May 28, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

They Could Be Any of Us

I am quite familiar with the Tops Friendly Supermarket chain, as the stores are primarily in upstate New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont. I spent many days running out for groceries to the Rochester Tops, which was always one of my favorite options.

How many of us, prior to the craziness that has taken over the world, ever considered the possibility that going shopping might put our lives in danger? The tragedy that took place in the blink of an eye in Buffalo could very well have taken place at any of our local Jewish stores or supermarkets. Let’s face it, the same meshuggeneh who hates blacks also hates Jews. It was documented that he had also considered Lakewood as a possibility for an attack.

What are we supposed to do? Do we go on with our day to day activities and assume that Hashem is in charge and hope for the best? Do we encourage all of our storekeepers to carry guns and have security guards walking around the stores? Do we vote for politicians who are in favor of guns or those who discourage the ways that guns are being sold on the open market? Does any of this make a difference?

I cannot think of one perfect answer. I do believe that as difficult as it might seem we must have bitachon in Ha Kodesh Baruch Hu, but that certainly does not prevent us from taking precautionary measures to feel more safe.

Yet, thinking about this attack in particular, another thought enters my mind. I cannot even imagine what would be going on in our communities if this horrific attack had taken place in Lakewood. Every one of us would be protesting, saying tehillim for the victims’ families, collecting money, providing comfort and whatever else they needed.

Where has that same outcry been in our community since this happened in Buffalo? It is the same reaction that has created one of my pet peeves: Whenever many members of the “religious” community hear about an accident, a shooting, a murder, they ask, “Are they Jewish? Were they frum?” A truck goes off the road on Rte 17 and kills two bystanders and the first reaction of a frum person is often, “Were they Jewish?” If not, there is a shrug of the shoulders, and if they are Jewish but not frum there is a similar nonchalance as if one was discussing the weather.

I am totally infuriated when I come across this attitude. Aren’t we all human beings going through tremendous amounts of suffering? Does it really matter the color of one’s skin, their amount of religiousity or sexual orientation? Is it not time for our teachers, principals, rabbeim and rabbonim to inculcate the importance of seeing everyone in the same light? In situations like these, we are all human beings who are hurting, human beings whose families have been destroyed for no reason other than the fact that they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, or that they belong to a particular “group.” They could be any one of us. I am so sad for those families.


Nina Glick can be reached at [email protected].

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