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On the anniversary of Kristallnacht, of course I condemn. But first I remember

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On this solemn anniversary of Kristallnacht I have heard shouts from my fellow Jews on the right  side of the aisle calling for those on the left side of the aisle to condemn the anti-Semites of today.  Although I am prepared to do that, I also must make the point that condemning the evil of today is not a prerequisite to mourning those taken from us by the evil of the past.  That is why my first priority is to honor and remember as best I can.

Many years back in trying to relate to another my understanding of the Holocaust, I suggested the following exercise.   Close your eyes and imagine almost everyone you know, are friendly with, or love.  Then imagine them not only all gone, but brutally murdered. Now open your eyes and realize that this is what it was like for most people who survived The Holocaust.  Almost everyone and everything they knew was gone, and all they were left with was the hope that God, if they still believed in God’s existence, would give them the strength they needed to move forward.

However, as if that horror alone was not enough, the Nazis, masters of terror, were so sadistic and obsessed with their hatred towards the Jews that they felt their first priority was instilling maximum fear in the Jewish population and destroying  Jewish businesses and houses of worship. On what we would forever know as Kristallnacht, “The Night of Broken Glass”, they proudly and brazenly burned synagogues and businesses to the ground and killed close to 100 Jews.  The following day they arrested 30,000 Jewish men. The Nazi brutality knew no limits and the suffering they caused the Jewish people is unlike anything seen in human history.  The significance of Kristallnacht, beyond the pure destruction and murder, is that is symbolizes the beginning of this horrible time, and must be seen as a day to honor, respect and mourn the 6 million Jewish lives murdered.

It is also however a sad lesson of the ability that evil has to consume an entire society, how anti-Antisemitism and persecution of the Jewish people is nothing new and is a real danger not ever to be taken lightly.  I do condemn the Louis Farrakhans, David Dukes and Linda Sarsours of the world whether or not their anti-Semitism is unhidden and blatant like Farrakhan’s or more devious and masked like Sarsour’s. But I do not, and I say this unequivocally, condemn my fellow Jews who may not see things exactly as I do, nor do I use this day as a reason to condemn Donald Trump or far left wing radicals.  And here is why.

Do you think that when the Nazis went on their rampage through Germany on November 9, 1938 they first asked Jews their political viewpoints?  Do you think if anyone of us would have been crammed into a bunk, starving, exposed to disease and most likely marked for the gas chamber in Auschwitz that it would have mattered whether you were a politically conservative or liberal Jew? We all know the answer.  Yes those that rose up and fought in the Warsaw Ghetto were a special kind of hero, but those who hoped it would get better or didn’t want to believe the worst did not merit scorn, they needed guidance and protection, and ultimately our prayers.  Fighting our fellow Jew takes away from the real fight at hand and plays right into the hands of our enemies.

It is also a time to step back and understand that Kristallnacht, as bad as it was, was nothing compared to what was to follow.  In retrospect the Jewish people would have given anything for it to have stopped there.  Now understand that nothing being done in the United States of America comes close to even comparing to Kristallnacht.  That is not to say that anti-Semitism is not a problem, it is, but even the worst of actions against American Jews today are not actions taken by any formal institution of any significance. So to compare Donald Trump or left wing extremists, to Nazis is a disrespectful and irresponsible comparison.  To pay close attention and condemn the Farrakhans, Dukes and Sarsours of the world, individuals who directly or indirectly call for the death and destruction of the State of Israel and or the Jewish people is not only responsible, it is necessary.

On this very sad and important anniversary, let us all remember and honor the Jewish martyrs murdered by the Nazis, and use their memory for good to do what is needed to unite and protect us all moving forward.

 

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Since we all could use some good news….

From The Times of Israel

TV report: Israel silent as Iran hit by computer virus more violent than Stuxnet

Tehran strategic networks attacked, Hadashot TV says, hours after Israel revealed it tipped off Denmark about Iran murder plot, and days after Rouhani’s phone was found bugged

https://www.timesofisrael.com/tv-report-israel-silent-as-iran-hit-by-computer-virus-more-violent-than-stuxnet/


When the tears dry how do we make it better?

 

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On this night, a night when I go back and forth between finding it hard not to cry to actually crying, I feel motivated to search for ways to make things better,  In Pittsburgh, Pa.’s Squirrel neighborhood an evil deranged man walked into a synagogue, shouted “All Jews must die” and proceeded to massacre 11 of my people.  Sadly, over the course of my lifetime, many Jews have been massacred, primarily in the State of Israel.  Most of the people reading this know what I am saying all too well and share in the feeling of devastation and anger prevalent in our community today.  So whatever we do to make it better, it won’t feel like that tonight or likely for quite some time.

