Beyond the Cusp

October 10, 2013

European Council Outlaws Judaism and Islam

The European Council recently passed an edict forbidding the circumcision of male children until the age of consent, eighteen years of age. This makes both Judaic and Islamic commandments to circumcise young male children at the age of eight days illegal forcing breaking of covenants with G0d. This is just another brick building the wall beyond which many European leadership wish to push all religious Jews, even the least observant. This is another front of the bans on Kosher and Halal slaughter of animals in order to make their meat edible under religious guidelines. Perhaps the European Council believes they hope for Jews to forget their religion or simply vanish from amongst those preferred people, those who are not religious Jews. This vindictive edict has been passed before with the same ends in mind. King Antiochus was the Greek ruler whose oppression of Jews in the land of Israel led to the Maccabean revolt known from the story of Hanukkah; according to the book of Maccabees, one of his decrees was to make circumcision of male infants a death penalty offense. The Roman ruler Hadrian outlawed circumcision as well, along with many other Jewish practices, which resulted in the unsuccessful Bar Kokhba revolt which led to even harsher and more oppressive edicts from the Roman conquerors. This is not exactly unexpected as the animosity towards Jews in Europe has once again been building with Jews facing assaults on the streets where their yarmulkes are knocked off their heads and stomped upon the ground in order to destroy their usefulness.

 

The main question is what can the Jews of Europe do as the hatred of Jews and all things Jewish have become a mainstay of the ruling European bodies and has crept into mainstream society where it has slowly become if not acceptable, tolerated and not opposed. It is the case of they are coming for the Jews and I am not a Jew so why should I tempt trouble? This increased hatreds against the Jews in Europe are not limited to Europe and has begun to rise its ugly head in the United States. It has been made evident with anti-Semitic graffiti showing up on Synagogue walls and doors, benches in predominantly Jewish neighborhoods even in New York City, swastikas on headstones in Jewish cemeteries where some gravestones have been broken and destroyed, and even in hallways and apartment doors which has been seen as a direct threat to the occupants of those apartments. There has been a subsequent increase in Jews making Aliyah to Israel, many of whom were not particularly Zionistic but felt threats to their lives so they chose to move to Israel. The increased number of Jews returning home, as Israelis refer to those coming to Israel, from France makes a definitive statement about the lack of feelings of safety these Jews felt in France that Israel appeared to be a safer place for them to reside. Actual statistics indicating that living within most areas of Israel Jews are safer than they may be in many of the major cities of Europe such as Paris, Marseilles in France, Malmo, Sweden and numerous others. Europe is rapidly becoming a place where Jews will feel unwanted and honestly rejected by the their neighbors as laws are passed making religious observance of Judaism illegal forcing Jews to choose between following their religion freely or obeying the laws of the state. As stated above, this is not a choice that the Jewish people have not faced before and in the end they choose their Judaism and bond together to fight their oppressors.

 

This newest edict forbidding circumcision claims to be based on Human Rights but is actually based on the worship of the human form as unalterable and man as the Supreme Being. This was a central tenet of Early Greek civilization where the human form was worshipped. The Greeks forbid circumcision because it marred the perfection of the human form and since the human man was the epitome of perfection above all things in this Earth, the form was considered next to divine and was not to be marked, cut, pierced or altered in any manner. The Romans followed this same line of reasoning. This was behind the banning of Circumcision by the Greeks and Romans. Though the Europeans will not admit that they worship man as the ultimate intelligence and equal to being divine such that they too are forbidding the marring of the human body through circumcision, this is a step away from belief in the Divine and the beginning of a crass form of idolatry. Perhaps it would be best for the Jews remaining in Europe to leave before the pogroms begin as that is what is down the line, like it or not.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

September 14, 2012

Looking Ahead and Israel has a Bright Future Coming

Despite all that has appeared to go badly between the Iranian drive for nuclear weapons, ambivalent relations with the United States due to a misguided administration, a return to the old hatreds in Europe, and anti-settler decisions by an out of control Supreme Court and a Defense Minister acting as if he has gone rogue; the future for the country of Israel is looking brighter every day. The decision to rightfully return ownership and control of the Peace House in Hevron to its rightful Jewish owners is a first step that will be made complete should Defense Minister Ehud Barak finish the job by approving the return of the residents to their rightful place in Hevron within the walls of the Peace House. Should Barak refuse to do the honorable act and return these people to their homes, then there should be protesters silently and respectfully sitting outside the Prime Minister’s house and office and outside the Knesset twenty-four hours a day until either Barak is made to do the Kosher thing or he is finally made to pay for his defiance of some of the finest Israel has to offer who are completing Mitzvah by settling Eretz Yisroel. And lastly, on a real positive note, the uniting of the National Union and Jewish Home parties is a first step towards a unification of all who honor the commitment to settle all of our lands against any resistance or odds just as our forefathers did under Joshua until King David unified all of Eretz Yisroel.

Sure things may appear troubling and there are clouds gathering on the horizon, but when in the entire history of our people was this not the case? As long as we continue to move back towards living as we are intended to live with Torah as our guiding light, perhaps those dark clouds are simply the rain the L0rd promised would fall in their season awaiting just one more soul to return to Torah. Did not the Red Sea part once one member of our people having the faith to jump into the waters assured that they would part before him? (I always loved that story.) Today the settlers and those who support them are the ones jumping in with faith that the L0rd our G0d will protect them and bring them forth with a strong arm and a blinding light which will withdraw all obstacles from their path. Sure much of the world reports news about the problems with Israel, but there are the joys of Israel which are to be celebrated even in their obscurity to the rest of the world, what do they know of our joys. We have Ari Abramowitz and Jeremy Gimpel getting the message out to the world, and maybe soon their voices will be heard in the Knesset, though I believe they serve Israel better as her emissaries of all that is beautiful and wondrous about the land and its people. The world just witnessed the largest ever in history completion of the studies of the Tractates of the Talmud. With such miracles, how can we not see the glorified future awaiting the next completion of Talmud study, may it be ever larger.

Even looking back in the more mundane there is hope. The next generation of leadership in the land of Israel will do wonders as they are full of light, life, and hope. They have vision of a future which cannot be contained and it is simply a matter of time until the reins of power are passed on to the next generation. Jews continue to make Aliyah and with the world heading further into the abyss and things being as they are, these numbers will only increase. One could say that there are forces which are driving all the Jews home to Israel. What a concept that would be, I swear I heard about such things from a very wise man in my youth. Finally, our fervent dream proclaimed at the end of so many of our prayers, Next year in Yerushalayim, is coming true. There are so many things I can envision and some which have been in my dreams that I dare not reveal too broadly, but I can tell you that those who wish us harm will be foiled and become troubled by their own efforts. The time is nearing when great things will begin to unfold and His will be finally realized and all promises delivered upon. Things are getting better and closer every single day.

Beyond the Cusp

May 31, 2011

As the World Turns Against the Jews

Of all the presumed crazy and insane comments and predictions I made when I was a young man over forty years ago, the one most vehemently denied and ridiculed was that much of the world would turn once again against the Jews in my lifetime. When people asked which countries I meant, did I mean the Soviets, the Muslim world, or others who were then already known to have anti-Semitism, I answered that I meant everywhere outside of Israel. People would look at me incredulously and further ask if I really meant everywhere, even Europe or, G-d forbid, America? My answer was the same, everywhere, yes in Europe and what was still then referred to as the British Commonwealth, and yes, even in the United States. Then came the usual accusations, you’re crazy, don’t say such awful things, what is wrong with you, and other statements that are better left unrepeated. Those most shocked and loudest in their refutations were friends and others who were Jewish, to them such was unthinkable. My parents quickly told me to never speak of this again if I knew what was good for me. Well, I made sure not to say such in places where it would eventually reach their ears. Even today people tell me it is insanity to think such thoughts and to think such could ever happen in the United States, well, that’s simply impossible. I’ve read of similar statements made by others before throughout history, often by Jews who would have done better to have thought such thoughts and run, run very quickly and very far.

