Author Archives: davidgroen1

Remembering my Father

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I write this brief post in loving memory of my father, Rabbi Nardus Groen.  Today, December 18th, 2014  would have been his 95th birthday. Although I will never be the man that he was, I continue to work hard on becoming the man he would have wanted me to be. Despite the fact that I was very aware of my father’s flaws, the more I look back, the more people I meet, the more I learn about life, the more I realize what a great man he truly was.  The strength and inspiration he provided me not only during his life but as I remember him to this day motivates me to do positive things and take action to make the world a little bit of a better place.  Often when I do what I do I ask myself this very simple question: “What would Dad have done?” Chances are my answer isn’t always the correct one, but my love and respect for him is a large part of what motivates me to try my best.  He will always be one half of that truly great blessing in my life, 2 wonderful parents, and even though he passed away 7 1/2 years ago at the age of 87, he still is with me to this day, as he will be, and I say this joyously, for the rest of my life.

 

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If the World was Right

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If the world was right this never would have happened.  If the world was right 132 children in Pakistan wouldn’t haven’t been slaughtered by thug bastards.  If the world was right there would be worldwide condemnation.  If the world was right there would be people mobilizing in the streets preparing massive protests.  If the world was right people would realize that the war Israel and the West is fighting is against the same type of people who committed this act.

But the world isn’t right; it’s very wrong.  It is filled with evil and hypocrisy and those who choose to remain silent.  Those who speak out against Israel’s fight for security but remain silent today carry some of the burden of responsibility for what took place today in Pakistan.  So Roger Waters, Amal Clooney, Bryan Adams, Russell Brand, Penelope Cruz and Rosie O’Donnell, if you have nothing to say now you show once again how you are NOT only not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

Your hypocrisy is contributing to humanity’s downfall.  Where are you now?

 

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Benjamin the Maccabee?

davidgroen1:

I wrote this 2 years ago before Hanukkah. I could have almost written the same thing today. If you choose to make the argument that the Palestinians just want the right to an independent state, I would answer; all the Jewish state wants is to be recognized as having a right to exist. The Palestinians want land, Israel wants to live safely. To pretend..

Originally posted on Holland's Heroes:

netanWhen I read about things like the E1 corridor, and hear the debate about UN resolutions and acceptance of Palestinian statehood, I step back and try to understand what is really going on.  I try to be objective and fair, fully knowing that my family history makes that close to impossible.  Naturally I am impacted by my own family’s plight during the Nazi occupation of Holland and, knowing Jewish history, I see the numerous examples of persecution against the Jewish people.

It is very easy to jump on the bandwagon of compromise and talk about how Israel needs to make concessions and show tolerance to the Palestinians.  Criticizing Benjamin Netanyahu is becoming more and more popular, not just amongst Israel’s enemies but amongst Israel’s friends and even Jews.  But is his approach so inappropriate?  If there is one major reason to elect an Israeli Prime Minister it is to protect…

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UN calls on the Maccabees to avoid hostilities

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In response to the recent increase of hostilities between King Antiochus’ Seleucids and the Jewish population led by Judah Maccabee, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon released the following statement:

“We call on the Jewish population to immediately stop its attacks against the Seleucid government in Jerusalem.  We intend to form a committee to investigate the alleged banning of circumcision imposed by the Seleucids as well as the Maccabean claim of inappropriate actions within the Temple, but maintain in theory that the government is within its rights to impose a ban of this nature in order to protect religious sovereignty.  Despite the claims by Maccabean leadership claiming the installation of idolatrous figures being placed in the Holy Temple, it is the belief of this organization that this is a tremendous opportunity for the coexistence of all religions within Jerusalem’s holiest places.  What will be critical in making this work will be Jewish cooperation and subjugation to King Antiochus and his leadership of Jerusalem and outlying areas.  Any resistance by Judah and his fellow Maccabees will be seen as hostility bordering on criminal activity.  We have already begun the groundwork for further investigations of Judah Maccabee for war crimes that may have already taken place and in anticipation and expectation of further actions.”

U.S. President Barack Obama commented on the increasing tension in the area as well.

“We call on both parties to show restraint”, said President Obama.  “I have spoken directly to Judah Maccabee and I am confident that he is aware of my continuing support and commitment to the safety and well-being of his people.  That being said, I have emphasized in our discussions my belief in a peaceful solution.  King Antiochus has assured me  that his intentions are peaceful and I believe him to be sincere.”

A State Department spokesman denied claims that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is “annoyed” by Judah Maccabees aggressive approach.

Judah Maccabee issued the following statement in response to the comments:

“My number one responsibility is to my people.  We do not answer to the United Nations or to any world leader.  One day we will look back at this moment and realize that we were at a crossroads.  Our choices in leadership will determine whether or not we survive as a people and will celebrate our existence,  or succumb to the pressure and lament our losses. It is my intention to see to it that rather than allowing an enemy to drive us into extinction, we will lead the people to a thriving and secure future. When we regain control of our holiest of sites, the Temple in Jerusalem, we will celebrate as we light the candelabra in continuing dedication to God.  We wish to live in peace, but as long as we have an enemy that wants to see us dead we will defend ourselves by any mean necessary.”

