MetroFocus: March 24, 2020

ECONOMISTS COMPARE EFFECTS OF CORONAVIRUS CRISIS TO IMPACT OF NATIONAL DISASTERS, SAYS NYMAG’S JOSH BARRO 

BARRO ADDS MOST IMPORTANT THING GOVERNMENT CAN DO FOR ECONOMY IS FIGHT COVID-19 SUCCESSFULLY 

SAYS PEOPLE NEED TO FEEL BAILOUTS ARE FAIR; POLICYMAKERS MUST ALSO ACT WITH SPEED AND MAKE RESPONSE LARGE ENOUGH

Millions are facing unemployment and businesses are in a steep decline. The disruption and turmoil caused by the coronavirus has impacted our personal lives, our professional lives and the future of the economy. But from the stock market to individual jobs to the world banking situation, where are we headed? What is the prognosis? And how will we get past this? New York Magazine Business Columnist Josh Barro says the government has a very important role to play in terms of making sure the safety net holds for Americans. He joins us.

PARTIAL REMEDY TO CRISIS IS TECHNOLOGY ALLOWING US TO STAY IN TOUCH, SAYS RABBI MARK WILDES 

HOPES SHARED EXPERIENCE REMINDS AMERICANS OF COMMONALITY, LEADS TO MORE RESPECT AND PROBLEM-SOLVING 

SAYS ORGANIZATION IS DOING AS MUCH AS IT CAN ONLINE TO KEEP COMMUNITY ENGAGED DURING SOCIAL DISTANCING 

Social distancing is unnatural and quickly becoming a new normal. So how do we stay connected? How do we cope? How can we help and how will we grow? Rabbi Mark Wildes of The Manhattan Jewish Experience says the Jew never asks why bad things happen to good people, but we can ask what. What can we do to connect, and what can we do to help each other? He shares how they are meeting the spiritual needs of the community while also reaching isolated urban millennials.

Aired on March 24, 2020. 

TRANSCRIPT

THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD, AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY JAMES AND MERRYL TISCH, SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

BERNARD AND IRENE SCHWARTZ, ROSALIND P. WALTER, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, AND BY --

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS,' WITH THE LATEST NEWS ON THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC AFFECTING THE TRI-STATE.

WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS,' I'M JACK FORD.

AS WITH MANY OF YOU OUT THERE, WORKING FROM HOME TODAY.

TAKING A DIFFERENT LOOK AT SOME OF THE SIGNIFICANT ISSUES THAT ARE IMPACTING US FROM A DIFFERENT VENUE.

WE AT 'METROFOCUS' WANT TO MAKE SURE EVEN WITH THE DISRUPTION AND TURMOIL WE'RE EXPERIENCING, WE'RE PROVIDING YOU MOST IMPORTANT INFORMATION.

DISRUPTION AND TURMOIL, IMPACT ON PERSONAL LIVES, PROFESSIONAL LIVES AND AS WE'RE SEEING ON THE ECONOMY.

STOCK MARKET TO INDIVIDUAL JOBS TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO THE WORLD BANKING SITUATION.

WHERE ARE WE GOING WITH ALL THAT?

WHAT ARE THE PROBLEMS AND HOW ARE WE GOING TO GET PAST THIS ON WHAT MAY BE OUR NEW NORMAL REALITY.

JOINING US NOW, JOSH BARROW, BUSINESS COLUMNIST, HOST OF KCRW's 'LEFT, RIGHT AND CENTER,' GOING TO LOOK FOR ANSWERS TODAY.

ALL RIGHT.

LOOK AT COUPLE OF DIFFERENT THINGS THAT YOU'VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT.

LET'S START WITH THE STOCK MARKET.

HEADLINES EVERY DAY, UP, DOWN, VERTIGO INDUCING WHAT WE'RE SEEING WITH THE STOCK MARKET.

WHY IS THE STOCK MARKET ITSELF AND ITS PERFORMANCE SO IMPORTANT IN THE MIDST OF A CRISIS SUCH AS THIS?

FOR TWO REASONS.

ONE, IT AFFECTS A LOT OF INDIVIDUALS WHO OWN STOCKS.

TO THE HALF THAT DON'T OWN STOCKS, HALF DO.

IT'S IMPORTANT FOR PEOPLE'S FINANCIAL CONDITION, COUNTING ON THIS FOR RETIREMENT.

AND WHEN YOU HAVE A DROP LIKE THIS, NORTH OF 30%, STARTS TO RE-EVALUATE WHAT THEIR WEALTH ALLOWS THEM TO DO.

