Grocery store shelves are not like they used to be. Before the pandemic there was plenty of whatever we typically wanted. It’s not like that today.

Car dealerships have changed. Before the pandemic most dealers had plenty of new and used cars to sell. We were accustomed to browsing several lots as we shopped and compared models and prices. It’s not like that today.

When you needed your car fixed, parts were readily available or just an overnight order away. Today, you might wait three or four months for a part.

I recently looked into adding an additional heating unit to my house and was told, “Order it now and you might have it by summer.”

A friend of mine ordered a small boat last August with the hopes he will have it by May or June this year, maybe.

The pandemic has changed our lives in more ways than sickness and death. The new normal is having to wait longer on what used to be so available.

If you think America’s products, food and merchandise are difficult to get now, then can you imagine if our American truckers all went on strike?

Canadian truckers have recently blocked the flow of goods into the United States. The protest follows rallies over opposition to COVID-19 mandates in cities across Canada. In a show of solidarity with a demonstration in Ottawa that has gone on for more than a week by the so-called Freedom Truck Convoy. The protests have paralyzed the Canadian capital’s business district and led the mayor to call for 2,000 extra police officers to quell the nightly demonstrations.

Several people involved in the protest Tuesday in Canada said the demonstrations had expanded from its original purpose, opposing mandates for cross-border truck drivers, and were there in opposition to all vaccine mandates, in addition to supporting truck drivers, the Windsor Star reported.

“Any delay or disruption in the supply chain creates problems, not just for agriculture but the state economy,” said Chuck Lippstreu, president of the Michigan Agri-Business Association, which represents businesses that support farmers, early in the closure.

The Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association, which represents the Detroit Three automakers, called for an end to the protest, citing its effect on the country’s economy.

If the American truckers stopped driving today, the grocery stores would dry up and the movement of most everything you would want or need would not be available.

Truckers work hard. They have long hours. They sacrifice a lot by being gone so many hours, days and weeks. They deserve whatever they are paid and I’m sure in many cases are deserving of more. However, to our truckers, I have this request, please help us keep this country moving. We have enough problems in this country. A shut-down of any kind by America’s truckers would create severe hardship on the people everywhere in America.   

We respect you. We appreciate you. We need you to keep this country moving. Furthermore, G[-]d bless you for what you do.

Glenn Mollette, Newburgh, IN 47629

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Dear Friends,

I am at our campus in Jerusalem this week, sharing in our community’s collective outrage and horror at what is unfolding some 2,200 miles to the north in Ukraine.

My great-grandfather Benjamin Schwartz arrived in the United States on August 6, 1906, having travelled from Tzabritz, a small village that was near Nikolayev, Ukraine, northeast of Odessa. His wife, Rachel, and their children would arrive a few weeks later. They were fleeing anti-Semitic laws that made them aliens in the land of their birth, increasingly violent pogroms, and military conscription that would have drafted their eldest child.

Many of you have similar origin stories that make you feel connected to the situation in Ukraine. For HUC-JIR alum Rabbi Yoshi Zweibeck, the connection motivates a call to action. And as HUC-JIR Governor Emeritus Rabbi David Gelfand observed in his own beautiful Shabbat message, “But for the grace of God, there go I.”

At times like this, we can feel helpless. I hope you will consider supporting any number of humanitarian efforts to aid those in need.

Our partners at the World Union of Progressive Judaism have launched the Ukraine Crisis Fund to support the Jewish Community of Ukraine. The link includes a joint briefing with the URJ on the crisis with leaders from the community.

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee is working on the ground to deliver social services to the Ukrainian Jewish community and their neighbors. You can give directly through the JDC website, or through a contribution to your local Jewish Federation, many of which have created local crisis funds.

The crisis reinforces an important reason why we cultivate a love of Israel and the Jewish People at HUC-JIR. When we strengthen our connection with Jews around the world, by learning our history and through shared experiences, we develop a feeling of collective responsibility for one another that motivates us to act when our people face harm. This is not some abstract argument. It’s a core reason we are committed to our Year-In-Israel Program and newer Weitzman-JDC Fellowship Program – for the unique opportunities they afford to cultivate these personal connections.

In a recent email to his congregation, Temple Ner Tamid in Bloomfield, NJ, our alum Rabbi Marc Katz described his experience this way:

“…one of my most formative experiences during rabbinical school took place in Ukraine. In 2008, I was tapped to travel to Odessa and Kirovograd to lead Passover Seders for the community. It was there that I watched a community still struggling with the legacies of WW2 and communism… these nascent Reform communities were relearning what it meant to foster vibrant Jewish life. They were sending their first leaders to rabbinical school, sending their first teens to American Jewish summer camps, and raising funds to purchase their first buildings…

“In a way, it was a return to the rich and vibrant Jewish history that Ukraine has always had… It was the birthplace of the first Hebrew novels, of major Zionist thinkers like Ahad Ha’am and Leon Pinsker, and great western writers like Isaac Babel. …I write about this now, not only to tell the story of an amazing community, but so we understand the cost of the latest violence abroad. If we don’t know anyone in Ukraine, it’s easy to see it as a conflict between two far-flung nations. But there is a human element to all this. This is happening to real people…. And it involves a Jewish story that is only half told, that is once again threatened.”

Thanks to the work of our leadership in Israel, and donors like Jane Weitzman who sponsors our JDC Fellows Program that makes experiences like Rabbi Katz’s possible, HUC-JIR is cultivating this sense of collective responsibility in our students. And thanks to your support, our students and alumni are in a position to bring comfort and support to their communities, whether in Colleyville, Texas, or Kyiv, Ukraine.

May peace descend swiftly upon our world.

Shavua tov from Jerusalem,

Andrew Rehfeld, Ph.D



The Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust CEO and President Jack Kliger and Board of Trustees Chairman Bruce Ratner issued the following statement today condemning the ongoing Russian attack on Ukraine in the wake of escalating violence, deaths, and a Kyiv air strike that damaged the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center.

We condemn in the strongest terms Russia’s aggressive invasion of Ukraine. The air strike on a residential area in Kyiv, which damaged a memorial to the Jews massacred at Babyn Yar during the Holocaust, reminds us of the destructive power of hate.  The Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust is an institution committed to education about Jewish life before, during, and after the Holocaust. We urge all nations across the globe to support Ukraine, which witnessed the murder of one million Jews during the Holocaust, and never forget how the seeds of hate can lead to mass violence. No one should stay silent during the darkest of times; instead, we must stand together in solidarity with Ukraine.


Apple, Rabbi Dr. Raymond, Jerusalem, Israel,

contributing columnist

Berg, Rabbi Steven, Los Angeles, California

contributing columnist

Mollette, Glenn, Washington, D.C., contributing columnist

Reuben, Liz  editor

Sackett, Shmuel, contributing columnist

Veltmeyer, James Dr., La Jolla, California, contributing columnist


The Jewish Observer Los Angeles holds itself harmless from any and all representations made in this opinion/editorial section.  The paper does not necessarily agree with all or any opinions or editorials published.  Freedom of speech is a Constitutional right which entitles every voice to be heard in a civil manner.  This paper does not publish language of bigotry, hatred, racism and any other vile aspects of English language to defame, hurt or harm another person via publication.  It aims to abide by the tenants of Judaism.



The Jewish Observer,

Los Angeles

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