Asian Americans need our support
Particularly as a member of a religious minority which has been targeted for discrimination and scapegoated over virtually the entirety of our history, and as one who had the good fortune to attend school with a diverse group of individuals of many races and national origins, it sickens me to read multiple accounts of persistent harassment of Asian Americans over what the president used to refer to as the “the Chinese virus.”
Ignorant, bigoted individuals are placing blame for the crisis where it does not belong, on innocent individuals of Asian descent who are being targeted throughout the country for intimidation, threatened and spat upon. It is reported that business is significantly depressed at many area Chinese restaurants, and not by any means due only to our current period of semi-isolation. This aberrant behavior represents the epitome of “the ugly American,” and some of the reasons it is taking place today is due to the war of words against China engaged in by many elected officials and a lack of leadership at the national level against baseless hatred toward minorities. When television spots with a political aim assert that China is “killing our people,” some will lash out in an incendiary and irrational manner.
A focus of our president should be to ensure that the members of a group whose presence here enriches us are treated with respect, civility and fairness. That is probably as likely as Mr. Trump giving an Oval Office address to promote racial unification as he expresses outrage over the slaughter of an African American man at the hands of two gun toting white Georgia vigilantes, apologizing for perpetrating what he knew from the start was a racist birther hoax against Barack Obama, the predecessor whom he despises, reversing his comment that there were “very fine people” on both sides of the Charlottesville, Virginia “Unite the Right” rally horror of 2017, or ever mouthing the words, “I was wrong” or “I apologize.”
I offer my moral support to the Asian American community and my moral and financial support to favorite area restaurants owned by these individuals, which I am now patronizing more than in the past, currently for take-out food. They need us now, more than ever. May American values ultimately shine as we welcome all nationalities to our country and treat all as our equals.
Community reminded to seek professional help for pandemic-related anxiety
To follow up on the Chronicle’s informative May 8 article about 12-step programs (“AA meetings evolve to meet needs during pandemic”) and their importance — for which we may use technology to attend such a meeting, even on Shabbat — I would like to remind the community that those suffering anxiety or other mental health related issues need to be checked on by their families and friends.
This isolation and disruptive life exacerbates mental health challenges, and those challenges need to be addressed by medical professionals. Please be there for others, and be in contact with medical professionals if you need help.
With blessings for good health for all.
Rabbi Moishe Mayir Vogel, executive director,
The Aleph Institute