Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Coronavirus – A Mini Elul Lecture Series for 5780 from Rabbi SacksAs we prepare to celebrate Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, join me for a series of three drashot [short talks] which look at some of the key themes of the Yamim Noraim, the Days of Awe.

Sacred Time Ep 2: Rosh Hashanah – Creation and Parenthood:  Rabbi Meir Soloveitchik, YouTube, Sept. 7, 2018 — Drawing upon wide ranging sources—from the history of British royalty to the poetry and prayers of Rosh Hashanah—Rabbi Soloveichik invites us to explore the connection between the New Year and the Jewish family, Creation and procreation, divine love and human love from one Jewish generation to the next.

Official White House portrait of President Donald J. Trump taken by Shealah Craighead on October 6, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (Source:Wikipedia)

Table of Contents:
Trump’s Ban on Critical Race Theory Training Is A Great First Step in the War Against Indoctrination:  Libby Emmons and Barrett Wilson, The Post Millennial, Sept. 5, 2020

The Closing of the American Mind:  James Ceaser, National Review, July 9, 2020

Land of Free (and Fettered) Speech:  Adam Kirsch, WSJ, Sept. 4, 2020

Trying to Make a Living:  A Rosh Hashanah Story:  Sholem Aleichem, Tablet, Sept. 17, 2020

Trump’s Ban on Critical Race Theory Training is a Great First Step in the War Against Indoctrination
Libby Emmons and Barrett Wilson
The Post Millennial, Sept. 5, 2020President Trump has, in an executive cease and desist order, cut off taxpayer dollars to the funding of critical race theory and racist white fragility indoctrination of federal employees. The order quite aptly describes these training sessions as seeking “to undercut our core values as Americans and drive division within our workforce.”It’s a bold move, and one that all Americans who value fairness and equality should applaud. However, there is bound to be fierce resistance to this common-sense decision. Granted, we live in the era of Trump Derangement Syndrome—the woke resistance would protest a cure for cancer if Trump endorsed it. But there is another reason why many will oppose the executive order.Those engaged in the mass reeducation of Americans do not want racism to end. They need racism to be an issue so that they can continue to make money off of claiming they want to eradicate it. In fact, their jobs depend on it. Diversity and inclusion is not simply an altruistic undertaking; it is a way of life for many whose careers and livelihoods depend on it. It is fuelled by massive amounts of money.

The average salary for a diversity and inclusion officer in the US is above $90,000. A quick search of Glassdoor shows that nearly every major company in the US has a diversity and inclusion department, and that they’re hiring more people. Executive pay goes up to $146,000, at least.

Cornell, Georgetown, Temple, Yale, USC, and Harvard are just a sampling of the American universities that offer certifications in diversity and inclusion, with Yale charging over $3,000 for an online three-week course.

Companies that engage in diversity and inclusion training for their employees, with lessons in unconscious bias, workshops on white privilege, and struggle sessions on systemic racism spend a combined $8 billion per year on these services, according to McKinsey. Human Resource Management Journal estimated that diversity and inclusion consultants bring in a collective $400-$600 million just in fees. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]

The Closing of the American Mind
James Ceaser
National Review, July 9, 2020

Following the murder of George Floyd on May 25, it was inevitable that a strong reaction would take place. All elements of American society joined in condemnation, from the president, to members of Congress, to the black leadership, to the population at large. Protests ensued, directed first at the police and then at targets indifferently charged with a measure of blame, from the federal government, to the nation’s historical legacy, to the newly minted abstraction of “systemic racism.” Dismissing the plea of Floyd’s girlfriend to remember that George “was about love and about peace,” and the assertion of Floyd’s brother that his family is “peaceful” and “God-fearing,” mobs soon formed within and alongside the protesters, bringing arson, violence, murder, and the widespread destruction of property, estimated to be among the most costly ever for an eruption of civil unrest. Mass iconoclasm against monuments, statues, and symbols of the West became the order of the day, as the lawless made a jubilee of the suspension of police enforcement.

Assembling important thinkers to set straight the historical record of America is assuredly a good thing. It should help make clear that Christopher Columbus, though a harsh commander, was a brilliant and dauntless explorer; that George Washington, rumored to have chopped down a cherry tree, was a man of extraordinary skills of leadership; that Thomas Jefferson, for all his moral shortcomings, was a statesman of unparalleled intellect; and that Abraham Lincoln, coming from a deprived background, succeeded in keeping the Union together and emancipating the slaves. These persons merit recognition for the good they did for the nation, which is certainly more than what the woke today, who celebrate their superiority by claiming to live lives without flaws, have contributed.

Why then not go ahead and extend a full three cheers to this special issue? If there is a reason, it is the premise that if only the real facts are made known, the false reasoning and deceptive narratives behind so many of the ideologically tinged historical accounts of our time will eventually come tumbling down. The truth will set us free. But the reality is more dire than many suppose. America is now well down the road to losing its capacity to respond to argument. Let’s be clear about terms. Arguments are encountered everywhere today, filling almost every nook and cranny of intellectual space. But a repetition of arguments is not the same as the willingness and ability to argue, or the same as cultivating a disposition to consider alternative viewpoints. American society is now arranged from top to bottom, institutionally and sociologically, to suppress the encounter with different ideas and to fix thoughts automatically on set positions. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]

Land of Free (and Fettered) Speech
Adam Kirsch
WSJ, Sept. 4, 2020

Is there a free speech crisis in America? If you look at the forms of expression guaranteed in the First Amendment, the answer would have to be no. Freedom of assembly? In the weeks after George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police on May 25, hundreds of public protests took place across the country. Polls suggest that more than 15 million people participated—perhaps the largest assembly to “petition for redress of grievances” in U.S. history.