One programming note.  CNN will be continuing its ongoing documentary “Hellenism as opposed to Judaism.  Why it works in Jerusalem.”

 

Chanukah Sameach!!

Happy Hanukkah!!

 

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Open Letter to Rosie O’Donnell

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Dear Rosie,

As someone who has to at least some extent defended and supported you in the past, I can’t begin to tell you how disappointed I am with what you have done.  I haven’t listened to everything you’ve always said, but as someone who is comfortable with your personal choices and as someone who enjoys hearing someone give an exuberant opinion, I have at the very least been a borderline fan. However, this time you crossed over from exuberance to idiocy, and as a result you are now hearing from me.

Here’s the thing Rosie.  As someone who opines on a regular basis I understand that in doing so I open myself up for criticism if and when I do or say something wrong.  Subsequently it takes a degree of confidence in one’s ethical approach to choose to be a voice.  Over the years you have been one VERY loud voice.  In doing so however, you’ve also reached a point where you are required to be responsible.  Many people have paid attention to at least some of what you have said, and many continue to listen to you.  To be very blunt, I hope they stop doing so.  Any credibility you may have had in my eyes, is now gone.  And here is why.

This is wrong on so many levels that I  am almost embarrassed to say I once liked you.  Your Limited Edition Acrylic Artwork designed and drawn by Rosie is one, everything people legitimately criticize about Americans. Two, so incredibly irresponsible in its inaccuracy.  And three, so focused on putting down Israel it is downright gross, not to mention offensive.  I will break it down for you.

You have a picture of a man holding a wounded baby and you write, “Israel beings bombing Gaza-This man carries a baby about the same age as the one I sit next to, watching Frozen”.  CLICK HERE TO SEE.

Rosie, I love America. Even when I disagree with the government or see stupidity that can be interpreted as indigenous to our society, I am proud to be an American.  Those who criticize Americans will say that we commercialize everything and often do so in shallow and ignorant fashion.  I suspect that many will use your “art” as a prime example of this shallow ignorance. Then again, if they are haters of Israel and the Jews they will gravitate to it, because shallow stupidity is forgivable when done to put down Israel and the Jewish people.

That’s not even the biggest problem with all of this Rosie.  That picture wasn’t taken in Gaza and this man is not holding a baby wounded in an Israeli attack.  This is the aftermath of a Syrian government attack on its own people.  An attack that is just one of many in a civil war that has killed almost 200,000 people.  Once again you show it is easier, and in some people’s minds hipper to attack Israel than to go after the real evil.

On a side, but rather mind-boggling note, maybe you can answer this question for me.  Why on earth would someone who has fought hard for the rights of the LGBT community go after the one government in the entire Middle East where gays and lesbians are allowed to live freely and without persecution?  Not to mention the fact that you did so in such blatantly inaccurate fashion.

I want an apology Rosie.  I want one for the entire Jewish community and I want one for the State of Israel.  If we do not get one from you, your integrity is gone for good.  You’ve always been a loud voice and one who has always claimed to be a straight shooter. Well in this case you are shooting wildly, inaccurately, and with a mean and subtle venom.  I want an apology and a retraction. Anything short of this will show you to be part of the very hypocrisy you’ve always claimed to fight against.

Do the right thing or stop talking, because if you don’t, you’re just another dumb voice without any substance.

Sincerely,

David Groen

 

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Holiday Gift Idea

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Anyone who reads my posts knows that at the bottom of all of them is a link on “How to Buy the Book”. I will not deny that although I do my writing for the love of the craft, I also use this opportunity as a means to subtly promote the book I wrote about the experiences of my parents.  As the holidays approach I am throwing any subtlety out the window.  Simply put, the book “Jew Face: A story of love and heroism in Nazi-occupied Holland”, is a great gift for both Hanukkah and Christmas.  And here is why.

First of all and somewhat unfortunately, the book has a greater relevance today than it would have had in previous years.  The importance of telling an inspirational story of Holocaust survivors has always been there, particularly with the existence of denial and hate all over the world, but with the significant growth of evil and anti-Seimitism in today’s world, being aware of what took place has never been more important.

That being said, this is not your typical Holocaust era book.  This is very much a love story, despite the seriousness of the subject an easy read, and a book that acknowledges in style and substance the fact that my parents were, in many ways, 2 of the lucky ones.  I always put it this way when I talk about it to others.  No one should ever have to go through what my parents did over the 5 year period between 1940 and 1945, but compared to so many others, they were very fortunate.  For the record, certainly by the time I was old enough to hear the story, they were very much aware of their good fortune.

My father, Rabbi Nardus Groen of Blessed Memory, was a great man.  He was not a perfect man, but he was a great man.  The courage and strength he exhibited during the Nazi terror was unlike that of most men. In the book I do my very best to tell the stories of his remarkable actions during this time as well as the astounding bravery and strength of my mother, Sipora Groen, who, less than a month from her 93rd birthday is still an inspiration and joy to all those who know her.  I often say that it seemed to me that the only thing that ever scared my father was being without my mother.

