Wednesday, August 14, 2019

First Crusade Revisted?

First Crusade Revisited?
Don’t abandon Jewish children!

The First Crusade is mourned by Jews each year on the Ninth of Av.

Precise numbers are not known, but it is estimated that between 7,000 to 10,000 Jews were murdered by bloodthirsty mobs during May of 1096, and the killing sprees continued till 1099. In their pious zeal, Crusaders violently attempted to coerce the defenseless Jews to submit to baptism. Thousands of Jews of all ages refused and were cruelly butchered. Frenzied Catholic peasantry committed these atrocities in the name of their faith and “righteous indignation,” eager to punish Jews for the crucifixion of their messiah. By murdering Jews, they thought they were performing an act of “holy bloodletting” for the sake of a greater good!

Although the actual death toll was relatively low in comparison to subsequent tragedies, it is nonetheless regarded as a watershed cataclysm that unleashed 850 years of widespread hatred and persecution of Europe’s Jews that culminated with the recent Holocaust.

In the morning prayers of Tisha b’Av, we read the mournful dirge “מי יתן ראשי מים” ("Would that my head were water...") lamenting the devastation of this bloody Crusade. In particular, it bewails the marginalization, abandonment, and slaughter of Jewish school children:
“My eyes shall be filled with copious tears… over the tender children…

“wrapped in their scrolls and dragged to the slaughter…

“their appearance ruddier than rubies, sapphires and gems,

“yet they were trampled and discarded like mud in the streets.

“’Turn away from the unclean Jew!’ they called out to each other, lest they come too close.”

That was in 1096, but here we are, over 920 years later, and a destructive Crusade has been unleashed against our children once again.

Precise numbers are not known, but it is estimated that between 7,000 to 10,000 children Jewish children have been banned from being able to attend Jewish schools with their peers in New York State. That’s right… seven to ten-thousand children!

This time, however, the Crusaders are fellow Jews including some rabbis, Hashem yishmor!

In their pious zeal, these individuals attempted to coerce Jewish children to submit to vaccination for the sake of public health. With righteous indignation, they sought to punish these non-compliant children by barring them from schools, synagogues, and in some cases even camps. By marginalizing and abandoning these defenseless children, these modern-day crusaders truly believe they’re performing a holy act on behalf of a greater good, so-called herd immunity!

“Turn away from those unclean ‘contagious’ children!” They call out to each other.

In 1096, it was the ruthless Catholic peasantry, but now it's our own community leaders uttering these reprehensible words against holy Jewish children:

“Ban those unclean children from school, lest they come too close.”

Abandoned, trampled, discarded like mud in the streets… by whom? By the administrators of yeshivos and day schools throughout NY and the entire USA.

When will we learn the painful lessons of history?

Haven’t we suffered enough?

To these errant administrators I say:

Enough of your malicious crusade against Jewish children!

Enough of your madness and destructive fury.

These precious Jewish children are not “unclean” nor are they “contagious.” The fact that they don’t have immunity to Hepatitis B does NOT make them unclean or inferior, or somehow undeserving of a Torah education.

These are healthy yiddishe kinder, beloved and cherished by the Ribono shel olam.

It is in the merit of the breath of their holy lips that the world is sustained.

Let them into school!!

Don’t discard Jewish children!

“Touch not My anointed!” says Hashem. This refers to Jewish children, tinokos shel beis rabban. (Shabbos 119b).

These children are our future.

Their Torah study is the key to bringing Moshiach.

"Touch not My anointed" indeed.

Don’t malign them and don’t marginalize them!

Stand up for them. Stand with them. Assure them they are not alone and will not be abandoned.

Teach them Torah.

Don’t neglect them. Don’t neglect your sacred halachic duty to educate all the Jewish children in your city without exception.

We suffered enough crusades. Enough marginalization and abandonment of Jewish children.

Have we learned nothing in 920 years!?

Please! I implore you… on behalf of Klal Yisroel.

Ad mosai!? Until when?

May these days of sadness be transformed to days of gladness and joy.


  1. Thanks Rabbi! My (unmodified) pure & healthy 8 year son was kicked out of school past winter. Your words are a tremendous encouragement & reassurance, it really means a lot to us. Chazak!

  2. I am so sorry to hear about what you have been going through, Blake. Praying to hear good news. Thank you for your kind words. Hopefully all our combined efforts will succeed in bringing about necessary change for the better