While the world deals with the coronavirus and the toll it takes, the Jewish community is dealing with another disease: antisemitism.
Pastor Rick Wiles blamed the coronavirus not on the virus itself, but on the idea Jews have not accepted the Christian G-d as their holy parent and creator.
“Stay out of those things, there’s a plague in them. God’s dealing with false religions,” he said on Wednesday night on TruNews, which he founded. “God’s dealing with people who oppose his son, Jesus Christ. He’s dealing with the forces of Antichrist. And there’s a plague moving upon the earth right now, and the people that are going into the synagogues are coming out of the synagogues with the virus.”
Given what we are going through at this point in time, the last thing that is wanted or need is division. Especially division that is based on something as surface level as religion. The fact is that the coronavirus does not care about the religious faith (or lack thereof) of the person it makes sick. Everyone is an equal opportunity home for this disease.
This is not the first, or the last time that the Jewish community has been blamed for a natural phenomenon. I just wish that in 2020, we would be using our brains instead of half baked lies.
During a crisis, the last thing anyone wants is to let conspiracy theories, lies, half truths and general foolishness dominate the headlines. We need clear minds, experts who know what they are talking and politicians who are doing what needs to be done to end the crisis.
While most of us are dealing with the coronavirus are using logic and forethought, there are some idiots who are bending the crisis to meet their perspectives.
Some within the right wing believe that the virus is a hoax and a lie. Those who are making the accusations are not the average person on the street. They are the well known pundits with millions of followers who follow every word they say. What happens when one of these followers is told that they have the coronavirus by a doctor? Is is still a hoax and a lie?
People still going out to bars and drinking in close quarters in spite of the warnings from the CDC and government officials. I am all for going out to a bar to get a drink with friends, but given the circumstances, drinking at home is best.
Blaming the Jews, the Chinese or any other minority for the virus. Or better yet, claiming that it was created by the accused minority group to wreak havoc on the rest of the world. Do these people have nothing better to do with their time than create and spread lies?
My hope is that at some point, logic and truth will win out. But until then, the idiocy continues.
As I write this post, I am an ocean apart and multiple generations separated from the Holocaust. When my family, like millions of Jewish immigrants, came to this country in the years before World War II, they could have never imagined the fate of the loved ones they left behind.
Though it is nearly a century since the prisoners of the death camp were set free, it feels as potent and relevant as it did 75 years ago. Hate still flourishes. Antisemitism has once again has reared its ugly head. Humanity still has the capacity to be inhumane to our fellow mortals.
The number of survivors who are able to tell their own stories are dying out. There will come a day in which the stories of the victims and the survivors of the Holocaust will only be available via second hand or via fiction. We must hear their voices while they are still around to tell their stories. If we don’t, then we are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past.
Earlier in the week, PBS aired an episode of Secrets of the Dead that focused on the fact that though the Allies knew about the death camp and were urged to bomb it, they chose not to.
What makes me angry is that the purpose of this war was to fight for democracy and human rights. And yet, when the Allies had an opportunity to make a statement about the very thing that they were fighting for, they chose not to.
I can’t help but think of the time, energy, resources, and the lives that were wasted in the Holocaust. We will never know what the victims and their forebears might have given to the world. We will also never know what those who worked in the camps might have done with their lives if they had not given into the hate and believed the lies of the Nazis.
We talk about “Never Again” and how we will never let a specific people be ostracized, traumatized and murdered. And yet, in our modern world, with all of the hate that has started to once more consume us, the message feels as important as ever.
May the memories of those who were killed within Auschwitz be a blessing and a reminder of how inhuman we can be to our fellow humans.
“When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking anti-Semitism.”
What many forget is that American Jews were on the forefront of the Civil Rights moment.
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel was not only a good friend of Dr. King, he was an ally. He was on the front lines with Dr. King, fighting for the rights of African-Americans.
In 1964, three young men were murdered because they believed that all Americans, regardless of race, were equal. James Chaney was the son of a African-American family from Mississippi. Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner were raised Jewish in the New York City area. They came together and were murdered together because of what they believed and what they were fighting for.
When I think about Martin Luther King Jr., I think of a man of courage, honor and conviction. He knew that the journey and others were about embark upon was dangerous. But he also knew that it was right. I take that as a lesson not just in my personal life, but in every aspect of my life. What is right is not always easy. But in that lack of ease comes the knowledge that though the journey is difficult, it is the only way forward.
One of the beautiful things about a real democracy is the ability to protest against injustice.
Today I marched with thousands of others at the Jewish Solidarity March.
