Beyond the Cusp

April 15, 2016

Where Have the Zionists Gone?

 

With the Jewish support for Democrat candidate Bernie Sanders being gauged and taking flak from Jewish Republicans and many Zionists even from the Democrat Party, some editorialists are wondering why the relative silence challenging the Jewish support. Many believe, whether backed by fact or not, that Hillary Clinton would be better for Israel of the two Democrat hopefuls challenging to represent the party in November. There is an easy answer to this quandary by simply looking at the voting record of Jewish voters in the last two Presidential elections where in the United States close to 80% of American Jews supported President Obama while over 80% of Jewish Americans residing in Israel voted against President Obama. This provides the answer that the vast majority of Zionists have already realized their dream and made their move to Israel and those who remain as Jews residing in American have drifted away from concerns about Israel and aligned with leftist politics over concerns for support of Israel.

 

 

Israeli Flag

Israeli Flag

 

 

We realized this when we were preparing to realize our dream and make Aliyah to Israel and the reactions of the congregation in Oklahoma. Where the Rabbi was very supportive and the few Republican conservatives were also supportive the majority had one simple question, why were we going to Israel and what was our problem with living in America, was that not good enough for us? To many of these Jews moving to Israel was not a realization of the Jewish dream of returning to our ancient home as much as it was performing an act of hatred and loss of faith in the United States. The reality was that the decision which brought us to Israel was made by one of us around fifty years earlier as a youth who realized very early that the pull to return to the Jewish homeland has grabbed them and had decided that once all the parents were cared for the time to realize the dream would be addressed. Where that obligation was met in a way unanticipated, we came when it had been satisfied or at least started the paperwork. It is remarkable how difficult it can be to document an entire life to the satisfaction of governments, any government. After many, many months we had completed our documentation and realized we had had full lives, or at least almost a book’s worth of documentable life between us. We still want the best for the United States and will vote and even continue to vote for our former Representative though we will not likely vote on the individual questions which dot every election ballot but as we still have friends and a son residing in our former district we still want the best for them and will likely consult to make sure we grasp the choices for the different candidates.

 

Yes we participate and vote here in Israel and are beginning to understand the parliamentary system of voting for party and their lists and realize its shortcomings which have granted us a greater appreciation for the direct election for the American President as against getting whoever the party that makes the governing coalition decides should be Prime Minister. In order to vote for the person you want to be Prime Minister you need to accept the slate of party ministers listed and hope the ones farthest down the list, the ones you know virtually nothing about, and neither do most others you talk with, are in the government as you need the party of the desired Prime Minister get the most seats. So, everywhere has its appeal and its not so appealing which makes sense on some level and thus wherever one goes there are those benefits and deficits and the sums often are quite surprisingly near identical. So, for those friends who wondered why we would leave America and who claimed we would regret the move we have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that there are things where the United States has great advantages over life in Israel and then there are some things so much greater in Israel. The straightforwardness of politics in the United States and the variety of products available in the stores and malls in the United States have no equal we have found thus far and we are comparing places of relative same size populations except we have yet to spend a week in Tel Aviv (which we have sort of renamed Los Angeles) which might have everything materialistically while the quality and social life here is beyond imagination as the people are by in large very much more accommodating and friendly and it is so much more natural to just be Jewish, no surprise there.

 

The reality is the Jews remaining in the United States are wholly Americanized Jews with almost none if any Zionists remaining in any congregation. The American Zionists are here in Israel with some exercising dual citizenship and others having completely transited and are Israeli only. A small number reside in both nations as they have business interests in the United States which require their presence so they make regular visits, business trips, to the United States. Many of the Jews from the United States and the Anglosphere are retired and some still make trips back to their native country as they have family and this means grandchildren, weddings, Bar Mitzvahs and other events which they choose to attend. Some of us have insufficient funds for such luxuries and making such a visit would take a concerted amount of savings to make such a trip so any such trip would be extensive as we would desire to visit family and friends which lie spread across the United States.

