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

Why Aren’t We Speaking Up About Evan Gershkovich?

Perhaps the media hasn’t made the fact clear enough: Evan Gershkovich is Jewish. This means that a Jew is being held hostage, which means the concept of pidyon shvuyim has been triggered: it is a mitzvah to help bring about the release of a fellow Jew who is wrongly imprisoned.

I remember how proud I was nearly 40 years ago to be a member of our community when we led the way by visibly demonstrating for Soviet Jews who were not being allowed to emigrate.

On March 29, nearly a month ago, Evan was arrested, clearly on false pretenses, and yet our silence on this issue has been deafening.

Why hasn’t there been a barrage of statements by leaders, advertisements, letters to the editors or hashtag movements in print or social media? Why has there been no public outcry, no demonstrations or educational assemblies by our Orthodox schools and communities to bring awareness and support for Evan? Why has there been no letter writing/emailing/phone calling campaigns to public officials and members of Congress?

Is it because he is not observant? Does that/should that matter? Shouldn’t we practice the mantra that we preach to our own insular communities so often: “Kol Yisrael Areivim Zeh BaZeh” – All Jews are responsible for each other?

Not only is it a mitzvah for our communities to actively engage, doing so would be a tremendous Kiddush Hashem and a huge show of solidarity by the Orthodox community to demonstrate that we care about ALL Jews. To stand by and do nothing reflects the opposite. What lesson does our inaction teach our kids? And, in this era of rampant antisemitism, what message are we conveying to the world about our values as an Orthodox community when we show that we don’t care about a fellow Jew?

Chaviva Rosenbluth
Springfield
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