Showing posts with label Persecution. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Persecution. Show all posts

September 20, 2020

There Is No Zionism Without G-d

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "There Is No Zionism Without G-d."
For two thousand years, the Jewish people exiled from their land, widely dispersed, and inhumanly persecuted among the nations developed passivity and learned helplessness. They eagerly awaited, year after year, G-d’s salvation and redemption. As a tiny minority attempting to hold firm to their religious beliefs amongst the world’s powerful majorities, the Jews found themselves a convenient scapegoat, suffering landlessness and joblessness, taxation to the point of near-starvation, conscription of their Jewish children for military service of 25-years, forced conversion on pain of torture and death, horrible violent pogroms that sparred no one, and expulsions from country after country. During these times, the Jewish people learned passivity in the hope of not inflaming the hate and anger of the goyim that would make things “even worse!”

Certainly, there is no mitzvah to being passive and helpless, and this was undoubtedly in large measure a result of being homeless and suffering under the weight of relentless and brutal anti-Semitism for 2,000 years. Yet, as we each roll up our sleeves to actively work and fight for the modern State of Israel, our independence, and our right to practice our religion freely, we must do so with full knowledge and thanksgiving to G-d, our creator and sustainer! Whether King David against the giant Goliath, Samson against the mighty Philistines, or our modern-day strong and brave soldiers in the IDF defending the borders of Israel from historical enemies’ roundabout, they stand strong against all the natural odds, because G-d stands right there with them and us.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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July 19, 2020

PTSD Gets Around

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "PTSD Gets Around."
The Jewish people are a nation recovering from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), where memories of trauma flood our national psyche and can trigger emotional (and even physical) symptoms. Whether fear of the next “evil decree” against the Jews, to another pogrom of crazed rapists and killers rampaging through a Jewish town, or even of genocide itself, the Jewish people have known plenty of deep-seated persecution and have to deal with the accompanying fear and anxiety of being the quintessential “strangers in a strange land,” almost everywhere in the world and over a very long period of history.

PTSD is very real not only for our suffering veterans, and for individual people that have been sexually abused or experienced physical violence, but it can also be a national psychiatric disorder based on collective trauma that affects our mood, anxiety levels, and behavioral reactions to events. Suffering from exile, persecution, and helplessness from thousands of years does not go away in a generation or even a century. It is a long road for our national recovery where we can learn to once again live healthy and productive lives absent from the fear and anxiety of another bad Tisha B’Av.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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June 27, 2020

The Only Fixer

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "The Only Fixer."

I’m reading the famous book, The Fixer by Bernard Malamud. It’s about the horrible pogroms in Russia and the blood libels where the Jews would be ridiculously accused of sorcery and witchcraft, and the killing of Christian children for their blood to put in Passover matzah!

In short, hate and hurt can’t be excused because you can. Wielding power gives you authority, but also the extra responsibility. There is such a thing as acting justly. And then there isn’t. Usually, when someone is acting justly, they can explain themselves in a balanced, calm, and rationale way. It makes sense! When they are doing wrong, it’s usually extreme, abrupt, and ultimately inexplicable and therefore can’t be articulated. Hence, that’s the way it is, Fixer. Who is The Fixer? Again, I don’t care!

(Credit Photo: Minna Blumenthal)

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March 6, 2020

The Tavor

Love my new keychain with the Tavor.

It's the latest Assault Rifle by Israel Weapon Industries.

The short stock makes this very versatile yet it packs a hell lot of fire power.

Good reminder for me of "Never again!" ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal, and thank you to my son-in-law for the thoughtful gift)
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February 1, 2020

Jew-Hate Shouted Aloud

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called "Jew-Hate Shouted Aloud."
We were walking to synagogue today for Shabbat services, and were taken aback when out of the window of a speeding car someone yelled, “Heil Hitler!”...While I value all the freedoms we have in this country, including the freedom of speech (especially as I am a writer), I am concerned that if the anti-Semitism can’t be addressed through law enforcement action when it’s at the verbal stage of offense then what does that leave—it has to escalate to violence for the police to be able to take action against the haters and perpetrators?