 

 

Let’s Run Them Up Any Flag Pole and See Who Salutes Them Smartly Showing Your Love of Freedom and Feel Free to Add Your Flag if the Moment Grabs You as You See This Pair of the Flags for Freedom

Let’s Run Them Up Any Flag Pole
and See Who Salutes Them Smartly
Showing Your Love of Freedom
and Feel Free to Add Your Flag
if the Moment Grabs You as You
See This Pair of the Flags for Freedom

 

 

There is one last advantage in Israel, the climate. With no snow or ice along the coast and residing a mere five blocks from the Mediterranean Sea one could claim to have retired to the Riviera of Israel as the weather here resembles San Diego more than anywhere else in the United States, especially Michigan, Oklahoma or the Washington D.C. area where winters can be more disasters caused by serious snowstorms. We would like to say we miss these wintery mixes, well; actually no we don’t miss such wintery blustery weather. We will take the mildly chilly and wet winter weather which makes a serious winter bluster for as long as six to ten weeks where it actually can get into the low 40o F which when it is also raining means hunkering down in place and waiting it out until it at least stops raining. Here in Israel there are those who don their winter coats while others wear their shorts and sandals no matter the weather, even the most blustery of days. Guess which group are Sabras, local Israelis. For those who do not know, a Sabra is both a native born Israeli and a cactus and both are said to have a prickly outer layer but a soft, gushy and sweet inside which in the cactus is edible and in native Israelis comes out as soon as you make a connection with them. The majority of Israelis speak English and many speak Russian as well as Hebrew. There is said that there will be an influx of French speakers we just do not know where they may settle.

 

The one misconception we encountered from our American friends is that due to terrorism living in Israel is unsafe and outright dangerous. We have gotten a handle on the reality and after some research found some unexpected realities. Crime in the United States has a greater possibility of striking one’s life than crime and terror combined in Israel. The similarity is that as long as you avoid known places where such threats are more likely one can mitigate almost completely any threat from anything untoward. So, all things considered, at least for us, Israel has a better quality of life though some things a very different. Instead of living outside of town and relying completely on a vehicle to get around we live right next door to City Hall and can walk nearly everywhere we need to get to in town. When we need to go elsewhere such as for medical appointments the Israeli trains are clean, comfortable, affordable and convenient. For places the trains do not have tracks there are options such as busses or shared taxis which hold eight to twelve people and are very reasonably priced and will drop one near or at where one needs to go. The only drawback is they pick up at set locations so one might need to walk almost a whole kilometer to get to the pickup points. Basically, a car is a luxury and one which is not really necessary. Will we get a car some day, perhaps but such is not a priority. Meanwhile life is good and the Zionists do appear to almost all reside here. The Jews remaining in the United States, as everywhere where Jews are largely assimilated; well, should they continue to have an easy acceptance, they will assimilate and likely cease to be practicing Jews and within two generations be completely secularized and not identify as Jews. Then again, the situation could turn ugly slowly across the entirety of the Western World even including the United States and these assimilated Jews who thought they were completely secularized and not actually Jews would find themselves treated as being very Jewish and if they are fortunate they will be able to get to Israel where whatever the drawbacks, at least being a Jew is not one of them.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

December 18, 2015

President Rivlin, the Post Zionist

 

