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April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Henry Ford’

Kindliness: A Reflection Of Hashem

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

“And Pharaoh sent for Moshe and Aharon and said to them, ‘I have sinned this time. Hashem is righteous, and I and my people are wicked.” — Shemos 9:27

After months and months of rebellion, Pharaoh finally admitted he was wrong. The Dos Zakainim explains that the plague of barad moved Pharaoh more than any other. And it was because of one factor: Moshe had warned him that the hail would kill anything living. Again and again, Moshe cautioned Pharaoh to take his livestock and his slaves inside. Because Pharaoh was repeatedly warned to save the living creatures, he was moved and recognized his error.

This Dos Zakainim is difficult to understand. Why would this detail cause Pharaoh to admit that Hashem was right? He witnessed the greatest revelation of Hashem’s mastery of nature and it didn’t move him. He watched as Mitzrayim, the superpower of its time, was brought to its knees. That didn’t move him. Why should this single factor have such an effect?

This question is best answered with a mashal.

The Nature of the Human

Henry Ford, while a brilliant businessman, was not known for his kindliness. In fact, he used to brag that he never did anything for anyone. The story is told that while he was going for a walk in the fields with a friend, they heard yelps coming from a nearby property. A dog had gotten caught in a barbed wire fence and couldn’t get out. Ford walked over to the fence, gently pulled on the wire, and freed the dog. When he returned to the road, his friend said to him, “I thought you were the guy who never did anything for anyone.” Henry Ford responded, “That was for me. The dog’s cries were hurting me.”

This story is compelling because Ford didn’t care about anyone but himself. He didn’t choose to be kind. He didn’t want to feel the pain of others. In fact, he tried his best to squelch this sensitivity. But it was still there. He couldn’t stop himself. He was pre-programmed to have mercy. In his inner makeup, there was that voice that said, “Henry, the poor animal is in pain. Go do something!” Even though he prided himself on selfishness, he couldn’t quell that voice inside. It bothered him to hear a creature in pain. When he heard those cries, they reached down to his inner core, to that part of the human that only wants to do good, proper and noble things. That part was touched. It saw an animal in pain and said, “Don’t just stand there, Henry. Do something. That poor animal is suffering.”

This is illustrative of the basic components of the human. When Hashem created man, He joined together two diverse elements to form his soul. These are his spiritual soul, what we call his neshamah, and his animal soul, which is comprised of all of the drives and inclinations needed to keep him alive. The conscious “I” that thinks and feels is made up of both parts.

The neshamah comes from under the throne of Hashem’s glory. It is pure and holy and only wishes for that which is good, proper and noble. Because it comes from the upper worlds, it derives no benefit from this world and can’t relate to any of its pleasures. The other part of man’s soul is very different. It is exactly like that of an animal, with all of the passions and desires necessary to drive man though his daily existence.

We humans are this contradictory combination. Within me is an animal soul made up of desires and appetites, and within me is a holy neshamah that only wishes to do that which is right and proper. The animal soul only knows its needs and exists to fulfill them. The neshamah is magnanimous and only wishes to give. These two total opposites are forged together to create the whole we know as the human.

This seems to be the answer to the Dos Zakainim. Pharaoh was a human being, and as all humans, he had a sublime side to him. He may have spent years ignoring and pushing it down, but it remained within him. What he experienced during the plague of hail was pure chesed. His enemy was concerned for his good. There was nothing that Hashem had to gain by protecting the cattle and the slaves of the Egyptians. The only motivation was generosity, goodness, and a pure concern for others. Seeing this warmed even the callous heart of Pharaoh. He recognized this wasn’t driven by lowly motives. He understood he was dealing with something outside the realm of normal human interests.

Being Like Hashem

This also helps us understand one of the great ironies of life. The selfish person is focused on his needs and his wants. The generous person is concerned about the welfare of others – even at the cost of his own needs. We assume the selfish person would be happy. After all, he is singly focused on what’s good for him. But the generous person has the good of others on his mind – surely he can’t be as happy. He has to worry about the good of others.

The Un-chosen Artist

Tuesday, September 25th, 2007


Frida Kahlo: Public Image, Private Life.