In the book I make a clear distinction between the good guys and the bad guys. The bad guys were the Nazis and anyone who cooperated or worked with them.  The good guys were everyone else.  Therefore the character flaws and occasional strained relationships existing among normal decent people are not on display in this book.  This is not a book about the good and bad qualities of decent people.  It is a book about the good and bad in humanity, and how despite the awful price our people and our world had to pay, how good ultimately won.

If you want to learn more or purchase an inspirational and relatively inexpensive gift for someone this holiday season, CLICK HERE.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!!!!!!

 

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Maybe they should Hate us

antiseFrom the age of 15 to 18  I lived in London in the house of a Rabbi and his family.  He and his wife were wonderful and genuinely religious people who always looked for the good in people. Whenever you would declare a hatred for another person, the Rabbi’s wife would always respond by saying how one should never hate people. Setting aside her words of compassion and decency, one can make an argument that sometimes hatred is not only reasonable but justified. Ironically over the past few days I came to the conclusion that the hatred felt towards Israel and the Jewish people may not actually be reasonable or justified, but it may not be too difficult to understand.  This is not because the people who hate us are good people, or that there is anything ethical about their hatred, this is merely because with what they are looking to accomplish and the message they are trying to get out there, the Jewish people may indeed pose a problem and a threat.

So to which group of people am I referring to?  The short answer is anyone who believes their religion needs to achieve world domination at all costs.  I could mince words and be politically correct, but since I believe in writing with integrity and honesty I will just state the reality.  Most of these people are Muslims.  Sure there are people of other faiths who hate the Jewish people as well, and I recognize that not all Muslims hate Jews, but to deny that most of the hatred is coming from those of the Muslim faith would be incorrect and irresponsible.

This whole discussion creates an interesting, and to be quite frank, a rather bizarre dynamic.  There are countless Muslims who are outspoken about their hatred towards Israel and the Jewish people. There are thousands upon thousands of people who have expressed that hatred in one form or another.  Anyone who is Jewish, especially someone who is a Zionist, finds themselves in a no-win situation.  You are expected to be quiet and just accept that hatred, for if you actually identify it, you are identified as the racist.  It’s not only bizarre, it is also a sad statement on what the world has become.

Depending on who you consider a Jew, there are anywhere between 13 to 19 million Jews on the planet.  By some estimations there are 1.6 billion Muslims.  Yet somehow the Jews are the threat.  Why is this?  Personally, this question has risen to the top of the list of the most important questions in today’s world.  Since I believe unequivocally that there is a God, and I believe the pursuit of the meaning of life is actually a fun venture, no other question has become more important to me than the question, “why do they hate us?”

I’ve come up with numerous answers and would not be surprised if I come up with more as time goes on.  The number one answer I always fall back on is that despite all efforts, us Jews just won’t go away. It sounds simplistic but as I sat in synagogue this past Saturday I was struck by the deeper meaning of it all.  The portion read from the Torah this past week spoke of how Jacob, the Biblical Patriarch whose name would later be changed to Israel, had a dream of a ladder ascending to heaven from earth.  He had this dream in what would be known as Beit El.  Beit El which is in what we know as the West Bank and is right in the heart of the conflict the world hears so much about.  The Children of Israel, who we now refer to as the Jewish people, run a government that controls this land.  Still to this day, thousands of years after the story of Jacob, aka Israel, had the dream at Beit El, this same location is now a thriving town populated by Jewish people and part of the modern nation of Israel. After all the persecution, the pogroms, the gas chambers and the suicide bombers, the Jews are still living right there in this location designated by God as special to the Children of Israel.  We may be small in number, but when you consider that it all started with a relationship with God, if your life is based around the belief that only your religion is right, of course we’re a threat.

Then of course there is the scapegoating concept.  Jews have always been a good target.  The character flaw that leads one to believe that everything wrong in the world is someone else’s fault, also exists on an organizational or national level.  Case in point, the people of Gaza live in poverty and it is all Israel’s fault.  Of course it has nothing to do with the misappropriation of funds and corruption that has a small minority living a billionaire’s life or the building of terror tunnels.  It has nothing to do with self-serving politicians rallying their people to hate Israel and the Jewish people.  It’s someone else’s fault, and the best and easiest people to blame always seem to be the Jews.

And last but definitely not least, it is plain old ignorance.  Are the Jewish people perfect?  Definitely not.  There are some high-profile Jews that have committed acts that no normal decent person would condone.  Israel as a nation makes mistakes and most likely has politicians that will manipulate the situation to benefit their personal career even if it hurts others in the process. That being said, that makes the Jews no different from any other people on the planet, and to somehow move us to the top of the list of evildoers is based on an ignorant perception caused by the choice to believe misrepresentations, or even worse being a victim of an education against the Jewish people.  The misrepresentation of facts to adults and the education of young children in many parts of the Muslim world is creating millions of people who almost have no choice other than to hate Jews. This reality is frightening, sad, and for lack of a better word disgusting.  But it certainly explains a lot.

The hatred is unreasonable, despicable, unjustified and bizarre, but if you look at what is driving those who hate us, it makes an awful lot of sense.

 

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