‘It’s interesting to reflect,’ he observed last month, ‘that we Jews are, after all, inheritors of a religion that instructs us to ‘choose life (Deuteronomy 30:19). ‘Yet our community leaders are constantly choosing to assail us with images of death, as if Judaism were some weird death cult. And they charge us for it!
‘I wish the Holocaust was remembered as it should be, on Tisha b’Av. Then all that money could be spent on something genuinely life-promoting, like teaching young Jews about Judaism.’
It should come as no surprise that Rabbi Lapin exhibits little enthusiasm for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. In fact, Toward Tradition has called for ‘a complete defunding’ of the institution by the Federal government, which currently foots 60 percent of the museum’s budget.
The press release concluded with a statement from Rabbi Lapin: ‘As time goes by, it becomes increasingly hard to see how one might explain to, let us say, a wheat farmer in Iowa why his tax dollars should go to support such an institution. Nor is it as if the United States had anything whatever to do with the Holocaust, a fact that made the museum a questionable object of federal largesse to begin with.’
In a timely piece appearing this week on NationalReviewOnline, Rabbi Lapin gives a broader context to his dismay with how the cult of the Holocaust has displaced Judaism in American Jewish life, comparing the observance of Holocaust Remembrance Day with that of Shavuot.
‘In the former case,’ he writes, ‘enthusiastic Jews young and old crowded synagogues, temples, and Jewish Community Centers around the country….Community leaders of every denomination warned us not to forget our history.
‘And yet, just a few weeks later, on Shavuot, the day commemorating the giving of the Torah, when the people of Israel became a nation, most Jews [preferred] to forget history. Year after year, in spite of its centrality to all of Jewish existence…Shavuot is trumped by Holocaust Remembrance Day.’
Jason Maoz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org