Beyond the Cusp

April 30, 2019

My America Where Have You Gone

Filed under: Israel — qwertster @ 1:57 AM
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America, with two synagogues the targets of anti-Semitic shootings within six-months, it is difficult to recognize you. Yes, we have witnessed anti-Semitism more often than most, but we expected this when more often than not being the only Jew residing for miles around. Sure, we have heard all the anti-Semitic banter which goes on in certain neighborhoods where they perceive it is safe because all the Jews live over in that fancy and expensive neighborhood and none live here where some make minimum wage. They were, of course, wrong as they were eventually informed. Whenever moving into one of these neighborhoods, the idea was to get a lay of the land, figure out who was who and identify the true anti-Semite from the one who basically was unknowingly going along to get along and probably never knowingly met anyone who was Jewish. Yes, there are numerous neighborhoods across America which meet these criteria. Those whose laughing and hardly ever repeating the anti-Semitic jokes and stories were the ones who became very curious and asked a gazillion questions when they realized there was a Jew amongst the neighborhood. Then there were those others who, at worst, were arming themselves with eggs and toilet paper and the house took the better parts of a day to clean up. Amazingly, many others would pitch in and help clean up the mayhem from the night before. These events almost always came at the same time as crucial holidays such as Easter, Christmas and, of course, Halloween. But they did not enter synagogues with weapons and murder people. The worst of the Jew haters largely resorted to name-calling, look which could kill and other passive aggressive acts. That was then, this is the new world where anti-Semitism comes with violent assaults upon Jewish places of worship and now the newspaper which claims to “print all the news that is fit to print,” has published in its international edition an anti-Semitic cartoon worthy of Joseph Goebbels (see below).

 

New York Times anti-Semitism on Full Display for the World

New York Times anti-Semitism on Full Display for the World

 

The America I knew would be up in arms and enraged at these open displays of hatred and disharmony, discordance, acrimony, mind-bending hate and open-ended accusations by all sides against any who dare disagree with their particular politics. That is the current state of social media which is anything but social. We retain some who serve up dishes of bile just to keep ourselves grounded and to assist us in attempting to be inclusive rather than exclusive. Then again, we remember when exclusive meant that if you had to ask the price of an entrée offered on the menu, not to worry, you could not afford it and likely could not even afford just desert. That is no longer the definition of that word, today it means that should you deviate one iota from a narrowly defined ritual which fell within specific beliefs, then you were not only not welcome but also to be the target of scorn, contempt, derision and even the most ego destroying fate possible, being unfriended. But in some parts the hate is hot and so overt that lives are the cost of falling outside of acceptable, and it goes beyond anti-Semitism; sometimes it was purely political, sometimes it was purely hate and other times it was a bit of both such as the shooting at Republican Congressional baseball practice on June 14, 2017, in Alexandria, Virginia. Another item which is frightening is that these perpetrators of such violence have no regrets beyond the fact they were unable to murder more of their intended target group. What is worse is that in some places, politicians will defend these actions blaming the victims inevitably claiming that they brought this upon themselves. If only they would have acted more proper, defined as holding the political and social desires and positions that the speaker holds and any deviation is considered ample provocation for violence.

 

Then there are the great cover-ups by much of the Western European media. One of our favorite editorialists, Giulio Meotti has written three very engaging articles of late, “Killed a Jew? In France that makes you unfit for trial,” “Write it correctly: Islamic massacre of Christians” and France, the aspiring Judenrein Islamic Republic showcasing some of the problems in Europe. When we speak with politically active friends from the United States, they tell a tale of woe, sorrow and regrets over the state of civility, or should we say the lack thereof, and how the disruptive level of hatred is coming from so many directions that it makes it almost impossible to meet the expectations of most people. They tell of how at work, as conservatives, they keep a low profile never discussing anything about politics and never ever expressing any comments about morality and their regrets on the current state of civility and society. They try to explain how the way we acted speaking proudly of our beliefs and positions would prevent being promoted, could get us fired and would definitely have us treated as pariahs. Things in one of our old stomping grounds have changed and we cannot say for the better unfortunately. Our dear friend from even out in the western regions of the United States, not California, Oregon or Washington, but we are talking Colorado and to a far lesser degree Wyoming. They tell the story of those others who are moving from California and other leftist strongholds to their former haven and immediately forming committees and boards making demands for changes and literally begin to transform their new home to resemble exactly their former home which they left as it had become unbearable. Sometimes we wonder if people even know how to think anymore. These people are doing exactly the same thing which failed before expecting a different result. There is a name for that and Albert Einstein defined that for us, he called it insanity.