Just as it is illegal to yell “fire” in a crowded theatre and cause danger to the public, I believe that shouting vile hatred and incitement should be illegal for the same reasons. We don’t need to be able to punish people for thought crimes, but we do need to be able to protect people from hate-mongers who are openly leading up to violent expressions of their deep-seated Jew hatred, by identifying hate speech as a bona fide illegal and punishable crime.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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January 18, 2020

Anti-Semitism: Preparedness Can't Be Blind

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Anti-Semitism: Preparedness Can't Be Blind."
As I'm standing there, I feel someone coming up behind me and then running into me. Of course, with anti-Semitic attacks prominent and growing, I may have been at a slightly higher state of alert, and I turn around ready for whatever or to give someone a few choice words...And then I see the cane from a blind person.

So even in these times, when there are gangs, drugs, violence, and anti-Semitism, and "we can't be careful enough" (especially given our long, deep history of religious persecution), at the same time, we need to judge our fellow man favorably first and foremost, and still we must be prepared for, G-d forbid, the worst at any time.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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January 2, 2020

'Uncut Gems' Cuts Deep

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Uncut Gems Cuts Deep."
Yesterday, we went to see the new Adam Sandler movie, Uncut Gems....Ratner's life is full of shlemazel of his own making. While he has a good wife, kids, and extended family (maybe with the exception of his loan shark uncle), a fancy-schmancy home in the suburbs with a newly renovated pool, his own jewelry business that even caters to some big-league sports players, and a shiksa girlfriend on the side (who seems to love him), Ratner is never satisfied or happy and is always pushing for more!

In the movie, Howard Ratner was driven by greed and made bad life choices, and to me, it was a shame that the he was portrayed as a Jew, which can feed the vicious cycle of discrimination and hatred that has often been anchored around money. With the vicious machete attack on Chanukah at a Rabbi's house in Monsey this week (after a slew of other anti-Semitic incidents, including an attack on a student for wearing a yalmulke on the NYC Subway to beatings and tire slashings of Jews in Brooklyn), we are reminded that there is once again a resurgence of prejudice and hate against Jews, but also that it's the light of Chanukah that "drives out the darkness," and that money and materialism are a mere shabby substitute to finding true security and success whether you work in the dense NYC Diamond District or live in the sprawling suburbs of America.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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December 8, 2019

Operation Thunderbolt: Fighting Prejudice and Persecution

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called "Operation Thunderbolt: Fighting Prejudice and Persecution."
No people should suffer blatant prejudice and persecution and everyone should be “entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” These are part of the foundational values that America and Israel share. We stand as friends and allies for respecting and valuing human rights, always to be underscored by peace and security for our peoples. Isn’t it an amazing “coincidence” that the rescue in Entebbe occurred on America’s 200th anniversary, July 4, 1976!

The raid on Entebbe and the miraculous rescue of the hostages stands as an everlasting symbol of courage and triumph of good over evil. As we continue to work and pray for a genuine peace in the Middle East for all its inhabitants, we also must stand resolutely and say “Never Again.”

(Credit Photo: Government Press Office Israel via Flickr)

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November 30, 2019

Jews, The People of Thanksgiving

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Jews, The People of Thanksgiving."
This week was Thanksgiving (חג ההודיה), but for Jews we are already called, "The People of Thanksgiving. "We are named יהודים (Yehudim) after יהודה (Yehudah), the son of Isaac and Leah because Leah said (Genesis 29:35): "הפעם אודה את יהיה." ("This time let me thank G-d"). Also as Jews, we are not just called the People of  Thanksgiving, but we are actively supposed to say 100 blessings a day thanking G-d, so in the true sense of the word, everyday is Thanksgiving Day for the Jewish people.

Jews are the People of Thanksgiving not only on Thanksgiving, but every day of the year. We are thankful for being the chosen people and for our redemption and return to the Promised Land of Israel; we are thankful for the life and opportunities that G-d has given to us; we are thankful in good times and G-d forbid, in the bad times; and we are thankful because, yes, ultimately everything from G-d is for the good.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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October 15, 2019

The Coming Great American Aliyah

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "The Coming Great American Aliyah."
If you just open your eyes and have faith, you will know that you will be going to Israel–the question isn’t if, but when! What G-d has decreed, no man can annul. There are three types of ways things will unfold for American Jews: Some will go to Israel on their own,”nicely.” Others will be going only when they absolutely have to–“not so nicely.” The third group will not be going–unfortunately, as difficult as it is to say, they won’t make it. While this is all about the fulfillment of messianic times, and we don’t know when precisely it will all transpire, I pray that people (including myself) will choose to plan intelligently for the future to make aliyah in good times, and that their shouldn’t be pain and suffering for the Jewish people in getting there, but rather that it is an amazing experience filled with endless blessings.

