On Befriending Evangelical Allies
I’m not Israeli, but apparently selling biblically-themed t-shirts makes you an official spokesman for the “Zionist entity.” (We only added some politically-charged designs in response to critics.) And I’ve noticed that a significant portion of the fan base I’ve cultivated turns out to be Christian (along with some messianics, that is, Christians who give their Christianity a Yiddish veneer and call it Judaism), many of whom are no doubt Evangelicals.
I’m torn on this, since on the one hand, I started my brand (MaccabeeApparel.com) so my fellow Jews (and fellow Jewish service members/vets in particular) would have something cool to call their own. But if someone else actively wants to go out wearing clothing with proudly Jewish themes, in a time where just wearing a Magen David can get you attacked in the street, I have to admire their courage, and assume their intentions are good.
Anyway, I strongly disagree with points made by Rabbi Tuly Weisz (“We Must Expand Outreach to Evangelicals,” July 2), for the simple fact that no matter what inroads we make, a certain segment of humanity will always hate Jews, and “anti-Zionism” will continue to be a manifestation of that for as long as Israel exists, or at least, until Moshiach.
I do think there are areas of shared interest and shared values that can form the basis of alliance, and even friendship. But this can only work if we never forget who we are and what we’re about. Bottom line, we don’t need their approval, we need G-d’s. It disturbs me deeply when people say we “need” the support of the nations. That’s antithetical to Jewish faith, and the nations are fickle. I prefer to say it’s nice to have friends. Anyone who tries to separate you from your values and traditions isn’t a true friend. Some of those who would, sincerely think they’re doing a chesed. And that’s where it gets dicey.
Long story short, with my business and myself as a person, I don’t hide who I am, and what my values are. Anyone who can accept that, and still wishes to stand alongside me, be they Jew or gentile, kol hakovod to them. As for the others, as Tevye would say, “May Hashem bless them and keep them – far away from us!”
Acknowledging Pastor Hagee
My husband sang at Pastor Hagee’s “Night to Honor Israel” in 2009. There were about 4,000 of his congregants there, enjoying Hebrew music and speeches all in support of Israel, while waving Israeli flags. There were representatives from major right wing Zionist organizations and the pastor gave away $9 million that night to these organizations, like Nefesh B’Nefesh. Knowing where the money was going, we all gave when they passed around the collection plate. Incidentally, there is not one statue or picture of you-know-who at Cornerstone Church, which is why my husband consented to sing there. The stained glass windows in the back depict the 12 tribes.
The reception after the event took place at Rodfei Shalom and was glatt kosher. I told a woman I ran into in the ladies room how refreshing it was to be among such a pro-Israel crowd, coming as I did from the liberal New York area. (This was October 2009. Obama had been in office ten months, and Hagee made it clear how he felt about Obama’s treatment of Israel.) She told me point blank that the reason San Antonio did not suffer in the economic downturn that plagued other cities is because they support Israel, and the Bible says if you support Israel, you’ll be blessed.
They truly believe it. I’m sure Pastor Hagee is mourning the loss of his lifelong friend, Rabbi Scheinberg.
Marsha Greenberg Motzen
The Canary in the Coal Mine
Rabbi Steven Burg’s timely article (July 16) serves as a strong reminder that we have much to do to stem the tide of assimilation and intermarriage in America. Although the statistics are frightening, there are Orthodox Jews who view the recent Pew Study Report cited by Rabbi Burg as emanating from “doom and gloom” research groups, who sit in ivory towers discussing the future of Jewry.
Their myopic attitude is belied by the facts. According to Pew, intermarriage is more common among those who have married in recent years. Among Jewish respondents who got married since the beginning of 2010, 61 percent have a non-Jewish spouse, compared with 18 percent of Jews who got married before 1980. Intermarriage is also more prevalent among Jews who are themselves the offspring of intermarried parents. Among married Jews who say they have one Jewish parent, 82 percent have a non-Jewish spouse, compared with 34 percent of those who report that both of their parents were Jewish.
When one considers that the rate of intermarriage in America was 9 percent in 1965, alarm bells should have been ringing out loud and clear over the state of American Jewry in general and to whom Jews marry in particular. We already see some Americans who call themselves Jewish siding with Israel’s enemies and praising anti-Semitic politicians. We have to examine why Jews are leaving the fold, including our younger Jewish adults who once identified as Orthodox but are no longer observant.