 

We would like to say that we have no idea where the signs we are seeing will lead but that would be a small white lie. The reason for small is because we do not know exactly, white because we wanted to have at least one trigger word, and lie because we do have a general idea where things are headed. If you learned a fair amount of history either in regimented study or on your own, then you can likely see the writing on the wall. For those who are unable to see the writing, it stated the following; War is peace; freedom is slavery; ignorance is strength and concluded with 2+2=5. There is just a whiff of the stench of Big Brother when the government collects every electronic signal in the world and stores it all on the set of buildings pictured below somewhere in Nevada. Of course, nobody is listening to your every word, but say the wrong word and a computer raises a little flag and then a real person has to decide if you are a threat or the word bomb got into your text because you said, “Wasn’t last night just the bomb?” There is an entire list of such words and other conditions programmed into this data center of all data centers. But you would have to work at it to get on their lists, or would you. Gain ballot access as a third-party candidate and be flagged as not a kook and you become a “person of interest” which gets you monitored. But that was then and this is now.

 

National Security Agency NSA Utah Data Center

National Security Agency NSA Utah Data Center

 

Civility has lost all meaning and has been replaced with a strict set of guidelines which leaves one walking a virtual tightrope so as not to disturb the easily disturbed. There are trigger words, and just in case you are becoming more sly about your word transgressions, there are a larger set of things which come under the definition of microaggressions. College courses come with trigger word warnings which probably will come into use in the course. These warnings are there so that college students, our future leaders, can avoid the unbelievable stress of hearing a word such as “shooting,” “rape” or any of a variety of phrases, many of which would be expected in any course say on the history of warfare. Colleges have safe spaces where students can flee after being triggered by a microaggression and find counseling, coloring books, puppies, kittens and soothing music. Basic training in the military now have stress cards which basic training troops can flag their Drill Sargent all but forcing them to be granted some time out as they collect their strength, thinking, body, mind, attitude or whatever they feel is needful of some alone time. Is nothing sacred anymore? When in basic training, we were referred to as maggots amongst some other far more colorful names. No time out cards, just a boot in your, you figure it out. Just avoiding any of those horrible trigger words or causing a microaggression. What is rather amazing is how the political tables have changed when referencing both Republican and Democrat positions and how civility has found a new home after being squandered where its former place had been. Civility and acceptance with those on the political left where the main theme was everybody is much the same and all should and could be friends. Differences were more accepted by the liberals of those days. Now those on the left demand that everyone sticks to a rigid definition of what is acceptable and what is beyond the pale. Some of the most glaringly obvious examples has been shown by those of the LGBTQ community and the Women’s Movement. In both cases, any reference which is perceived as supporting Israel is forbidden. This was made an exclusionary criterion of the Chicago Dyke March where a Jewish LGBTQ groups were denied the right to join the march as their flag displayed a Star of David which was far too Jewish and implied a pro-Israel probable position (see image below). Teresa Shook, one of the original co-founders of the Women’s Movement, has declared her ire at the anti-Semitic leanings of the new leadership and demanded on Facebook that they step down as they have been completely ineffective in preventing hate from seeping into the movement. These are just a small sampling and the one item all too many of these episodic exclusions have in common is their anti-Semitic nature. This has even spread of late into the House of Representatives where recently elected trio of Representatives Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Rashida Tlaib have made news with their anti-Israel and potentially anti-Semitic tirades. Israel is rapidly becoming a partisan issue with the far-left desiring breaking all ties between the United States and the Jewish State.

