Tag Archives: antisemitism

Eternal Book Review

Growing up is never simple. We are often faced with challenges that force us to make difficult choices or face a reality that we would prefer not to.

Eternal, by Lisa Scottoline, was published earlier this year. Growing up in Rome, Marco, Sandro, and Elisabetta have been best friends since they were young. Marco is the son of a former cyclist and ardent follower of Benito Mussolini. Elisabetta was raised in an artistically inclined family, Her dream is to become a novelist. Sandro is Jewish and a promising mathematics genius.

Two major events upend the world as they know it: World War II and their teenage years. Marco loves Elisabetta. But Elisabetta loves Sandro. As their love triangle intensifies, so does the fascist government and the increasing influence of Nazi Germany.

Soon, they will all be tested. As a Jew, Sandro’s world becomes ever restricted by the antisemitic Nazi race laws. Marco gets involved in local government and Elisabetta must fend for herself. Everything and everyone they know will become unrecognizable, forcing all of them into adulthood and the complications that arise from this transition.

I really enjoyed this book. It was a reminder that the Holocaust extended to the whole of Europe. The Jews of Southern Europe were a target as much as their Central and Eastern Europe co-religionists. What was different was that Rome’s non-Jewish community did not wholeheartedly accept the ideology of the German invaders. There were many who maintained friendships with their Jewish friends and neighbors while helping them in whatever way they could.

Though it is not a quick read, it is well worth the time it takes to complete the novel. I was quickly engrossed in the tale and the changing relationship between the main characters.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Eternal is available wherever books are sold.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Review, Books, History

X Troop: The Secret Jewish Commandos of World War II Book Review

Behind every fictional war story is a real narrative that is sometimes more interesting than its invented counterpart.

X Troop: The Secret Jewish Commandos of World War II, by Dr. Leah Garrett, was published in 2021.

The book starts in the middle of World War II. It looks like the Allies are fighting a losing battle. In England, a plan is concocted to create a commando of unlikely recruits: young Jewish men who are refugees from Nazi-occupied Europe. None of them have had any previous military training. Most have been classified as “enemy aliens” due to being born in either Germany or Austria. In addition to being suspected of possibly spying for the other side, these young men have lost everything: their families, their homes, and everything/everyone they held near and dear.

Known as the X Troop, they take on new identities, are trained in secret, and have one goal: to defeat the Nazis. For these soldiers: the fight is personal. They are fighting for their homeland, fighting for the ones they love, and for justice.

The best way to describe the narrative is sort of real-life Inglorious Basterds. It was an amazing book. Dr. Garrett writes in a way that is accessible, readable, and, most importantly, a history lesson we should all learn. It reinforces the idea that European Jews were not just lambs to the slaughter. They fought in whatever capacity they could. From a personal stance, it gives me hope that there are good people out there, even in the midst of antisemitism, hate, and prejudice.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

X Troop: The Secret Jewish Commandos of World War II is available wherever books are sold.

P.S. Today is Memorial Day in the States. May the men and women who gave their lives for this nation (even with its imperfections) forever be a blessing. Z”L

American Flag Veterans Day GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

2 Comments

Filed under Book Review, Books, History, Judaism, Movies

Can We Talk About Israel?: A Guide for the Curious, Confused, and Conflicted Book Review

If there is one thing we can hopefully agree on, it is that the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is not as black and white as it appears to be on the surface. The truth is that there are grey areas that are not often explored or given time in the spotlight.

Can We Talk About Israel?: A Guide for the Curious, Confused, and Conflicted, by Daniel Sokatch, with illustrations by Christopher Noxon, was published last fall. This premise of the book is to answer as many questions as possible in a concise, readable, and understandable manner in regard to one of the world’s longest modern disputes. Starting in the distant past and ending in today’s world, Sokatch explores the history of the region, the people who have called it home, and the arguments that have lasted generations.

I have mixed feelings about this book. While he highlights the antisemitism that has, unfortunately, been part and parcel of Jewish history, I think he gives the haters too much latitude. While I am again hoping that the consensus is that there has been too much destruction and loss on both sides, I am disheartened that the author ignores the many times that real attempts for peace have been shot down by the Palestinians.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

Can We Talk About Israel?: A Guide for the Curious, Confused, and Conflicted is available wherever books are sold.