Research studies on assimilation and intermarriage such as Pew should not be marginalized or disparaged, and are the proverbial “canary in a coal mine.” If we want our children and grandchildren to grow up as proud committed Jews and to pass that commitment on to their children, we must strive to learn where our efforts are lacking. A good first step is to heed the experts like Rabbi Burg and to support effective Jewish outreach organizations like Aish, NCSY and Chabad. We ignore them at our peril.
Boca Raton, FL
The Enemy Within
Last week’s “Word Prompt” word, Enemies, was an interesting choice and it prompted good, intelligent responses. I’d like to offer my version of what the word means to me in its starkest terms.
I fully believe that the most dangerous enemies of we, the Jewish people and of our beloved Eretz Yisrael, are, sadly and ironically, the enemies within, the self-hating Jews among us, the “social justice warriors” that agonize about the ills of the world but, incredibly, aren’t there for the fears and concerns of the Jewish people in the U.S. and in Israel.
Far too often, they’re on the side of those who seek to undermine the legitimacy of Israel’s status in the world. They foolishly and dangerously go along with the vicious canard that paints Israel as an apartheid nation, when the opposite is the reality. These liberal, ultra-liberal and hard-left Jews have, apparently, shed their born faith of Judaism and have, in essence, adopted the Democrat Party as their religion. It has become their deity, Torah, synagogue and rabbi.
Their Jewish leaders include Bernie Sanders and Chuck Schumer, to name just two. Sanders, born Jewish, abandoned Judaism many years ago and embraced socialism. He has become the Senate’s mouthpiece for the world’s Communist despots and the nations they rule. The current valiant attempt by the Cuban people to attain freedom is sloughed-off by Sanders as a result of the embargo on Cuba. Trump, naturally, becomes the villain of the drama. Sanders votes against Israel’s interests in the Senate at every opportunity.
As for Schumer, he answers the vicious, despicable attacks on Israel by discreetly hiding under his desk, more concerned with the looming threat that AOC represents to his Senate seat. Schumer has become “a useful idiot,” a phrase coined by Vladimir Lenin to describe the liberals, many of them Jews, among the ranks of the 1917 Bolsheviks. When the Bolsheviks attained power, these liberals were the very first to be “liquidated.”
The Abraham Accords, a fantastic achievement by Donald Trump, mean nothing to Biden and the anti-Semites and Israel-haters he surrounds himself with and appoints to various positions. Israel is back in the negative spotlight as the bad guys, the aggressors that had the audacity to retaliate against 4300 rockets fired into Israel by Hamas.
My point is that the Jewish useful idiots among us, elected officials like Jerrold Nadler, Adam Schiff, Schumer and others, portend tragedy and grief for Israel and the Jewish people worldwide. Yes, I’d much prefer the support of the Evangelical Christian community than the so-called support timidly proffered by the likes of Schumer and others.
To denigrate Donald Trump, the greatest friend Israel ever had in the White House, is truly a shonda and a disgusting disgrace, perpetrated far too-often by Jews in public office and a media ingrained with an anti-Israel bias that is always in full view.
Of course we, the Jewish people have “other” enemies; we’ve always had them and likely always will : Christian and Muslim fanatics, the KKK (all 50 of them), the 100 Nazi-regaled imbeciles that march in Idaho, and the occasional misfit that shoots at synagogue worshippers.
However, are we so blind that we can’t or won’t recognize Black Lives Matter as a very potential threat to our safety and the safety of non-Jews? Are the liberal Jews reading this pleased with the actions of BLM, when Jewish (and non-Jewish) businesses are destroyed?
Realistically, I have near-zero faith in the restoration of Jewish values and beliefs by the aforementioned liberal Jewish community. It is those Jews that love Judaism, love the U.S. and love Israel that I’m addressing this letter to. Be strong and resolute in your determination to think and to do right. Our future, our freedom and our well-being are in potential peril, especially our right to free speech and free thought. G-d bless America. Am Israel chai.
Biden Kneeling: Compassion or Confusion?
In Sivan Rahav-Meir’s column in the July 9 issue there is the now famous photograph of Biden kneeling before Rivka Ravitz, head of President Reuven Rivlin’s staff, and a mother of 12. Many people may take that as a sign of respect, compassion, and sympathy.
