a year is tremendously exciting but this can only be done safely after receiving my vaccine. As a truth-seeker, I must admit that I am often cautious around social media and seek to independently verify many of the "facts" that other people take for granted. That is why I personally contacted my colleagues who run the infectious disease services at Harvard Medical School as well as Israeli experts in the field to make my own informed decisions. The recommendations to vaccinate were unanimous from the world's experts. As a Jew, I am proud to fulfill my obligation by receiving the Coronavirus vaccination. The mitzvah—a biblical commandment—of protecting one's life by taking this vaccination has been declared by authorities in Jewish law from across the spectrum whether Ashkenazi (Harav Chaim Kaniefsky Shlita), Chassidic (Harav Asher Weiss Shlita), or Sephardi (Harav Shalom Cohen Shlita). The Israeli Chief Rabbis have further noted the biblical commandment inherent in vaccination. There is nothing more precious in Jewish law than human life. So while I generally try to avoid getting poked by sharp objects, I am proud to fulfill my obligation by vaccinating against the coronavirus. And no, I didn't grow a third arm or have any irreversible and life-threatening adverse reaction to the shot…but thanks for checking in on me just to make sure!