Rabbi Bleich took a strong stand against the Bieganski-style stereotyping that has been going on on WABC of late, as mentioned in previous blog posts. For example last week on this program, Rabbi Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center depicted Ukrainians as typical Bieganskis.
Alas, during this program, Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, host of the show, made a joke. "Hey! I have good news! I've been made Chief Rabbi! But I have bad news. I have been made Chief Rabbi in Ukraine!"
Rabbi Bleich would have none of this. He said without qualification, "I love Ukraine."
Rabbi Bleich acknowledges that there have been anti-Semitic incidents in Ukraine during the current unrest. He said that it is not yet known who committed these acts, and whether or not they are provocations by the state. Rabbi Bleich also struggled to introduce historical context into the conversation. He mentioned how oppressive powers, from the Czars to Putin, exploited minorities like the Jews to divide and conquer, to stir up hatred of one oppressed minority group against the other.
We applaud Rabbi Yaakov Dov Bleich and we wish him, Ukraine's Jews, and Ukraine all the best at this anxious time.
Rabbi Yaakov Dov Bleich asked listeners to consider donating to a fund for protection of Jews and others in Ukraine. The charity is named Kiev Relief dot org and we encourage concerned parties to donate here.
You can read more about Rabbi Yaakov Dov Bleich here.