Tag Archives: Orthodox Jews

Open Letter to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio

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Dear Mayor de Blasio,

As someone who has focused on expressing myself during this crisis almost exclusively through positive words of hope and encouragement, I have refrained from publicly expressing my thoughts regarding your job performance.  I’ve been one to take the approach that negativity does nothing for anyone, that my personal responsibility is to look for ways to help, and when I don’t find those opportunities I should only speak to those things positive.  However, your incompetence, partially based on what appears to be a biased focus, often against New York’s Jewish community has finally compelled me to speak up.

This is not a letter motivated by anything political. In fact, I find the most agreed upon non-partisan opinion in New York is the subject of your job performance.   As a New Yorker I felt gratitude for the daily updates we were receiving from both the President as well  New York’s governor in the earlier days of the pandemic. While each political side will attack the other and find fault in the actions of both of those men, I choose to take the position that they have both worked hard to protect those for whom they are responsible.  Furthermore I believe that when applying our judgments as to where they may have made mistakes,  we need to take into account that no one in the world had any experience in dealing with this type of situation.  However, as Mayor of New York, your inept performance during this pandemic has been so glaring, it has contributed greatly to the devastation the city has faced.

Although I am someone who agrees with making the use of marijuana one’s personal choice, when various sources over the years have indicated that you spend many, if not most of your mornings getting stoned, I doubt that is helpful in your abilities to handle a crisis of this magnitude.  Where were your actions in managing transportation at the onset of the spread? I know that essential workers need to travel to get to their places of employment, but did you make any attempt to structure a safer way to ride the subway?  Did you provide any alternative methods of transport?  I lived in the borough of Queens for around 25 years of my life, and knowing how subway travel is done through the borough, without a mayor taking some action, thousands upon thousands of people had to have traveled daily in what was clearly a petri dish. And on March 15th, 3 days after travel from Europe was shut down, you encouraged New Yorkers to go for one last drink. Well done Mr. Mayor, I am fairly confident that for some of those people it surely was one last drink.

I’ve seen you look panicky in news conferences, regularly assign blame to others, and contradict directives coming from Governor Cuomo’s office.  But when all else fails, I’ve seen you go back to the well for that one thing that really gets you going.  That favored activity of yours, the blaming and attacking of Orthodox Jews.  When the governor was asked about the gatherings in ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods, his response was that he found any large gathering to be unfortunate and dangerous and that he had spoken to the leaders of the various communities.  What did you do? You singled out the Jewish community.  You even made sure to run over personally to one of the gatherings. And apparently you are now opposing the governor once again on allowing places of worship, primarily Jewish places of worship to open up with guidelines.  Neither I, nor anyone I know outside of those specific communities have supported the large gatherings, however as Mayor of all of New York City, for you to target one group over any other shows a clear disdain for that specific group.  And what may very well be the most important point I make in this letter, is that had your criticism of those Jewish communities been consistent with a tough, hard-working non biased approach, I would have no legitimate criticism.  Instead it was more in line with a lazy approach and thought process based on hindsight, bias and the blaming of others.

Regardless of whether or not one loves or hates him today, Rudy Giuliani guided New York through post 9/11 in Churchillian fashion. I would say you have guided New York through the Coronavirus crisis more like Bozo the Clown, but that would be unfair to Bozo.  If the New York City we have known and loved falls as a result of what has taken place, that above all else will be what shapes your legacy.  Not only have you been a disgrace, but you continue to find ways to compound your errors on a regular basis.  The next best thing that will happen to New York City is when it gets a new mayor. I just hope that by the time that happens it won’t be too late.

Sincerely,

David Groen