Thursday, January 27, 2011

Journalist and Former Rabbi’s Wife Takes on 400 Rabbis and Glenn Beck Detractors

I’m very impressed that in such difficult economic times 400 rabbis were able to come together to raise $100K for a newspaper ad in the Wall Street Journal condemning Glenn Beck and what they deem as his improper “references” to the Holocaust.

What a shame that these same rabbis and their confreres who are so worried about the preservation of Jews didn’t read the January 19th article in Haaretz: “Israel’s greatest threat is not security, it's poverty” with 1,774,800 citizens living in destitution. They sure could have bought a lot of sandwiches for $100,000. And how many of them actually work on behalf of the impoverished Holocaust survivors still extant who barely make ends meet and have to beg at the doorstep of Federations, Jewish Family Services, and the Claims Conference?

I’d also like to know where Glenn Beck’s “thank you” note is from these same rabbis for being among the very few journalists/commentators who stood up for Israel during the Gaza Flotilla crisis when the whole world was against it. Couldn’t George Soros lend them 44 cents for a stamp? They may want to watch Beck’s show of 06/02/10 wherein he expounds upon Israel’s history and points to the facts legitimizing the Jewish Homeland when its very right of existence is being questioned and threatened at every bend. With sanctions, boycotts and divestments being the latest vitriolic war against the Jewish State, odd how Glenn Beck’s use of the word Holocaust is what’s ratcheting up their ire?

I’m sick and tired of Jews who keep sticking up for our enemies. And George Soros, at the center of this issue, is no friend to Jews or Israel. As one of the world's richest men, let his relatively sparse philanthropy toward Jewish causes speak for itself. Let his support for J Street with its alleged agenda to delegitimize Israel speak for itself. In 2003 the Jewish Telegraphic Agency ran a story saying, “George Soros says Jews and Israel cause anti-Semitism.” Wow, is there anything lower than blaming the rape victim for the rape.

Perhaps these same rabbis love watching CNN and the BBC where Israel seems to be blamed for all the world’s ills. Is it so hard for them to digest that Fox has been unbiased toward Israel from Operation Cast Lead to the flotilla fiasco?

Why don’t these rabbis take out ads against the United Nations whose Human Rights Council has adopted more resolutions against Israel —than any other country in the world, while terrorist organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah, who are fighting a proxy war for Iran, are given immunity by that scam of an international body.

Did these same rabbis write angry letters to Columbia University when it invited Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who denies the Holocaust ever happened, to speak to impressionable young students?

Did the same rabbis write letters to President Obama saying they were offended that he is forcing Israel to make peace with a Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, whose Ph.D thesis was a blatant denial of the Holocaust? Or do they only know how to love those who hates us and hate those who love us?

Maybe these same rabbis are also part of the Goldstone fan club and prefer to gaze east from the gas chambers than from Mt. Scopus.

In addition, since when is there a copyright over the word Holocaust and how it can be used? All Jews are equal shareholders. I own the history too! But, moreover, since when has the word Holocaust become solely a Jewish fiefdom? Can only a Jew make such references with impunity? Or is this group no better that the Muslim fundamentalists who decry the use of the name of Mohammed by infidels—surely cause to exterminate the offender…not! Whether you like it or not, the Holocaust is just a word, just as is Nazi. What counts are the millions of people who were murdered--if these same rabbis want to honor the memory of the dead, let them behave like menschen and say thank you to today’s friends.

And so, I thank Glenn Beck for keeping not only the memory of the Holocaust alive but the evermore important lesson, how the Holocaust came to be to begin with. By teaching how history unfolded he is doing much more than simply reiterating the slogan “never again,” he is pointing to the incremental steps that eventually led to the Holocaust and alerting us to the signposts.

As an aside, I’d like to remind these rabbis about the Talmudic decree that it is a sin to embarrass a person in public which is regarded as tantamount to murder. If they have a problem with Glenn Beck or Fox, why not raise their complaints behind the scenes? Their act makes it obvious that there is a much bigger agenda at play here.

The Jewish state is in greater peril now than perhaps it has ever been since its coming into existence. Antisemitism, as well, is also on the rise. It would serve our people much better to galvanize around the common purpose of survival rather than posing centerfold in the Wall Street Journal. If they are looking for a word war let them play a crossword puzzle in the New York Times. They will find themselves at home there.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

How Quickly We Forget

How many of us have seen the movie Gone with the Wind and wished that Rhett Butler would make an about face and actually “give a damn?”

It is with that same remorse that I read about the Biblical Joseph’s death and how a new “Pharaoh arose over Egypt who knew not Joseph”--the very Joseph who made the country rich and saved it from ruin. And so the new Pharaoh showed his gratitude by enslaving Israel and murdering their firstborn. Talk about appreciation. A “Thank You” card would have sufficed for me.

But Bible experts say that the new Pharaoh was not a different person at all, but rather the very same Pharaoh arose with a NEW attitude. Once the bad times were over, he figured the Jews were expendable; he didn’t need them anymore and he didn’t want to owe them anything. After all, a lifetime of gratitude is a heavy debt to pay, no?

Boy oh boy, doesn’t this Biblical tale sound all too familiar? How many of us can think of all those times when we were there for people when they were down and out? But then one day, when they "made it," they forgot our name, forgot all we did for them, and offered begrudging hellos when they saw us? Once they walked through those doors of opportunity, they never turned back; they no longer seemed to “give a damn.” And poor us. We gave our hearts, our time, our money with the best of intentions and we are left standing there like epic idiots, depleted, hurt and bitter. And so the fundamental question is: Does gratitude have an expiration date?

And are we any different? It seems we often remember what we do for others, even the $5 we lent someone 20 years ago and insist we are only upset "on principle" that they didn’t pay us back. But when we owe others, we can manufacture excuses a mile a minute as to why the account has been settled.

It took the Jews less than five minutes to forget the Ten Plagues and the splitting of the sea and everything God did for them. Thus, it is no wonder that He had to command the Jews to remember that He took them out of bondage. Nonetheless, He still gave them the choice to remember, as it is our choice to fulfill the commandments or not. For the burden of feeling that we owe anybody anything may seem tantamount to slavery; we may feel that it shackles our pride and stride to drag along that weighty ball-and-chain of knowing that if it wasn’t for so-and-so, I’d still be a nothing and a nobody. Mankind does not want to be a slave, either to taskmasters, to favors, or to the past.

And so God freed the Jews from slavery and with their new freedom, He gave them a gift of sorts — the ability to forget. But along with that gift (batteries not included), came very important instructions: REMEMBER!!!

At the end of day, it all comes down to one thing. Are you a mensch? Are you a grateful person? Do you live your life in gratitude and appreciation? Do you think people are just rungs on a ladder that you can step on as you rise? I advise you to remember and to “be grateful to people on your way up because you will meet them on your way down.”

And for those of us who feel like the steps on the ladder, know that the Hebrew word for ladder (sulam)and Sinai (the host mountain where God gave His commandments) both have the same numerical value of 130. So, know you’ve done the right thing and you add up to decency. Be grateful that the Almighty endowed you with something to give. And know also that God has a long term memory, despite all those who quickly forget!