It was the third day of the Crown Heights riots in 1991, and a sense was growing among the besieged Lubavitcher community that members may have to take matters into their own hands. A meeting was planned that night between some of the community’s leaders and then-Mayor David Dinkins. Frustrated that violence against Jews seemed unabating while police were taking minimal steps to protect the chasidim, Rabbi Jacob Goldstein took a decidedly unorthodox tack: He urged chasidic businessmen who were licensed to carry firearms to attend, and to bring their weapons.
It’s mid-morning in mid-Manhattan, and a former Hollywood comedy writer is working the crowd.
“Yossi,” asks Mort Scharfman, “you were in the armed forces?”
“Sure,” says Yossi, a veteran and proud of it.
Yossi, an American veteran, shakes his head in mock disgust. The crowd groans.
Scharfman, MSW, is rolling.
Yeshiva University is considering closing its 80-year-old Modern Orthodox boys high school in Washington Heights, once the primary feeder for its undergraduate college for men with which it shares a campus.
Faced with a choice between financial pragmatism and a proud tradition of Torah education, Dr. Norman Lamm, Y.U.'s president, will have to decide later this year whether or not to phase out the school over several years.
Man in the street interviews are a staple of the news business. Every day, just about every newspaper or broadcast is stopping somebody, somewhere, for his or her point of view on anything at all. Random wisdom is so respected that William F. Buckley once quipped that, when it comes to government, heíd prefer taking his chances with an America led by the first 2,000 names in the telephone book.
The final status of Jerusalem, Iran's growing missile capability and a declared Palestinian state are likely to become hot-button political issues over the next two years, according to pro-Israel activists looking toward the 2000 Senate campaign.
Although the security of Israel always plays a major role in New York political campaigns, upcoming developments could make the race to succeed retiring Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan a contest of unprecedented attention on the Jewish state.