 

Multi-Colored Flags with a Star of David

Multi-Colored Flags with a Star of David

 

It used to be that virtually all anti-Semitism came from the fringe of the far-right, sometimes referred to as the Paleo-conservatives, where it was rare and merely a very minor group. With the more recent anti-Semitism forming at the opposite end of the political spectrum, anti-Semitism has seeped into the politics of both ends of the political spectrum. The far right appears to have grown as some have found cover from the left anti-Semitism which has brought many out of the woodwork. This may have had some play in these recent Synagogue shootings. What is more troubling has been the excusing of anti-Semitism, especially in Europe where it is often covered up. Add in the influx of Islamic immigrants bringing their Jew hatred with them from the Middle East and North Africa, and you have a growing group which will not stay at the margins of either Europe or America. Their anti-Semitism, often in the form of anti-Zionism and anti-Israelism, has already begun to infect the societal bodies of the Western World. Thinking about where this will lead and some of the inevitabilities makes one’s brain hurt and does not leave one comforted about the future. Imagine a world where the only places where anti-Semitism is not prevalent are regions of Asia and Africa with the Americas and Europe mired with anti-Semitism. This will be a world where Jews almost exclusively reside in Israel and have no place left in the Western World. This is the future which is beginning to become the obvious outcome if the Western World does not awaken to where they are being taken. The thing to remember is the quote of the wise words from Martin Niemöller who awakened to the inevitable result of where the Third Reich was heading and wrote this statement about the horror he saw coming, “First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.” Is this the end coming for what has been the most free and advanced society the planet has known? The possibility is sickeningly possible as one need remember that Germany was considered the great Weimar Republic with unmatched freedoms, many of the greatest minds on the planet such as Hertha Sponer, Albert Einstein, Hugo Grotrian, Ingrid Franck, Wilhelm Westphal, James Franck, Otto von Bayer, Lise Meitner, Werner Heisenberg, Peter Pringsheim, Fritz Haber, Wernher von Braun, Gustav Hertz, and Otto Hahn to name just a few. Germany was at the forefront of physics, mathematics, chemistry and virtually every field of cultured society before the rise of the Nazis. Is this the path the world is going to trudge down once again? If that is so, then we need to pray for a divine intervention.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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August 12, 2018

The Big Question Most Heard

 

That question coming from Sabras (Native Israelis), Russians, Europeans and the other sundry Jews from the world over is, why don’t the American Jews move to Israel or make Aliyah. The answer often given is that they will come in good time. Unfortunately, that is probably the truth and the shame is that for the American Jews this will prove to be unfortunate. This may prove to be the most difficult article to write while not making many people very upset with what we write. Some may want to get upset and scream that this is not me; I want to live in Israel, but with my work and my home and everything, in time it will become easier. That is not really true as we waited until we were retired and it was still difficult choosing what to keep, what to sell and what, despite our attachment, to simply throw out. We were fortunate and sold our entire beer brewing system and bar equipment and limited our stuff needing a moving company to at most one container. Whatever the reason, this is a great time to make Aliyah as the building of apartments and residences have been being built at a fairly rapid pace which had lowered prices. That is as much of the advice we can offer.

 

Akko is the Oldest City in Israel Seen Overlooking Mediterranean Port Wall

Akko is the Oldest City in Israel Seen Overlooking Mediterranean Port Wall

 

How to answer why most American Jews are not making Aliyah and also answering the other main questions is difficult for one to be able to explain while remaining positive. This gets particularly difficult when the added question is to explain the reasoning behind the antics and demands of the Open Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist and other branches in American Judaism for accepting new definitions for Halachic Law. Not every Jew is overly observant and even fewer attend all three services each day, but a large share of the population we have met are religious and attend services on some form of regular basis. They attend for yahrzeits, almost every holiday, and try to make Shabbat morning prayers every week. From what we remember, we probably have more people attending our Synagogue daily morning prayers than we often had on Shabbat morning prayers in the Synagogue we last attended in the United States. But very few question the definitions of Halachic Law. The Torah says exactly what it says and cannot be twisted to say otherwise. The Written traditions in Talmud and other commentaries are also quite definitive in their final decisions. On the necessity for adopting a new Oral Tradition to partly replace Talmud is accepted as something of a work in progress, but it is in progress by going through Talmudic principles and adding or questioning ideas and concepts within the structure which already exists. Very few desire throwing the entire system into the trashcan and defining all to fit every whim and societal idiosyncrasy existing today in European or American society. Judaism is supposed to offer alternatives from a tried and true history guided by Torah and our history, not a cult turning on every whim and being redefined to fit some leftist ideology. This has been the case of the demands by Rabbis from the ranks of Open Orthodoxy. We found an article which explains the problem likely better than we ever could in probably one of the most liberal media sources in Israel in Haaretz. Will some of the changes made in America eventually become accepted in Israeli Orthodox, probably. They are already accepted in many of the Conservative and Reform communities in Israel and these do exist but are a lesser offshoot than the more traditional Orthodox, which also have their flavors from Hassidic to Religious Zionist and everything inbetween, but all are governed by the Rabbinate.