BUT STOCK MARKET HAS BEEN INDICATOR OF THE ECONOMY, OUTLOOK FOR THE ECONOMY AND INDICATOR HOW BAD THIS PANDEMIC IS LIKELY TO DISRUPT SOCIETY.

PEOPLE HAVE BEEN TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW SERIOUSLY TO TAKE THIS, FINALLY SETTLED ON VERY, VERY SERIOUSLY.

BUT MARKETS, PUBLIC CONVERSATIONS IN LATE JANUARY, EARLY FEBRUARY, SORT OF A SENSE MAYBE THIS WILL BE LIMITED TO CHINA MOSTLY.

THAT MATTERED TO STOCK MARKET BECAUSE CHINESE ECONOMY, IF COMPANY RELIED ON SUPPLY CHAIN OUT OF CHINA, AN EFFECT THERE.

BUT MOSTLY LOOKED NOT THAT IMPORTANT TO THE U.S. ECONOMIC.

ONCE PEOPLE REALIZED THIS WAS GOING TO BE A GLOBAL PANDEMIC THAT CAUSES DEATH AND DESTRUCTION ALL OVER THE WORLD, STARTED TO TANK STOCK MARKETS ALL OVER THE WORLD.

GOING TO AFFECT BUSINESS PERFORMANCES AND HAS IMPACTS FOR INDIVIDUALS.

ALL THE PEOPLE GETTING LAID OFF NOW WHO WORK IN RESTAURANTS AND HOTELS.

AIRLINES AROUND THE WORLD AND U.S. DOING INVOLUNTARY FURLOUGHS OF EMPLOYEES WITH LESS FLYING.

SEEING INVESTORS SAYING WE THINK PROFITS ARE GOING TO BE LESS THAN EXPECTED, COMPANIES EMPLOYING FEWER PEOPLE, FEWER CUSTOMERS, BIG CHANGES FOR ALL OF US, EVEN IF WE DON'T OWN STOCKS.

THE VOLATILITY, IS THAT SOMETHING WE SHOULD BE SURPRISED ABOUT OR SOMETHING YOU MIGHT HAVE EXPECTED GIVEN THE WHIPSAW EFFECT WE'VE HAD IN TERMS OF NEWS AROUND THE WORLD?

THE VOLATILITY MAKES SENSE TO ME.

IT IS SO HARD TO FIGURE OUT HOW BIG THIS THING IS GOING TO BE, HOW MUCH IT'S GOING TO AFFECT EVERYTHING, INCLUDING BUSINESS.

SO STOCK PRICES SHOULD BE STABLE WHEN IT'S PRETTY CLEAR TO PEOPLE WHAT THE LONG RUN FINANCIAL PICTURE IS FOR COMPANIES.

THEY HAVE A PRETTY GOOD IDEA WHAT KIND OF PROFIT A COMPANY IS GOING TO MAKE LONG-TERM.

THAT'S WHAT STOCK PRICE IS, PRESENT VALUE OF FUTURE PROFITS.

NOW THE OUTLOOK IS UNCERTAIN.

DON'T KNOW IF THE SHUTDOWNS ARE A FEW WEEKS, A FEW MONTHS, WHICH REGIONS OF THE WORLD -- NOW LOOKING AT ESSENTIALLY ALL THE UNITED STATES BUT HAVE BEEN QUESTIONS ABOUT GEOGRAPHY AND DURATION.

NOT JUST BECAUSE LOSING OUT ON THREE MONTHS OF BUSINESS IS WORSE THAN ONE MONTH, BUT THEY BECOME HARDER TO COME BACK FROM.

TALKING TO ECONOMISTS, FIRST ANALOGY IS NATURAL DISASTER.

RECOVERING FROM HURRICANE, EARTHQUAKE, THAT SORT OF THING.

AND RECOVERIES OUT OF ECONOMIC RECESSIONS CAUSED BY NATURAL DISASTERS TEND TO BE FAST.

PEOPLE GO BACK TO WHAT THEY WERE DOING BEFORE AND ECONOMY GOES BACK TO NORMAL FASTER THAN FINANCIAL CRISIS LIKE 2008.

THAT ASSUMES A QUICK TURNAROUND, COUPLE OF WEEKS OF CLOSURE DUE TO STORM.

LONGER IT GOES, HARDER TO TURN THE LIGHTS ON.

CLOSE FOR THREE WEEKS AND REOPEN RESTAURANT, CAN BRING BACK ALL THE SAME EMPLOYEES.

CLOSE FOR MONTHS, LOT OF THEM GO DO SOMETHING ELSE AND YOU'RE MORE LIKELY -- GOING TO BE A LOT OF AWKWARD CONVERSATIONS BETWEEN BUSINESS OWNERS AND LANDLORDS.