A Selection of Photographs and Letters


July 6, 2007-October 14, 2007


The National Museum of Women in the Arts


1250 New York Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC


http://www.nmwa.org


 


 


 


         In a 1972 study, Stanley Milgram found that “familiar strangers” who share a repeated experience (like riding the same bus every day) are likelier to communicate when cast into an unfamiliar setting, than are two strangers with no such shared experience. Apparently, Milgram found, strangers recognize some form of “real” relationship in chance encounters, in which they do not communicate or even know each other’s name. Perhaps Jews who seek to claim celebrities like Chagall hope to share a similarly “familiar” religious experience with him. Many artists who are claimed as Jewish do not identify as such, like non-Jewish painters Paul Klee and Max Ernst, whom the Nazis denounced as Jewish “degenerate” artists. Indeed Chagall painted not only shtetl scenes, but also crucifixions, and many historians consider Chagall a Christian artist, as Rowena Loverance of the British Museum argues in “Christian Art” (Harvard UP, 2007).

 

         Klee and Ernst would have preferred that Hitler not identify them as Jews, but Mexican-born painter Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) happily celebrated her “perceived” Jewish lineage, at least in the narrative of the show “Frida Kahlo: Public Image, Private Life” at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC. According to the exhibit wall text, Kahlo, who was the third of four daughters born to “a German Hungarian-Jewish father and a mother of Spanish and Mexican Indian descent,” strongly identified with native Mexican traditions, though her public identity and personal reality were complex and multifaceted. “She was equally proud of her father’s German Hungarian-Jewish heritage, spoke perfect English, studied German, and was well acquainted with European intellectual currents,” the text claims. “Frida Kahlo’s identity, public and private, was a unique synthesis of influences, a simultaneous powerhouse of radical politics and traditional aesthetics.”

 

 



Frida Kahlo. Self-Portrait Dedicated to Leon Trotsky, 1937. Oil on Masonite 30 × 24 in. National Museum of Women in the Arts.


 

 

         “I believe, without a doubt, that Frida Kahlo was a Jewish artist,” said Jason Stieber, archivist at the NMWA, through e-mail. But Stieber said other aspects of Kahlo’s identity played much greater roles in her life and work. “Frida was many things … and she embraced wholeheartedly everything that she was,” he said, noting that Frida “was proud of this lineage” and greatly delighted in “wheedling anti-Semites in America,” such as her famous inquiry put forth to Henry Ford of whether he was Jewish. Although she was an atheist, “she abhorred the Catholic religiosity of her mother,” and she “did embrace her Jewish ethnicity, if not the tenets of Judaic faith.”

 

         “So yes, Frida was a Jewish artist,” Strieber continued, “however, I think she would have been more likely to refer to herself as a Mexican artist. Mexico held a very special place in heart and in her art.”

 

         But Gaby Franger’s and Rainer Huhle’s new book Frida’s Father: The Photographer Wilhelm Kahlo (Schirmer, 2005) reveals that Wilhelm Kahlo was in fact German Protestant rather than Hungarian-Jewish. In “Frida Kahlo’s father wasn’t Jewish after all,” an article in the Jerusalem Post (4/20/06), Meir Ronnen observed, “Frida herself was probably the source of the claims to her Jewish connection.” Ronnen speculates that Frida’s identification with Judaism was an effort in distancing herself from the Nazis. “My guess is that German connections during the Nazi era were an embarrassment to her,” he wrote.

 

 



Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera at home, 1941. By Emmy Lou Packard. Platinum/palladium print. Throckmorton Fine Art.

 

 

         Gannit Ankori, chair of the art history department at Hebrew University of Jerusalem and curator of the Jewish Museum’s 2003 show, “Frida Kahlo’s Intimate Family Picture,” also cited the position, that Kahlo sought to distance herself from the Nazis based upon the fact that testimony about Wilhelm Kahlo’s Jewish background surfaced most frequently between 1936 and the 1940s. But she said over email, “I think in light of the new findings, these issues require further investigation. What is of great interest to me is not Wilhelm Kahlo’s ‘real’ religion, but Frida Kahlo’s construction of her self-image” insofar as it “impacted Kahlo’s self-image as manifested in her art.”

 

         In a press release to Ankori’s show, the Jewish Museum promised to reveal important aspects of Kahlo’s “hybrid and multicultural identity, as the daughter of a European Jew and a Mexican Catholic mestiza (a woman of mixed European and Mexican Indian descent).” It also quoted Ankori, “Kahlo was interested in her Jewish roots and viewed them as part of her ‘genealogical identity.’”

