Yesterday, we went to see the new Adam Sandler movie, Uncut Gems….Ratner’s life is full of shlemazel of his own making. While he has a good wife, kids, and extended family (maybe with the exception of his loan shark uncle), a fancy-schmancy home in the suburbs with a newly renovated pool, his own jewelry business that even caters to some big-league sports players, and a shiksa girlfriend on the side (who seems to love him), Ratner is never satisfied or happy and is always pushing for more!
In the movie, Howard Ratner was driven by greed and made bad life choices, and to me, it was a shame that the he was portrayed as a Jew, which can feed the vicious cycle of discrimination and hatred that has often been anchored around money. With the vicious machete attack on Chanukah at a Rabbi’s house in Monsey this week (after a slew of other anti-Semitic incidents, including an attack on a student for wearing a yalmulke on the NYC Subway to beatings and tire slashings of Jews in Brooklyn), we are reminded that there is once again a resurgence of prejudice and hate against Jews, but also that it’s the light of Chanukah that “drives out the darkness,” and that money and materialism are a mere shabby substitute to finding true security and success whether you work in the dense NYC Diamond District or live in the sprawling suburbs of America.
Take a look around you at the new security measures and people risking their lives for yours and your family. Take a moment to thank them. But also, recognize that the security isn’t there just for show, it’s there because the hatred and threats have tangibly increased along with the ever present means to carry them out. It is critical that we continue our vigilance and the strengthening of our security measures, because those that hate us for who we are and for our faith are not going away, and unfortunately, they may even continue to grow in numbers and resolve. However, none of us should live in fear and be forced to stay away from our religious institutions, our Torah study, and prayer, but rather to the contrary, we need to stand up strongly–in defiance and in faith!
While I don’t know what specific security measures we will see next Rosh Hashanah, I can say with almost absolute certainty that it will be more and not less and that you should definitely be taking notice.
While I am a staunch supporter for the security of Israel, I pray for the day (a miracle) when Jews and Arabs can be brothers again–shoulder to shoulder–that embrace and help each other, rather than enemies “at each others’ throats.”
In my mind and heart, there has got to come a time when the hatred and violence ends, and when instead peace can and will prevail. 😉
In Remembrance of Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Observance) today:
This is a beautiful Hebrew song about Anne Frank who at age 13 went into hiding in Amsterdam from the Nazis.
For two years, they stayed in the attic…not being able to make a sound or open a window.
But she kept an amazing diary that preserves for us the life and suffering they went through.
After 761 days, they were discovered and Anne Frank was was sent to Auschwitz Concentration Camp.
Anne and her sister Margot died in Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp.
This child was beautiful and her story lives to remind us of the evil that we face and the survival that we all must. 😉
Anne Frank’s Diary
A book hides me.
And what, what a fear.
My father, my mother and my sister,
With the neighbors together.
We are all in silence and quiet,
With only the heart whispering whispers.
Here they hide from the soldiers,
Which our soul seeks.
My diary, my precious,
Oh Kitty, my friend.
Will I ever see a sunrise?
Will I find my death?
In the tiny rooms, From a suffocating feeling.
Cold days and clouds.
Nights of terror and silence.
It’s not true, it’s not right,
I want to laugh out loud.
Dance, sing and play,
I’m a child, all in all.
My diary, my precious …
There are terrible moments,
In our relations.
So crowded here in the apartment, Everything is closing in on us.
Food is also very lacking, The war within the city.
Will I live? Will I survive?
Do you still love and sing?
My diary, my precious …