Anti-Semitism: Preparedness Can’t Be Blind

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Anti-Semitism: Preparedness Can’t Be Blind.”

As I’m standing there, I feel someone coming up behind me and then running into me. Of course, with anti-Semitic attacks prominent and growing, I may have been at a slightly higher state of alert, and I turn around ready for whatever or to give someone a few choice words…And then I see the cane from a blind person.


So even in these times, when there are gangs, drugs, violence, and anti-Semitism, and “we can’t be careful enough” (especially given our long, deep history of religious persecution), at the same time, we need to judge our fellow man favorably first and foremost, and still we must be prepared for, G-d forbid, the worst at any time.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

A Vision of Jewish Strength

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “A Vision of Jewish Strength.”

 

With the rebirth of the State of Israel came the rebirth of the Jew. No longer the Jew cowering in the face of pogroms, Inquisition, Crusades, persecution, expulsions, and the Holocaust. The new Jew, as epitomized by the brave men and women of IDF, would be remade in the image of Moses who led the Jews out of Egyptian slavery, and King David who vanquished our enemies in our land, as well as the Jews of Purim and Hanukah, who fought ever so valiantly and to victory against the great empires of Persia and Greece or for us, whoever rises against us as the modern day equivalent.


But as important to the new Jew as our physical survival is that of our spiritual wellbeing. The persecution of Jews over thousands of years was not just a physical attack, as horrible as it was, but also a spiritual, religious, and cultural one, where Jews were prohibited from learning Torah, worshiping, and practicing as Jews. Thus, the second point of criticality in having the State of Israel is that it provides for Jewish sovereignty and ensures “the Jew as actor, determiner of his or her own destiny.” The Jewish people to truly thrive must be able to express themselves through their own language and history, religiously and culturally, and practically through their own leadership and decision-making to forge their own future.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

‘Uncut Gems’ Cuts Deep

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Uncut Gems Cuts Deep.”

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.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Operation Thunderbolt: Fighting Prejudice and Persecution

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “Operation Thunderbolt: Fighting Prejudice and Persecution.”

No people should suffer blatant prejudice and persecution and everyone should be “entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” These are part of the foundational values that America and Israel share. We stand as friends and allies for respecting and valuing human rights, always to be underscored by peace and security for our peoples. Isn’t it an amazing “coincidence” that the rescue in Entebbe occurred on America’s 200th anniversary, July 4, 1976!


The raid on Entebbe and the miraculous rescue of the hostages stands as an everlasting symbol of courage and triumph of good over evil. As we continue to work and pray for a genuine peace in the Middle East for all its inhabitants, we also must stand resolutely and say “Never Again.”

(Credit Photo: Government Press Office Israel via Flickr)

Jews, The People of Thanksgiving

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Jews, The People of Thanksgiving.”

This week was Thanksgiving (חג ההודיה), but for Jews we are already called, “The People of Thanksgiving. “We are named יהודים (Yehudim) after יהודה (Yehudah), the son of Isaac and Leah because Leah said (Genesis 29:35): “הפעם אודה את יהיה.” (“This time let me thank G-d”). Also as Jews, we are not just called the People of  Thanksgiving, but we are actively supposed to say 100 blessings a day thanking G-d, so in the true sense of the word, everyday is Thanksgiving Day for the Jewish people.


Jews are the People of Thanksgiving not only on Thanksgiving, but every day of the year. We are thankful for being the chosen people and for our redemption and return to the Promised Land of Israel; we are thankful for the life and opportunities that G-d has given to us; we are thankful in good times and G-d forbid, in the bad times; and we are thankful because, yes, ultimately everything from G-d is for the good.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Coming Great American Aliyah

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “The Coming Great American Aliyah.”

If you just open your eyes and have faith, you will know that you will be going to Israel–the question isn’t if, but when! What G-d has decreed, no man can annul. There are three types of ways things will unfold for American Jews: Some will go to Israel on their own,”nicely.” Others will be going only when they absolutely have to–“not so nicely.” The third group will not be going–unfortunately, as difficult as it is to say, they won’t make it. While this is all about the fulfillment of messianic times, and we don’t know when precisely it will all transpire, I pray that people (including myself) will choose to plan intelligently for the future to make aliyah in good times, and that their shouldn’t be pain and suffering for the Jewish people in getting there, but rather that it is an amazing experience filled with endless blessings.


May G-d bring us in peace, prosperity, and health to fulfill His promise of the ingathering and to rebuild the Temple and bring Mashiach to the world.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Beautiful Anne Frank

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.  😉


___

Song:


Anne Frank’s Diary


Lyrics:

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 …