May G-d bring us in peace, prosperity, and health to fulfill His promise of the ingathering and to rebuild the Temple and bring Mashiach to the world.


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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May 2, 2019

Beautiful Anne Frank


In Remembrance of Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Observance) today:

This is a beautiful Hebrew song about Anne Frank who at age 13 went into hiding in Amsterdam from the Nazis.

For two years, they stayed in the attic...not being able to make a sound or open a window.

But she kept an amazing diary that preserves for us the life and suffering they went through. 

After 761 days, they were discovered and Anne Frank was was sent to Auschwitz Concentration Camp. 

Anne and her sister Margot died in Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp.

This child was beautiful and her story lives to remind us of the evil that we face and the survival that we all must.  ;-)

___
Song:

Anne Frank's Diary

Lyrics:

A bookcase hides me. 
And what, what a fear.
My father, my mother and my sister,
With the neighbors together.
We are all in silence and quiet,
With only the heart whispering whispers.
Here they hide from the soldiers,
Which our soul seeks.
My diary, my precious,
Oh Kitty, my friend.
Will I ever see a sunrise?
Will I find my death?
In the tiny rooms, From a suffocating feeling.
Cold days and clouds.
Nights of terror and silence.
It's not true, it's not right,
I want to laugh out loud.
Dance, sing and play,
I'm a child, all in all.
My diary, my precious ...
There are terrible moments,
In our relations.
So crowded here in the apartment, Everything is closing in on us.
Food is also very lacking, The war within the city.
Will I live? Will I survive?
Do you still love and sing?
My diary, my precious ...

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April 27, 2019

Barking And Biting

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel, "We Must Take Every Bark Seriously."


Sometimes, when they bark, they don’t bite. But other times, the bark is the prelude to the bite. I don’t think you can judge intentions by the bark, and I am certain you need to always be ready for the bite. Dogs and people are not really that different. Over millennia of history, Jews have been threatened and persecuted–barked at and bitten, and they have not been mutually exclusive.

The Jewish people are few in number and with a small but miraculous and wonderful country--we know that rabid dogs that bark against us, also can bite ferociously, and we must take every threat seriously for our very survival. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 22, 2017

UN Is Plagued With JEWPHOBIA


IT'S AN EPIDEMIC AT THE UNITED NATIONS.

It's a most evil disease of the mind, body, and soul. 

And it's called--Jewphobia!

And it's taken many forms throughout history...

- Hateful Anti-Israel Resolutions

- Terrorism

- Wars

- Boycotts, Divestitures, and Sanctions

- Genocidal Holocaust

- Death Camps

- Crematoria

- Gas Chambers

- Forced Labor

- Human Medical Experiments

- Kristillnacht

- Iron Curtains

- Persecutions

- Pogroms

- Discrimination

- Blood Libels

- Torture Chambers

- Inquisition

- Expulsions

- Occupations

- Destruction of the Temple (2x)

- Plundering

- Masacres

- Sieges

- Infanticide

- Slavery

WHEN IS THE HATE AND JEWPHOBIA GOING TO STOP?

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal with source background photo here)
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March 8, 2017

Women's War

Today was International Women's Day. 

But this guy was protesting something else.

WAR.
"War is chaos, War is lawless
War ignores our civil rights
Land it poison and our rivers
War inspires both rape and murder
Death of children go uncounted
War betrays all Women's Rights"
Not sure how he connects this all up with women's rights at the end, but might as well try, right?

For women to have the rights that they should, they need to fight the good fight too.

That type of war does not betray them, but bolsters their cause. 

Everyone who has been abused, enslaved, and discriminated against needs to free themselves of the shackles of oppression.

What we do know is that "war is hell!"

And certainly war is an option of last resort. 

At the same time, war can restore the peace and right the wrongs of despots and tyranny and violence and persecution. 

War is something to be feared and avoided, until it can't.

At which time, hell on earth is released, so hopefully peace can ultimately prevail once again. 

In war, everyone loses, but with the hope that at the end, good wins!

For woman, today is also the continuance of that war and fight for equality, respect, and proper treatment in every way they completely deserve.

That's a war worth fighting for. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 25, 2017

The Great Trump Wall

So today, President Trump signed the executive order to start the process of putting up the border wall with Mexico. 

