Friday, 31 March 2017

A Conflict of Loyalty

Years ago, when I first became an American citizen, I had to take the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag. I remember how disturbed I was then when the thought of “What if the U.S. and Yisrael ever enter a political conflict,” occurred to me. I decided to push that thought away as far as possible into the creases of my sub consciousness.

Fortunately, it laid dormant for a long time until several years ago.

Comically enough, though, it was not so much the actions of America or the U.S.  government and its policies vis-a-vis Israel, Medinat Yisrael that served as the catalyst or the wake-up element for its disturbing resurgence. Rather, it is the American Jewish community that has brought that troubling thought of conflict of loyalty back into life.

As many here know, I care about my fellow Jews, first and foremost, wherever they are but I can only speak about those who live in the US. I have been following the American Jewish community for many years, first as one of its members and later as an outsider who had strong connections to it through family and friends. I was unhappy with the way those ties unfolded themselves to me.

I initially saw some cracks in Jewish unity and loyalty to our Jewish culture and heritage when I worked as a Hebrew and Sunday School teacher at one of the northern California synagogues. As part of my duties, I instructed a course entitled “Jewish customs and traditions.”

One day, I decided to dedicate the lesson to “Jewish Contributions to World Civilization.” Listing all the achievements and major contributions of Jews to the world was a good way, I felt, to start as I was hoping to instill great pride in young American Jews. “So, you see,” I concluded, “Jews have given many gifts to the world.”

“And so have Catholics,” answered one very outspoken student.

I was taken back by that response. “That is true,” I did not hesitate to say. I chose my words very carefully as I was trying to decipher the reason behind this unexpected comeback. “Of course, Catholics have contributed much to world civilization,” I continued, “but this is a Jewish class in a synagogue. “ I could feel my blood temperature rising. “Let Catholics discuss and teach their contributions to the world in their churches, in their Sunday schools. Do you think they bother to discuss the gifts of the Jews in their Sunday schools?” I calmly said, still trying to control myself.

I was proud. I was even more proud when I walked uprightly into the Rabbi’s office to meet with some angry parents.  Though I knew I had a job to keep, I was ready to face them and defend my position.

“We teach our children to be universal,” the head of the PTA started.”

I did not linger with my response. “How can we and our children be supporting the contributions of others if we are ignorant of our own?” I challenged them. “Dear Rabbi,” I said as I turned to face him, “you lost your eye as you were walking alongside Dr. Martin Luther King in Montgomery Alabama when you joined their fight for civil rights. Where are you and your loyalty to our people when they need the support for their rights to educate their youth to be proud of their heritage? How can we support the good fight of others when ours is still raging?” He smiled and ,lowered his eyes.

That was forty years ago. Little seems to have changed.  Now, as then, some of our Jews feel the need to fight the battles of others while neglecting the future of their own. Moreover, that support, on more than one occasion, is done while sacrificing our own on the altars of justice and universality.  
Why are Jews so keen to be like everyone? When will our fellow Jews realize that their loyalty should be primarily to Jews and Judaism, our heritage and our essence? After all, are not these values the ones that have kept us going for over two millennia? So why are we struggling so hard to, seek approval and recognition? Should the world not love us and be grateful to us for some of our gifts, ones that we shared so readily with it?  Why are Jews so eagerly  willing to give slices of our own in return for that approval, for that love, for being accepted and supported? Why are some of us so ready to betray the memory of those who died while protecting those values? What will it take for our fellow Jews to understand that we are not like everyone else, that we cannot be like other nations?  
We cannot, not because we are better, not because we are worse but because we are different.

A free People is a People free of conflict. As long as the internal conflict of loyalty in Judaism continues, we will never be free. We may well have physically left the Diaspora but the Diaspora, as it seems, has not yet left our souls.

Shabbat Shalom.


  1. Well written, my friend. So truthful... and important.

    1. Thank you Jeff. Shabbat Shslom and happy Pesach.


    2. "One of the major problems with Israeli democracy is that it has
      no constitutional guarantees of human rights. To my knowledge
      it's the only functioning democracy without such provision."
      Asa Kasher, Israeli philosopher,
      [in BRANDT, J., 2000, p. 10]

  2. I totally agree with you...When reading so many Holocaust posts.. many of these leftist Jews let others try to steal the Holocaust from us ...saying that it was not just the Jews who died reminding us of others who died...Catholics, Disabled , Gypsies and others.....mind you I care.. but first and foremost.. I am a Jew and I care about JEWS.. THE HOLOCAUST. DAY is a JEWISH DAY OF REMEMBERANCE.. Because we have made it so.. I do not see any other religion or Race having a Day of REMEMBERANCE or a Holiday.. especially for The Holocaust .... only The Jews..
    I don't think anyone else was hunted down and discriminated again like our people... (as you well know) but The JEWS..