 

The truth as most see it from many of the Americans already having made Aliyah is not as pretty as most might prefer. They see things differently than many in the United States see things, and perhaps that comes partly from the fact that being religious in Israel is far more readily attainable than it is in the United States. If one could only afford to reside over ten miles from the Synagogue in their city, they could not be expected to walk to Shabbat Services as at some distances one would need almost a full day to walk both directions. Such would not be resting on the Sabbath. But the problems go deeper than that. Many American Jews have replaced Halachic Law with the standards and positions of their leftist political positions. Such things then become “traditionally Jewish” as same sex marriage, inter-faith marriage, women rabbis, mixed seating for prayer (though this may change over time) and other modernisms. There is another problem in that many Americanized Jews no longer believe that the Torah is historically accurate and that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Queen Esther and the others from Biblical history and most of the Torah and Old Testament are fables to reveal a code of law whose people are imagined and never lived. Come and see the history for real here in Israel where discoveries, especially in the area known to have been the City of David and Cave of Machpelah and these people are very real and the history of Torah and Bible are also found to be accurate and as described. There is a reason why the Waqf has carried away truck loads of crushed rock from their “digging to replace old water pipes and to modernize the facilities” on the Temple Mount always digging in places which are described well in the Bible. Below is a montage of a few of the rubble piles and shown at the lower end are the efforts by the Israeli Antiquities Institute which took up with assisting the efforts when proof of their viability for actually producing artifacts, though dating them has posed a challenge as it is often difficult to discern at what depth and period some artifacts represent. Many Israelis offer their time to assist with this painstaking labors of love and dedication to preserving whatever historical remains can be found. These siftings have produced a small collection of the pomegranate-shaped bells that the Levites and Kohanim wore on their priestly robes (pictured below montage). Unfortunately, there have been far less large objects for after finding an intact column block the Waqf began their crushing of all larger stones to assure nothing of consequence might be found.

 

Temple Mount Destructive Arab Waqf Excavation Dumping Site and Reclamation Sifting Inspecting Seeking Remains of Artifacts not Completely Destroyed as Intended

Temple Mount Destructive Arab Waqf
Excavation Dumping Site and Reclamation
Sifting Inspecting Seeking Remains of Artifacts
not Completely Destroyed as Intended

 

 

Collection of Pomegranate Shaped Bells from Biblical Priestly Robes

Collection of Pomegranate Shaped Bells from Biblical Priestly Robes

 

The story of why American Jews are not arriving in Israel with the urgency some European Jews have shown is simple, they are not being targeted as Jews as of yet. The American Jews are not going to be that far different from other populations. The Ethiopian Jews were brought here after they became persecuted and required saving. The Arab countries expelled their Jews who were refused entrance in most nations other than Israel, so theirs was a case of limited options. The first mass Aliyah of European Jews is well remembered as they had been brutally persecuted and slaughtered across Europe. The Russian Jews were escaping Communism and persecution. The Jews in America live lives which are mostly free of any anti-Semitism and only hear of such in the news and they realize how insulated and safe their lives are. They live an almost fairytale existence lacking want or acceptance. They are not the Jews of Babylon, of ancient Egypt building their cities, of ancient Greece where circumcision was punished by death and teaching Torah treated the same, of the Roman Empire where they were dispersed throughout the Empire and some past the Empires borders in order to make them as extinct as the Carthaginians became, or even of Persia where they loved in relative peace until they were targeted by Hamas and their salvation was the Queen, Esther, whose uncle Mordechai gave her the task of intervening with the king to save her people, or the Jews of any other period as none until the United States the Jews have felt persecution, and even the United States is not perfect as General Grant’s General Order No. 11 of 1862 which displaced the Jews in Tennessee, Kentucky and Mississippi before President Lincoln could countermand the order and return to General Grant with a turnaround of almost two months. But history is not a guarantee of the future as the Jews in Germany found out when they went from assimilated to hunted in a matter of under a decade. The other thing that history teaches is that no society is immune from drastic change when the wrong people take power.

