Beyond the Cusp

July 8, 2017

One Single Judaism for One Unified Israel

 

Of late, there has been much unrest and noise from out of the Jewish New Orthodoxy, the Torat Chayim, Open Orthodox or Progressive Orthodox organization, demanding that Israel bend to their versions of acceptability for conversions that are not strictly Halachic according to the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. They were kind enough to put their demands into a letter written to express their obviously superior and more pluralistic views, which will allow for a more pleasant Israeli expression of Halacha, which could be acceptable to a larger general group of American Jews. The claim is that the Jews in America are turning away from Israel because Israelis demand that conversions be performed and approved by the Israeli Rabbinate that recognizes numerous Synagogues for meeting their Halachic standards. They were kind enough to even put it into writing, so, please allow us to quote:

As progressive, pluralistic orthodox rabbis associated with the rabbinic group Torat Chayim, we stand fully as allies with our sisters and brothers throughout the entire Jewish community in support of pluralism in America and Israel. We were disheartened to read that the Israeli government has rescinded its commitment to create a space for alternative and liberal groups to pray at the Western Wall and is moving to delegitimate all conversions but those done by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel.”
“Imposing one narrow version of Orthodox Judaism as the official standard for prayer and for conversion in Israel harms the unity of the Jewish people and it harms support for Israel in America. We encourage all Modern Orthodox Jews to publicly support freedom for multiple religious approaches to Jewish life. The Torah demands that we embrace humility in our dealings with fellow human beings. Pirkei Avot teaches: Do not demand to be the sole judge (of what is right or wrong in religious matters) for only God — and not humans representing God — has the capability of being the sole judge.
“This means that we should bring humility – not arrogance; and wonder – not certainty — to our relationships. The Sages teach that we are stronger when we disagree openly and respectfully while continuing to engage with one another and honor each other’s human dignity. We honor the different paths of our fellow Jews, even if we have our disagreements for the sake of heaven, and we yearn deeply to see a truly pluralistic Israel.”
Signed,
Rabba Dr. Carmella Abraham-Rabbi Dr. Marc AngelRabino- Daniel Askenazi-Rabbi Ben Berger-Rabbi Dr. Ariel Burger-Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo-Rabbi Menashe East-Rabbi Michael Cooper Emerson-Rabbi Dr. Zev Farber-Rabbi Avidan Freedman-Rabbi Marc Gitler-Rabbi Daniel Goodman-Rabbi Dr. Mel Gottlieb-Rabbi Ben Greenberg-Rabbi Dr. Yitz Greenberg-Rabbi Herzl Hefter-Rabbanit Bracha Jaffe-Rabbi David Jaffe-Rabbi David Kalb-Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky-Rabbi David Kashe-rRabbi Ysoscher Katz-Rabbi Will Keller-Rabbi Dr. Eugene Korn-Rabbi Aaron Leibowitz-Rabbi Yehoshua Looks-Rabbi Asher Lopatin-Rabbi Dr. Ariel Evan Mayse-Rabbi Avram Mlotek-Rosh Kehilah Dina Najman-Rabbi Micha OdenheimerR-abbi Haim Ovadia-Rabbi Dr. Ariel Picard-Rabbi Aaron Potek-Rabbi Dr. David Rosen-Rabbi Abe Schacter-Gampel-Rav Hanan Schlesinger-Rabbi Gabriel Nachman Kretzmer Seed-Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller-Rabbi Daniel Raphael Silverstein-Rabba Ramie Smith-Rabbi Devin Villarreal-Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz

 

Women Rabbinic Signatories from Above Letter

Women Rabbinic Signatories from Above Letter

 