 

         Ankori, who has not read the Franger and Huhle book (it is in German), readily admitted Frida was not Jewish. “Frida Kahlo was certainly not Jewish since Judaism is a matrilineal religion and her mother was a Catholic mestiza,” she said. “Moreover, as is well known, Frida was raised as a Catholic, later became a communist and an atheist, finally – towards the end of her days (as her diary indicates) she espoused oriental beliefs.” Ankori added that Kahlo testified “many times” about her Jewish identity, “stressing that her paternal grandparents, Henriette Kaufmann and Jakob Kahlo, were Jews from the city of Arad.” Further, many people who knew Frida and Wilhelm, such as Frida’s biographer, Hayden Herrera, and Frida’s husband Diego Rivera’s biographer, Bertram Wolfe, personally repeated this fact, Ankori said.

 

 


Frida Kahlo with pigeons, ca. 1940s. By Juan Guzmán. Gelatin silver print. Throckmorton Fine Art.

 

 

         To Ankori, the question is whether Henriette Kaufmann was Jewish, since her Jewishness would make Wilhelm Jewish “according to both Jewish Halakha and Nazi laws.” If instead Wilhelm was a German Lutheran (Ankori says Lutheran, while Ronnen wrote Protestant), “why would Frida Kahlo ‘create’ a Hungarian Jewish genealogy for him and for herself?” Ankori wondered.

 

         In her column “Draft Picks” at Nextbook.org  (5/18/06), Robin Cembalest, executive editor at ARTnews magazine, wrote of the claim that denies Wilhelm Kahlo’s Jewishness, “The revelation, if true, throws an awkward shadow on the multiplicity of efforts to tease out the Jewish identity of the multiply hyphenated artist, who famously got a kick out of asking Henry Ford if he was Jewish.” In her article, Cembalest cited the Jewish Museum’s show, which centered upon Kahlo’s 1936 painting, “My Grandparents, My Parents, and I (Family Tree)” and a book from Kahlo’s library on the Inquisition’s torture of Mexican Jews. Over email, Cembalest said she interviewed Franger and Huhle, and they said no one had contacted them to contradict their book.

 

         “In my world the process of defining Jewish art, or what is Jewish in art, is both parlor game and intellectual exercise,” Cembalest wrote. “Either way, clearly it reveals as much about who is doing the assessing as it does about the figures we are claiming for our team.”

 

         Stieber of the NMWA phrased it a bit differently. “Sharing a common trait with someone of greatness brings us a step closer to that greatness. Jews can say with great pride that, as a people, they have produced some of the world’s greatest artists, scientists, musicians, and so forth. Cultural, racial, and religious pride contributes to cultural, racial, and religious cohesion.

 

         “To that extent, it is important to account for an artist’s religious/ethnic identity when examining his or her work,” he added. “Artists work within a constellation of influences, and it is one of the jobs of the art historian to discover what those influences are or were. More often than not, religious and ethnic identities are the most powerful influences in an artist’s life and work.”

 

        Menachem Wecker is a painter, writer and editor based in Washington, D.C. He welcomes comments at mwecker@gmail.com.

Title: The American Axis – Henry Ford, Charles Lindbergh, And the Rise of The Third Reich

Thursday, January 1st, 2004

Title: The American Axis – Henry Ford, Charles Lindbergh, And the Rise of The Third Reich
Author: Max Wallace
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, New York, N.Y.

 

In every generation there rises a Haman, son of Amalek. During the 20th century there were at least two in the United States: Henry Ford and Charles Lindbergh. According to this important book by an inveterate Holocaust researcher, whose credits include participation in Steven Spielberg’s “Shoah Project,” these figures played a primary role in the watershed events that led to the Holocaust.

What turned these two American heroes into anti-Semites and enemies of Jews?

That is a question that Wallace’s book fails to deal with because he researched their history only as recorded in the archives of The Ford Motor Company and other public sources.

At least part of the answer lies with nascent hostility against a people whose customs and beliefs engender prejudicial attitudes among those who don’t understand them.

In Europe, from the time of the Enlightenment, it had been Jewish practice to blend in, intermarry and “not make waves.” This was somewhat true in America as well, but Jews in major population centers such as New York stood out and achieved for themselves the “American Dream” of freedom of worship at the same time as economic, political and
social advancement.

To some extent, Jews have always used their proficiency in learning and education for group
advancement, but in America there was also unprecedented access to the political system – even Jefferson Davis selected a Jew, Judah Benjamin, to be vice president of the Confederacy.