RESTAURANT OWNERS NOT ABLE TO PAY RENT.

I THINK THE LANDLORDS WILL REALIZE THEY'RE BEST OFF LETTING THEM STAY BECAUSE NOT GOING TO FIND NEW TENANT NOW.

BUT NOT ALL GOING TO MAKE THOSE DECISIONS AND LANDLORD HAS TO HAVE CONVERSATIONS WITH LENDERS.

IF HE'S NOT GETTING RENT, CAN HE PAY HIS LENDERS?

I THINK THAT'S SOMETHING ALSO WEIGHING ON STOCK MARKETS.

A LOT OF PEOPLE IN THE BEGINNING THOUGHT STOCK MARKET YOU'RE GOING TO SEE TRANSPORTATION INDUSTRY HIT, HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY HIT.

BUT AS YOU LOOK AT LONG RANGE SCENARIO, BEST WE CAN TELL -- WE DON'T KNOW HOW LONG OR SHORT THE LONG RANGE MIGHT BE, BUT SHOULD BE BE CONCERNED ABOUT OTHER SECTORS OF THE ECONOMY?

WITH A STOCK MARKET DECLINE THIS BIG, NO SURPRISE IT'S ENTIRE ECONOMY, SOME SECTORS HURT MORE THAN OTHERS.

TRANSPORTATION, HOSPITALITY, ENERGY ALSO HIT HARD BECAUSE OIL PRICES HAVE FALLEN SHARPLY.

PARTLY BECAUSE OF THE CRISIS LESS DEMAND AND PARTLY BECAUSE FIGHT BETWEEN THE SAUDIS AND RUSSIANS RAMPING UP PRODUCTION INSTEAD OF STEPPING DOWN IN TIME OF CRISIS.

BUT ALMOST ENTIRE ECONOMY, COMPANIES' STOCK PRICES ARE FALLING.

A FEW EXCEPTIONS, COMPANIES THAT WILL GET BUSINESS FROM THIS.

PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANY THAT MAKES ANTIVIRAL DRUGS, STOCK MAY BE UP.

SOME SECTORS HOLDING UP, CONSUMER ESSENTIALS LIKE WALMART, NOT GOING TO RESTAURANTS BUT STILL SHOPPING, MAYBE EVEN BUYING MORE GROCERIES.

CLOROX HAS BEEN A STRONG PERFORMER BECAUSE BUYING A LOT OF DISINFECTING GOODS.

BUT OVERALL BAD FOR ENTIRE ECONOMY BECAUSE OF THE KNOCKOFF EFFECTS.

NOT GOING TO WORK, NOT EARNING PAYCHECKS, NOT SPENDING MONEY ON THINGS.

EVEN IN SECTORS THAT PEOPLE CAN CONTINUE WORKING.

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, WHAT THEY'VE ATTEMPTED TO DO, WHAT YOU THINK THEY CAN DO IN TERMS OF HAVING IMPACT ON THIS.

WE'VE SEEN PROCLAMATIONS AND REDUCTION IN INTEREST RATES AND VARIOUS IDEAS ABOUT FISCAL POLICY.

LET'S START OFF FIRST WITH WHAT SORT OF WEAPONS, IF YOU WILL, GENERALLY SPEAKING, WOULD THE GOVERNMENT HAVE TO SOMEHOW JUMP IN AND ASSUAGE THE ECONOMY PROBLEMS HERE?

GIVEN THE UNDERLYING CRISIS WE'RE DEALING WITH.

MOST IMPORTANT THING THE GOVERNMENT CAN DO TO SUPPORT THE ECONOMY AND BUSINESS IS FIGHT THE VIRAL INFECTION SUCCESSFULLY.

MORE THEY CAN SHORTEN THE DURATION AND REDUCE NUMBER OF PEOPLE DYING OR SERIOUSLY ILL BECAUSE OF THIS, MORE QUICKLY ABLE TO STOP THE SPREAD AND CAN GO BACK TO SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL LIFE, BETTER FOR THE ECONOMY.

THAT'S JOB ONE.

MESSAGE PRESIDENT STARTED GETTING OUT EARLIER THIS WEEK, PRIMARY FOCUS.

THERE ARE ROLES FOR OTHER ASPECTS OF GOVERNMENT POLICY.

SHARP INTEREST RATE CUTS, TWO UNSCHEDULED, TAKING SHORT-TERM DOWN TO ZERO.

NORMALLY MAKE IT EASIER FOR CONSUMERS TO CONSUME.

CAN BORROW MORE CHEAPLY AND MAKE IT CHEAPER FOR BUSINESSES TO INVEST BUT RIGHT NOW NOT GOING TO GET PEOPLE TO INVEST.

IF THEY FEEL RICHER, NOT GOING TO SPEND MORE IN RESTAURANTS.

IT WILL SUPPORT THE ECONOMY OUT OF THE CRISIS, TRYING TO SCALE UP AND GO BACK TO WORK, REOPEN BUSINESSES, LOW INTEREST RATES WILL MAKE IT MORE AFFORDABLE.

FED IS SUPPORTING THE FINANCIAL SYSTEM, ENSURE THE AVAILABILITY OF CREDIT TO BUSINESSES THAT DO WANT TO BORROW.

THAT'S IMPORTANT TO PREVENT COLLAPSES IN CONFIDENCE IN THE FINANCIAL SYSTEM THAT CAN CAUSE PROBLEMS IN BUSINESSES THAT SHOULD BE RELATIVELY UNAFFECTED BY THIS.

THERE'S A ROLE FOR FISCAL POLICY.

LOT OF PEOPLE WILL HAVE ACUTE NEEDS.

ENORMOUS NUMBER OF PEOPLE FILED FOR UNEMPLOYMENT THIS WEEK.

WON'T KNOW THE NUMBER UNTIL NEXT WEEK.

NEED FOR ENHANCED UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS TO SUPPORT THE ECONOMY WITH PEOPLE OUT OF WORK.

AND SUPPORT FOR OTHER PEOPLE.

PEOPLE NEEDING MEDICAL CARE ARE ABLE TO GET IT AND DON'T HAVE TO WORRY WHETHER THEY CAN PAY FOR IT.

DON'T WANT PEOPLE STAYING AWAY FROM HOSPITAL BECAUSE AFRAID OF A BILL IF THEY SEEK TREATMENT FOR CORONAVIRUS.

AND THEN PHYSICAL MEASURES TO SUPPORT THE BROAD ECONOMY, MOSTLY FOR SUPPORT COMING OUT OF THE CRISIS.

PEOPLE IN WASHINGTON TALKING ABOUT SENDING CHECKS TO INDIVIDUALS, GOING OVER HOW BIG.

MITT ROMNEY SAID $1,000 FOR EVERY ADULT.

SOME DEMOCRATS SAID BIGGER THAN THAT, SOME WANT RESTRICTIONS ON WHO GETS THE CHECKS.

THAT WILL PROTECT BALANCE SHEETS TO SOME EXTENT, PEOPLE WILL GO OUT TO SHOP AFTER THIS IS OVER, LESS FOCUSED ON COVERING THE BILLS THEY HAD NOT WORKING AND MORE ABLE TO SPEND.

BUT NUMBER LIKE $1,000 STARTS TO LOOK SMALL COMPARED TO EXPENSES IF YOU'RE PUT OUT OF WORK.

TALKING ABOUT LARGER AND LARGER NUMBERS BECAUSE THE NEED IS BECOMING CLEARER.

HOW ABOUT COMPARING THIS TO 2008/2009.

IT'S HARD TO MAKE PRECISE COMPARISON.

MORE BANKING CRISIS THAN THIS.

RESENTMENT AT THE TIME FOR BAILOUT OF THE BANKING INSTITUTIONS AND THAT'S CONTINUED IN YEARS SINCE.

THIS IS DIFFERENT.

HOW WOULD YOU COMPARE THE TWO OF THEM IN TERMS OF IMPACT AND MOVING FORWARD?

I MEAN I THINK TO YOUR POINT, THE KEY DIFFERENCE IS THAT WAS A CRISIS THAT STARTED IN THE FINANCIAL SYSTEM.

THIS DID NOT.

THIS IS A REAL WORLD CRISIS CAUSED BY VIRUS BUT MAY HAVE EFFECT IN THE FINANCIAL SYSTEM.

SO IMPORTANT TO PROTECT IT, BUT ONE THING MAY MAKE IT POLITICALLY EASIER THAN 2008, THIS ISN'T ALL BANKERS' FAULT.

DON'T HAVE FEELING THEY CREATED MESS AND NOW WE THROW MONEY AT THEM.

BANKS IN UNITED STATES ARE IN BETTER FINANCIAL POSITION THAN THEY WERE GOING INTO 2008 CRISIS.

LEFT LEVERAGED, THEY HAVE MORE ROOM TO TAKE LOSSES ON LOANS IF BORROWERS CAN'T REPAY.

THAT'S UPSIDE.

FLIP SIDE OF IT, SIMILAR TO 2008, WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO BAIL OUT A LOT OF BUSINESSES IN ONE WAY OR ANOTHER.

THERE ARE A LOT OF QUESTIONS HOW TO STRUCTURE THE BAILOUTS.

KEY OBJECTIVE IS KEEP BUSINESSES OPERATING TO THE EXTENT IT'S APPROPRIATE TO BE OPERATING AND KEEP PEOPLE GETTING PAID MAYBE EVEN IF NOT OPERATING SO THE ECONOMY CAN GO BACK TO NORMAL QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE.

YOU'LL HAVE ARGUMENTS WHO TAKES THE LOSSES THERE.

AIRLINE EMPLOYEES KEEP GETTING PAID, CAN RESULT IN STOCKS IN AIRLINES GOING TO ZERO, THE EQUITY GETTING OUT.

AIRLINES ARE PUSHING FOR SOLUTIONS THAT WOULDN'T HAPPEN, HAVE A GRANT AND MAYBE WOULDN'T HAVE TO GO BANKRUPT.

COULD BE A LOT OF HARD FEELINGS SIMILAR TO 2008, WE HIT THIS CRISIS AND GOVERNMENT BAILED OUT A BUNCH OF RICH PEOPLE.

IT'S IMPORTANT TO BE MINDFUL OF THAT CONSEQUENCE.

ON THE OTHER HAND I WORRY -- WE NEED ENORMOUS RESPONSE HERE TO THE EXTENT THE POLICY MAKERS ARE BOGGED DOWN IN ARGUMENTS WHAT IS FAIR AND WHO SHOULDN'T BE AFFECTED.

YOU NEED PEOPLE TO HAVE TRUST IN THE GOVERNMENT BUT ALSO ACT WITH SPEED AND LARGE RESPONSE.

TWO IMPULSES MAY BE IN TENSION WITH EACH OTHER.

IT'S COMPLICATED, CONFUSING.

VERTIGO INDUCING, BUT YOU'VE BEEN VERY HELPFUL GIVING US OPPORTUNITY TO UNDERSTAND ALL THIS.

HOPE WE GET YOU BACK ON SOON TO TALK MORE IN DETAIL ABOUT SOME OF THIS.

THANKS FOR JOINING US.

THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

TAKE CARE NOW.

> HELLO, I'M RAFAEL PI ROMAN.

LIKE YOU AT HOME, WE HERE AT 'METROFOCUS' ARE PRACTICING SOCIAL DISTANCING DURING THIS CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC.

NEVERTHELESS WE ARE STILL COMMITTED TO BRINGING YOU THE MOST IMPORTANT STORIES AFFECTING OUR COMMUNITY.

TONIGHT WE'RE EXPLORING THE SPIRITUAL ASPECTS OF OUR CURRENT CRISIS.

TO HELP US DO THAT, JOIN BID RABBI MARK WILDS, FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR OF THE MANHATTAN JEWISH EXCHANGE.

WELCOME BACK TO THE PROGRAM.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR HAVING ME.

ONE OF YOUR VIDEOS LAST WEEK YOU SAID THAT ACCORDING TO THE TALMUD, BEFORE GOD SENDS A DISEASE, HE SENDS A REMEDY.

WHAT REMEDY DID GOD SEND FOR THIS PANDEMIC?

THE REMEDY I WAS REFERRING TO, I DON'T BELIEVE THAT GOD ALWAYS SENDS COMPLETE REMEDY BUT PARTIAL.

COMPLETE WOULD BE VACCINE AND BE DONE WITH THIS WHOLE THING.

PARTIAL REMEDY I BELIEVE IS THE TECHNOLOGY THAT WE'RE TAKING ADVANTAGE OF RIGHT HERE TO HAVE THIS CONVERSATION.

CAN YOU IMAGINE IF THIS HAPPENED 20 YEARS AGO?

BEFORE THERE WAS FACETIME AND ZOOM AND FACEBOOK AND FACEBOOK LIVE?

THE SOCIAL ISOLATION THAT WE HAVE TO GO THROUGH RIGHT NOW IN ORDER TO KEEP THIS -- CONTAIN THIS DISEASE WOULD BE SO PAINFUL EMOTIONALLY.

IT IS PAINFUL ALREADY.

BUT AT LEAST WE CAN SEE EACH OTHER, STAY IN TOUCH, CONTINUE.

I HAVE KIDS AT HOME IN SCHOOL CONTINUING TO STUDY AND LEARN.

