Returning from Kol Nidrei and Maariv on Yom Kippur Night, Jews throughout NYC met NYC police officers stationed at the entranceways of our local shuls. As in years past, the extra patrols and uniformed officers posted around our institutions during the various Yamim Tovim give us an additional sense of security as we walk to and from our batei knesses and batei medrash.
Underneath the face coverings sported by both the police and the community members, the friendly rapport between the two parties was obvious. The officers seemed pleased to hear a friendly greeting of “good evening” or an expression of gratitude, and the Jewish residents were glad to see the extra security being offered by our trusted police force.
In our neighborhoods, the dearth of protests and the lack of calls for defunding the vital services provided by the police is certainly appreciated by the cop on the beat and the brass in the station house. Similarly, the residents know that in case of emergency, they can call 911, and expect a quick and professional response from the NYPD.
Although peace has reigned in our environs, the COVID pandemic has brought about a new phenomenon among some of the local personalities. Whereas we have a time-honored tradition of dealing with local officials through low key shtadlanus, utilizing hard-earned friendships cultivated over an extended period of time to deal with the issues which we face, the advent of the pandemic has given rise to individuals who wish to declare they are “the new sheriff in town.” With their flamboyant declarations, they display not only poor manners, but indeed portray our community as a lawless society, which we have always tried hard not to be.
It is high time for us to declare that these rabble-rousers do not represent us; they are not our leaders, and their offensive speech and goals reflect poorly on us, and are unacceptable to the community at large.
As a community, we should show deference to the law enforcement officers, and deal with any issues that arise by marshaling our strength through our trusted public representatives.