We tried out a new large conservative synagogue in Rockville today.
And they had an interesting speech this Shabbat by scholar in residence, Tal Becker.
He spoke about how as a Jewish people traumatized post Holocaust, we tend to view threats to us as existential or the possibility of them escalating to that.
And of course, many of the threats out there are or could be--like the Iranian Ballistic Nukes or terrorism combined with WMD!
But in terms of overall Jewish security, normalcy, and exceptionalism--with two thriving Jewish communities in Israel and in America--we are probably doing better than at any time in recent history.
It's a paradox, he mentioned, that in America, the Jews are a minority but amidst all the freedom, they may at times feel like a majority, while in Israel, the Jews are a majority, but amidst the dangerous neighborhood they live in, they can feel like a minority.
Unfortunately, there is still quite a lot of hatred and anti-Semitism out there whether in America or the Middle East.
Just this week, we saw numerous terror attacks in Israel and Turkey that left several Israelis dead or wounded again. And in America, not only did we have Palestinian protests on college campuses painting Jews as the occupiers and Apartheidists (rather than as the victims of daily Palestinians terror and intransigence toward a two-state solution living side-by-side with Israel in peace), but also Microsoft having to take down their AI Bot after users taught it to spew anti-Semitic remarks like "Jews deserve death" and holocaust-denial posts in social media.
So as wonderful as it is to be Jewish, there is typically not a day that goes by when we are not somehow reminded of those that reject us, hate us, and may want to kill Jews.
The truth is that Jews (as Mark Twain pointed out)--despite having a pretty large and impressive footprint--are a very small minority of the people out there, and they have endured unbelievably difficult times from slavery to the destruction of the temple and exile (twice), forced conversions, tortured inquisitions, expulsions, pogroms, and genocide...so it is hard not to be a little touchy about people saying or implying that they don't like you and want to kill you...someone may take that as an existential threat and it wouldn't even have to be a bad day at that. ;-)
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)