A Holocaust Bar-Mitzvah

Little Boy Holocaust.jpeg

So there was a bar-mitzvah in synagogue today. 


It was very memorable, I think not only for the young man and his family, but for many of the congregants–and frankly, it brought me to tears.


The family was from the Israeli embassy, and they did something that I had never seen before. 


When the father got up with his wife and son at the pulpit to speak, he didn’t talk about how great his son was.


Instead he spoke about a young boy from the Holocaust who never made it to his bar-mitzvah.


The father told of the just 12-year old that lived in Europe and was murdered by the Nazis in the Jewish genocide that killed 6,000,000!


The father presented a certificate from the Remember Us program with the name and information of the murdered boy to his son. 


The message of this father and Israeli official on his son’s bar-mitzvah was very clear–Never again!


Never again–the hate, prejudice, discrimination, and murder of Jews just because they are Jews.


The people that were murdered by the evil Nazis and other hating bigots throughout history showed no mercy towards G-d’s creatures–in fact, quite the contrary–they relished in the absolute torture and killing of each and every one.


Never again, is not just a phrase, but it is a determination and a commitment to be a “light unto nations” not to forget how some can fall under the evil influence and not to allow it to happen again that people engage in the most outrageous and vile atrocities against their fellow man. 


Unfortunately these days, hate and bigotry comes in many colors, races, genders, orientations, and affiliations–and the haters may often pretend–like the Nazis did as the “Aryan Nation”–that they are superior, better, and even righteous in their (evil) cause. 


However, we have to know better–we have to be able to discern good from evil–raise up good over evil–and fight for good to win against evil. 


It is not just a single battle, but a long intergenerational war, and one that will be won.


G-d Almighty will most assuredly see to it that those who hate on and perform the vilest of deeds against their fellow man, they will end up paying the ultimate price not only with their rotting flesh, but with the eternal burning of their sickening souls. 😉


(Source Photo: here with attribution to the Holocaust Education and Archive Research Team–HEART)

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Greatest Danger Is Still Man

broken

Season 7 of “The Walking Dead” kicked off last night, and it was an absolutely devastating storyline


This was the long awaited episode to see what happens after Rick and cohorts are captured and literally put down on their knees in the gravel by the evil and ruthless Negan and his army. 


The killings of Glenn and Abraham by getting their skulls brutally bashed in was one of the most horrific things I have ever seen. 


And forcing Rick to nearly cut off his own child’s arm and all the other mental torture and physical abuse he endured left the show’s leader and hero, a completely broken man. 


All that they had overcome and survived was now just a shattered history. 


They were overcome, they were defeated, they were wholly broken.


What is amazing is that they could handle the Walking Dead zombies (even hordes of them), but ultimately, it was the evilness of man himself that they could not win against. 


Zombies are dangerous and scary, but man is the most dangerous and brutal predator out there, and the horrific things they can do to each makes everything else pale by comparison. 


Especially, when Negan kills and destroys, he does it with such completele evil joy that it leaves one questioning, how can this whole evil thing exist in a universe created and maintained by a good and merciful G-d. 


My wife said to me that this was a small reminder of what the Holocaust must’ve been like–with the Nazi’s holding a stranglehold of power and committing the most heinous atrocities and genocide against 6 million starving and enslaved Jews held in notorious concentration death camps.


After the show, watching “Talking Dead,” viewers indicated that this was the turning point in the whole show, and there was no going back for Rick and his group.


Yet, I am most certain that even if it can no longer be Rick who regains his strength and leadership mantle, there will be another who will rise up and overcome the evil Negan. 


It’s a dog eat dog world, and there is always another younger, leaner, and meaner dog in town–hence, every dog has it’s day.


Ultimately is that justice?


While perhaps we all wish to see good triumph over evil every time, there are certainly moments when good takes a good walloping. 


And then G-d sends a savior to restore good to it’s rightful dominant place in the universe.


In the process though, lives and souls can be shattered and never be the same again. 


Watching the eternal battle between good and evil is what totally tests our faith and gives us the free choice on which side to be on. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

U.S. Shuts Eyes To Syria and Ukraine

stop

While we are willing to take in some refugees (true to “our values”), we are not willing to enforce “red lines” and stop the killing in Syria’s almost 6-year murderous civil war. 


Incredibly, there are 500,000 killed (including 50,000 children) and another 2,000,000 wounded in the fighting already


Also, there are 6,000,000 internally displaced and another 4,800,000 refugees outside Syria causing a humanitarian crisis and destabilizing the region. 


Dictator Bashar Al Assad and most importantly, Russia seem unstoppable. 


Russia does not play by the West’s rules–they make the rules!


While we threaten to cut off diplomatic talks, Russia continues the heaviest bombing of the war with 1,900 bombs on Aleppo in the last week alone.


The UN cries foul with empty threats of war crimes on the atrocities being committed, but again no one is willing to stop Russia.


Moreover, Russia brings in yet more advanced weaponry and warns the U.S. not to try to stop them in Syria (sound familiar to the 2014 blitzkrieg in Crimea/Ukraine?). 