Now, so very many years later I read the news and watch and see the seeds of my prediction sprouting and growing. The most obvious are those who vilify Israel as the only country in this world that does wrong, and does wrong in virtually everything and in virtually every way. There are the incidents which grow more common on the campuses where students wearing Kippah, Magen David, or other symbols of the Jewish faith are viscously attacked by other students. The desecration of Synagogues and Jewish cemeteries throughout the Western World has drastically increased over the years. The comments made often when thought to be in safe surroundings among fellow travelers or in fits of rage or when the inhibitions have been lowered as in Mel Gibson’s now infamous rant when pulled over for driving under the influence. We had the ravings of a once respected White House correspondent telling a Rabbi at a gathering at the White House “They should get the hell out of Palestine. They’re living on occupied land. It’s not Germany, it’s not Poland.” And the rest of that little tirade in her exchange. There are other people of position I could quote including Hillary Clinton or the French Ambassador Daniel Bernard who was reputed to have said while speaking about the problems in the Middle East, “that shitty little country Israel”.

These few examples and others of similar vein were almost unheard of when I was young, they happened very infrequently, but they happened. I had noticed at a young age that there was the slightest but definite increase in the frequencies of such acts, many in the town where I grew up, Washington DC. There was an advantage growing up in the nation’s capital, you get to hear of news from all over the planet, even in the late 1950’s and on, especially when I came of age and my father insisted watching the news for 90 minutes with him each evening was something I should and would do. Add to that, to practice reading I was given the Washington Star newspaper and quizzed about the articles. So, I had the resources to observe daily right in front of my eyes and I made my conclusions, to most everybody’s dismay. Today, it does not take much following the events to understand that something is changing, and not necessarily changing for the better if you are Jewish.

Time to list a few of the high points currently in the news, and I promise that none will have to do with Israel directly. The European Union is considering a law that would require kosher meat to be labeled “unstunned before slaughter” as a warning to people. This motion is fortunately being opposed by Estonia. In San Francisco there will appear on the next ballot an initiative to ban circumcision. New Zealand also passed a law banning the ritual slaughter of Kosher meat which was subsequently overturned after world pressure. Also mentioned in the above article are other countries, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, which banned Shechita. Add to this short list the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) movement, the yearly spreading campus event known as Israel Apartheid Week, the now commonplace shouting down of Israeli speakers around the globe, the readiness of courts in numerous countries that swear out warrants for arrest on either war crime or crimes against humanity charges on Israeli government officials, military officers, and even, in a few cases thus far, enlisted soldiers that have prevented these people from international travel or ability to study in many universities for fear of incarceration (Tzipi Livni had to cancel an appearance in England due to such charges fairly recently) and other such problems one finds all too regularly.

I hate to tell those who so criticized me as an alarmist or even a liar, time has borne out my fears. This is one time I would have been extremely glad to have been in error; unfortunately it does not appear so. I still have had friends and acquaintances who initially doubted my statements, but most have since resigned themselves to the fact that something evil is rearing its ugly head once again in this world. A long ago born hatred that has never been completely eradicated and rises almost like clockwork every couple of generations to take its grizzly toll, then slips back into the dark recesses until the horrors are once again forgotten, is once again breaking loose into the world. Many thought the immeasurable horrors of the Holocaust, the Shoah, would once and for all allow this beast of hatred of Jews to be slain, but it survives and has begun to be suckled and nurtured once again. It is sad, so very sad that mankind seemingly cannot learn to live together and accept one another with at least tolerance if not brotherly care. So, I guess we are once again rushing forward into that dark abyss of hatred for hatred’s sake, may G-d help us.

Beyond the Cusp

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