With such an impressive list of names, one would think that this is a movement with tens of thousands of members. They represent, at most, a few thousand Jews. Most of the names above were either in the initial movement of graduates of the Yeshiva run by the Torat Chayim, Open Orthodox or Progressive Orthodox organization. Perhaps the initial discussion we should entertain is the actual feelings towards Israel that is honestly held currently in the United States. As former members of the Conservative Synagogue, which was the better choice between it and the Reform Synagogue, as the town had no Orthodox and the closest Orthodox group met at one person’s residence a little over a hundred miles from our home, just a tad beyond walking distance; we got a first hand sample of the true and honest feelings of a typical congregation, and from the sample of those who attended Saturday Morning services, alias, the really seriously religious group. We will get to our sampling, but first some, reality check, facts. When the Israelites left slavery in ancient Egypt, according to our Sages, approximately twenty percent of the Jews decided to leave and the remainder preferred the safety and security of Egyptian slavery. When the Jew returned from the Babylonian exile, our Sages tell us, again about twenty percent decided to return and build the Second Temple while the remainder figured they would sample Persian culture and practices. When Israel first opened up to Jews the overwhelming reaction was not exactly excited exhilaration. Simply put, very, very few Jews left whatever comfortable lives they had in Europe, America, Russia, the Arab world of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Iran, India, Ethiopia, South Africa and wherever else the Jews were living in the 1800’s and first quarter of the 1900’s, before the British decided to close the door, the flow was light to a trickle resembling anything but a torrent. The Jews stayed put. Even when Ze’ev Jabotinsky (one of our main heroes) visited Eastern Europe and tried to tell the congregations that the Nazis and Hitler were going to be a huge problem for them and they should come to Eretz Yisroel, you know what happened? The Rabbis, once the word got out, refused to allow him into their Synagogues and, even when he managed to tell their congregations, they told their congregations that Ze’ev Jabotinsky was a lunatic and scare-monger who had no idea what he was talking about and they were fine and should simply stay put. The point, the Jews are like all people, they prefer the comfortable place that has been home no matter the situation and are apprehensive about change. Imagine that.

 

That said; let us move on to the next little misconception. When they poll any sample of Jews about their feelings towards Israel, the question is virtually always something like, “Do you support Israel?” Surprisingly, the response usually receives seventy-five or eighty percent say yes. But how about when the question is, “Do you support the Two-State-Solution and a state for the Palestinian people?” Believe it or not, you still get well over fifty percent sometimes as high as seventy-five percent yes. Now we can get to a more particular poll where the question becomes, “Do you support Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government?” Now it depends on whom you poll amongst Jews. Strictly Halachic Jews will respond well over fifty percent and probably close to ninety percent supporting. Reform Jews will respond exactly the opposite with over three-quarters not approving the Netanyahu government. The Open Orthodox or Progressive Orthodox Jews will probably respond favoring the negative side as they see the Netanyahu government as their opposition and not favoring their position of a more understanding and liberated Judaism. The Conservative Jews will poll, unfortunately, closer to the Reform than the Halachic Orthodox Jews when it comes to the Netanyahu government. If Amir Peretz, the new Labor Party leader, or Ehud Barak, a newly active Labor Party former leader who also has decided he might desire a run against Netanyahu, and either of these leftists were to become Prime Minister of Israel, then the non-Orthodox Jews would suddenly love the government while the strictly Halachic Orthodox Jews would still support the government and Israel because their support is not tied to politics. They would also express some wariness towards such a government but would still support the government and oppose maybe some of their ideas.

 

Co-ed rabbinic ordination ceremony at Yedidya with Rabbi Daniel Landes

Co-ed rabbinic ordination ceremony at Yedidya with Rabbi Daniel Landes

 

So, where are we going with all of this discussion? Well, let us go straight to the really big question and what if they asked all the American Jews, “Are you planning on making Aliyah in the next ten years?” This is the one question where the answer would be rather consistent across all stripes and it would be a rather solid, “No!” Perhaps this would be the good spot to talk about our pre-Aliyah experience. First and foremost, our Rabbi, Hashem bless the man, was supportive and overjoyed for us and his enthusiasm was wonderful. The congregation broke into three distinct groups, which mirrored their politics almost to a person. The conservatives, both the openly conservative and the friends who preferred that we never reveal their politics, to a person were happy and many expressed their desire to also make Aliyah and many of these are planning on retiring to Israel and we invited them to come to the same area we chose, though some expressed a great desire to move to Jerusalem. The through and through leftist members all but to a person considered us to be borderline insane for wanting to move to Israel and leave the United States, the best and most natural place for any Jew to live. Many pointedly bet that we would be back in the United States within a year, two at the most. The more moderate congregants were less declarative but the majority of them simply wished us well but thought that we were making a mistake to leave the United States and especially to go to Israel. Honestly, we were surprised by the reaction being from the greater majority of congregants we knew and were social with were discouraging in their expressions towards our making Aliyah. The really odd thing was that they were confused about our enthusiasm for moving to Israel and leaving the United States. Most who asked why we were making the move did not believe the answer that one of us had always wanted to make Aliyah and the two of us both really loved our pilot trip and were anxious to make the move. Lastly, the ones who thought we were going to come running back to the United States are in for a surprise, we love it here in Israel.