Again, we are unwilling to stop the bombardment of almost 300,000 civilians in Aleppo with aid convoys, hospitals, schools, and bakeries all grotesquely now being fair game.


Last week, I watched 60 Minutes on CBS about our nuclear bomber fleet, and the rising threat of nuclear war with Russia.


What was particularly scary is that U.S. military strategists are now concerned that the U.S. is “sociologically weaker” than our opponents.


In particular, they worry that as Russia continues to threaten first use of nukes to meet their strategic aims with “an evolved willingness to employ nuclear weapons in the course of a conflict,” they are counting on the U.S. to back down from any engagement or retaliation, because we would be so afraid of escalating with Russia, let alone using first. 


In other words, Russia does not consider the U.S. nuclear deterrent to be credible anymore–we are viewed as chicken and pushovers and Russia could simply “shock the Western powers into de-escalating.”


First Ukraine and now Syria, what country is safe from the “Great Bear”–will the Balkans be next or perhaps somewhere even more deadly to a broken NATO and a farce of a UN. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

For Holocaust Remembrance Day

Nazi Throwing Children Into Fire.jpegNazis KIlling Children.jpeg

The photo is self-explanatory to all decent human beings out there.


We can never let evil rule the day.


Good people must stand up and speak out for good.


Never again!


(Source Photo: Sent to me by Minna Blumenthal)

Remnants Of The Holocaust

Holocaust Number Tattoo

So I had coffee with a wonderful gentleman this week.


And he–like myself–is a child of Holocaust survivors. 


Two quick stories he told me:


– His father, a survivor of the notorious concentrations camps that killed millions, had a number tattooed on his arm by the cursed Nazis. As the years past and his father worked to resume a normal life, what did he do with that number to try and help forget all the atrocities he went through? Get this…he used the number on his arm as the code for garage door opener. As he told his son, this way, I will never forget the code to open it.


– As a child, my new friend wanted to go to summer camp, he once asked his father, “Dad, when you were my age did you go to camp?” And his father replied, “Yes, I went to concentration camp!” Indeed, a very different sort of experience for a child. These days our children run, play, and swim in the beautiful outdoors at summer camp, but in our parents time, as Jews, they were hauled in cattle cars to suffer at the hands of the Nazis in slave labor, starvation, disease, beatings, torture, and in extermination camps behind razor-sharp barbed wire, attack dogs, and watch towers with machine guns.


How on Earth did these atrocities and genocide occur just 70 years ago–in the 20th century?


As much as I have learned, I am still dumbfounded by it: people (really more like vicious animals or Zombie devils) brutalizing other people, human beings–men, women, children, old people, the sick and disabled–and exterminating millions in the most horrific and brutal ways.


Now, the victims, their children, and grandchildren are left to go on and rebuild, where a tattooed number by the Nazis in the infamous concentration camps becomes a reminder for the everyday garage door opener in what we try to make of a normal life once again. 😉


(Source Photo: here with attribution to HolocaustSurvivors.org)

12 Years A Slave, But Not Anybody’s Property

12 Years A Slave, But Not Anybody's Property

I saw the movie “12 Years A Slave.”

I have seen other movies on slavery, such as Amistad and Glory, but none were as potent and realistic as this was.

I came out with my head full of feelings of pain and injustice, as if I had just lived through those 12 years as a slave myself.

I literally felt sick to my stomach and the room felt as if it was spinning and I could hardly breathe.

My wife said to me, “You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t feel bad.”

And I responded to her, “I feel bad that they (the slave owners and traders) weren’t human.”

I cannot tell the story of Solomon Northup or of the horrors of slavery any better than the movie in fact did.

But what I can convey is my shear disgust for how anybody could enslave and mistreat others the way the Black people and others throughout history were.

As a Jewish person, my own people have a history of 400 years of slavery in Egypt, and this took on a whole new meaning.

As great actors as Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner were, The movie, The Ten Commandments, did not show the depths of Hell of slavery as much as the breadth of Heaven of redemption.

And while the Pyramids of Egypt were built not with massively powered Caterpillar earth movers and construction equipment, but with the flesh and blood of my people under the whip of servitude 3,500 years ago, similarly the Capitol of the United States and The White House were built with Black people in chains and hung by the noose.

In the movie today, the plantation owners said they could do what they wanted to the slaves and without fear of retribution or sin, because the slaves were their property.

What is unbelievable is that anyone can believe that anybody can be the property of anyone other than G-d, the Master of the Universe, him/herself.

The slave trader in the movie, tearing apart a family and selling the mother and her children separately, when questioned on his ability to commit such atrocity, says matter-of-factly,”my sentimentality extends the length of a coin.”

For a buck, what will a person not do?

In history, we have seen individuals and whole societies cheat, steal, rape, enslave, torture, murder, and commit every treachery and treason…for a buck or even just because they could.

What is the lesson for all of us?

People can do great good in this world, but unfettered by faith, conscience, reason, or fear of justice, they can do great, great evil–and for that we can never let our guard down.