20 YEARS AGO, IF ALL THE SCHOOLS WERE CLOSED AS THEY ARE NOW, OUR KIDS WOULD BE SITTING AROUND NOT STUDYING AT ALL.

WE HAVE TREMENDOUS OPPORTUNITIES TO CONTINUE TO GROW AND LEARN AND BE CONNECTED WITH EACH OTHER THROUGH TECHNOLOGY.

IT'S NOT THE SAME AS THE HUMAN TOUCH AND TO BE IN PERSON, BUT IT IS SOMETHING VERY, VERY IMPORTANT, TO BE GRATEFUL FOR.

RABBI, WE'VE TALKED ABOUT THIS IN THE PAST, AT MOMENTS LIKE THIS, MANY PEOPLE WILL TEND TO REACH OUT TO GOD, GET CLOSER TO GOD TO FIND A CERTAIN DEGREE OF CONSOLATION.

OTHER PEOPLE WILL ASK HOW CAN ANYONE BELIEVE IN ALL-POWERFUL BENEVOLENT GOD WHEN MINDNLESS EVENT LOOKING THIS HAPPENS CAUSING DEATH AND DESTRUCTION.

WHAT'S YOUR ANSWER?

YOU'VE ASKED ME THAT BEFORE.

I DON'T KNOW HOW YOU CANNOT BELIEVE IN ALL-POWERFUL GOD AFTER WHAT WE'RE EXPERIENCING.

WE CAN'T EVEN SEE THIS VIRUS, IT'S MICROSCOPIC, AND CAUSING THE WORLD'S ECONOMY TO PLUMMET, PUTTING THE WHOLE WORLD INTO DISARRAY.

SOMETHING WE CAN'T EVEN SEE.

IF THAT'S NOT AN INDICATION OF SOME GREATER FORCE IN THE WORLD, I DON'T KNOW WHAT IS.

YOUR OTHER QUESTION IS LEGITIMATE.

WHY BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE.

GIVE YOU SAME ANSWER AS LAST TIME, THAT'S ABOVE MY PAY GRADE, I DON'T BELIEVE WE MORTALS WITH OUR LIMITED AND FINITE MINDS CAN UNDERSTAND THE INFINITE WAYS OF THE CREATOR.

WE JUST DON'T HAVE THE ABILITY TO BE ABLE TO PERCEIVE AND UNDERSTAND AND REALLY ANSWER A VERY LEGITIMATE QUESTION WE BELIEVE ACCORDING TO OUR TRADITION MOSES THE GREATEST JEWISH PROPHET ASKED GOD HIMSELF, WHY BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE.

WE BELIEVE THERE'S A PLAN AND EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON BUT OUR ANSWER FOR THAT QUESTION IS NEVER WHY, IT'S ALWAYS WHAT.

WHAT DO WE DO WITH THIS SITUATION?

WHY IS AN EXERCISE IN FUTILITY, I DON'T KNOW.

IF YOU GOT SOMEBODY WHO CAN GIVE ME THE ANSWER, I'M WILLING TO LISTEN.

BUT WHAT CAN WE DO WITH THIS SITUATION?

HOW CAN WE GROW FROM BEING SOCIALLY DISTANCED FROM OTHERS?

OR WATCHING OUR LOVED ONES GOING THROUGH THIS DIFFICULT THING, WHAT ARE WE BEING ASKED TO DO FOR OTHER PEOPLE.

I THINK THAT'S A QUESTION WE SHOULD BE ASKING OURSELVES, NOT WHY, BECAUSE I REALLY DON'T KNOW, HUMBLY.

BUT WHAT, I CAN GIVE YOU A COUPLE OF ANSWERS TO THAT.

SO THE MANHATTAN JEWISH EXPERIENCE IS VERY ACTIVE AND PUBLIC MINISTRY, RIGHT?

SO HOW ARE YOU CONDUCTING YOUR ACTIVITIES AT A MOMENT LIKE THIS, UNDER THE CURRENT CIRCUMSTANCES?

YEAH.

I DON'T REMEMBER, I'M DOING THIS OVER 20 YEARS, DON'T REMEMBER EVER BEING THIS BUSY AND I WORK HARD.

WE'RE WORKING AROUND THE CLOCK, ENTIRE STAFF.

WE'VE JUST GOT EVERYTHING ONLINE.

WE HAVE A MILLENNIAL KIND OF POPULATION, LOT OF OUR CONGREGANTS ARE VERY COMFORTABLE ON FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM AND ZOOM.

WE HAVE CLASSES LITERALLY EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK.

SERIOUS CLASSES ABOUT JEWISH PHILOSOPHY AND THEOLOGY, DISCUSSION GROUPS AND SEMINARS AND LIGHTER THINGS.