 

The reality is that the vast majority of American Jews cannot see moving to Israel in the coming years and believe that leaving the United States is a foolish and idiotic idea. They will say they support Israel whenever they are asked by a pollster. They say this because it requires nothing from them. Many will send money to Israeli funds and charities because that is what Jews do. But when they are talking amongst themselves, they tell a different story. They are not in any way Zionist and have referred to the Israelis living in Judea and Samaria as settlers and many honestly believe they are living on Palestinian lands. The majority believe that if Israel would be more flexible and just give the Arabs the lands beyond the Green Line that there would be peace. They agreed with President Obama that Israel was the reason there was no peace. Often having conversations with many of our fellow congregants, we found that avoiding the subject of Israel was the wisest of decisions. The average American Jew doesn’t give Israel much thought, as they are far too busy with life. Their first and foremost thought politically is support of the Democrat Party and liberal ideology. One of our friends from the congregation e-mailed us after the election and since and told us something we could have simply assumed ourselves. The congregation was largely in a funk being excessively distraught about having President Trump elected with Hillary Clinton somehow not being permitted her coronation. What can we add; they are good, loyal, leftist Democrats who place their party as amongst their highest priorities. It’s good to know that things have not changed, well, not exactly.

 

Many Jews in Europe are rapidly learning how fragile the societal acceptance of Jews can be. Many of the nations in Europe have rapidly growing anti-Semitism, which is starting to frighten many of them. What has been even more upsetting has been that from what we have noted, many of the Rabbis are telling their congregants that everything is under control, the government will protect them and that there is no reason to panic. The reality is that there is plenty of reason to panic. One perfect example comes from, of all people, Chief Rabbi of Russia and President of the Conference of European Rabbis Pinchas Goldschmidt who called for the Jews to take unity with European Muslims as they have a common cause in resisting attacks on minority religions and defending religious freedom. He was quoted in the Guardian stating, “When there is tolerance for other languages, other cultures, religions, traditions, we Jews feel more accepted. Jews always felt more comfortable in places where other cultures and religions were respected. At the moment when an ultra-nationalist wind begins to blow, it makes Jews, as a minority, uncomfortable.” Meanwhile, in France many Jews are wearing kippahs woven to match their hair so as not to draw attention while others simply ceased wearing them in public. Unfortunately, time has made the situation unavoidable and most of the Rabbis have taken to heart the need for their congregants’ safety. Some have began to admit of the necessity of caution and possibly for leaving Europe for the United States, Canada (postponing the inevitable) or Israel. Chief Rabbi of Brussels Avraham Gigi has stated, there is “no future for Jews in Europe.” He told a radio audience that, “There is a sense of fear in the streets, the Belgians understand that they too are targets of terror. Jews now pray in their homes and some of them are planning on emigrating.” The remainder of his radio interview can be read at the above link. A simple search tells the terrifying story facing European Jews but despite all the evidence of danger, many Jews remain passive refusing to leave their homes for the greater fear of the unknown.

 

Mind you, there is something Israel could do which would make this an easier sell that we believe that there is only one Judaism, that would be to have one Chief Rabbi. The great news is this will come to fruition once the Knesset passes a bill unifying the Chief Rabbinate and instead of having one Chief Rabbi for Ashkenazi and another Chief Rabbi for Sephardi, Israel would have one Chief Rabbi for all the Jews. One Chief Rabbi, one Judaism, and one Jewish People as unified Jewish community, then Israel can claim that one Jewish Law exists for all Jews. That would be the strongest message Israel could give the world and would allow for a single voice of the one Chief Rabbi of Israel telling the Torat Chayim, Open Orthodox or Progressive Orthodox organization, that there is but one Judaism and one Halacha for all Jews and this cannot be denied. Watering down Judaism or making a new and more “open” Judaism which permits for each Jew and each Synagogue or community to make their own Halachic laws and interpretations, then what is Judaism but a series of clubs each with their own charter. This experiment was already tried and it started in Nineteenth Century Germany with the early principles of Reform Judaism formulated by Rabbi Abraham Geiger. This more open form of Judaism was designed as Jews were, for the first time, recognized as members of the population of the nations in which they lived. The Ghettos were opened and the Jews were permitted to live wherever they wished amongst the general population. The new Judaism was fashioned to permit the Jews to enter into the general population as equals without being seen as different and so they would be accepted more readily. Many ‘unnecessary’ rules which were not ‘absolutely required’ or really all that ‘important’ to the essence of being a Jew were made ‘voluntary’ and Jews began to be assimilated. If you want to see the effect of making Judaism fit the desires and needs of each Jew individually instead of making each individual Jew fit Judaism as defined by Halacha, just look at the Reform Jews in the United States and you get your answer. According to estimates done near the end of the last century, the rate of intermarriage of Reform Jews was approaching three out of every four marriages. That makes Reform Jews merely with a one out of four chance of marrying within the faith. That is assimilation’s result, the end of the Jewishness of Jews.

