What happened to genuine faith in G-d, belief in the holy Torah, our duty to abide by the 613 commandments, and generally doing right in this world by our fellow man and before G-d Almighty? Maybe I’m being too literal here but being a “good Jew” has got to mean something important. We are keeping alive the tradition of our parents, grandparents and great grandparents, spanning back thousands of years to our Forefathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and to G-d delivering us from Egyptian servitude, and His giving to us the Torah on Mount Sinai, and to His bringing us to Israel, the Land of Milk and Honey, and keeping us from being wiped away by one great empire after another. Being a Jew means being part of an important important and yes, “chosen” for a special mission of being a “light unto the nations” and that means action on our part: thinking, saying, and doing what’s right all the time!
We are tested daily to do what’s right, even when it’s not convenient, easy, enjoyable, or popular. What is a Jew? We need to really ask ourselves that question. It’s not trivial and neither should the answer be. Our lives in this world and the next are depending on how we live up to the high bar that is set for us each and every day of our lives that Hashem mercifully grants to us.(Photo: My dear parents Fred and Gerda Blumenthal at my Bar Mitzvah)
While Israel and the Jews are filled with paradoxes from our forefather Abraham to the modern State of Israel, we are a people who try to wear these paradoxes well. We relish our commonalties even as we are proud of our differences and uniqueness. We argue and fight with each to try to get to “the truth of the matter,” and we negotiate, compromise, threaten and cajole to that sometimes elusive end. Paradox is just another word for our survival against all odds and our determination to overcome the blind hate, anti-Semitism, and scapegoating of Jews throughout history. We Jews are individually broken, but together, we are a beautiful, paradoxical mosaic—a little meshuggah (crazy) and with an unfortunate dose of PTSD, but fundamentally good in intent and deed—working to fulfill our optimism, hope, and mission to usher in the universality of G-d in the world and of betterment for humankind.
The question then is why? What is so intractable about the Israel-Palestinian conflict that no one seems to be able to solve it and that it has become virtually the Holy Grail of world issues on which if only we could solve it then everything else would-be nirvana. The conflict has been blamed for everything from the endless Palestinian refugee situation to Soviet aggression and expansion during the Cold War, the oil embargo of 1973, the rise and proliferation of Islamic terrorism, and countless other of the world’s ills. Anyone who even contributes to Middle East Peace like Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat and Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat win the Noble Peace Prize, and that’s without there being a full and final solution!
I am certain that Israel’s willingness to negotiate and even to make painful compromises for peace has been far more prevalent, far-reaching, and consistent over time—whether in Oslo, Camp David, or Taba. In the meantime, Israel and the Palestinians continue to “take the risks” and remain in a perpetual state of sometimes active and more often passive war that is fought by Israel through military control and incremental settlement expansion and by the Palestinians through terrorism and their pursuit of the demographic population time bomb. When it comes to achieving peace, perhaps the wisdom of the ages applies here: “the short road is long”—there are no shortcuts to serious negotiation and compromise—and “the long road is short”—eventually, a solution for peace will be found even if for now it tragically and painfully evades us all. (Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
The case of the Sarah Halimi is yet another example of the anti-Semitism taking deep root in France, where rather than ensuring Justice for her barbaric murder, a second French court has now absurdly affirmed a lower-court ruling that the alleged perpetrator Traore cannot be held criminally responsible simply because he was on marijuana! Incredibly, these French justices ruled in this completely nonsensical way even as cannabis is being ruled legal for medicinal and even recreational purposes in more and more countries around the world.
It is inconceivable that a modern, western nation as France (part of the EU, NATO, the UN, etc.) would allow violent, racist, hate-mongers, and murders completely off the hook simply because they were high on some cannabis or for any other lame excuse like that. This is not rational. It is not human or civilized. And it is certainly not justice. Jewish blood is not cheap and Kolibi Traore cannot be allowed to go free. France needs to make this right because Sarah Halimi, a citizen of France, was butchered there because she was a Jew, and letting radical Islamists commit violence and terror like this is a danger not just to the French, but to everybody. (Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Israel Is Tops.”
In just 73 years, with G-d’s miraculous help, we have a Jewish State that is top-ranked in the entire world: Israel is ranked overall #30 in Best Countries in the World.
In our 4,000 year history as a people, we suffered long and painful exile at the hands of the Babylonian and Roman Empire, but then in 1948, we were given another miraculous chance for the Jewish State of Israel. So far, we are doing great by all measures; now we have to make sure to keep it up for good.