The Celebrate Israel Festival on May 31 at Pier 94, slated to be the largest gathering to date of Israeli-Americans in New York.
When a people is under siege it matters more, not less, how the besieged treat each other. Perhaps I am wrong, or only partly right, but it seems as though too many Jews are treating each other in a manner that is hardly loving, ethical or even minimally civil.
This worries me more than do the forces of irrational hatred arrayed against us.
No matter how poor or how rich we as individuals may be, all Jews have the power to uplift and inspire each other – or to humiliate and discourage each other. This power, which we may use for good or for evil, holds the key to Jewish survival.
Many Jewish individuals and organizations are doing amazing work: Selflessly, valorously, humbly, they fund and staff hospitals, soup kitchens, and other humanitarian projects, both here and in Israel. I salute them. I adore them.
And then there is the problem that dares not speak its name.
We have all heard about raised voices and raised fists, soul-scorching sarcasm, terrible threats, theft, corruption, adultery, incest, wife-beating, child-abuse, addiction within the Jewish community. I despair – not because of what non-Jews may think, but because of what God may think and what our collective punishment might ultimately be.
Now imagine what happens when similarly amoral and arrogant Jews fight each other to become King of the Jews. Imagine their vices writ large as they strut and thunder across the stage of Jewish and Israeli history.
I will name no names (the punishment would render me far less effective as an advocate for Jewish survival), but I must, finally, share some anecdotes about the exceedingly bad behavior of all too many Jews who claim to speak for the Jewish community. (It matters little if such behavior is also common among non-Jews; we Jews are so few in number and have more at stake, more to lose.)
In the summer of 2003, when I published my book The New Anti-Semitism, I became the “new kid on the block” in the organizational Jewish world. A friend of mine at a large Jewish organization asked for “many” advance galleys of my book and invited me to deliver a workshop on this subject for his organization. I was honored and agreed at once. I did not ask for a fee.
In time, however, my friend, mortified, got back to me. “I am so embarrassed,” he said, “but I must withdraw my invitation for your lecture. I have just been told that you are persona non grata and the ‘enemy’ at my organization.”
“There must be some mistake,” I said.
“No,” he said. “My organization feels that it must have the final word on this subject. I have been informed that you are the competition and must be crushed. Our publicist used those exact words.”
This was my initiation into the organized Jewish world. My education would continue.
A few months later, when I was about to deliver a major fundraising lecture for Israel for another major Jewish American organization, the lecture agent called me.
“Phyllis, would you consider changing your subject from anti-Semitism to any other subject, and would you be willing to talk to the sisterhood only?”
It seemed that my Supreme Educator, the very same Big Shot who viewed me as “competition” and who presides over an annual organizational budget in the millions, had just rented a large public space to deliver a lecture on the same topic in the same city at the same hour and had invited the very same major donors to hear him.
I called my aforementioned friend at the Big Shot’s organization. My message: ”For God’s sake, tell him we should deliver this lecture together and send all the money to Israel.” He never got back to me.
I was the one who did not speak in that city that year; only The Big Shot did. It is my opinion, shared by many others, that almost every decision and public statement this man has made on behalf of Jews has been painfully, dangerously, almost hilariously wrong. Nevertheless, like so many other Jewish leaders, he seems to have a death-grip on the Jewish funding dollar and therefore on the destiny of our people.
About the Author: Dr. Phyllis Chesler is a professor emerita of psychology, a Middle East Forum fellow, and the author of fifteen books including “Women and Madness” (1972), “The New Anti-Semitism” (2003), and her latest, “An American Bride in Kabul” (2013). Her articles are archived at www.phyllis-chesler.com.
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We take a whole person approach, giving our people assistance with whatever they need.
During my spiritual journey I discovered G-d spoke to man only once, to the Jewish people at Sinai
20 years after the great Ethiopian aliyah, we must treat them like everyone else; no better or worse
Many Black protesters compared Baltimore’s unrest to the Palestinian penchant of terrorism & rioting
She credited success to “mini” decisions-Small choices building on each other leading to big changes
Shavuot 1915, 200000 Jews were expelled; amongst the largest single expulsions since Roman times
Realizing there was no US military threat, Iran resumed, expanded & accelerated its nuclear program
“Enlightened Jews” who refuse to show chareidim the tolerance they insist we give to Arabs sicken me
Somewhat surprisingly, the Vatican’s unwelcome gesture was diametrically at odds with what President Obama signaled in an interview with the news outlet Al Arabiya.
The recent solid victory of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party produced something very different.
The reaction is so strong that nine times out of ten, parents engage in some form of coping mechanism before arriving at a level of acceptance of a special-needs diagnosis.
“…his neshamah reached out to us to have the zechus of Torah learning to take with him on his final journey.”
Few of the volunteers were experienced sailors, (Greenfield had been in the Merchant Marine). Few were Zionists.
My good colleague Kay is wrong about the early demise of conspiracy theories and blood libels against the Jews.
“I am surprised those Zionists are not outside protesting,” says one woman.
“Miral” is a film that has garnered an inordinate amount of media attention. In interviews, the director, Julian Schnabel, defends his right to tell the Palestinian “narrative” for what he claims is the first time. He seems not to know that many others before him have specialized in this particular line of work.
Our beloved, miraculous Jewish state is under siege.
It was assumed that the ceaseless persecution of the Jews in exile would cease once we again had our own sovereign homeland, our own army, navy, and air force.
In 1947-1948 I lived in Boro Park where, against parental and rabbinic advice, I joined a Zionist group. By 1950 I was packing machine-gun parts for Israel in a home not far from the Young Israel. But what I did as a child does not compare to what my friend and colleague David Gutmann did for love of Zion at that very time on the dangerous open seas.
Reality has become somewhat Scandinavian. It grows dark early and it is bitterly cold here in New York City and over a good portion of our fair land. Our Prince of Peace (The Norwegian Nobel, not the noble variety) is not yet asking whether “to be or not to be.” Perhaps he is not entirely convinced that “that is the question.”
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/my-jewish-wars-a-dispatch-from-the-front/2007/05/16/
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