For some reason as I read this post over and over, the word that comes to mind is fundamental. Obviously, we must not ignore the fundamental facts in Jewish history. Each day, almost every day, the media reports a new incident, a new attack, a new desecration. Listen, my heart cries, listen. Think. React. Act.
Just days ago, the Chief Rabbi of Argentina was attacked and severely beaten in his home. A few weeks ago, swastikas were painted in cemeteries in several countries. And more, in the last few months, Jewish stores, schools and synagogues are being attacked.
No, I don’t have the emotional energy to be polite, to suggest this is something other than what it is.
In 1933, it might have been acceptable to make a mistake. In 1938, as they were burning Jewish books and synagogues and attacking Jews in the streets of Germany, maybe blindness might have been credited with ignorance.
What then is the fundamental difference? Perhaps I could say that the world changed dramatically during WWII. Wait, no. Really, that’s a lie. If it were true, I wouldn’t be writing this today. So if the world has not changed, what has?
I wish the answer was “the Jewish people.” I want to say that we won’t take it anymore but even that isn’t true. Because every community that remains in place after yet another vicious attack pronounces loudly that they haven’t changed.
So what has changed? Not all Jews, but many. In France, there is barely a Jew who is not thinking of an escape route, a way to flee….if…when.
In England, they are looking into aliyah in vast numbers. Even in the US, more are considering it.
Is life in Israel easy? Hell no. But from what I’m seeing, it isn’t so easy to be a Jew in Argentina today, in Brooklyn and Queens last week, in France and England and Germany the week before that. In the Ukraine…well, forever.
Poland is insulted that I supported the Acting Foreign Minister of Israel’s comment that Poland has a deep and long-standing history of anti-Semitism that is simply has not dealt with. A Polish Jew, yes, there are a few, wrote me in anger. I had no right to write as I did. Yeah, I do. While this woman is alive in Poland, my grandfather’s family was murdered, their property stolen from them. I could have been her…and am forever grateful that I’m not.
If you are a Jew living in Argentina today without a planned escape route, you’re a fool. Harsh? Hell yes.
If you are a Jew in Brooklyn and you think it can’t happen again, yes, I’m so sorry – you are being very foolish. If you can’t think of today, think of tomorrow. Is that really how you want your children to grow up? Any Jewish child?
I won’t tell you that the solution is aliyah – I will tell you that I do not believe aliyah is impossible for anyone. If you are ready and willing to live in Israel – Israel is waiting for you. What will you do in Israel? How will you make a living? Isn’t is so hard to learn Hebrew? Yes…and in a separate post (or PM me and I’l tell you privately), I’ll tell you about solutions to these issues.
But the fundamental answer for any and all Jews to the question of what you would do in Israel…is live. That simple. That obvious. And that simple and obvious statement cannot be made today in Argentina, France, New York, England, Pennsylvania, Germany, and certainly not in Poland.
Long ago we learned the fundamental truth – where today they desecrate Jewish cemeteries and burn Jewish buildings…tomorrow they will kill Jews. That simple. That obvious.