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April 16, 2014 / 16 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘indians’

Only the ADL Could Turn the ‘Redskins’ Name into a Jewish Issue

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

President Barack Obama finally has given Americans a fun issue to debate so they can take their minds off Iranian nukes, Syrian chemical weapons and the zillion dollar debt, but the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is playing party pooper by turning it into a Jewish issue.

If the Washington Redskins’ football club owner Dan Snyder were not Jewish, would the name “Redskins” make such a difference to the ADL?

Other teams have also come under fire, including the Cleveland Indians, whose hook-nosed, red-faced mascot Chief Wahoo has been called racist and offensive, the JTA reported. The Atlanta Braves baseball team also is in the same club of offending an ethnic group.

“Tradition matters, but tradition should not justify the perpetuation of such names and mascots,” said ADL national director Abraham Foxman. “A name change will not impact how a team fares on the field, or in the standings.”

Snyder is sticking to his guns, or bow and arrow, and the Washington Post reported that Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said, “It would be a real mistake – a real mistake – to think that Dan, who is Jewish, has a lack of sensitivity regarding somebody’s feelings. I promise you that.”

President Obama has turned the issue into a national debate, not the most burning issue for the great American empire but at least one that is a bit lighter than all of the burdens Americans carry because of an increasingly deaf and dumb government.

“I’ve got to say that if I were the owner of the team and I knew that there was a name of my team, even if it had a storied history, that was offending a sizable group of people, I’d think about changing it,” President Barack Obama said.

Not to many years ago, any ethnic group would have been proud to have a baseball or football team named after them. The “Baltimore Jews” or the “Brooklyn Blacks” would not have been offensive. It would have been badge of honor.

Even today, Walt “Red Hawk” Brown, the chief of Virginia’s Cheroenhaka Nottoway Tribe that was recognized by the Virginia General Assembly in 2010 but is not federally recognized , told a Richmond, Virginia television station that it’s “a great honor” when Native American words are used in popular culture.

“Why would my president says [Redskins is] is offensive to him?” Brown asked. “What’s offensive to me is this: we have 11 state recognized tribes, and he hasn’t done one thing to get those tribes federally recognized.”

But his voice is drowned out by the Melting Pot culture that not too many decades ago decided that Negro was too close to “nigger” and had to be replaced with “black,” which was not ethnic enough and had to be replaced with “Afro-Americans.”

But a Jew still is a Jew.

Or as Tom Lehrer once sang, “During National Brotherhood Week, National Brotherhood Week, “It’s fun to eulogize/The people you despise… Oh, the Protestants hate the Catholics/And the Catholics hate the Protestants/And the Hindus hate the Muslims/And everybody hates the Jews.”

Consider the recent poll that shows more and more Jews, especially those who might not be Jews according to Jewish law but like to consider themselves as Jewish, regard their religion as a culture. That way, maybe the Jews won’t be hated, except by God for rejecting the concept of The Chosen People, which is obvious racism to the politically correct.

A “stomach Jew” used to be one who did not observe much of the Torah but ate gefilte fish. Today a  “stomach Jew” is one who can eat shrimp while wearing an “I Love Israel” shirt.

If  the “Redskins” is so suggestive of racism, Obama and Foxman have the wrong reasons for being so sensitive. And where is  U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry when we need him to remind everyone of American history?

Doesn’t anyone remember that the  tiny U.S. government occupied the West Bank of the United States and put the Indians in refugee camps, called “reserves?”

There was no need for an Apartheid back then because the good Christian whites simply gunned down the Indians by the hundreds and by the thousands as part of the peace process.

Does pressing Snyder to bury the name “Redskins” cleanse the past and sterilize the present?

Two Kinds of Jews: Ashamed and Proud

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

I write this in memory of my father, Lyle B. Federman, who was killed on April 21, 1998, the victim of police misconduct.

My father grew up with little to no Jewish tradition. No Shabbat. No Passover. No Menorah. No Kosher. He spent much of his life searching for an identity. He eventually discovered and embraced his Jewish heritage at an Oglala tribal meeting on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

My father had no interest in Judaism. He strived for a belief system that was all-inclusive. Connected with nature. With a social justice mission. Those values were reinforced by his exposure to the countercultural and environmental movements of the late 60’s.

He found those values in the Native American way of life. His began his journey by providing aid for food and clothing on the poverty stricken Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. He also volunteered at the sobriety meetings to fight the rampant alcohol and drug abuse. Soon he started practicing Native American rituals like the sweat lodge (or ceremonial sauna) and learning the traditions and history.

Eventually he was called to a tribal meeting where he would be formally inducted into the Oglala Lakota tribe. At the meeting, the tribal elders asked my father what he had observed on the reservation.

“I observe two kind of Indians,” my father explained. “One with short hair, head down, drunk and ashamed of who he is; and one with long hair, head up, sober and proud of his people.” The elders nodded in approval.

They asked my father about his ancestry. My father explained that he was Jewish. The tribal leader paused, squinted in thought, and said: “There are two kinds of Jews. One with his head down, ashamed of who he is; and the other with his head up and proud of who he is.” He continued, “be that Jew who is proud of who he is.” That was the most transcendental moment in my father’s life.

But what does it mean to be proud of your heritage? Is that ethnocentric? Even supremacist? The Torah was given on a small mountain to teach one to be humble toward others. To recognize and value other peoples way of life. If that is so, then why wasn’t the Torah given on flatland? Wouldn’t that be an even greater metaphor of humility? It was given on a small mountain to teach that one should still have pride but that pride should be measured and humbled.

My father then traveled to Berkley California where he came in contact with Chabad-Lubavitch, a Jewish outreach organization. He started learning Jewish philosophy, observing the Holidays and eventually married an Orthodox woman – my mother, a direct descendant of the Ba’al Shem Tov, the founder of Hasidic Judaism.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/guest-blog/two-kinds-of-jews-ashamed-and-proud/2013/04/14/

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