As Purim approaches, thousands of Israeli children and families grapple with poverty
The more I hear of Olmert and Sderot, of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism (the former more often than not a cover for the latter), the more I sense the vast and unfortunate divide that separates my years of growing up from the ones I now spend raising my children.
My parents spent their youth in the shadow of the Holocaust, both in Europe and America, and my contemporaries and I grew up with their stories on our lips. But for the most part, the horrors our parents either endured or witnessed colored our lives against the backdrop of relative security and ease here in the United States. Not only did anti-Semitism seem to have been relegated to the past, collective pride in Judaism, Israel, and our leaders seemed to be the norm. I remember how a healthy dose of Jewish identity would command the respect of both Jews and non-Jews alike.
Those days have been slipping away quickly, and world events and opinion, both within and without the Jewish community, more and more resemble those of my parents’ generation. Whereas after the Holocaust the Jews successfully rebuilt their lives and nation, we are today witnessing a threat to our survival again. Israel is terrorized by its neighbors and demonized by the international community. Anti-Semitism is on the rise worldwide. And our alleged leaders have not been able to stem the oncoming tide of more bad news.
I was a small girl when Operation Thunderbolt, the 1976 Entebbe rescue, catapulted Israel to even greater glory than its victory over the Arabs in 1967. The victorious mood of Israelis was shared by my fellow Americans, who rejoiced in the Jewish triumph and felt proud of their little ally in the Middle East.
Israel’s right to self-defense was a given, and if there was an anti-Israel slant in the media I certainly didn’t hear it. My parents may have disagreed with some of the views harbored by some of the leaders in Israel at that time, but I don’t recall hearing any of the cynicism that exists today toward Israel’s politicians.
I don’t remember cynicism of the sort we’ve become so familiar with vented against American politicians either. I came of age when Ronald Reagan was elected president and have distinct memories of wearing a Vote Reagan pin in 1980 at the Detroit Republican Convention. Americans were proud and patriotic. Yes, we had our problems, but those were the days when my parents insisted on buying American-made automobiles and an “illegal alien” was someone from “ET.” Homosexuality was still a chapter in my mother’s Abnormal Psychology book, and cracks surfacing in the black-Jewish relationship were still covered over with the afterglow of the Civil Rights era.
We had an American president who inspired hope and pride, and walls in other parts of the world were being torn down instead of being built.
The biggest problem facing American Jewry in the 70’s and 80’s was that of Jewish “continuity” – a serious problem indeed, but one bred of the comfort and complacency of Jewish acceptance in America rather than the opposite. Rabbi Meir Kahane came to speak to our elementary school about Jewish self-defense, and he seemed to be regarded by most of the adults as something of a has-been, championing a cause few thought necessary.
Hillel dominated Jewish life on American campuses, and though I later attended an Orthodox college, I never heard or read of anti-Semitism or anti-Zionism on university campuses. Quite the contrary, the big movement in those days was the popular fight to free Soviet Jewry. I marched with thousands of other Orthodox and non-Orthodox college students; the mood was jubilant, the results were triumphant.
I was raised on milk and honey and grew up humming strains from “Yerushalayim Shel Zahav” and “HaKotel.” My love for the Holy Land was heightened by my two years at seminary in Israel. That incredible experience preceded the first Intifada by a year, when walking the streets of the Arab shuk unaccompanied was imprudent rather than perilous. I remember taking the Egged bus through Arab villages in the Shomron. I marveled at the blue and green Arab doorposts, which I viewed clearly through plain glass windows. The fruit vendors in Jericho laid out their lush wares under palm trees, and we Jews were looked upon strictly as potential consumers through the eyes of hopeful Arab merchants.
About the Author: Sara Lehmann, a freelance writer living in Brooklyn, was formerly an editor at a major New York publishing house.
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The president has made clear – I can’t state this more firmly – the policy is Iran will not get a nuclear weapon.
Obama has an apparent inability to understand Islam in particular and Mid-East culture in general
Pesach is a Torah-based holiday whose fundamental observances are rooted in Torah law; Purim is a rabbinic holiday whose laws and customs are grounded in the rabbinic tradition.
In honor of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s successful speech before Congress.
Mr. Spock conveys a message with painfully stark relevance to our world today, especially in the context of PM Netanyahu’s speech to Congress.
Obama created the “partisan politics” by asking Dem. party members to avoid Bibi and his address
Enough is enough. The Jewish community has a big tent, but the NIF should have no place in it.
I vote for the right and get left-wing policy. Every. Frigging. Time.
The Holocaust was the latest attempt of Amalek to destroy the special bond that we enjoy with God.
UN inspectors were flabbergasted when Iran allowed them full unfettered access to All nuclear sites
Obama’s real problem is that he knows Netanyahu has more credibility on the Iran issue than he does.
Kristof’s op-ed “The Human Stain” was flawed and wrong; more than anti-Israel, it was anti-Semitic.
In his September speech to the UN, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pointed to that fox when he compared Iran to the Nazis.
We see pictures of mosques, monuments for terrorists, illegal schools, and hundreds of apartments being built on Jewish land without repercussions. We are losing Jewish property, so it is up to us to protect it.
What’s important is to make the case for Israel more forcefully and to give it the articulation that the next presidential candidates ought to have.
From Obamacare to Common Core to gay marriage, radical agendas are pushed through the legal system.
In the fury and flurry of publicity surrounding the Klinghoffer opera, another musical affront to Jews almost went unnoticed.
You’re not going to change public opinion. The media are so biased you can’t get your story through. But what counts is America.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/lament-for-a-generation-2/2008/06/13/
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