But tonight I have a message for my fellow Jews.  There is something I feel we not only can do, but must do. We must unite to identify who our enemies truly are so that we can look out for ourselves.  That starts with stopping attacks on each other.  Whether it is a difference in political views, difference in approach towards Jewish practice, or the lifestyle choices everyone makes, if we spend our time on social media attacking each other make no mistake, we will lose. And I will do my part to prevent that starting today.

For some time I have considered doing this, but in memory of those murdered today in Pittsburgh I will wait no longer.  Global Coalition for Israel, which now stands at 4,640 members is a Facebook group I put together after the murder of 3 Jewish young men, Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar, Naftali Fraenkelin Israel in June of 2014.  Over the years there has been disagreement between those holding different political views that has descended into personal attacks on others in the group.  As of tonight that changes.  As administrator of the group I do not care if you are Conservative or Liberal, Orthodox or Reform, Gay or Straight, black or white, or Democrat or Republican.  Anyone using this page is expected to use it for the purpose it was originally created, and that is to provide support for Israel and defense against attacks on the Jewish people.  I will be deleting attacks that I see as being personal or irrelevant to what this page is meant to accomplish and I will ban anyone who behaves in an abusive manner towards other members of the group.  Anyone who disagrees with this approach will be welcome to message me privately.  Just know that I do this in honor of those killed today and for a greater cause.

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I know that what I am putting out there tonight is a drop in the ocean compared to what needs to be done, but if we all put our drops in the ocean maybe we can start a wave of hope and strength.  Hope that we can see how most of us want the same positive outcome even when we disagree,  and the strength we need to fight those who hate us, be it a Palestinian terrorist, a Neo-Nazi, or an evil and angry anti-Semite like the garbage that murdered the people in Pittsburgh today.

In the days, weeks, months and even years ahead we have work to do.  Work that we must do together.  If those among us who spend our time focused on how much we despise one of our own for views that are different would stay alert for those who actively want to see us dead, maybe we will do something to help.  We can not let something like this happen again and must do everything in our power to see to it that it does not.  That does not mean liberal and conservative Jews hating each other, it means drawing the line at ideological disagreement so when it comes time to work together we are ready to mobilize.  We must be proactive, even investigatory on social media.  We must form groups to protect our institutions, and most of all we must see each and everyone of us as being part of the same family.  If we do not we will lose.  And my friends, too much is at stake for us to allow that to happen.

A year and a half ago my mother, a beautiful and remarkable woman who survived the horrors of Nazi occupation only to build a new and wonderful life together with my father of blessed memory,  passed away at the age of 95.  Today was the first day I was happy she was not around, for after what she experienced in Holland between 1940-1945, the pain today’s events would have caused her is something I would never have wanted to see her go through.

I’ll do my part and I will do whatever I can to help others do theirs as well. If what you want is the well-being of Israel and the Jewish people I stand with you, and I invite you to stand with me.

Baruch Dayan Emes- Bless is the True Judge.

 

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Our job on Tisha B’Av:Keeping memories alive

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Tonight and tomorrow, Jews around the world commemorate the 9th day of the Jewish month of Av, the day recognized as the day in which both Holy Temples in Jerusalem were destroyed.  It is without question the saddest day on the calendar and has taken on the status of the day to acknowledge all Jewish suffering throughout the ages.  No more notable than…    https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/our-job-on-tisha-bav-keeping-memories-alive/

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One year

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As the Jewish year of mourning for the passing of my mother officially ends, it is time for me to turn a page.  I will always love my mother, miss her, and remember her who she was and what she gave me.  However, it is now time for me to no longer continuously share those feelings openly. During the past year, whether it was my profile picture on Facebook or the majority of my articles and posts, much of what I put out there was about my mother.  Not only do I not apologize for that, I am glad that I did.  For me, and I emphasize the words “for me”, it was the right way to give her the honor she so rightly deserved.  But now it is time to move on.   Time to make those feelings more personal and to honor and remember her with less display and discussion.  So I finish this year of what in Hebrew is called Avelut, by asking you to indulge me one last time, and read this letter to my mother, that, whether she is able to see it or not, best conveys my feelings.

DISCLAIMER: If I write a book there will be more

Dear Mom,

This  will not be a long letter.  I have said most of what any grateful son would ever say to his mother and have done so on numerous occasions.  What I wish to do in this letter is to end this year of mourning by telling you what I now know to be the greatest gift you’ve given me.

There are things many people have heard me say many times to describe how wonderful you were as a mother and a person.  Your strength in dealing with the toughest circumstances imaginable, your devotion to your family, your love of life, and your positive approach are all accolades many people who knew you speak of.  And rightly so.  But the other day I was speaking with a friend and something they said to me made me realize what was truly the best gift you were able to give to me.  That gift was faith in humanity.