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin has had a very interesting and denigrating visit in the United States which began with a meeting with United States President Barack Obama as we covered in our article Once Again the Discussion is How to Satiate Mahmoud Abbas where the two Presidents discussed their mutual concern of the consequences should Mahmoud Abbas and the governing Palestinian Authority (PA) fail due to one of any number of reasons, many of which were caused by Abbas and his supporting band of kleptocrats. The President of the United States was sounding out on his guest what very well will soon be an enacted plan which will more likely blame Israel generally and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu for not salvaging any remnant of hope for continuing the ill-fated peace process. The aim and results of the secretive meeting between the Presidents, one, the Israeli, in a nonpolitical role and the other, the American, all too political very likely misled and made indications which though meaningless and no promise of Israeli intents or actions will still be utilized to attempt to bulldoze concessions from the Israeli government in order to reconstitute the PA and restore faith and trust in the idea that Mahmoud Abbas, Saab Erekat and the rest of the officers in the PA are agents seeking peace. This has been the misconception which had been the basis of the United States policies and decisions as well as the underpinning of the European Union and its individual governments such that their condemnation of Israel can be made with righteous indignation only exceeded by their hypocrisy and that by their resurgent anti-Semitism whose historic malfeasance is epic and writ throughout European history. We cannot say for certain that President Reuven Rivlin promised that the Israelis were willing to give away the store in order to have peace and were willing to accept almost any demand in order to satisfy Abbas and make a final peace. The problem there is for Abbas to accept a peace it would require the end of Israel as we know it. The question is whether President Rivlin knows such or is he the new Simon Peres, his predecessor as President and possibly the most damaging person to ever hold the office.

 

But Israeli President Reuven Rivlin’s fateful week was far from over and would hit two distinct peaks, or should we say sink to two troughs, one at the White House Hanukkah Party and the other at a very unusually decorated Haaretz Party with some questionable guests and main speaker in New York. First the White House Hanukkah Party where at least President Rivlin was not the main problem, his not making some protest, a mild and polite rebuke would have sufficed, but to pretend nothing untoward had occurred was a bit disappointing. Of what should President Rivlin made a critical comment? The Rabbi must have been carefully vetted by the White House to find the least Jewish most ardent leftist which called herself a Rabbi. What she was was a walking, talking advertisement for why Reform and Reconstructionist Rabbis and their congregations may not actually be all that Jewish and a reason for orthodoxy. The hand-picked Rabbi’s name was Susan Talve and I plan to take great care to keep the title of Rabbi separated from her name out of respect for the title of Rabbi. Susan Talve touched every liberal cause, or should we say extreme leftist as we feel that even some of the most liberal American Jews would have still felt uncomfortable with Susan Talve and even more so were she named their congregation’s Rabbi and they heard her presentation at the White House. With her opportunity to light the Hanukkah candles one would have expected at least one comment about Israel, the Maccabees, the little vial of oil burning for eight days or something related to Hanukkah, Israel or Judaism, which she did not unless leftist Democrat talking points is now considered Judaism which would be a sad commentary on American Jewish community, but we refuse to believe that the entirety of Judaism in the United States are this lost from their roots.

 

So, what was it that Susan Talve, the White House selected Rabbi, said which was offensive? Well, it is a multiple choice test as she made a number of questionable statements with some sufficient on their own for rebuke and the others simply further supportive evidence. For a soft preparatory introduction we will tell that she wanted her fellow Jews or Americans, she did not specify, to “clean up the fires of toxic nuclear waste.” We never realized that nuclear waste, even toxic nuclear waste, actually qualified as something on fire or even that such gave off flames of any kind by the regular definition of flames or any kind of fire, and I was a trained crash and rescue air field military firefighter; so I know a little about what constitutes a fire. Then there was another of the milder comments when Susan Talve pleaded for getting the “guns off our streets.” As the old Ronco ads said, but wait, there’s more. She has been described as screeching though I prefer to be kinder and refer to it as a high pitched emphasized with ample volume firmly warbling, “I stand here with my fierce family of clergy and Black Lives Matter activists who took to the streets of Ferguson.” Well now, guess we are starting to go off the rails finally. While rambling on about anything but the reasons and events celebrated in Hanukkah where one of the Priestly class was forced to make an apparent choice between making a sacrifice to a Syrian-Greek idol or be murdered along with the entire town he served decided to refuse the two choices and take matters into his own hands. Grabbing the Syrian-Greek unit commander’s sword the lead priest and head of the Maccabee family, Mattathias the Hasmonean, first killed the individual who stepped forward offering to make the sacrifice for Mattathias and then killed the Temple Priest who accompanied the Syrian-Greeks as they were an anathema to the Jewish religion and with the assistance of his family, Judas Maccabee and his four brothers, Eleazar, Simon, John, and Jonathan; Mattathias started the revolution with the words as he prepared to head into the Judean hills from where they fought a guerilla war eventually causing the Syrian-Greeks to depart with the words, “Those who are with Hashem come with me.”