It was cold, windy and crowded. I was surrounded by thousands of people who I am sure had other things to do today. But they knew that in their heart of hearts, that they had to be there today. They had to stand up and say that antisemitism and racism is wrong. No one deserves to be physically or verbally abused simply because they are different.
It was one of the thrills of my life. It’s easy to get on one’s soapbox when you’re behind a computer screen. It’s harder to leave your home and be there in person to stand up for what you believe in.
To the thousands who marched today, todah rabah (thank you). It is my hope that our presence was noticed and our voices were heard. We will not allow any of our fellow Americans to be ostracized and attacked for who they are. We will stand up for them and for all of us. It will take all of us to move this country forward.
It’s been two days since the attack against the Orthodox Jews in Monsey.
Since then, it has been revealed that the accused perpetrator suffers from mental illness. It was also revealed that investigators found evidence of previous antisemitic ideas and research he did on the internet with an antisemitic bent.
The problem with claiming that mental illness is responsible for such acts has become an easy way out. Granted, like many who live with mental illness, I know all too well the unwanted extra it adds to your life. However, that does not excuse what he did.
As disturbed as I am that some are claiming that mental illness is responsible for his actions, I am equally disturbed by the fervent antisemitism. When we talk about antisemitism and the Holocaust, the first thought is of the Jews. But the Jews were not the only targets. People of African descent were as high on the Nazi hit list as the Jews were.
I wish there was a better way to end 2019. I wish that we, as a culture, had grown a little and become better than we were at the beginning of the year. It is obvious to me that we are still in the same place that we were back on January 1st.
In the last couple of weeks, the news has been filled with numerous acts of antisemitism against the Jewish community of New York City. According to news reports, the accused have been set free because of bail reform.
I’m fully cognizant that I am far from an expert on this subject. However, logic (at least my from my perspective) states that there has to be some boundaries. If the accused is not a danger to themselves or their community, then they should not be bogged down by bail and be trusted to return to court on their own.
But, if the accused will be a danger to themselves and their community, they should have that bail hanging around their necks. In the case of the woman who verbally and physically attacked three Jewish women, the message that she and others who think like her receive is that what they did was harmless. They will receive a slap on the wrist at best and will be back on the street before they know it.
I wish that there was an easy answer to this problem. But there is no easy answer. I can only hope that each case is judged individually and each defendant when it comes to bail, is given the appropriate amount.
The holiday season, (regardless of which holiday you celebrate), is about family, coming together and taking the time to appreciate the good things in your life.
It is not a time to hate and kill.
Last night was the 7th night of Chanukah. It was also the sight of hatred and bloodshed. In Monsey, a stranger entered Rabbi Rottenburg’s shul and started stabbing members of the congregation who were in attendance. Five were stabbed, two of those injured in the attack were the Rabbi’s young children.
This is hate, nothing more. This is Orthodox Jews being attacked because they are Orthodox Jews.
If the purpose of the attack was to make all Jews nervous, regardless of how religious they are, the perpetrator won. Though his specific target was Orthodox Jews are who obviously Jewish, his general target was the American Jewish community.
In the Holocaust, six million Jews were slaughtered because they were Jews. It did not matter if they were ultra-orthodox, Jewish in name only or somewhere in between. They were still murdered.
If his goal was to make me nervous, to hide who I am, he failed. I am proud of my faith and proud of my culture. I will always be a Jew, nothing and no one will ever change that.
I pray for the speedy recovery of the victims and the harshest punishment possible for the perpetrator.
As a student of history and Jewish history, I’ve learned one thing: the treatment of the Jewish community is akin to the canary in the coalmine. When the Jewish community is treated well by their neighbors, the canary is silent. But when the Jewish community is not treated well, the canary symbolically dies, warning of the coming danger.
Over the past two weeks, there have been nearly a dozen incidents of antisemitic attacks in New York City. On Thursday night a woman was verbally abused and attacked as she walked out of Brooklyn Dunkin Donuts with her son. This morning, police announced that they were investigating another attack, bringing the total to 9.
When my family came to America and settled in New York more than a century ago, they hoped that their new land would provide the freedom and security that Europe lacked. They knew that antisemitism existed in the US, but they hoped that they would be protected from such heinous words and deeds. I don’t think (at least I hope) they expected that their descendants would not be experiencing the same vicious antisemitism that they knew all too well.
Something needs to be done, now. Those who have been accused of such crimes should absolutely be given their day in court and if found guilty, should be given the maximum punishment possible. No one, regardless of faith, ethnicity or family background deserves to be treated as such.
There have been comparisons over the last few years to Germany in 1933. I keep hoping and praying that America does not devolve into the past. But given what has happened over the past couple of weeks, I fear that my hopes and prayers are meaningless.