The riots in Baltimore are symptomatic of a world-wide disease that has been spreading for decades: Violence.
I have good memories of a good life in the Golden Ghetto where I grew up in Baltimore but I have no nostalgia, not for the Orioles, not for the peace and quiet in our white-only and Jewish-only neighborhood, not for segregation, not for our black maid and not for integration.
Not even for the Orioles when they beat the Dodgers in the World Series, believe it or not.
Yes, I did write “segregation.” Before 1954, when the Supreme Court ruled against school segregation in the Plessy vs. Ferguson suit, I never questioned the practice. What do you want from an eight-year-old?
Those were the days of law and order, but the deep white hatred of blacks in the south was superior to the rule of law, and it took years of protest marches and the assassination of Martin Luther King before integration in school was accepted.
Jews in my youth in Baltimore, like elsewhere in the Diaspora, always were worried about being politically and socially acceptable. The rabbis, especially the modern Orthodox, Conservative and Reform leaders, always spoke out for the blacks, the same people who rented from Jewish slumlords and worked for minimum wages from Jewish employers who were lucky if their employees showed up for work without being drunk.
Our rabbi marched in Washington in a huge rally for integration. Somehow, he always managed to connect it to the Torah.
Listening to King, one would think that God told the whites in the south, “Let my black people go.” That is what happens when Jews desecrate the Torah to co-exist with non-Jews.
Those were the days of the Limousine Liberals, the rich Jews who were in favor of integration, on condition that it was not in their neighborhood.
Those were the days of peaceful protests. They worked.
Today, they don’t.
There were many blacks in my high school class who studied hard, went to university and became part of the “haves.” Many remained with the have-nots.
When the United States declared “war on terror” after the 9/11 attacks, it was a bit late. It should have started years before and should have been called a war on violence., because violence has been working for decades.
Everyone can come up with his or her own reasons for excuse – liberalism, social media, television, movies and drugs, among others.
Underneath all of them is the undercurrent of “gimme, and if you don’t “gimme,” I will kill you.
Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens has been seen all cross America this week for his rant against violence:
No way. No way. No way can this happen in our city. No. Young kids you got to understand something, get off the streets.
Violence is not the answer. Violence has never been the answer. Freddie Gray, we don’t do nothing for him doing this….
You don’t have any right to do what you’re doing to this city. Too many hard-working people build this city… We know what’s going on. We know the problems. We know there was wrong done. We know we’re not getting the right justice. We know all these answers.
But rioting in our streets is wrong. It’s dead wrong.
Lewis is speaking of values. He stated, “It takes a whole village to raise one child. We have to redefine what this looks like. We have to redefine what rebuilding Baltimore looks like. Cause there’s too many people putting real sweat, real tears to make our city a better place.”
His values are not “their” values. “Their” values are violence. “Gimme or violence, take your pick.”Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu