New York’s Jews celebrate Biden’s inauguration, even as some weary eye

As Joseph Biden was sworn into the Oval Office on Wednesday, January 20, 2021, New Yorkers reacted – but they reacted from home.Times Square was a ghost town, unlike how it looked four years ago when a majority of democratic-leaning New Yorkers took to the streets with tears in their eyes. But come nightfall, protests were expected to fall upon the center.While some Jews are celebrating the new man in office, many are cautiously optimistic about how a Biden/Harris duo will affect Israel.Curled up on the New York City subway “A” train, Yehoshua Winter of Far Rockaway, Queens, penciled in his sketchpad. He wore payot (side curls) and a fedora with a feather in it. He answered some questions from The Jerusalem Post about how he was feeling on Inauguration Day.“Tentatively positive,” he said, adding that he’s pleased Biden plans to bring on a science adviser to the cabinet. The school teacher went on to say that he’s excited for the future of Israel/US relations, as peace in the Middle East is becoming “increasingly likely” due to growing relations with Saudi Arabia, one of the heavy hitters in the Arab world.The Far Rockaway community, however, is known to be a conservative one, and Winter says his feelings are not necessarily mimicked by the rest of the community, which is nestled on the beach peninsula between Queens and Long Island.“There’s a lot of pro-Trump there I would say that conservatism or Jewish conservatism may emerge from lack of understanding between the religious community and the outside world,” Winter said. “With Donald Trump in office, the political Left organized. It’s all about individual action, and I hope to see more of that.”

“I’m not happy about Trump being out of office because he was good for Israel and a friend of Netanyahu,” said Ari Shishe, an Israeli who was at the center of Times Square. “Biden is a Democrat – and we don’t know what he will do with the Palestinians and what he will give to the Arabs”Another conservative voice from one of the city’s northern areas, Mike Greenspan of Riverdale says he’s also cautiously optimistic.“I don’t know what to feel right now,” he said. “For me, Israel is a really strong topic area, so I hope we continue to strengthen it and really just reaffirm the idea that Israel is the only democracy and only ally the US has in the Middle East.“I am not celebrating, but the proof will be in the pudding,” Greenspan said. “I’ll celebrate when I see some action, which we have seen in the last four years.”On the other side of the aisle, Jason of Manhattan’s Upper West Side says he just finished celebrating with his family. They all got together and watched the inauguration with pride.“I’m very relieved. I’ve been waiting for the Trump presidency to end for four years,” he said. “I think it’s long overdue [to have a woman and person of color] as the vice president.”A slew of demonstrations are predicted to take place throughout the city including in Times Square, City Hall and Columbus Circle. Starbucks has closed its many Manhattan locations out of an abundance of caution following riots and the Capitol invasion on January 6 in Washington. Similar riots are expected to take place at capitol buildings across the nation.

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