    1. Adele, I am wiyh you and have been on yhe ssme page for a long time <3

    2. Adele,I can name a group of people that were hunted down like Jews...The Russian kulaks(peasants)...They were hunted down by the JEWISH Bolsheviks.


    3. "A good many Israelis see that if conflict with the Arabs
      continues, they are in danger of becoming like the Germans
      from 1933 to 1945 -- accomplices if not perpetrators of
      permanent oppression."
      Norman Birnbaum, Why, p. M5


    4. "[Jewish] manufactured claims of uniqueness for their own
      people are, after all, synonymous with dismissal and denial of
      the experience of others ... Narcissistic false claims of
      uniqueness are joined with brutal, racist denials of the
      sufferings of others, becoming two sides of the same coin."
      -- David Stannard, p. 198


    5. "I would be the last to minimize the atrocity of Auschwitz,
      where my father and mother perished. But don't the tears
      of others count? " -- Maxime Rodinson, p. 9


    6. "Hitler has been a life-giving stimulant for me. In times when there is no
      Jewish flame left in me and I am feeling very cold, I get warm again on
      account of Hitler ... I know I shouldn't say this, but ... Hitler [is] helping
      me to fulfill my status as an immortal man ... What will become of me
      when there is no more Hitler and there is no one to set flames under me
      to keep me warm? What if we come at last to a world in which no
      anti-Semite is left and everybody loves me? What of my poor Jewish
      bones which set so quickly cold without stimulation? Who and what
      will keep me warm then? -- May 27, 1937 [in GOLDSTEIN, p. 115]

  3. Have you ever asked yourselff the question..."WHY have Jews been discriminated against"?

    1. Yes, Doug, I have and have written a few articles on the subject.


  4. When Jews be themselves, they ARE a light unto the Nations.

    EVEN when they've suffered through a major disaster like the destruction of the Second Temple.

    But we don't hear of how the sages got strategies in place to nurse the Jewish people through what was going to be a LONG galut..because the record most of the world has seen since then filtered through other eyes. To put it midly, gentile-o-centric eyes.

    I'm non-Jewish myself...but in 1986, I read the entire Christian bible from cover-to-cover, Genesis to Revelation in about a week or two, for an overview. And I found that New Testament JARRED things...that up till then, it had been the story of a family, a people a nation and their walk with God. So, in 1986, I felt a little cheated that I wasn't really reading the continuation of the story of the family, the people, the nation after such a bad moment. That inspired research into what had happened to the Jews and what they came up with...and the story of the family, the people, the nation got MORE interesting. And...even under exile, at the mercy of other peoples...some of THE best POSITIVE innovations came about because of Jews. I don't have to remind people of how that's continued since the rebirth of the State of Israel...most of the readers are reading on Pentium-level computers which are something Israel had a hand in...or reading on mobile phones that owe a lot to Motorola Israel. On the other hand...the Jewish kid who brought up Catholic contributions didn't seem to be aware of things like the Inquisition, the contribution to ignorance that occurred in Europe during the Roman Church's heydey, 300 c.e. to 1300 c.e., the lack of any real scientific advancement, or even the fact the Black Plague ripped through Catholic communities because of the LACK of hygiene, something Jewish communities were handling better BECAUSE the Torah covers health and hygiene. To that we may add the encouraged superstition of the Catholic Church which had Europeans NOT looking to the Jews as having better ways of handling the Plague. Jewish contribution to law: the jury system. The Jewish contribution to civilization has been just have to get past all the slander of them. Seriously, every country at some stage has always brought on board Jews to help them somewhere...though after a few hundred years, countries have also turned on them. There is nothing wrong with having Jewish self-respect. And on universalism...believe it or not, there is more universal application in the story of a PARTICULAR and unique people. When Jews are themselves, not trying to be other peoples, they are a definite light to people like myself. When they live the Torah and apply it, they are a light to people like myself. When they are there in a crunch providing real help and solutions, they are a light to people like myself. Who gets a mobile field hospital in long before other countries' religious or charitable organisations even start a donation drive? Who puts such a field hospital in the greatest area of need in international disasters? One people. Who protects their own people fantastically as well as tourists when there's something like a Gulf War 1991 going on?

    Catholics can do their own self-promotion of their achievements...and also examine a bit more accurately the reality of their negative contributions. There are enough Catholic schools that do that without necessarily mentioning Jewish contributions to the world. In fact, let's be honest...up till only very recently...the Catholic Church's view of Jews wasn't that good anyway. So let a Jewish school remind Jewish kids they ain't as bad as they're made out...they actually have been the true achievers from behind the eight-ball for much of the past 2000 years. No other people could have achieved so much while under the worst conditions humanity ever wanted to throw at it. The story of the family, the people, the nation DOES continue and it's still one heck of a story.

    1. George,the Jews DESPISE Jesus Christ and His Gospel..How can two walk together unless they be in agreement.