 

The epitome of the offensive and anti-Rabbi whose name must not touch the title she claimed and the White House chosen Rabbi when lighting the Hanukkah Candles, Susan Talve made her dedication, probably instead of the actual blessings, “I stand here to light these lights to say no the darkness of Islamophobia and Homophobia and Transphobia.” And in her continued running at the mouth before she mercifully was seated included here represented in bits and pieces she called for, “Justice for Palestinians” and closed with the coup de gras, “InshAllah, InshAllah.”

 

 

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin Lighting Hanukkah Candles at President and Michelle Obama National Hanukkah Party

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin Lighting Hanukkah Candles
at President and Michelle Obama National Hanukkah Party

 

 

Then there was the Haaretz Party in New York, New York. As with any party this had its share of luminaries. What it did not have are supporters of Israel. This was a very exclusive event with Roger Waters of Pink Floyd and BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) supporter who has actively advised other performers against playing or performing in Israel. This is forgivable. Coming to an event where Avner Gevaryahu, representing Breaking the Silence was the featured speaker is highly questionable as long as your time at the microphone defends the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and makes known your discomfort with the invitation of such a hater of the IDF might be in order. Remaining at an event being given by what we are to assume is an Israeli news source which has removed and refused to display the Israeli flag is an insult to every caring and patriotic Israeli. One does not need be a Zionist to expect Haaretz to display the flag of Israel, particularly when inviting the President of Israel to attend and making the comfort of the Israeli President and the Israeli People he represents over an anti-Israeli representing a group which is reprehensibly defaming the IDF, is unacceptable. No foreign nation would invite the President of Israel, or any other nations’ President, and not fly the Israeli flag in honor of his presence. To not permit the flag of Israel is firstly an offense committed by Haaretz as one of Israel’s presumably premiere news sources even worse than having Avner Gevaryahu, representing Breaking the Silence, as your featured speaker and placing his speaking as featured over President Rivlin are first and foremost an insult by Haaretz against the Israeli people, the Israeli Defense Forces, and the nation of Israel.

 

It is solely because this event was an anathema to any respectable and patriotic Israeli and triple that to any Zionist Israeli and should have been sufficient warnings that this was not a venue suitable for the President of Israel who is presumably the representative of all Israelis and by attending and apparently having no difficulty with the insult to the nation of Israel and her people by refusing to fly our flag is where President Rivlin showed poor judgement and to put the bow on top, he gave a warm and welcoming speech expressing his pleasure and privilege for attending an event that so insulted the nation and its peoples. President Rivlin, it is your poor judgement in representing most Israelis we know, potentially every Israeli we know, that have us questioning your sensitivity to our expectations and something we would sincerely request you either become more sensitive to our feelings and sensitivities or hire a person who could assist you in sensing when Israelis like those we represent and other friends of Israel we represent from our readership that we show our concerns and hope your staff will find somebody from amongst them or from outside to alert you to such potential signs which might arouse our concerns in the future. Until such wisdom and discernment is shown by preferably yourself, or at least one in your staff, we will remain fearful that we once again have a President from whom we can again expect insult after insult to our feelings and once more we are left unrepresented in the office which is presumably tasked with representing Israel spiritually and emotionally and to show respect for our nation and its valued trappings such as the flag and the IDF. We hope that is not too much to ask of our President but thus far we are unsure such a level of dignity will be forthcoming. We have a friend who expressed suspicions that the Presidential Office or potentially the Residence itself has a particularly virulent virus which will infect every Israeli President going forward called Peresitis. We hope that you can be cured of Peresitis and have the entire trappings of the Presidency cleansed of this virulent endemic of Peresitis as soon as an antidote or other method of destroying this pathogen can be found. Until then we can only hope your case of Peresitis passes soon from your system and your developed immunity can also cure the rest of the trappings of your office from Peresitis.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

