Though chutzpah has successfully migrated into the English language intact, saichel, the Yiddish word for innate common sense has not fared as well.
You can be an educated person, but without saichel, you’re bound to mess up. We need it badly — both the word and its extended connotations.
Considers today’s story about the Hasidic storekeepers who were issued a fine for putting up notices regarding the dress code in their shops: “No shorts, no barefoot, no sleeveless, no low-cut neckline allowed.”
Apparently, the NYC Human Rights Commissioner, a woman with not enough real violations to occupy her attention, considered this discriminatory against women and non-Jewish men.
Though Williamsburg has become the newest neighborhood for trendy millenials, the stores involved in this sweep were a kosher butcher, grocer, baker and purveyor of clothes for Hasidic men.
Despite the zero likelihood that these signs would offend any of their target demographic, the storekeepers were fined and predictably, they objected.
The matter was scheduled for trial until a judge wisely settled it by eliminating the fines but insisting that the Hasidim add a postscript to their signs, reassuring the public that their dress code was not intended to be discriminatory.
The Hasidic customers will undoubtedly be oblivious to seeing this spelled out in English and New Yorkers can scratch their heads as they ask how else the city can waste taxpayers’ money.
They won’t have to wonder for long because our mayor remains insistent that the only way to pay for pre-K education is not by a budget allotment as the governor has generously offered, but by taxing New Yorkers who earn a minimum of $500,000 annually. We know that his newly appointed chief of staff for his wife’s fiefdom will be earning a salary of $175,000 for a job whose specifications haven’t yet been spelled out.
If she has a spouse or partner with a job equal to or better than hers, she might be in that 1% category, along with Carmen Farina, the new school chancellor who is currently double-dipping, getting paid both her salary and her pension simultaneously, coming to over $412,000 just for her.
If Mr. Farina earns only $88,000 more, they’d be among the wealthy families that de Blasio is out to get.
One out of five on the mayor’s staff earns more than $100,000 a year and these are civil servants who also get health benefits, pensions and other perks that haven’t been factored in to the real value of their annual income.
New Yorkers reputedly get more govt aid per capita than residents of any other state; in 2010, NY spent close to $3,000/pp on Medicaid compared with Nevada which spent a frugal $666/pp. Current estimates claim that more than half of all Americans get govt assistance - has the mayor stopped to consider how much worse off the city will be when working families who pay their taxes head for NJ and Connecticut when they’re slapped with another punishing tax hike?
More questions for those who lack saichel are what good are the salaries paid to the social workers who tended to Myls Dobson, the 4 year old who was starved, beaten, burned, tortured and killed by the transexual woman who agreed to care for him while his father went back to jail.
Social workers made 9 visits to the child’s home without ever learning that his father was incarcerated; if they couldn’t discover that readily available fact, how reliable could the rest of their assessments be? What can we say about the supervisor who reviewed these reports, noted that the father was absent 9 times and never insisted that he be located? What explanations were offered to the head of the Administration for Children’s Services and the public that pays their salaries? Did any of these people get fired for ineptitude and endangering a child’s life by their malfeasance?
The mayor has ordered an investigation; sadly you can’t order saichel.
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