Henry Ford was certainly not America’s first anti-Semite. According to Wallace, in 1862, a year before Ford was born, President Abraham Lincoln declared anti-Semitism to be against U.S. government policy after (future President) General Ulysses S. Grant issued orders prohibiting Jewish peddlers from selling merchandise to Union soldiers, at the instigation of competing merchants. Sephardic, and then German Jewish immigration, consisted of a
relatively educated class of people, but new immigration from Eastern Europe, especially Russia, brought “unwashed masses” who were less welcome.

Caricatures of Jews as crook-nosed moneylenders appeared in satirical magazines, and
since most Americans had never met a Jew, a prejudicial attitude began to be inculcated in the
minds of many who looked askance at anyone with a foreign accent and unusual exotic beliefs. Into this milieu enter the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, ostensibly a document setting forth a doctrine of world manipulation by evil Jewish forces set out “to destroy the white Gentile race” so that Jews could seize power for themselves and rule the world as kings
enslaving everyone else.

In fact, this forgery was plagiarized from an obscure nineteenth-century satire on Napoleon III
called A Dialogue in Hell Between Montesquieu and Machiavelli, written by a Frenchman, Maurice Joly, and from Biarritz, an 1868 novel by the German anti-Semite Hermann Doedsche. In prior iterations it had surfaced in Vienna and Paris following the First Zionist Conference, and in czarist Russia, where it caused many pogroms.

It was a former czarist agent, Boris Brasol, who arranged for an English translation to be forwarded to Henry Ford’s newspaper, The Dearborn Independent, which was under the general management of Ernest Gustav Liebold, born to German immigrants in 1884. It provided the evidence that Ford was seeking to prove that Jews were engaged in a sinister conspiracy to take over the world. As soon as the first installments were printed in this newspaper, which was being distributed through every one of Henry Ford’s network of automobile dealerships throughout the country, the American Jewish community became
alarmed. Louis Marshall, director of the American Jewish Committee, complained to Henry Ford, but Ford, despite being labeled an ignoramus by most major American newspapers, was undeterred from spreading the news that Jews were behind every imaginable evil, including Communism.

Week after week and month after month, Ford’s Independent stridently ranted about the evil Jewish influence. Then the ideas originally contained in The Protocols were condensed and transposed, and a pamphlet, “The International Jew,” was published by Ford and distributed almost worldwide. Adolph Hitler credits this book as his seminal experience for future
anti-Semitic policies. Henry Ford himself blamed “the Jews” for every ill that Germany was experiencing.

Following his lionization for spanning the Atlantic Ocean in a small airplane, The Spirit of St.
Louis, on May 21st, 1927, Charles Lindbergh became involved in Hitler’s desire to revitalize Germany’s place in the community of nations.

Hitler rearmed Germany and restored German military superiority, which had been broken in World War I, and through the “Nazi Olympics” in 1936 and other means worked to alter world opinion of his dictatorial and anti-Semitic government. The vainglorious and naïve aviator perfectly met his needs.

There is hardly evidence that Lindbergh was actually and knowingly anti-Semitic, but The
American Axis does make clear his complicity which, together with that of Ford, helped Hitler’s cause prior to and during World War II. And as we see today, in the current complicity of the Ford Foundation with the forces of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, feigned
“ignorance” is often a smokescreen for collusion.

Wallace writes in his conclusion: “…men who were once revered as two of America’s greatest heroes, then reviled as traitors, are once again widely admired.” In other words ? how soon we forget.

 

Henry Ford and Charles Lindbergh each created entire industries, but they also assisted the enemies of American democracy and jeopardized our war effort and the survival of a democratic Europe. Ford’s German subsidiary employed and profited from Jewish “slave laborers,” and Lindbergh cast an entirely wrong impression of German air power that almost prevented successful engagement of the enemy in wartime.

Wallace continues that current historians portray these as “character flaws,” and asserts that
the failure of each man to assume moral responsibility for his actions despite exemplary careers had, and continues to have, a devastating impact that should not be ignored. He ends by quoting U.S. Congressman James Moran, who told his constituents on the eve of the 2003 Iraq war, in a speech that was reminiscent of Lindbergh’s Des Moines address 62 years ago, that “American Jews are responsible for pushing the country to war with Iraq.” “They” never learn, and we must remain eternally vigilant.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/title-the-american-axis-henry-ford-charles-lindbergh-and-the-rise-of-the-third-reich/2004/01/01/

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