 

The American Jews are largely in two communities, the very Orthodox and the varied but mostly assimilated. The main communities of the very Orthodox are found around New York City and a few other major cities and are largely closed communities who look out for one another and can be considered to be insular. The assimilated also seem to live largely in the suburbs or in high-end areas in some cities in communities such as Georgetown within Washington D.C. The assimilated have jobs in virtually every form of employment with the majority in professions which require advanced degrees. They also hold high positions within the government and political office. They are represented at far higher percentage then their percentage of the population in such professions as physicians, lawyers, engineering and college professors. This has made some fringe groups incited over this fact claiming that the Jews are attempting to control the society through these positions. Most of these people are largely ignored and make up an infinitesimal percentage of the population. The real challenge to the Jews in the United States comes from another direction, and they are largely blind to this coming threat.

 

This threat comes from the secular far left who see religion of any kind as threatening and rather than be agnostic or atheist they are secular humanist who believe that their natural and superior enlightenment means that they should dictate future politics and manage all legal and social regulations. Their real threat is that they have risen to numerous controlling positions in many, if not a majority, of the departments of the government. These are the people who control the machinations of the “Deep State” and thus influence regulations. These are the people who in the too near future will be producing legal systems which will make religious observance regulated to such a point that much of Torah and the Bible will have become legally prosecutable. Reading from numerous Bible passages would be considered to be a violation as hate speech. Some similar prosecutions have occurred in Canada as preaching the Bible has run up against legal regulations there. With the Constitutional guarantees, specifically the Bill of Rights, coming under attack from numerous NGOs and other organizations and political lobbying groups, who knows how long the religious protections in the First Amendment will survive. The Second Amendment is under extreme distress and the Tenth Amendment is all but dead as are much of the Eighth and Ninth Amendments. Once the Second Amendment falls, expect the First and then Fifth followed by the Fourth to follow within a decade.

 

What is coming in the near future in the United States will be considered shocking to the older generations but the youth have been indoctrinated to such an extent instead of instructed such that they no longer believe free speech cannot be abridged and any speech which is offensive to their peer groups should be illegal. They find that the entire Constitution and Bill of Rights to be too old to have meaning in our modern society and that the rules need to be changed to reflect their programming they received from their teachers and then their professors and believe that taxes must be raised and equaling income is a necessity. They also do not accept the concept of a Supreme Being and many believe that religion is a concept which is evil and the Bible is just some old book which is basically worthless. What is frightening is that many American Jews appear to believe the same things as the youth as they have joined the leftists and are members of the Secular Humanists. They have a completely new form of Judaism and demand that the Israelis adopt their interpretation of Torah. The difference between Israel with the acceptance of the Torah, Bible, Gomorra and Talmud as real and applicable as written and that the final two can be adapted, but only in reference to Torah and slowly and methodically while the American Jews (non-Traditional Orthodox) have adapted Torah to fit their beliefs completely throwing out the old commentaries as irrelevant to their modern society and in their stead placing the preachings of their new wave Rabbis whose ideas are more suitable to teaching a college philosophy class than to Torah commentary.

 

The immediate reply will most likely be that we have no idea about what we are speaking. Allow us to speak of the Rosh HaShana sermon given by our Rabbi of a Conservative Synagogue, a loveable and kind Rabbi who was a good person and likely his sermon was adapted in order to please the congregants, especially those who only come to the synagogue three or four times per year but also make very large and generous donations to make up for their lack of making it to Shabbat morning services. His sermon was about a same sex marriage he had recently officiated at our Synagogue and how beautiful the service and the loving couple were and the greatness that we, as a congregation, allowed such a celebration to be held and how our acceptance was indicative of our religious faith. This wedding was a great stride in healing the world from old prejudices and the making of a rich, new world filled of acceptances of all varieties of people and making inroads into wedding our faith with the other faiths proven by the inter-faith marriage he officiated at a church with the minister and the wonderful loving couple and how their children would be so rich having both religious beliefs. The sermon went on for close to thirty to forty-five minutes, maybe more; one of us kept nodding off for some wishful bliss. We have found out that our Synagogue was far from an exception of the new definition of Judaism and stretching of Torah to include the leftist ideologies where all forms of coupling are accepted and where sin has become a relative term with no absolutes beyond unacceptance of this new secular humanist theology. Yes, secular humanism is a religion complete with a dogma and its own sins, many of which are political in nature and any of the keeping of the old ways is one of the greatest of sins and now all religions must adopt the secular humanist diktats.