 

I must admit that I only realized the necessity of strict Halachic Judaism as the sole allowable form after coming to Israel. This realization came along with the realization that being a Halachic Jew is actually far more easily accomplished in Israel. The supermarket only sells kosher food, the major ones while there are specialty markets, which are not necessarily kosher. There are Synagogues within walking distance throughout the town where we live. The main reason a Jew in Israel would not live a Halachic life is by choice, not lack of opportunity. In the United States, if a Jew does not reside in a neighborhood within walking distance of a Synagogue or have somebody from the congregation willing to put them up every Shabbat who does, then either they never attend Shabbat services or they use some form of conveyance on Shabbat. Those are the choices. To be a Halachic Jew in the United States you will need to either shop at one of the specific markets out of the many or be very specific in the brands you purchase. A Halachic Jew may only purchase meat from specific butchers. The basic idea is that being a Halachic Jew outside of Israel is only easy providing you reside in a very specific neighborhood, a luxury which is not necessarily affordable for all Jews. In many a city the Jewish ghetto, and that is what they actually are even if gilded, does not resemble a ghetto and can be very pricey. In Israel, being a Halachic Jew is possible in every price neighborhood.

 

Another reason there can only be one Judaism and that it must be Halachic as defined by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel is because the big century-long experiment with cafeteria Judaism has failed and failed miserably. Tailoring Judaism to each fancy will lead to only one thing, no Judaism. Yes, a congregation of Torat Chayim, Open Orthodox or Progressive Orthodox, Jews can be held together most often by the Rabbi leading it. But what happens after the founding Rabbi? Does the next Rabbi have the strength of personality to hold everyone to the exact standards? Will the next Rabbi have that ability as well? Eventually the congregants will seek different Rabbis and each time the rules will be altered, weakened just enough to fit the new desires and demands of each successive congregation. The freedom initially taken to alter Halacha leads only one place, no Halacha just as the Reform movement proved. Sure the Torat Chayim, Open Orthodox or Progressive Orthodox, will claim that theirs is a different system and that it can hold the line. The problem is they have already proven they cannot hold the line as their own ordained Rabbis have allowed same-sex marriages and are now calling for an allowance to be made for intermarriage. Where now are they going to stop? The best bet is they will simply be the next revolution and will be exactly the same as Reform Judaism was except their decay from Halachic Law will be faster and more detrimental to Judaism than was the Reform movement. That is why Israel needs only one Chief Rabbi and Judaism only needs one Halacha.

 

All we wish to say is, “Judaism is One Religion for One People in One Nation with One Chief Rabbi.”

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

April 20, 2017

Which World Controls the Future?

 

There are basically two worlds, the technological, industrialized, computer, information, advanced world and the world still back far enough in development that world conquest is their big challenge. That is the face of the complexities in today’s world and it is very uncertain which world will prove to be the more solid and most able to survive persevering over the other one. One is sending robotized scientific probes to the planets, their moons, asteroids, comets, studying the Sun and searching the vast cosmos for other inhabitable planets close enough to Earth-like that they could serve as a second home for mankind and other interests. The other is planning on how they will conquer the entire world and force everyone to follow their religious rules and follow the customs of Islam serving Allah and basing their entire society on the Quran and likely Sharia as the law for all the Earth. These two worlds could not be any more opposite in the future they see for humankind. One is reaching for the cosmos and beyond while taking medicine into new frontiers conquering ageing and making discoveries that will feed the planet and make previously undrinkable water safe for consumption. The other places science aside except in how it can produce more efficient weapons with an emphasis on advance weapons systems, nuclear warheads and the missiles on which to mount them to target the Great Satan, the United States as well as the capitals of Europe and Israel. The contest between these two worlds may come down to the developed world actually understanding the aims of the other world and understanding that they really and honestly believe that conquest of the world and subjecting to Islam is not only possible but their raison d’etre. Where will the future take us?

