May 19, 2024
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May 19, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

We were determined at the beginning of our marriage that we would never have the need for a television set. A household imbued with Yiddishkeit and Torah learning, we were convinced, had no room in it for a TV. As is the case with so many things in life, we quickly changed our views when our daughter Naama required entertainment on a regular basis that could not always emanate from us, and so our first television set was purchased and took its place in Naama’s room. Our other children often were seen spending time with her watching a program or a movie that we had rented for them to see together. Family television at the time seemed very innocent, and we tried to be extremely selective as to what programs they would watch. Naama each day was greeted by the music of “Happy Days” as her bus pulled up in front of our house, and she watched it regularly. Henry Winkler, known to her as “the Fonz,” became a TV friend of hers. Shortly thereafter it was common for our children to watch “The Bill Cosby Show,” another great bastion of family entertainment.

We were so enamored with his logical way of dealing with issues and his giddy sense of humor that we ourselves became fans of Bill Cosby and chuckled each time we would see or hear his rants. When we heard that he was coming to Montreal to perform at Place des Arts (the Montreal equivalent of Lincoln Center) we treated ourselves to tickets to go see him (it was probably our anniversary as we rarely splurged on ourselves). Once again we laughed and chuckled at his subtle sense of humor and the way these quick lines just rolled off his lips. What a talent and what a truly great mensch (we thought).

How absolutely devastated we were, as were so many others, when the accusations began to come forward about the number of illicit relationships he had with so many women. His wife proudly stood by him announcing her absolute faith in his innocence. In the last few days actual facts have spewed forth about his payment to so many in order to assist him in assuring that his wife would never find out about his various trysts.

What a disappointment for all of us. It seemed that Cosby bothered us more than when we found out that the president of the United States was living immorally in the White House without anyone, including his wife, holding him accountable for his actions. Yet Bill Cosby seemed so real and almost a part of our family. How could he let us down like this?

L’havdil what are we supposed to think when we hear of rabbonim or anyone who lives his life as a Ben Torah acting inappropriately with women or men. People whom we expect so much more from, whom we hold in such high esteem. How could they let us down so painfully?

Are we to become more cautious of everyone? Should we be more suspicious of people’s actions and scrutinize each of their comings and goings? Should we make ourselves crazy as to whom our children are with and whose homes they visit? Obviously we cannot and should not do that. We need to have a realistic sense of bitochone (trust) and have to remember and always keep in mind that most people are honest, ethical and caring. The many instances that we hear of individuals failing in this regard must be a constant reminder to ourselves of the fact that we are all human and all have the capabilities of falling victim to some of life’s many challenges. As a community and as individuals we need to strive to better ourselves despite the pitfalls that we all face. There are few things in life that are easy and when we learn of the downfall of others we need to remember the everyday challenges of being a human being and strive to continue to live each day as the best we can.

By Rabbi Mordechai and Nina Glick

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