Generally, I don't think anyone with a heart seriously questions the need to continue robust immigration for those in need that are seeking asylum or refuge from all sorts of persecution as well as for humanitarian reasons...of course, we must continue to have empathy and be kind and compassionate to people, period. 

However, the Great Trump Wall needs to go up to secure our borders.

We have over 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. and roughly 400,000 crossing the border and settling here illegally on an annual basis. 


With human trafficking, illegal drugs and weapons, criminals and terrorists, and others just coming on over willy nilly, this is not the way to secure a nation's border or run a country. 


We have the right and responsibility to create safety and security for people. 

Running across the border, catch and release, or just illegally staying is not a policy, but rather immigration chaos. 

We and our families all came to this country seeking a better life and are so fortunate to be here, and we should and must pay it forward.

Immigration should be based on well-thought and sound policy that genuinely helps people in need and advances the interests of the nation.


In terms of freedom, equality, and human rights, we definitely want to tear down the walls the separate us!


However, for border security, catch me if you can is not a strategy or policy--just plain neglect and chaos. ;-)

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal--funny pic because I was actually pretending to tear it down.)
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January 22, 2017

Ambassador of Redemption and Peace

Thought this was so cool...

One of my friends from synagogue has an amazing replica of the letter From President Harry S. Truman recognizing the the State of Israel (with the President's last-minute hand-written edits on it):

It reads: 
"This Government has been informed that a Jewish state has been proclaimed in Palestine, and recognition has been requested by the provisional Government thereof.  
The United States recognizes the provisional government as the de facto authority of the State of Israel." 
Harry Truman 
Approved May 14, 1948"
 And hence the Jewish people went from almost 2,000 years in exile and persecution--culminating in the genocidal Holocaust that wiped out 6,000,000 Jews--to be followed by the founding of the State of Israel and the keeping of G-d's promise in the Bible:
Genesis 15:18: 
"On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, "To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadi of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates."
Deuteronomy 30:3 
"Then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you."
We are living through historic times!

Now the Headquarters of the State Department is named the Harry S. Truman building...how fitting for all our diplomacy to be called for the President that recognized the State of Israel, as the Bible said. 

Then this weekend, I was truly surprised and humbled when another friend from synagogue said that he thinks with all my passion and caring for the United States, Israel and G-d that I could be the U.S. Ambassador to Israel...I couldn't have be more moved by these lovely sentiments.

As a child of Holocaust survivors and a person of faith who believes deeply that we are witnessing the prophecies of the Bible literally being fulfilled and that we are in the time of the great redemption, I have a vision that we are ushering in the coming of the Messiah and that there will be peace in our lands and enlightenment of G-d upon the Earth. 

I hope and pray every day for it to be. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 22, 2016

Did You Know You're A Sinner

So walking down the street here yesterday, I ran into a sign and was handed a postcard, declaring:
"Sin Awareness Day"

Then I was confronted by a gentleman (or not so gentle) who proceeded to explain to me that I--and everyone else--are sinners!

Innocently, I ask, "Well, what have I done?"

The missionary answers with a stern face, "I'm sure you have lied!"

I said, "I don't think so," but then to play alone, I smirked and said, "Well what if I did?"

He answers and says, "You'll need to repent!"

Thinking that Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) is right around the corner in a couple of weeks, I thought to myself, hey that's right in line with where I'm going anyway...

The guy continues--of course--to try to enlist me to his "savior" that he believes can save us from all our sins. 

I challenged and said, "Well, how about Moses?"

He roars back, "Moses?!!!" and starts railing on about "convert, convert, convert." 

Uh no, thank you, I am fine with the faith of my father, and grandfathers, and great grandfathers, etc. 

And I appreciate if we can avoid the forcible conversion parts of yesteryear from various empires, caliphates, crusades, and inquisitions, with no shortage of associated torture, executions, and expulsions. 

Then breaking this historical context and glancing at the back of the postcard that he handed out, I did like this one thing that it said:
"Sin is not primarily a measure of how bad you are, but a measure of how good you are not."

Heck, why be negative about ourselves (we are not inherently bad); instead see that we not living up to our potential and try, always, to do better. 

In that I am definitely a believer!  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 2, 2015

Am Yisrael Chai!


"For in every generation there rose up those to destroy our people.

In antiquity, we faced destruction from the ancient empires of Babylon and Rome.

In the Middle Ages, we faced inquisition and expulsion.

And in modern times, we faced the pogroms and Holocaust.

Yet the Jewish people persevered.

And now another regime has arisen swearing to destroy Israel.