But is it normal?
When the leader of the most powerful nation in the world kneels on the floor before a mother of 12, for no particular reason, in the middle of a meeting with Israeli President Rivlin, it may actually be a sign of confusion, It may indicate a loss of situational awareness, where he may not know where he is or what he is doing. Even Mrs. Ravitz said she was shocked.
If a president knelt before every mother of 12 children, if he for example visits Lakewood, Crown Heights, Mea Shearim, or a host of Catholic countries with high birthrates, I think that would open up a whole series of questions.
I’m sure people will take both positions on both sides of the issue, but I for one find it more concerning than comforting.
Highland Park, NJ
A Tisha B’Av Lament for America
I have just finished listening to the stirring words of Eicha. As I spend the day lamenting the destruction of Jerusalem, its people and two temples, I cannot help but think that we have an analogous situation in America right now.
Our streets are desolate because people are fearful of the rampant crime. Our lives have been delimited by power-hungry politicians whose mandates have crippled our gatherings, livelihoods education, etc., and by big tech companies, who at the behest of our government, censor speech and valid scientific positions.
Our storehouses/pantries are getting depleted because of inflation. My jar of instant coffee which was $5.99 a few weeks was now selling for $8.99. We all know about the increase in gas prices due to Biden’s revoking the permit for the XL pipeline – only hours after his inauguration – and then waiving sanctions preventing Russia’s gas pipeline to Germany. Russia will become enriched while US citizens are no longer energy independent.
The communist and socialist regimes are lauded despite their human rights violations because our own elected leaders would like to exercise the same unlimited power over our citizens. We have corrupt leaders who are bankrupting our country, who
have opened our borders to all manner of criminals and, likely, terrorists and pass laws without the consent of the people.
Our president has now lifted sanctions against Iran. When Iran strikes at Israel will he eventually give a half-hearted speech deploring the actions of Iran – while Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar cheer in the background about Israel’s calamity and Schiff, Schumer and Nadler exercise silence.
It is a sad day in America as our president has sowed division among citizens and has sought to erase cherished elements of our history. The nations are laughing at us – just as the nations mocked Jerusalem and reveled in her downfall.
New York, NY
The Future of Holocaust Education
I cannot sleep. One thought passes throughout the night. I, a 2G (second generation), am only a few years younger than the youngest Holocaust survivors. Who will be the voices of the Holocaust when we are gone? Some answered, our children and grandchildren. Wish it were so. I believe we 2Gs have the strongest attachment to the survivors and that after we are gone all the museums, books and movies will not stop the Holocaust from just becoming a date in history, another genocide. It hurts me to say so. I have spent my life writing Holocaust books, curriculums, articles, and teaching Holocaust studies, but soon the survivors will be gone and the revisionists will go to work with vigor.
It is already happening today. What is the solution to safeguard Holocaust memory? The Shoah must be incorporated into religious ritual. It must be part of the Haggadah, the Machzor, the High Holidays, and other Jewish holidays. I have published the Rosenberg Holocaust Siddur and Haggadah. Eventually the Shoah should become part of the Tisha B’Av service and other fast days. Perhaps the Shoah should be a day of fasting with the lighting of six candles and reciting Kel Maleih and Kaddish. We need special Holocaust-orientated prayers. I ask that no one be upset at me for predicting the future observance of the Shoah, but this is what I truly believe.
Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg
Biden Mistakes Mean Reliance on Middle East Oil
President Biden has taken steps to reduce oil production in America while also asking OPEC nations to increase their production. Yes, that is correct. On the one hand, President Biden stopped construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline and stopped exploration of petroleum on federal lands. This was done to satisfy environmentalists who want to limit greenhouse gases. On the other hand, the increase in gasoline prices has forced him to ask OPEC to put more supply on the market to lower prices.
The result of this foolishness is that thousands of American pipeline construction workers have lost their jobs. In addition, money is flowing overseas to foreign oil producers. America is now less energy independent and more reliant on Arab petroleum. Clearly, it would have been much better if President Biden had left President Trump’s policies in place.
The national economic impact can be seen in inflation, which is now becoming a serious problem
Fort Lee, NJ