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Why Do You Hate the Jews? Who Will Take The Test? September 8, 2015

Posted by voolavex in Anti-Semitism.
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Before I post this blog (or post this blog) I want to acknowledge and thank Bart D. Ehrman, historian, Bible scholar and Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.  I have been enlightened by and borrowed  liberally from his book: ‘How Jesus Became God’.  If I had footnoted this post the op cit would  have been Professor Ehrman and this title.  His book is footnoted extensively and there is a Scripture Index.  My best advice would be to obtain a copy and read it more than once. Some of his material has been paraphrased and others quoted.  I must also thank Alon Contino for “his shattering book “A World Without Jews”. Indescribable and researched intensely as well.  It sheds light on more recent acts of Jew hatred.  

 

I shall be quite surprised if anyone accepts the challenge, but it is a revealing test and it could yield revealing answers.  As people (some people) Support BDS – I have to ask why in a broader sense.  But I can see that Jew hating today in other, newer ways, is still alive and well.   Rosh Hashonah – 5776,  sees hating Jews and Israel become a global issue and people have taken sides and I am not sure they even know why.

Why do so many hate the Jews?  Is there a reasonable answer?  It cannot be that you have had a bad experience or that you had loud Jewish neighbors or you can’t stand gefilte fish.  People hate Jews.  Really hate them. Some say they don’t, but in secret they do.  No one wants to simply say “I am an anti-Semite”.  Slay them, smite them, slaughter them, set fire to them, gas them, starve them and I still have no idea why?  Why do so many people HATE the Jews?  I dislike some Jews as individuals, but this goes for any religious or ethnic group. And it is personal.   Not everyone likes everyone.  Admittedly there are some people who don’t – the people of India have no issue with them – it is my opinion that when India’s Jews left for Israel, the Indians were not delighted to see them go.  Surprisingly Albania had no problem with Jews. And this in the 20th century.  Many individuals do not.  History will show us that for brief uneasy moments Jews were not hated and shunned but by and large – people seem to have enjoyed and actively cultivated Jew hatred.  Habitually.  Why?

The Romans  in the Middle East didn’t hate the Jews anymore than they hated their other subjugated subjects who didn’t fall into line during their era.  But the business in Jerusalem on that fateful Pesach weekend was not really about “the Jews” – it was about a Jewish rabble-rouser and the disruption of the daily life of the Roman occupation religion (it was trending subject in those times).  It wasn’t Easter weekend.  There was no Good Friday and believe it or not Crucifixion was the approved execution method of the Roman times (before they decided to toss Christians in with large cats) for criminals. The Romans were what we now call “pagans” and had their own worship they hoisted from the Greeks.  The Romans named their province “Palestine” – not the Jews or anyone else.  There were no Muslims because it was long before Islam.  The land had been occupied and the Jews angered most of the conquerors by not knuckling under to their prevailing religions or gods – but I suspect it had to do with faith and not just singling out the Jews for this dislike.  Anyone who didn’t fall into the party line was not considered a really good subject. If you want a subsequent history of the Jews and their treatment by Christians it’s out there in many incarnations.  I will not revisit it nor will I revise it.

For me it is that the early Jews who began their deification of Jesus had a small problem in the light of scriptural writing. The business of the Messiah.  Remember there was no “new” testament while Jesus lived; nor was there electronic media.   Jews were and continue to be believers in the concept or idea of a messiah or savior.  He is called “Moshiach” and he is the anointed one from the line of David who will come to overwhelm the enemy and set up God’s kingdom. There is no “Second Coming”.  No Jew until Christianity was ever considered to be the messiah.  Despite claims to the contrary the Hebrew bible does not once mention the word “messiah”.  There is no mention in Jewish scripture of dying and rising from the dead as a messianic indicator. It was not a condition or factor. It is perhaps a good idea to understand that Jesus was proclaimed messiah by his apostles during his lifetime, although he never called himself that and nothing about his death or “resurrection” would have all of a sudden indicated that this alone made him the messiah.  The Messiah had to conform to conditions set down ages before and none of them included death and rebirth.  And the Jewish people were not buying it.  Consider too that the Romans were running the show and the Roman Emperor was worshipped as a god. So either worship the pagan gods or keep your own heathenism quiet.  The Jews did not worship Roman emperors; why would they worship a poor schlub from Galilee who was crucified as a traitor and enemy of the state?  And why in future would they worship Jesus who did not fulfill the requirements set down in antiquity for the presence of true Messiah.  Remember that Jesus and his friends were all Jews and knew the  Torah and the drill.

The anti-Semitism that has evolved probably started about at the end of the second century in the city of Sardis in Asia Minor in  a sermon delivered by a bishop named Melito.  In it he places the blame for the crucifixion on the Jews.  Period.  And because Jesus had attained the status of God – the Jews had killed their own God; their own Messiah.  He concludes by saying that ‘God has been murdered, the King of Israel has been destroyed by the Right Hand of Israel (that would be Jesus who was sittething on the right hand of God”).  To a small group of believers this would be wild rhetoric, but the Church had already become a majority and Constantine, born again in 312 CE (or so) and created the Holy Roman Empire.  Constantine started with a gusto by railing against the Jews as enemies of “GOD” and laws were passed to constrain Jews in their activities.  Jews had done a bad, bad thing and they were going to suffer for it.  Christianity spread.  So did anti-Semitism.  Jews suffered. And so we come back around to the question:  “Why Do YOU Hate the Jews”.  Now, right now?  An invalid choice is “Because They Killed Our Lord”.  My purpose is to find actual reasons that might sound realistic but are incorrect in the light of explanation and  proven facts.  No one has to soften it.  No one has to sugar coat.  I am interested in honest answers.   And I will be interested to see who will take the test.