 

This difference has become a serious problem between Israeli Jews and American Jews. Now there are quite a few Israeli Jews who believe in the secular humanist philosophy and probably would not be too deterred should Israel become more akin to American Jewish thought, the non-Orthodox variety. But in Israel, they accept that the majority are religious and orthodox following Torah. The Rabbinate is a fact which in Israel the only change some wish to make is for there to be only one Chief Rabbi, not two. The big change coming in Israel, which will take far longer probably, not allowing us alive today to witness without assistance from Hashem, will be the unifying of the several sects into a single Judaism. There will inevitably come a merging of the Chabad, Hasidic, Sephardi, Ashkenazi, Mizrahi, Ethiopian, Bnei Menashe, Sabras and numerous smaller sects and there will be a single Judaism finally in Israel, that is our most immediate task. Much of this will take place simply by the most natural means, intermarriage. Whenever we see a mixed couple of Jews, we get a smile and feel that day approaching just that little bit faster. As far as Israel adopting the Secular Humanist views, that is highly unlikely and there are other differences which live in the political arena.

 

The political difference is also fairly stark. The assimilated, secular humanist, non-Orthodox, American Jews are sold on the idea of the Two State Solution because it has that fairness and equality theme they believe the world naturally uses to resolve differences, in their world that is. Even many of the most liberal Jews have surrendered the idea of the Two State Solution as impossible and as having been destroyed by Mahmoud Abbas. The American Jews looked at the recent Gaza border riots as a peaceful demonstration against the Israeli occupation and embargo and there were a small few who hijacked parts of the demonstration using violence and that it is time for Israel to loosen their embargo and end the occupation of Gaza. Israelis know that Israel finished their disengagement from Gaza that was enacted back in August 2005. Israelis also realize that any loosening of the embargo which is established simply to prevent Hamas and Islamic Jihad importing heavy weaponry is not workable and that the vast majority of goods are allowed in, especially aid goods, mostly passed on for Hamas to distribute the same day or the next day. Israelis know that Hamas uses the vast majority of these goods to raise funds charging the Gazans for the aid while keeping any building materials for the construction of underground bunkers for Hamas and Islamic Jihad members to be secured within along with interconnecting tunnels or to build infiltration tunnels into Israel in order to carry out attacks or to attempt kidnapping of Israelis. Many American Jews believe that Israel has no option and that the original idea was to make both an Arab and a Jewish state west of the Jordan River.

 

Israelis know that was simply one idea suggested by the United Nations General Assembly in Resolution 181 which was negated as soon as the Arab League voted to reject that idea as they refused to permit any Jewish State. The reality instead returned to the San Remo Conference and the related British Mandate agreements. These all made for an Arab State today known as Jordan and everything west of the Jordan River was reserved for the Jewish State. Israeli Jews realize that Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Palestinian Authority all agree that their goal is for no Jewish State to exist. They disagree on who gets to rule and Hamas also declares that they are to destroy Israel and then continue to kill Jews everywhere while they conquer the world for them to rule. Israeli Jews realize that the recent Gaza rioting had as its intent exactly what Sinwar, Hamas leader, stated, to break down the border fence, murder Jews tearing out their hearts and eating their livers as we have already reported repeatedly, and to replace Israel with a state ruled by Hamas. Had they succeeded, then it would have been not only the end of Israel, but the end of the Palestinian Authority as they would be the next target, as Hamas believes them to be apostates deserving of death. The world might have mourned the dead six and a half million Jews, but we would not expect many would honestly care and the few who did would mourn quietly after the initial solemn announcements which would end as quickly as possible as it would be a bother.