 

Expansion of Islam Across MENA and threaten Europe before Ottoman Rule

Expansion of Islam Across MENA and threaten Europe before Ottoman Rule

 

The idea of world conquest by Islam is nowhere near a new idea. This had been the idea since Muhammad gathered his armies in Medina taking that city and followed it with the conquest of Mecca. Muhammad initiated the expansion of Islam and the Arab Empire, which has made them, the greatest colonialists in all of human history (see map above). Their expansion was finally halted in the battle of Tours by Charles “The Hammer” Martel in October 741 A.D., a mere hundred and twenty years after Muhammad began his conquests in the Arabian Peninsula ending the westward conquest in Europe. On the eastern fronts, Islam ran into three forces, which prevented their conquering further lands. At the eastern end of Europe was Constantinople which initially came under attack in the year 330 A.D. and held the Islamic forces in check eventually falling when the Muslims used siege cannons which finally gave the following Ottoman Empire the ability to break through the massive and all but impregnable walls in 1453 (see picture below). The Islamic forces were also stopped after their conquest of approximately one-third of India on their initial thrusts and then over the next eight-hundred years the Islamic forces pillaged their way across all of India into Burma destroying entire cities razing them to the ground slaughtering the entire populations. The conquests in Asia reached their peak until in 1255 when the Mongol Great Khan Mongke placed his brother Hulagu Khan in charge of an army whose goals were to conquer Persia, Syria, and Egypt, as well as to destroy the Abbasid Caliphate. This began the great attacks by the Mongols, which took a heavy toll on the Muslim Empire. In the end, the Muslim faith took roots in the Mongol society, which finally ended their warfare.

 

Great Turkish Bombard Siege Cannon Utilized by Mehmed II in his Siege and Breaking of the Impenetrable Great Walls of Constantinople

Great Turkish Bombard Siege Cannon
Utilized by Mehmed II in his Siege
and Breaking of the Impenetrable
Great Walls of Constantinople

 

The second assault on Europe was made after the conquest of Constantinople by the Ottomans who ran into difficulties in virtually every front. In Rumania, they faced Vlad the Impaler, Vlad Dracula. He was a ruthless foe who would impale prisoners on pikes along the roadway, which the Muslims would be forced to utilize and other measures of brutality which spread fear within the Islamic ranks. It was rumored that even one of the Islamic leading generals refused to attack Romania claiming that Vlad the Impaler was far too insane and brutal and he would not place his men in danger of such brutalities. The Ottomans were turned back twice at the gates of Vienna. The more famous of these battles had the Polish King Jan III Sobieski reach an agreement where his neighbors would respect his borders while he and his entire military relieved the siege of Vienna. The Grand Vizer Merzifonlu Kara Mustafa Pasha began a siege of Vienna on July 14, 1683, and Polish King Jan III Sobieski led the largest cavalry charge in history: 20,000 mounted Poles, Germans and Austrians and Sobieski himself led the charge with 3,000 Polish Hussars relieving the sieged city of Vienna on September 12, 1683. World War I brought an end to the Ottoman Empire as they allied with Germany and Austria-Hungarian Empire against the Allied Powers consisting of Britain, France, Russia, Japan, Belgium, Serbia, Greece, Montenegro, Portugal and Romania. Late in the war, the United States joined the war making an immediate impact assisting in facilitating a quicker end to the conflict. The European Allied nations took control for a period of the nations across the Ottoman Empire that stretched across the Middle East to Iran and across Northern Africa. These lands were divided into individual nations by the European victors using rather arbitrary determinations, which have contributed to many of the problems in these countries today. (The nation that controlled each of these new nations and the dates in which they left are on the map below.) The Muslims are feeling that they were cheated of their proper empire and currently there are different leaders who view themselves as the proper leader who should lead the new Caliphate.