April 16, 2015

Anti-Semitism Rising Yet It Can’t Happen Here

 

Any sane person, one might think, would not doubt that anti-Semitism is rising in the four corners of the globe. While that is true, each admission of that carries an additional modifier. That modifier is the exact same modifier used by Jews everywhere from the beginning of Judaism as a major religion, “It can’t happen here.” Now, that modifier always has some accompanying rationalizations such as the following: We Jews are an intricate part of the society; we are accepted in society; we are seen as judges, lawyers, businesspeople, and are even elected to positions in government; we Jews are accepted and assimilated; and my favorite, this isn’t Nazi Germany, this is America. There is one item from the previous which has always puzzled me, how it is such an intelligent people, as Jews presumably are, can misunderstand that their being assimilated does not infer automatically that the population has assimilated them into the whole. There are other qualifiers and whatever one you can dream up is probably used by some Jews somewhere. What is really ridiculous is when there are leaders of Jewish society, the central pillar around which the community seeks wisdom and guidance, the Rabbis who when asked, “Should not the Jews leave here and seek someplace less threatening to live?” They answer, “No, of course not. Why would you suggest that? This has been our home and the homes of our families for generations. We have a lot invested in this community.” And my favorite and usually their final rationalization, “The authorities have promised to help us and keep the peace and guard against any further anti-Semitism.” Do not get me wrong, they honestly feel that these rationalizations are completely valid and hold water. They refuse to see that the actual realities have struck holes in their every argument.

 

Things in Europe are at the worse and mostly beyond the cusp range of realities; so I will stick with the queries and responses we received when we began telling the other members of the congregation with whom we had a familiar friendship. First allow me to point out that those with whom we still converse online and the Rabbi all supported our making Aliyah and gave it their blessings if not their desire that it be they who were going to live in Eretz Yisroel. But the others gave responses such as, “Why would you want to go there? You are leaving the United States? But things are so much more civil here. Aren’t you worried about the terrorism? And our favorite, you will be returning here within a year once you see what it is like in Israel. I’ve been there and I know. Those naysayers were wrong. We’ve been here well over a year and are loving it. I, myself, have never felt more comfortable and accepted as I have here and can only imagine how much more so once we have mastered Hebrew, at least master enough to, through spits and starts, get through an entire thought.

 

That little anecdotal trip down memory lane was to point out we have seen this attitude play itself out in our own experience. Of course, as mentioned, our friends all expressed their longing to make Aliyah and come to Israel and many expected to do so in the near future, but time will tell on that. Getting to make Aliyah as a Jew is no longer you show up and announce that you are Jewish, kiss the ground, and be granted immediate citizenship. The paperwork we filled out made a pile almost rivaling the stuff we brought with us. OK, that was a bit of an exaggeration. Still, the process for us was a little complicated and took over two years to complete and during that time it had its many ups, downs and why would they need to know this questions. Eventually we completed the process and many of the items we were puzzled why they were necessary proved not to be required but was stuff they gathered for statistical reasons. OK, so you were collecting mega-data, why didn’t you just say so, we’ve heard about Edward Snowden, we would have understood, honest.

 

Our making Aliyah had to do with a young nine year old boy promising himself, the worst promise you can make because it requires you to either complete the promise or let yourself down, that when the time came and all things in America were fulfilled he would retire in Israel, something the wiffie really might have preferred knowing about before we got married, but she already knew I was a bit strange, right, quite strange, well, if you insist, beyond the cusp strange! There, I’ve admitted it, happy? Still, it may have been the most advantageous thing we ever did as it changed our lives for the better and really opened up our lives much as a rose stretches out its petal to greet the morning sun and drink up the warmth and the blessed energy G0d has seen in His wisdom to provide for that rose bud so tightly shuttered to awaken stretching out revealing its beauty and spreading its fragrance for all to inhale and exclaim that this is a beautiful day. That is how we awaken here most mornings.