 

We could continue to list the ways Israeli Jews, in general, are different and separate from American Jews, in general. There is no reason to continue, as there are numerous articles written on the subject for those interested. Many are written from the American point of view but there are those from the Israeli view with many simply responses to those other articles. The two groups have taken very different paths and it will take something traumatic for them to forge a single people. As the two societies are, there can be no immediate merging of the American Jews with the Israeli Jews. We know this, as we were not an acceptable fit in our last congregation but once here in Israel found our fit was transformational, as finally we had found a Jewish group of communities where we fit in naturally. There were some in that last congregation with whom we fit and some requested we keep such our secret as they had hid their conservative beliefs and reached general acceptance and they did not desire their work to be undone. As we have told before, many in that Synagogue responded to our announcement of moving to Israel with almost the same words which were, “Why would you want to move to a place like that, they are so backwards.” Well, I guess we like backwards, though we believe that Torah and the Bible are eternal and the proper guide for life, and certain realities which measure the health of a society are proving this to be a valid statement.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

May 4, 2018

The Death of “Never Again”

 

After the Shoah, the Holocaust, the Jewish People made a promise to one another of, “Never Again.” The world echoed the call, “Never Again.” Most notably, Europe and particularly Germany echoed the call, “Never Again.” Now the world stands at the brink which they will break their promise of, “Never Again.” One need merely search the news to see the ever-increasing rate of attacks upon Jews simply because they are Jews. European leaders speak of their increased efforts to address anti-Semitism after each attack. France has placed military personnel to guard Jewish daycares, preschools, education centers, Synagogues and events throughout France. Britain and Germany have declared they are taking steps to fight against anti-Semitism with Germany appointing Dr. Felix Klein to take charge of the efforts at education and other means of fighting anti-Semitism. Dr. Klein will take his position sometime this month. There have been warnings sent initially through delicate warnings requesting that Jews not affix Mezuzahs on their doors as such identifiers upon their homes could make them targets. This proved to be insufficient; so then, they made the next demand less delicately advising Jews to stop wearing their Kippahs. For some Jews, that proved a demand too far as they refused to uncover their heads. This meant that they had to limit their lives by remaining only in what they thought to be “safe areas,” some of which proved not to be sufficiently safe.

 

Never Again!

 

For Jews these events, though difficult, are not something new to the Jewish People as we can look back across our history and find all too numerous similarities with which to compare these events. During the Spanish Inquisition the Jews were forced to convert to Christianity, but some refused to forsake their traditional religion and practiced Judaism in silence and well-concealed in order to avoid detection and a tortured and horrible end. These Jews were to become known as Marranos. Throughout the world, there are instances where the Jews were forced to profess faith in other religions while conforming to their Judaism privately and in complete secrecy. Sometimes these Jews would form groups with ten men so they could have a minyan making their prayers more complete as some prayers require ten men in order to perform and reading of Torah also requires a minyan. This would obviously cause these members to be more readily caught by the authorities but they believed that on certain holy days the risk was worth the reward they would receive from being able to perform a complete service with a Torah reading making it all the more satisfying. These conditions of forced conversions and secretive practice of their Judaism were more universal than many historians have recorded both in Christian and Islamic world and before either when the Jews resided under foreign exile or occupation including the Roman, Greek, Persian and Babylonian to name a few. \

 

“Never Again” was intended to mean that the Jewish People were never to be made embarrassed, harassed or intimidated into hiding their Judaism as a requirement for their safety. Never Again was supposed to provide a conscience in the world such that after thirty-five-hundred-years Jews would finally be safe within the world. Israel took in the approximate million Jews who were forced from the Arab and Muslim world providing them with assured safety from the anti-Semitism which has never been purged from the Islamic world or from the Quran and the preaching of Imams. Now there is rising anti-Semitism, both from Islamic refugees, extreme right wing anti-Semitism and leftist anti-Semitism are combining making the roughly one and a half million Jews of Europe becoming endangered. They have a refuge they can take in Israel and increasing numbers have begun to do exactly that. There are also troubling signs across the Atlantic Ocean in the United States and Canada which are also at the very leading edge of increasing anti-Semitism. The problem is far from as obvious as it is in Europe, but it has become troubling to those who follow such trends as they are witnessing the same numbers as were present in Europe starting about three decades past.