3 Comments

Filed under Book Review, Books, History, International News, Judaism, World News

The Shooting in Buffalo is a Shit Storm of Everything That is Wrong With This Country

Saturday morning started as out as a normal day. For the residents of Buffalo in upstate NY, it became a day marked by grief and horror. A gunman walked into a grocery store and started shooting. By the time he was apprehended, ten people were dead, and three were injured.

The accused (whose name will not be mentioned on this blog) is an eighteen-year-old Caucasian boy. According to the police, his intention was to murder as many African-Americans as he could. Only two of the victims were not POC. Upon further digging, law enforcement officials discovered a manifesto in which he also believed the antisemitic bullshit.

To make matter worse, he had previous mental health issues and was able to evade the laws that prevented him from legally buying a firearm. If that was not enough, he lived streamed the massacre. As much as I appreciate the upsides of social media, the companies that run these platforms have some serious work and soul searching to do.

Everything that is wrong with this country is represented by the event on Saturday and the person accused of perpetrating it. There are many who would have no restrictions at all when it comes to firearms, but they will do everything in their power to control a woman’s/pregnant person’s body and their right to choose if/when they become a parent. They also turn a blind eye to the hate coming out of the right-wing press and the politicians who prefer power over respecting democracy, political norms, and the rule of law.

I don’t know what it is going to take to shake us out of this dream world that we live in. I fear that when we do, it will be too late.

May the memories of those killed on Saturday be a blessing. Z”L.

P.S. There were five mass shootings across the country this past weekend. How many people are going to die before we do something about this once and for all?

5 Comments

Filed under Feminism, Mental Health, National News, Podcast, Politics, WNYC

The Lies About the Death of Shireen Abu Akleh Will Only Lead to More Violence and Death

The basic purpose of journalism is to provide the public with the following answers to a specific news story: who, what, when, where, and how. After all of that information is provided, the viewing and listening audience should be allowed to make their own mind up about the story.

On Wednesday, Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was killed in a clash between IDF soldiers and Palestinian extremists. As usual, the worldwide mainstream press does not report the whole truth.

The truth is that she was likely killed by one of her own people. While the Israeli government promises a thorough investigation, there is the usual silence and lies from their Palestinian counterparts.

I am going to end this post with the truth from Bassam Eid and Noa Tishby. This is antisemitism, pure and simple. The sooner the world realizes it, the sooner that real peace is possible.

May the memory of Shireen and every journalist who has been killed in the line of duty be a blessing. Z”L.

Leave a comment

Filed under International News, Judaism, World News

Jewish American Heritage Month: Americans Jews Who Made an Impact

May is Jewish American Heritage Month. With antisemitism on the rise in frightening numbers, the easier thing would be to hide who we are. Instead, we should be loud and proud of who we are. In honor of this month, I would like to offer a small list of American Jews who have made an impact on this nation.

Proud Los Angeles GIF by LA vs. Hate - Find & Share on GIPHY

P.S. Last week was both Yom HaZikaron and Yom Haatzmaut. Happy Birthday Israel and may the memories of those who gave their lives for their country be a blessing.

2 Comments

Filed under Feminism, History, Judaism, Movies, Politics, Writing

Ridley Road Review

Hate, in all of its forms, is always around us. It is an unfortunate part of the human experience. Despite our advances in science, medicine, education, and technology, it remains ever-present.

The new Masterpiece series, Ridley Road (based on the book of the same name by Jo Bloom) premiered last weekend. The heroine of the series, Vivian Epstein (Agnes O’Casey) is the daughter of a Jewish family in England in the early 1960s. She is expected to live as her mother and grandmothers did before her: give up her job, marry the boy chosen for her, and take care of her husband and children. But Vivian wants to be more than a housewife and mother.

She follows her boyfriend Jack Morris (Tom Varey) to London. Jack is a part of the 62 group, an underground Jewish organization who are fighting against the growing fascism in the UK. Going undercover as a member of the neo-nazi group led by Colin Jordan (Rory Kinnear), both Vivian and Jack play a dangerous game of going along with their new identities while trying to keep their relationship alive.

I am absolutely loving this series so far. It’s James Bond meets a love story with a feminist coming of age narrative and a background of combating prejudice. What makes the program for me is that our heroes are ordinary people. It is, I think a reminder that change does not always come from the top. It comes from the person on the street who sees a wrong and does what they can to right that wrong.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Ridley Road airs on PBS on Sunday night at 9PM EST.

2 Comments

Filed under Feminism, History, Judaism, Television, TV Review

The War of Return: How Western Indulgence of the Palestinian Dream Has Obstructed the Path to Peace Book Review

It has been said that The road to hell is paved with good intentions. The intent is obviously there, but the followthrough is lacking.

The War of Return: How Western Indulgence of the Palestinian Dream Has Obstructed the Path to Peace, by Adi Schwartz and Einat Wilf was published in 2020. Starting in 1948, Schwartz and Wilf examine how the promised “right of return” by Arab leaders and the wishy-washy response by the rest of the world had a hand in adding fuel to the fire that is the Israel/Palestinian conflict. They reveal how the “right of return” and UNRWA have purposely created the refugee problem and decades of violence instead of working toward peace and co-existence.

Obviously, my reading this book is preaching to the choir. The purpose of it is to speak to a reader whose knowledge of the topic is either minimal or tainted by the not so truth headlines in the world press. The problem from my perspective is that their arguments are not as strong as they could have been. I don’t know what I would add, but it just needs a little something extra that is missing.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

The War of Return: How Western Indulgence of the Palestinian Dream Has Obstructed the Path to Peace is available wherever books are sold.

2 Comments

Filed under Book Review, Books, History, Judaism

Republican Fuckery Part III: Will Hurd on Abortion, Frank Niceley on Hitler and the Homeless, Tucker Carlson’s Balls, and Paul Schroder

In an ideal world, we would all agree on everything. But we don’t live in an ideal world. However, that does not mean that in the halls of power, one party has to do all the work and the other can just complain all day.

Last Monday, former Texas Congressman Will Hurd was on The Brian Lehrer Show. When asked about abortion, he said the following:

I am pro-life and I think the time at which how many weeks into a birth you should limit. I think there is where Texas falls I am supportive of. I also think both sides of the argument should be looking and making sure, how do we prevent a young woman or any woman from having to get in this situation? I think working on the front end of this issue is where both sides of individuals can be working together.

While the Congressman has a right to his opinion and sounds more reasonable than many on the right, he is still seeing this issue in black and white instead of in color. An episode from the podcast The Experiment which originally premiered last December explains why we need to look at abortion from an honest perspective.

Meanwhile, also within the Lone State’s borders, there is a voice of reason: Paul Schroder. He spoke truth to power on Governor Greg Abbott‘s attempt to limit the number of trucks coming into the state. Instead of helping the country, they are once more hurting us. Thanks, Republicans.

Meanwhile, in Tennessee, State Senator Frank Niceley made the following statement:

“Hitler decided to live on the streets for a while. So for two years, Hitler lived on the streets and practiced oratory and his body language and how to connect with the masses, and then went on to lead a life that got him into history books,” he said.

“So a lot of these people, it’s not a dead end. They can come out of this, these homeless camps and have a productive life, or in Hitler’s case, a very unproductive life,” he continued. “I support this bill.”

I think we can all agree that homelessness is a major problem that has been bandied around for decades without a reasonable resolution. But the choice of using a homicidal dictator who started a war and was responsible for the deaths of millions of people as an example was not a wise decision.

And finally, Fox News personality Tucker Carlson has made his personal crusade the restoration of American masculinity. How you ask? Testicle tanning. I shit you not.

(Starts at 4:15.)

Just another day of Republican fuckery in the United States.

2 Comments

Filed under Feminism, History, National News, Podcast, Politics, Television, WNYC

11 Israelis Were Murdered This Week. No Gives a Shit

After the Holocaust, the phrase “Never Again” was heard around the world. As usual, the words ring hollow.

This week, 11 Israelis were murdered in three separate attacks. The murderers claim to be a part of Hamas and ISIS. Adding salt to the wound was a protest in Brooklyn in which the participants cried out “Globalize the Intifada“.

I am so tired of this shit. When will the rest of the world wake up? Will it take another six million to make people care?

Or are we just Jews, who are only good when we are dead?

May the memories of those killed be a blessing. Z”L.

Israel Flag GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

2 Comments

Filed under History, International News, Judaism, New York City, World News