That regime would be wise to consider this.

I stand here today representing Israel a country 67 years young, but the nation state of a people nearly 4,000 years old.

Yet, the empires of Babylon and Rome are not represented in this hall of nations.

Neither is the thousand year Reich.

Those seemingly invincible empires are long gone.

But Israel lives.

The people of Israel live.

Am Israel Chai!"

- Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
  United Nations, 2015
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August 2, 2015

Self-Perpetuating Immigration For All The Wrong Reasons

So this is the prevailing misguided logic by some for more immigration. 

We need immigrants to "reduce the ratio of retirees to workers."


Why? 


Because the birth rate has fallen to below replenishment rates (roughly 2.1 births per women). 


And since our "trust funds" for social security, medicare, pensions, and the like have NOT been been kept in trust, BUT INSTEAD have been squandered on other things...


Therefore, according to this warped thinking we now need a wave of immigrants to come save us--have lots of babies and grow our economy--to pay for what we should be able to, but can't--because of gross mismanagement and corruption with the money that was taken out our payroll all our lives supposedly to care for us in our elder years. 


The wrong reasons for immigration are expressed by Charles Kenny in Bloomberg Businessweek.


- According to Kenny, "More immigration is both the cheapest and most effective response to the challenge of a shrinking, aging population," which he frets is "ominous for pension and health-care costs."


- Kenny's approach to immigrants is that they are not vital and talented human beings, but rather basically baby machines with higher birth rates for population replenishment, as he states, "Although immigrants rapidly adopt the fertility patterns of their new countries, they still tend to produce more children to begin with."


- And he says, because most come over as adults, we have the benefits of the workers "without the expense and delay of rearing...[them as] children."


- Oh, and by the way, Kenny says, "Some newly arrived workers help provide cheap child-care options."

Wow, how biased, cold, and condescending is that!


Not once does Kenny mention or advocate for immigration for any of these truly worthy reasons:


Shelter from persecution 


- Political asylum


- Promote diversity


- Bring in needed skills, investment, and innovation 


- Rejoin families


And what is the result of bringing in immigrants to pay our way?


Well, we'll need to bring in yet another and another, wave after wave of immigration, because we can't balance of budget and spend rationally, responsibly, and with an eye toward the future--it's self-perpetuating immigration for the sake of deadbeatism. 


Sweet land of liberty is being thrown out for a bunch of economic opportunists who feel we need "immigrants to [come to] the rescue" rather than join together with us in being great in terms of compassion, humanitarianism, and mutual respect. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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June 19, 2015

It's Not Working

So it's human nature to want to leave the world a better place than before we got here.

But you wouldn't know it by how things are looking the last number of years.


Here's just the latest from reports this week:


1) The Global Peace Index: "World is less peaceful today than in 2008...Last year alone it is estimated that 20,000 people were killed in terrorist attacks up from an average of 2,000 a year only 10 years ago."


2) A Record Year In Misery: "The world has never seen a refuge crisis this bad...last year saw the total number of forcibly displaced persons rise to 59.5 million, an all time high." This is due to world conflict, general violence, human rights violations, and persecution."


3) Climate Apocalypse: "A child born today may live to see humanity's end...[as a result of] overcrowding, denuded resources, and climate change...dangerous climate change is already here. The question is can we avoid catastrophic climate change."


4) Americans Have Lost Confidence In Everything: "It not just Congress [and the President] and the economy that have Americans concerned these days...All in all, it's a picture of a nation discouraged about its present and worried about its future, and highly doubtful that its institutions can pull America out of its trough.


Maybe the worst thing is that many people are deluding themselves that everything is hunky dory. 


But isn't it time for some real wins again? 


To do that we need genuine good old fashioned elbow grease--that means we start with a strategy that actually tackles the issues rather than kicking the can down the road. We need honesty, not political upmanships and swell soundbite cliches. 


What good is appeasement to the masses now, if it means their utter despair or demise later--for example, why should we be Greece on the brink of national bankruptcy, if instead we can be Norway with the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world? 


Then comes the hard work, fortitude, and commitment to turn the tide on the bad news and losses. This mean personal and national sacrifice now in order to have better times for our children and grandchildren. 


G-d is watching us, our children are questioning us, the needy are looking to us. 


We are working hard, but it's hardly working! 


Maybe we need to make this real simple: "Little Johnny, now take your medicine, and stop fighting Mommy, p-lease!"  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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