 

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has released a worldwide survey of the state of anti-Semitism in 2014 with a partial update showing anti-Semitism in 2015 in easily seen maps and tables. There is even a page where one can compare nation to nation using it to see where your country stands compared to others or any other comparison one would care to see. The one problem with the ADL surveys are they have rapidly become dated as a measure where Europe and even the United States and Canada are concerned, as the increases in these areas of the developed world have been quite distressing. Of course, we cannot expect that the ADL will be performing another survey in the near future, though we would love for them to do so for 2020 and make it as easily accessed as their 2014 and 2015 versions have been made. The ADL might refrain from doing such as they likely would be hesitant to actually recognize exactly how sad the situation is becoming. What is really sad is how fast Germany and the nations which were willing, or somewhat less than willingly, under the rule of the Third Reich have fallen back so severely despite their joining in the concept of “Never Again” and have permitted the pernicious hatred that is anti-Semitism returning in such strength, especially with the youth of today. Where did the leadership go wrong and divert from the path returning to their old hatreds and habits including anti-Semitism. Perhaps we should try and suggest some reasons.

 

Perhaps the greatest mishandling of the problem has been the selling of the concept of “Never Again” as the answer to prevent the singular event of the Shoah, the Holocaust, of ever reoccurring. “Never Again” is not an answer to just the Shoah but to every attempt through the ages to kill off the Jewish People. These attempts began in Egypt over thirty-five-hundred-years ago and continued through with, but not limited to, the Persians, Greeks, Romans, Spanish Inquisition, the Caliphate and the Nazis. They have not taught that the Jewish People and their rules and codes became some of the founding principles of the current European and modern world governance. Much of human rights are based on the Judeo-Christian ethics which are all based in Jewish thought. Continued Jewish thought and culture continued to add to the humanity of man and to the sciences, culture, society and every aspect of human existence. There has been almost no mention of how much poorer humanity would be without what the Jews have contributed to all aspects of human existence. Even boxing would have been lees the art it has become in sports without the contribution of a Jewish man called Daniel Mendoza. He was credited with introducing the scientific art of boxing. Then there are the somewhat more famous and well-known Jews such as Sigmund Freud, Niels Bohr, Baruch de Spinoza, Albert Einstein, Sandy Koufax, Groucho Marx, Gene Simmons, Franz Kafka, Peter Sellers, Joan Rivers, Marc Chagall, George Gershwin, Jonas Salk, Albert Sabin, Hank Greenberg, Max Baer, Benny Leonard, Lyle Alzado, Jerry Lewis, Danny Kaye and Dr. Ruth Westheimer. We could continue with a long list of scientists, entertainers, musicians, artists, philosophers, comediennes and religious scholars.

 

Gene Simmons

Gene Simmons

 

Perhaps a lesson in middle school where the contributions of Jews throughout history to virtually every field of endeavor would make an impression, especially with lists of Jews in such fields as music, sports, entertainment and other fields with which Jews are not always associated. Also showcasing the contributions throughout history where they often made contributions which are not well known today such as Haym Salomon who was a Polish-born American Jewish businessman and personally backed loans from France to finance the American Revolution from which he ended up bankrupt. And, of course, there is the reality that without Judaism there would be no Christianity or Islam as both trace back to Judaism as their roots and being Abrahamic faiths. These ideas would not eradicate anti-Semitism, but perhaps a realization that the Jewish People have contributed quite a great deal to humanity throughout the ages in virtually every field of endeavor might give some pause to reconsider their opinion of Jews. Anti-Semitism will never completely disappear, as there are records of anti-Semitism existing in towns, villages and even cities where people have never met a Jew and some where no Jew has ever been recorded to have lived. But if we can change some people’s thoughts on the Jewish People and as much of anti-Semitism is handed down within families, neighborhoods, societal norms and other means, every person turned from anti-Semitism could have an ever-widening effect over time. If nothing is done, what will the world be like once every nation has rid themselves of their Jews and Jews only reside in Israel? Oddly enough, even then the world will have its share of anti-Semitism and there will be efforts to destroy Israel if only to be rid of the imagined effect the Jews have on life around the globe. How can we know this? Well, because anti-Semitism has existed in places around the world before the Jewish People had been spread around the world by conquering empires with the best known being the Roman dispersion intended to wipe out Judaism from the world as punishment for revolting against Roman rule just a little too efficiently. It is that exile which the Jewish People are finally returning home to Israel after almost two-thousand-years.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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