 

Dates that the MENA nations received their independence after colonial rule many since the times of the Persians or even earlier

Dates that the MENA nations received their independence after colonial rule many since the times of the Persians or even earlier

 

The Saudi Royals, Turkey President Erdogan, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei all believe they should be the next leader of the Islamic Caliphate. Then there is another issue, whether Iran and Shia Islam should be the true Islam for the future or whether Sunni Islam will prove superior as it has the greatest numbers at eighty to ninety percent. Then inside Sunni Islam, there are different types with the Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia, the Muslim Brotherhood that includes Turkey President Erdogan and most of the Imams at the Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt. Finally, there is the Islamic State and their leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who claims that he is the rightful Caliph. Saddam Hussein also had claimed he was the new leader and finally there is some claiming they are the Twelfth Imam known as Muhammad al-Mahdi. The one thing that will slow Islam is their inability to settle on a singular leader or even a single version of Islam. Currently, the Iranians are working towards becoming a hegemonic power in the Middle East and extending Shia Islam into Saudi Arabia where the north eastern and oil rich areas of Saudi Arabia already has a Shia majority population. The Sunni-Shia divides by some of the nations are; Turkey 80% Sunni and 20% Shia; Lebanon Sunni 24.5% Shia 47% with Christian and other 22%; Syria (before war) Sunni 73% Shia 14.7% Christian 9.3%; Saudi Arabia Sunni 52%, Shia 25%, Wahhabi 23%; Iraq Sunni 32.5%, Shia 63%, Christian and other 4.5%; Iran Sunni 11%, Shia 87%, Christian and other 2.5%; Egypt Sunni 87%, Shia 3%, Christian 10.25%; and Kuwait Sunni 61%, Shia 39%. The truth is that there are subsects beyond the more basic and simple Sunni and Shia divide which mostly what comes under discussions in the West, but the entirety of the complications of Islam are far more complicated. This may be the redeeming feature as witnessed in Syria. The initial divide is between Bashir al-Assad who is Alawite, which is basically a form of Shia and thus supported by Iran, the preeminent power of Shia Islam, and through Iran, Hezballah, the Shia terror groups from Lebanon, which has recently become the Lebanese military. Then there are the Kurds who despite being Sunni are targeted by all forms of Islam, especially Turkey and President Erdogan. The Kurds defend their area as best they are able and have had success against the Islamic State. There is the Islamic State which is Sunni, then the al-Qaeda aligned groups who are also Sunni and these two groups are enemies as they swear allegiance to different leaders and who you follow is the second level amongst Islamic forces. The Sunni are far more fractured than are the Shia, which actually may serve to permit Shia to slowly make gains and become dominant; especially should Iran become a nuclear power and through this become dominant. Should Iran actually use nuclear weapons, they may turn many Sunnis to switch and choose to join Shia Islam as in Islam you follow the strong horse and such acts would make Iran the strongest horse. As far as their target, it could be anything from Saudi Arabia to Egypt to Israel or the United States.

 

Interstellar Ship Made with Smart Metals

Interstellar Ship Made with Smart Metals

 

All this leads to some commentary about the developed world and what will be required for it to remain the dominant force in the world. First and foremost, the United States will be required to be a force in the world and Europe will need to change direction and find their core beliefs to prevent their perishing under a swarm from Islamic immigrants. Their scientific progress must continue and even accelerate and then be used to raise the standard of living throughout the rest of the world. They will need to set aside more funding for their militaries as only through strength can they avoid Islamic efforts. The remainder of the Christian world needs to take assistance, learn about good governance from the more successful Christian nations, and thus strengthen the Judeo-Christian ethic throughout the world. Space need become a dedicated and central effort with efforts to place permanent bases first on the Moon and soon thereafter Mars and ever further throughout the Solar System. Space is the high ground, which cannot be argued over as whoever holds space holds the highest of mountaintops. Technology is the developed world’s greatest weapon and sharing all of these technologies would be foolish. Once Islam has found a leader brave enough to actually return them to the original Quranic verses from Mecca and away from the verses written as a warlord in Medina, then with Islam taking a form where it is willing to coexist with other religions and not insist on being the superior and only religion, then the world might be capable of finally coming together. There are a fair number of Muslims who currently are working toward just such a goal with one being Egyptian President Sisi. These efforts should be supported when and where possible while the supremacist forms of Islam need be opposed and eventually eradicated if all Islam insist that they must rule the world and force all to do their bidding.

