The World Didn’t Care Then & They Don’t Care Now: The Anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and the Destruction of the Al Aqsa Mosque

Silence speaks volumes and actions speak louder than words. People can say whatever they want, but words mean nothing.

Tuesday was the 79th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. When the world turned its back on Europe’s Jews, it gave the Nazis carte blanche permission to persecute, starve, torture, and murder my Jewish brethren. The only way we could survive is if we saved ourselves. It was a f*ck you to those who decided that we were not worth fighting for.

In the years since then, Jews (and Israel by extension) have had to keep the figurative middle finger raised. Because once again, we have been told by actions that we should remain sheep to the slaughter.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I believe in the sacredness of the sites and the holidays within my faith. Earlier today, militant Palestinians decided that one of the holiest sites in Islam, the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, was to be used not as a site of prayer, but of a battle. This is during Ramadan, which I think deserves a little more respect. Not only did they attempt to physically destroy the building, but they used it as a base to attack innocent people.

In my mind, that is akin to Jewish worshippers destroying the Western Wall during Yom Kippur to spite our neighbors. It is something I cannot comprehend.

Given that the basic concept of Jewish history is that we are still here despite many attempts at assimilation and extermination, I personally think that it’s time to not give a shit. If living means fighting for ourselves when no one else will, so be it.

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Practicing One’s Faith During the Coronavirus Only Needs a Little Creativity

It is without a doubt that the coronavirus has upended our lives as we know them to be.

This includes religious practice. With the holidays of Easter, Passover, and Ramadan coming quickly, the faithful must find new ways to celebrate their respective holidays while following the recommendations of the experts.

Across the country and across the world, religious leaders are turning to video conferencing services programs such as Zoom, Google Hangouts, and other programs to hold services.

What is frustrating to me is that there are some who are are willingly putting their lives and the lives of their loved ones in danger by acting as life is normal. Last month, a Fundamentalist church in Indiana held services in spite of warnings against holding large gatherings. In Israel and in my hometown of New York City, some ultra-Orthodox Jews ignored the edicts by the government to prevent coronavirus from spreading further than it already has spread.

Anyone who has read this blog knows of my Jewish faith. Though I am not as religious as others, my faith is important to me. Passover starts Wednesday night. My family, like many other families, are being creative when it comes to the Seder and the traditional ways of telling the Passover story.

If the coronavirus has taught us one thing, it is that it takes a little flexibility to get through tough times. To say that we are going through tough times is an understatement. That requires us to understand that we cannot live as we did a month ago. Those who willingly ignore that fact endanger us all.

We Can If We Try: Anne Frank’s Birthday, The Orlando Shooting And Our Shared Humanity

Today is Anne Frank’s birthday. One of the millions of Jewish children that were murdered in the Holocaust because they were Jewish, her legacy is that of hope, love and our shared humanity.

Last week I had a very interesting conversation.

I was talking to a friend from my martial arts school who is Muslim and in the middle of celebrating Ramadan. We were comparing the differences between Ramadan and Yom Kippur.  While there are some differences between the two holidays, there are is one major similarity: devotion to G-d. Both holidays require fasting, which as anyone who has fasted can tell you it is not easy. What comes with the fasting is believing in and praying to a higher being who I believe is akin to a third parent. While our religious practices and beliefs differ, we still believe in a higher power and we still follow the same ancient traditions that our families have practiced for thousands of years. We were able to have a conversation about our individual religions that was just that.

And now to the reason for this post: the horrific shooting at the nightclub in Orlando. We are all G-d’s children, made in the image of our creator. The only reason the patrons of this nightclub were targeted is because they are gay.  My heart breaks for everyone involved. This is not the America that I know, love and believe in. Today I pray for the victims and their families. I also pray for America, that we should learn from this tragedy and get over the b*llsh*t that says we are different due to an accident of birth. We are all human beings and deserve the same respect.

Happy Sunday.

 

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