 

Back to the subject which is as horrific and threatening as our returning home to Eretz Yisroel was rewarding and enriching. The news we read about places in Europe such as Malmo, London, Toulouse, and numerous other places are horrific and makes us feel for those Jews residing amongst such hatreds it amazes us that they don’t simply pick up their lives and come to Israel. Surprisingly, even including all the terrorism within the Green Line in Israel, you are still safer in Israel than you are from crime in the United States or Europe, surprising but true. Yet not only do these people continue to live in places where their lives are under threat both day and night, but their Rabbis all tell them it is the Jewish thing to do to remain in defiance to the threats. Where in all that is holy is that written? Looking back over the past year or so in the United States, pulling solely from news stories, I am able to remember we have had some horrific acts of anti-Semitism. There was the Rabbi visiting family in Florida walking to synagogue in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood who was approached by two youths, at least younger adults if not teens, a brief exchange of words, the sound of gunfire and the two youths walked away calmly leaving the Rabbi sprawled out dead on the pavement. The Florida local police listed this as a robbery gone bad, as if the youths had no realization that religious Jews, which the attire of the Rabbi was obvious, do not carry money or items of wealth on the Sabbath. There have been near countless desecration of Jewish cemeteries or the Jewish section of a cemetery yard throughout the United States and ten times worse in Europe. There have been desecration committed against Holocaust memorials often accompanied by writings on such structures of “Jews to the gas,” “Hitler was right,” “Jews get out,” “Holocaust was a myth,” “We are the new Holocaust” amongst numerous other defamations of this ilk. Then there was a stretch of time where a “game” which became known as the “knockout the Jew” game where a member of a group of youths as they passed somebody sporting Jewish identifying clothing would attempt to one-punch the targeted Jew at a minimum knocking them off their feet or knocking them unconscious, scoring howls and celebratory knuckle tapping in recognition of this person’s singular accomplishment. Eventually this happening caught sufficient attention from the authorities, especially after one elderly man died from his wounds from striking his head on a curb after being struck as part of this fun game. There have been defiling of synagogues with such an event just this past week in Gaithersburg, Maryland. which is located in Montgomery County. which is heavily Jewish with a percentage of eighteen and two-tenths. That is actually a very impressive percentage when one figures in the percentage of people in the world who are Jews, a whopping two-one hundredths of one percent, for those who might be having difficulty with realizing how small a percentage that is, allow me to reference it in other ways, 0.02% which mathematically comes out to 0.0002 Jews per unit of population, one would require counting out a section of any random grouping of people from around the world a staggering five-thousand people in order to have relative assurance that there would be a single Jew in the group. Perhaps placing a bit of writing that Mark Twain once wrote about the Jewish people will be far more impressive than anything I could ever imagine up, so the rest is from Mark Twain’s essay “All Things are Mortal but the Jew”* also referred to as “The Eternal Jew.”

 

If statistics are right, the Jews constitute but one percent of the human race. It suggests a nebulous dim puff of stardust lost in the blaze of the Milky Way. Properly, the Jew ought hardly to be heard of, but he is heard of, has always been heard of. He is as prominent on the planet as any other people, and his commercial importance is extravagantly out of proportion to the smallness of his bulk.
His contributions to the world’s list of great names in literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine, and abstruse learning are also away out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers. He has made a marvelous fight in this world, in all the ages; and had done it with his hands tied behind him.
He could be vain of himself, and be excused for it.The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greek and the Roman followed; and made a vast noise, and they are gone; other people have sprung up and held their torch high for a time, but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, or have vanished.
The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind.
All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?”

 

Beyond the Cusp

 
* “Concerning The Jews,” Harper’s Magazine, 1899
The Complete Essays of Mark Twain, Doubleday [1963] pg. 249

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