HAD A COOKING CLASS LAST NIGHT AND IN ABOUT HALF HOUR GOING TO GO ON FACEBOOK LIVE TO DO A WELCOMING IN THE PRAYER SERVICE.

WHEN SHABBAT IS OVER, HAVE A MUSICAL.

DOING AS MUCH AS WE CAN ONLINE AND TRYING TO KEEP OUR STUDENTS AND PARTICIPANTS ENGAGED.

WHEN WE GET TO THE OTHER SIDE OF THIS VIRUS, SOME THINGS WILL NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN.

WHAT ARE THINGS YOU HOPE WE DON'T LOSE?

AND WHAT ARE THINGS THAT YOU HOPE WE WON'T SEE AGAIN?

ONE THING, FEELINGS WE HAVE FOR EACH OTHER.

I'M HOPING AND BEGINNING TO SEE THIS A LITTLE, WE START APPRECIATING EACH OTHER'S COMPANY A LITTLE MORE AS WE HAVE TO SOCIALLY DISTANCE OURSELVES FROM ONE ANOTHER.

TO START -- STOP EXCUSE ME TAKING FOR GRANTED EACH OTHER AND BEING SO DISMISSIVE OF EACH OTHER'S POINT OF VIEW AND TO UNDERSTAND THE COMMON HUMANITY THAT UNDERLIES EACH OF US.

WE'VE BECOME SO PARTISAN AND DIVISIVE AND DISUNIFIED, LIBERALS, CONSERVATIVES, REPUBLICANS, DEMOCRATS, THIS VIRUS IS ATTACKING EVERYBODY.

DOESN'T DISTINGUISH IDEOLOGY.

WE SHOULD TAKE SOMETHING FROM THAT.

WE SHOULD REALIZE WE'RE ALL GOD'S CREATIONS, CREATED IN IMAGE OF GOD, ALL WANT BASICALLY THE SAME THINGS IN LIFE.

WANT HAPPINESS, MEANING AND PURPOSE.

OF COURSE WE HAVE DIFFERENT WAYS OF DOING THAT BUT PERHAPS, JUST PERHAPS THIS EXPERIENCE CAN REMIND US OF OUR COMMONALITY, OUR HUMANITY.

NEXT TIME WE GET INTO FIGHT WITH OPPONENTS, DEMOCRAT VERSUS REPUBLICAN OR LIBERAL VERSUS CONSERVATIVE WE'LL RESPECT EACH OTHER A LITTLE MORE.

IT'S OKAY TO ARGUE, EVEN DISRESPECT A POINT OF VIEW BUT NOT THE OTHER PERSON.

IF JUDAISM STANDS FOR ANYTHING, LOT OF BOOKS BEHIND ME, TALMUD IS FILLED WITH DIFFERENCES OF OPINION.

TWO JEWS, THREE OPINIONS THEY SAY.

THAT'S NEVER GOING TO CHANGE.

AND WE DON'T NEED THAT TO CHANGE.

THAT'S WHAT MAKES LIFE WORTH LIVING AND INTERESTING.

WE HAVE A PLURALITY OF VIEWS.

QUESTION IS CAN WE RESPECT EACH OTHER AND CAN WE WORK TOGETHER TO SOLVE REAL PROBLEMS.

AND WE NEED TO DO THAT WITH CORONA.

IF WE CAN WORK TOGETHER AND DO THAT NOW, MAYBE WHEN THIS ENDS, PLEASE GOD, SOON, AND DUST SETTLES, WE'LL BE IN BETTER PLACE WITH EACH OTHER TO SOLVE OTHER PROBLEMS IN MUCH MORE DIGNIFIED AND RESPECTFUL WAY.

DO YOU SEE ANY SIGNS OF THAT ALREADY HAPPENING?

COMING TOGETHER INSTEAD OF DIVISION WE'VE SEEN LAST SIX YEARS AT LEAST?

SEEING IT WITH YOUNG PEOPLE.

MANHATTAN JEWISH EXPERIENCE IS REALLY FOR 20s AND 30s.

LOT HAVE BECOME DISILLUSIONED WITH POLITICAL PROCESS, MORE ABOUT WHO IS RIGHT AND WRONG AS OPPOSED TO HOW DO WE GET THIS DONE, SOLVE THIS, ROLL UP SLEEVES AND WORK TOGETHER.

FEELING IN LAST TEN DAYS, MAYBE BECAUSE MILLENNIALS ARE A LITTLE -- ON THEIR OWN.

I'M BEGINNING TO SEE THAT.

NOT ON TV, NO.

SEEING THE SAME FINGER POINTING.