 

Coexistence is the key. The basis of this coexistence would be built upon a new material, which will be forged biological entities, to cooperate; otherwise they are separated and kept aside from all others until they are willing to coexist. The material, which makes sure that all people are willing to coexist and work together, is a living metal which will isolate any supremacist entities which refuse to cooperate with all others. These are the enforcement of coexistence and the enforcers of practical coexistence. Anything uncooperative will be sanctioned by this material until it learns cooperation and coexistence. In this society, the materials themselves will be the police and the enforcers of proper behavior.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

April 15, 2017

Is There Truly a Disparity Between Islamic and Christian Anti-Semitism?

 

If one were to look at the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) report on anti-Semitism worldwide one would immediately conclude that the crucial area where anti-Semitism is most pronounced is in the MENA* Arab and Muslim nations. There could be a number of reasons behind this seemingly obvious disparity mostly of which the ADL would claim it was due to greater sensitivity, civility and acceptance of other people’s religions, race, nationality and other differences in the developed world. On the other hand, it might also simply be due to education to answer questions as expected rather than giving honest answers. Another reason could be that due to programming through the education and media that people are not aware that they hold prejudicial thoughts and opinions. It might also be that such thoughts have been eradicated in the developed world, though that would be a miracle. Why am I so cynical about this? Well, it could be due to personal experiences I have had which indicate that perhaps the polling is not accurate because people have really been trained to hide socially undesirable thoughts. Perhaps dosing everybody with sodium pentothal before having them take such surveys would produce far different results, but we will never know.

 

Anti-Semitism figure and acts of vandalism

 

What were some of these experiences? Well, first allow me to give some general observations before we get to a few examples. I should first tell you that these are all observations from the United States as I lack any time even visiting Europe never having given travel there much consideration. I have come to surmise that Israel had a better acceptance and respect than Jews in the United States. Many Christians are confused over how and why some, too many by their thoughts, American Jews appear to hate Israel. Being a lifelong Zionist I was unable to assist them in answering this question as I share their disbelief and puzzlement. All I was ever able to say was that they placed their leftist politics ahead of their Torah and religion. That always drew some of the strangest looks, often a cross between complete inability to understand and simple bewilderment as if told two completely contrary things and claiming they were both true. Many had no ability to comprehend politics trumping religion.

 

Levels in Percentages of Anti-Semitism Worldwide by Regions

Levels in Percentages of Anti-Semitism Worldwide by Regions

 

One thing which made my ability to get some insights many never could was due to a select number of unique items. First, as a blonde haired, blue eyed, Nordic appearing person; nobody would ever suspect that I am Jewish without being told. The other main item was that I usually, most of my life, did not reside in predominantly Jewish neighborhoods. More often than not there were not likely to be any other Jews living within ten miles of where I usually could afford to live. The combination of these two small items placed me in a unique position to gauge real feelings and listen to people when the subject of Jews or Israel came into the conversations. When I was in a mix of people where a few knew I was Jewish, you could see pained looks on their faces when somebody spouted something hateful about Jews and they would all glance at me to see my reactions. Anybody who knows me well realizes that for the most part I do not have outward emotions very often. This allowed for such people to really hang themselves and allowed me to watch the reactions of others and whether or not they would respond defending Jews from hatreds, more often than not they would not. The most frequent reaction from those harboring no hatred or even love for the Jews was to hang their heads somewhat as if withdrawing protected them from the world and hate being spewed. Seldom did anyone speak up and when I would speak up others would often wince as if I were breaking some code and risking life and limb. On a few and very rare occasions it appeared that my defending Jews was unwelcome by the person who held anti-Semitic feelings as if I were impugning their honesty and becoming a threat to their reputation. Things never escalated to blows but I have lost presumed acquaintances and welcomed being relieved of needing to tolerate such people.

 

There was one particular phrase which I encountered more than I would have preferred when people first found out that I was Jewish. Too many responded to my telling them I was Jewish was initially that I was kidding and I would assure them that I was not joking and really am Jewish. Then sometimes, as stated too often, they would speak that phrase, “You do not act like a Jew.” This would almost universally receive my response, “Really, exactly how does a Jew act so I can work on that?” This would immediately make virtually all of them realize that they had revealed a bias which they had not realized they even suffered from. They would apologize and we would make some uncomfortable exchanges and then work our way past it. Fortunately many of these people would then ask questions about Jews and Judaism as they realized that they were living with suspicions and conceptions which they needed to get beyond. Perhaps these events for some became a good thing as they led to their receiving some education on the subject which they needed and probably would not have ever received such otherwise.