Freedom of the press? While President Trump has attacked the press as “fake news” and the “enemy of the people,” seeking to undermine public trust with potentially serious consequences, he hasn’t used the power of the state to muzzle journalists, the way presidents like John Adams and Woodrow Wilson did. Indeed, the press has seldom criticized a president more intensely than over the last four years.

So why do many Americans feel that it is getting harder to speak freely? According to a poll released in July by the Cato Institute, 62% of Americans agreed with the statement “The political climate these days prevents me from saying things I believe because others might find them offensive.” That included 77% of self-identified conservatives, but also 52% of liberals. The same month, a group of prominent writers, including Margaret Atwood, J.K. Rowling and Salman Rushdie, issued a group letter in Harper’s magazine warning that “the free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted.”

These fears have nothing to do with the kind of threat to free speech envisioned by the First Amendment, which begins with the words “Congress shall make no law” and aims to protect speech against government control. Traditionally, America’s free speech heroes have been radicals and dissenters who stood up to state power—from John Peter Zenger, the colonial-era printer charged with libel for publishing a newspaper critical of New York’s royal governor, to Eugene Debs, the socialist leader imprisoned during World War I for speaking against the draft.

Today, Americans are less worried about government censorship than about navigating the unwritten rules of socially acceptable speech. Violating those rules doesn’t bring jail time, but the prospect of losing your reputation or your job has a chilling effect all on its own. And at a time of great social and technological change, staying on the right side of the line of permissible speech can be difficult. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]

Trying to Make a Living:  A Rosh Hashanah Story
Sholem Aleichem
Tablet, Sept. 17, 2020

Wanna know why a Jew like me, a father of children, has to sell illegal shmootz like French photo cards? It’s all thanks to Tolmatshov and Tolmatshov alone, may he fry in hell! But since this all happened so long ago, and since Tolmatshov is gone and Odessa is back to normal, I think I can come out with the whole truth and reveal why Tolmatshov was such an anti-Semite. And the truth is that I’m to blame for most of it, I’m afraid, if not all of it.

Well, now you’re probably wondering how a street-hawker like me, who peddles Yiddish newspapers—and those French photo cards on the sly—comes to General Tolmatshov! And what sort of pal am I with generals, anyway? If you can spare a few minutes, I’ll tell you an interesting story.

It happened many years ago, right here in Odessa, at this season, during the intermediary days of Sukkos. Odessa was still the same old Odessa. No one had heard of Tolmatshov, and a Jew could roam around here free as a bird and sell his Yiddish books. Then, there weren’t as many Yiddish papers as today. You weren’t afraid of anyone, and there was no need to mess around with contraband Parisian postcards. In the old days, I used to sell Sabbath and holiday prayer books and Jewish calendars around Lanjerovski, Katerinenski, and Fankonin streets. You could always run into a Jew there, for that was the area where speculators, agents, and various other Jews hung around waiting for a miracle.

Just like you see me now, I was strolling along on Fankonin Street, the spot where our fellow Jewish speculators wear out their shoe leather looking for business, and I said to myself: Where can I get a customer for those few Jewish calendars I’ve got left? Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are gone and forgotten and, before you know it, Sukkos will slip right by and I still haven’t gotten rid of my little bit of stock. God knows if I’ll ever sell those bound calendars—for if they aren’t sold before the holidays you can’t even give them away. Later, they’re completely useless. And I had three of these all-year Jewish calendars left over from before Rosh Hashanah!

I started off with a hundred calendars and got rid of them on the street, sold most of them to the stock speculators. These chaps weren’t such passionate Jews—I mean, they didn’t go for Yiddish books and all that. But when it came to a Jewish calendar for the entire year, well, even that sold. After all, you had to know when Passover comes or the date of a yahrtzeit for a loved one. A Jew is a Jew, after all. … [To read the full story, click the following LINK – Ed.]


WATCH:  Rosh Hashanah:  Is Judgement Day Supposed To Be Joyful?:  Rabbi David Fohrman, AlephBeta

US State Department Planning Expanded Campaign Using ‘All Legal and Policy Tools’ to Combat ‘Antisemitic’ BDS Movement Against Israel:  David Efune, Algemeiner, Sept. 9, 2020 — The United States government is planning to significantly ramp up its efforts to combat the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel, The Algemeiner has learned.

Watch Live: Trump to Denounce “Critical Race Theory” At WH Conference On History:  Real Clear Politics, Sept. 17, 2020 — On Constitution Day, President Trump will be at the National Archives to discuss “indoctrination of America’s youth through the 1619 Project, Critical Race Theory, and other misleading, radical ideologies,” a senior WH official told RCP’s Philip Wegmann.

Ian Miles Cheong@stillgray, Sep 2, 2020 — Critical race theory is the greatest threat to western civilization and it’s made its way into the US federal government, the military, and the justice system.

Reinstate Department Head, University Urged Jim Moodie, National Post, Sept. 5, 2020 — A professor at Laurentian University who made controversial, race-related remarks should be reinstated as a department head, some colleagues and students argue.

Harvard Hired Palestinian Terror and Bds Supporter Saeb Ereket: Why Is The Media Silent?: Honest Reporting Canada, Sept. 2020 — The Harvard Kennedy School of Government is among the most prestigious graduate schools for public and social policy in the world. The school’s alumni include prime ministers, parliamentarians, and other global leaders.

This week’s Communiqué is: Communiqué Quelques temps forts, et souvent contradictoires, de l’année 5780 ( 2019-2020)

CIJR wishes our friends and supporters  a very sweet New Year and Shabbat Shalom!