This post is dedicated to a person with whom I share a birthday and who is a Muslim and whom I consider my brother.  It is for a sweeter, kinder New Year – the one my tribe celebrates and for every other human who would rather talk than shoot.  Shalom.

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Baby Shopping with Leviticus November 11, 2007

Posted by voolavex in baby gifts, chasids, evil eye, Jews, kosher, leviticus, Lubavitch, talmud, teddy bears, torah.
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I have very close friends who are Lubavitch Chasids.  I have known them for years and this year they welcomed their first grandchild – a lovely little girl. Usually when one goes to visit a new baby it’s fairly simple.  Pink or blue, high end or tacky?  Toys or clothes? Stocks or bonds?   Usually. 

To start, most Jewish folks do not have baby showers.  It is considered bad luck to purchase anything for the baby before it is safely delivered from the womb.  I tend to agree with this idea.  By extension, however, Chasidic Jews do not even discuss names or gender.  The basis for this is called kinahora – although it is spelled many ways.  Ritualwell.org has this to say: “Jews have long believed that to call attention to a good thing-like overpraising a child-is to tempt the evil eye, a faux pas that demands the immediate recitation of “keyn eyn harah”, or kinahora, meaning “no evil eye” in Yiddish.  This is also, in part, the basis for the little red string or bead that many observant Jews wear.  Having this in mind I prepared to visit the new baby and her ecstatic family laden with gifts. But this was not just any baby; she was a Chasidic babe and if you want to do to the right thing for your friends’ joyous occasion (called a simcha), respecting their faith and tradition is the right thing to do and righter still if it’s your own  faith as well. 

Let me say this right away, shopping for babies is better than being pregnant and for little little girls it’s even better.  Nowadays there are so many wonderful things to buy and knit and look for, that it boggles the mind. There seem to be endless sources of clothes and toys in every price range for boys and girls.  Pale pastels, bright primaries and a world of amazing animals and soft things that shout “buy me!”.  Except for the very observant. This is not to say that the very observant don’t go wild over their babies – they just don’t go hog-wild. Fortunately as I was tucking lions and tigers and bears, oh my, into my gift bags, I realized that these stuffies might not work for this little girl and her family.  Now is when the concept of Tum’ah enters the picture.  Tum’ah is a form of ritual impurity which can be expressed in several ways.  For my purposes the most important consideration was in the representation of the stuffed animals.  Wikipedia tells me that one may become tum’ah by coming in contact with certain animals; including some insects and lizards (enumerated in Leviticus, Chapter 11, verses 29 – 32).   Leviticus is where we get the list of what’s kosher and what’s not and this includes animals. (I am still monumentally confused about Noah and the Ark – but that is another whole story.)  And come on, who gets a baby bugs or lizards anway? I had also thought this restriction meant animals one ate – not house pets certainly, but apparently I was incorrect.  I called my friend, the Bubbe (grandmother) who told me that ” you think a teddy bear is just a teddy bear – but it’s not”.  I gather it’s a big, unkosher maneater.  I started to point out that most Jews in Brooklyn don’t go out  and run into bears but before I could mention this,  she started to include other warm, fuzzy creatures that were treif (this is Yiddish for unclean) while I started to toss the poor, hapless stuffies from the bags.  Pigs were out – no Olivia for this baby; no cats, no dogs, nothing with scales, no shellfish (Spongebob’s friends were totally a no-no – but the Sponge himself – not sure – isn’t he a kitchen sponge?), no crocodiles or alligators,  no bunnies and presumably no mice or squirrels.  The list is sort of narrow but I saw it as a challenge and one that I welcomed because domestic fowl are okay as are cows and goats and lambs.  Ducklings!!! Chicks!!! And what could be more wonderful than a fuzzy, woolly little lamb? Could it be that simple? Not so fast.  Nothing is wrong with a lamb unless the sheep wool is mixed with linen (and with things as they are in China you really cannot know).  This is called “sha’atnez”. And is also covered in Leviticus and in the Talmud.  Companies exist only to examine garments to guard against this admixture.  So, in the end, the bags that went to visit this lovely little sheina maidele (beautiful girl) were filled with cotton onesies, little cotton tights, smocked cotton dresses, a Got Milk outfit in pink and androgynous little dolls that turned out to be perfect.  I think I even worked in a little lamb too.  Next time, though,  I will go for duckies. The baby herself was adorable and just as sweet as she could be and the entire event was made even better because everything was, well, kosher.  And when the next one arrives, I will be way ahead of the game.  As soon as I know the gender I may even knit something – but not with sheep wool or spun flax; no, no, no – more likely it will be cashmere or cotton. Pareve, in kosher speak,   neutral.   Not that there’s anything wrong with that.