 

One thing I learned was that even those who held extremely negative opinions of Jews did not consider themselves to be anti-Semitic. Their feelings were that they were simply being honest and that the problem was with the Jews, not with them. They would tell you it did not bother them if somebody was a Jew and they would not hold their being Jewish against them. They just did not like Jews because Jews were simply not very nice and did not accept others who were not Jews. This revelation often came out claiming that the Jews are very clannish, you know, they stick together and watch out for each other against everybody else. Sometimes, when my mood was less than forgiving or one of these people got under my skin, I would make some comment about the Jewish mother ship hiding on the other side of the Moon and how I was still waiting for my washroom key. That would always get their attention at which point I would inform them they had made their statement in the presence of a Jew, sometimes I might instead say the enemy before informing them I was Jewish. There were those few who when hearing I was Jewish, sometimes one of the other people would break this news to them, they would get in a huff and sometimes even become threatening which never ended well but fortunately never led to actual violence.

 

What I learned in my sixty years of research, well, maybe less as I do not remember the first twenty very well, is that there is some degree of misconceptions as to how Jews act and exactly what a Jew is and what being Jewish means. As a youth I remember being accused more than once with having murdered Jesus. The first time was when I was three by the three year old girl next door who probably heard it in a sermon or from her parents as she was not old enough and proved as she grew not to hate anyone as near as I could tell. I came home crying as it upset me and asked my Mother who was this Jesus person and when did I kill him? I must have really been upset as I do not remember what my Mother told me or how she handled it but I am sure it was sensibly and kindly as that was how she handled everything except punishment for breaking rules, that she was strict and rather harsh which is why I tried not to break her rules. I learned though that there is a level of animus towards Jews, a sort of undercurrent which flows through more of the society than we care to admit. Mostly it is a misunderstanding due largely to the Jews being a complete unknown thus people can only theorize exactly what a Jew must be, what they are like, how they feel about others and other generalities. Much of this is filled in by parents, people around them, their religious teachings and that favorite of all peoples everywhere, suspicions. The one overriding thought is that Jews are simply somehow different from regular people. As a group they are too successful, too wealthy, too much the other and this causes suspicions which lead to distrust. This was mostly what was behind that phrase that I did not act or seem like a Jew to these people as I was not different and shared many of their ideas and principles. My being a Jew troubled them as it shook their entire concept of what a Jew would be.

 

What can we conclude from my experiences? Well, first allow me to point out I lived throughout the United States and moved more times than I care to remember. I worked constructions, retail sales and management, military, airfield crash rescue firefighter, roofing, railroad tie decorative restraining walls (the tallest was over fifty feet), medical electronic repair and calibration, satellite communications electronics, electronic prototyping, shuttle driver and so on. I lived on both coasts, the south, the west, the mid-west, New England, the northwest, Great Lakes and near everywhere inbetween. Basically what I am conveying is my sample size was expansive, diverse and ran the gauntlet of educational backgrounds. What I found was that people are pretty much the same with the more educated simply more practiced at prevarication. The misconceptions about Jews are fairly universal and people who have such misconceptions do not believe they are prejudiced against Jew or suffer even the slightest from anti-Semitism; they believe the way they see Jews is simply normal. What is interesting is that in areas of the world where anti-Semitism is the highest, the people there also believe they are not anti-Semitic, they are simply normal and it is the Jews who are abnormal. The main difference is that in the MENA nations where anti-Semitism is measurably the highest, they realize they hate Jews but simply believe that normally everybody should hate Jews. In the developed world they simply do not believe they hold misconceptions about Jews and are simply shocked when they discover that their beliefs are very probably wrong. Unfortunately, most of the people holding misconceptions about Jews will see these exact traits in any Jew they meet as they seek to believe that they are not hateful because that is undesirable in the society so they must be compassioned. The only way they could ever find out they have a difficulty is to get to know a Jew without knowing the person is Jewish and then have their world shook when they are informed that this otherwise normal person they were friends with is actually one of them, a Jew. Then they can come to grips and possibly change and realize that Jews are actually no different than anyone else. The problem is there simply are not sufficient Jews to go around and allow for everyone to have just such an awareness enhancing experience.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

* MENA are the nations of the Middle East and North Africa

 

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