IT'S POINTLESS, UNPRODUCTIVE AND OUR POLITICIANS AND LEADERS SHOULD KNOW IT'S TURNING OFF A WHOLE GENERATION TO POLITICS AND GETTING INVOLVED.

IS THERE ANYTHING YOU FEAR MIGHT RESULT FROM THIS EXPERIENCE THAT WE'RE LIVING THROUGH?

I'M WORRIED ABOUT THE ECONOMIC.

PEOPLE AFFLICTED BY CORONA OF COURSE THAT'S GREATEST FEAR, MONEY DOESN'T COME INTO THE PICTURE TALKING ABOUT HEALTH.

NUMBER ONE FEAR WE'RE GOING TO GOD FORBID LOSE PEOPLE AS WE ARE ALL OVER THE WORLD TO THIS TERRIBLE VIRUS.

BUT NERVOUSNESS ALSO EXTENDS TO AFTER, PLEASE GOD, THIS VIRUS IS OVER THERE WILL BE A LOT OF FINGER POINTING.

SOMETIMES PEOPLE POINTING FINGER MIGHT BE RIGHT, OTHER PERSON WAS WRONG, BUT DOESN'T MATTER.

IT'S NOT HELPING ANYONE, NOT BRINGING US CLOSER TO SOLUTION.

WE HAVE TO STOP BLAMING AND WORKING TOGETHER.

THAT MEANS PEOPLE WHO RADICALLY DIFFER FROM ONE ANOTHER ON POINT OF VIEW OF FUNDAMENTAL ISSUES HAVE TO SAY I STILL RESPECT YOU, GOING TO LOOK AT YOU, WORK TOGETHER TO FIX IT.

WHAT ABOUT THE BELIEF WE TENDED TO HAVE UNTIL MAYBE A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO WE WERE FUNDAMENTALLY IN CONTROL OF OUR LIVES?

DO YOU THINK THIS HAS MADE IT CLEAR THIS IS NOT THE CASE?

MAYBE THAT'S A GOOD THING?

YOU KNOW, IT DOESN'T FEEL GOOD WHEN YOU'RE EXPERIENCING A LACK OF CONTROL IN YOUR LIFE.

NOBODY LIKES TO FEEL THAT, DON'T WISH THAT ON ANYONE.

BUT ONE OF THE FUNDAMENTAL TEACHINGS OF ALL FAITH SYSTEMS I THINK IS THERE IS A GREATER FORCE THAN OURSELVES.

DOESN'T MEAN WE HAVE TO TOTALLY SUBMIT OURSELVES TO IT.

JUDAISM, WE PARTNER WITH GOD TO MAKE THE COMMON GOOD.

ADAM TO HARNESS THE FORCES OF NATURE.

TO CREATE HOSPITALS AND FIGHT DISEASE IS OUR GOAL AS HUMAN BEINGS BUT ALSO SHOULD BE HUMBLE AND RECOGNIZE WE'RE MORE THE END-ALL/BE-ALL, WE'RE NOT CREATOR, WE'RE CREATION.

IF THIS DOESN'T HUMBLE YOU, SOMETHING YOU CAN'T EVEN SEE CAN BRING THE WHOLE WORLD TO ITS KNEES, THAT DOESN'T GIVE US A SENSE OF SOMETHING OUT THERE THAT IS BEYOND US, THAT WE DON'T HAVE CONTROL OVER AND PERHAPS CAN INFLUENCE THE WAY WE ACT TOWARDS EACH OTHER.

WE DON'T KNOW EVERYBODY, SHOULDN'T WALK AROUND WITH ARROGANCE.

HUMILITY IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT TRAITS FOR RELIGIOUS PERSONALITY.

SHARE WITH ANYONE, WHETHER CONSIDER THEMSELF A PERSON OF FAITH OR NOT, BEING HUMBLE AND MODEST IS VERY IMPORTANT.

IF THIS DOESN'T HUMBLE US --

WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO END IT THERE.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

ALWAYS A GREAT PLEASURE TO TALK TO YOU.

PLEASURE.

STAY SAFE, PRACTICE SOCIAL DISTANCING, WASH YOUR HANDS, LISTEN TO THE CDC, THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT.

WE NEED -- ONLY WAY WE'RE GOING TO LICK THIS THING IS TOGETHER.

BE HEALTHY AND GOD BLESS YOU.

> FOR THE LATEST NEWS ON THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC AND YOUR COMMUNITY, VISIT US AT METROFOCUS.ORG, FACEBOOK AND TWITTER.

STAY SAFE.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY JAMES AND MERRYL TISCH, SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

BERNARD AND IRENE SCHWARTZ, ROSALIND P. WALTER, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, AND BY --

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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