Compared to many my life has been easy.  I have known very little pain and suffering and my personal losses came much later in life than they have for so many people I personally know or am close to.  However, as a thinker who observes the world, it is still relatively easy to be disillusioned by where the world is and where it is going.  You often saw the future of the world through concerned eyes and feared the rise of evil such as the evil you saw in your early years. And yet, on a daily basis, whether it was in your bank, the supermarket, your synagogue, or dealing with friends or family, you found the good, not so much to satisfy yourself philosophically, but merely to bring joy to your life.  You often saw the good in people most people had given up on, and you found a different way to appreciate and enjoy everyone who was at least somewhat open to it.  Most of all you believed in love.  You believed in it so strongly that your belief transferred over to anyone whose heart was open to it.

So as I complete not just the official year of mourning, but the sharing of my feelings regarding you and your passing, I say thank you for showing me the value of patience and love, and in teaching me how to have faith in humanity, even when it is most difficult.  That faith and belief in people and in love was such a large part of what drove you till the end of your life, and I thank you for showing me how that was possible, and hope to use that knowledge to share love and happiness with others for as long as I live.

With love always,

David

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FOX News. Donald Trump’s media bodyguard

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I do not spend as much time bashing Trump as I used to because as a Jew and a Zionist I recognize some of the positive things that have happened makes it a little more complicated, but I have said for quite some time anyway that the bigger problem than Trump himself is his followers. It gets no worse and more treacherous than FOX News. Or should I say FOX Editorial. Whenever there is big news I go to the websites of both CNN and FOX News. FOX consistently makes sure that bad news towards Trump is overshadowed by another story. But rather than asserting my opinion on you, I ask the following question. What is bigger news? Rex Tillerson getting fired or what FOX headlined, and I mean this is the first story you see when you go to the site, (Hillary) “Clinton goes all the way to India to blame deplorables, husbands, sons and bosses for loss”? Clearly what the loser of the the last presidential election is saying is bigger news to American Pravda, aka FOX News, than the Secretary of State getting fired. Because that news doesn’t make their guy look bad at all. That’s not news, that’s propaganda, and it honestly scares me more than anything Donald Trump has said or done.

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The Year of the Bird: Fly Eagles Fly

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So this is it. This is the article I wrote before the Super Bowl but dared not publish at risk of being accused of jinxing the Philadelphia Eagles in their quest to win the big game. The truth is that with my personal track record I do no believe that anything I do, nothing I say or ceremonious action I take will impact the outcome of this game.  Why do I say this? Because of all the teams I support in all major sports and all leagues or tournaments worldwide, the last team to win a championship was the 1986 Mets. Until, and remember I am writing this a little over 3 hours before kickoff, the Philadelphia Eagles change that and end my personal sports drought tonight at the conclusion of this year’s Super Bowl.
So how is it that I sit here with such certainty and confidence that today is the day my team wins the big one?  Well it does have something to do with the fact that this Eagles teams is definitely good enough.  As far as players on the field go, the only area where no one questions the Patriots advantage is at Quarterback.  Nick Foles has played great for the Eagles and it is not an impossibility that he winds up being the best player on the field today, but the reality is that Tom Brady is arguably the best to ever play the game and has the advantage going in. The rest of the team is at worst equal and in some areas a good case can be made that Philly has the edge.  But none of this is the reason the Eagles win today.  It’s more about destiny and something far more mystical than the skill of the players.  It’s about the year of the bird.
On April 19th of this past year my mother passed away.  For the record, she not only was not a fan of football, she hated football.  And I mean hated, Almost with a passion.  She would constantly criticize its violence and loved to make the point that it was not really football,  Soccer she would say is the only real football.  This other sport was just a bunch of grown men hitting each other and falling on the ground like a bunch of idiots. So yes, she hated football.  But she loved her children. And to some of her children this win would be special,  and when someone saw me with my Eagles cap this past week  and said “Go Birds”, I thought of my mother, whose name was Sipora, the Hebrew word for bird, I knew the Eagles would win the Super Bowl.
Naturally there will be those among you who see this as a ridiculous basis for believing your team will be victorious and that’s OK. You don’t have to believe.  All I know is this. Since 1986 a lot has happened in the world and in my life.  Too much to mention.  What has not happened is that a team I put my support behind can call itself the champion. Until today, when the Philadelphia Eagles, the birds win the Super Bowl. In a year filled with incidents of divine intervention, is so hard to believe this is one more example?  Maybe to you, but not to me.
To whoever is responsible for today’s win I end with these 2 words.  Thank you!
Fly Eagles Fly!

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