THE PARADOX OF JEWISH SURVIVAL — Anti-Semitism Guarantees It

If Jew-haters understood history they would have discovered the best way to rid the world of Jews…..be very tolerant of them.

Throughout the 3500 or so history of the Jewish people, it was during times of extreme acceptance and tolerance that assimilation was at its highest.  American Jews intermarriage rate among nonOrthodox is over 70% !  It won’t take many more generations in this country before the only Jews left are Orthodox.  It you want to rid the world of Jews just be really kind and accepting of them.

 Ironically, anti-Semitism arouses a very deep reflex among Jews.  Even those who barely identify with their Jewish culture or heritage begin to feel a primal sympathy with other Jews.  The present Israeli-Gaza conflict has generated such pure anti-Jewish venomous  sentiment in the world that is clearly NOT a reaction to the policies and politics of Israel the sovereign nation.

 Many young liberal and leftist Jews who routinely criticize Israel and their policies have been deeply hurt and troubled by this world reaction.  When they discover that Hamas has used millions of dollars to build elaborate tunnels to attack and destroy Israel rather than help their fellow Palestinians, they begin to question the conventional wisdom about who are the bad players.  When they see Hamas openly proclaim that Jews  make matzah from the blood of children (blood-libel) they begin to understand who their enemy truly is.

When Islamic fundamentalists openly proclaim that their only objective is NOT STATEHOOD but the annihilation of Israel and its Jewish population, they begin to re-think what is going on.

 They had all read about the Holocaust, pogroms, Inquisitions etc. etc.  They had never expected to actually feel such hatred expressed towards Jews, NOT JUST ISRAELI POLICIES. This is the kind of experience that has actually kept Jews connected to their heritage.

Now this still doesn’t lead to blind acceptance of Israeli policies.  Nor should it.  Jews criticize Jews routinely.  The tradition is one that encourages debate and free expression of opinions.

But….push me and I’ll push back.  Tell me that I shouldn’t exist and I will hold tighter to my tradition.  It is a paradox of Jewish survival.

 Just don’t tell the anti-Semites–not that they will get it anyway.

BEWARE THE CAREGIVER’S SYNDROME

A recent NY Times article by Catherine Saint Louis revisited a topic I have written about previously–the Caregiver’s Syndrome.   Just yesterday one of my patients described her own efforts to step away from that role, for just a while, while her husband was recovering from a serious injury.  I applauded her efforts and tried to relieve her guilt for doing so.  Intuitively she knew she had to do it.  She felt herself breaking down, emotionally first, then physically.

The truth is simply this– the caregiver suffers tremendously from the role of providing care to a loved-one.  Now this is painfully obvious to most, but the extent of the suffering may not be.  I see this in my patients, their own mental and physical suffering often follows their intense focussed care of a loved-one.

From a personal perspective I saw it take place in my own family.  Both my parents are deceased.  But in her last years my mother suffered from dementia.  She recognized everyone but gradually and insidiously her short-term memory failed.  My father was the product of depression/ WWII stoicism.  It was not in his DNA to burden his children with his problem.  As his children, we were in denial as well.  Perhaps we didn’t want to see the inevitable.  We (my sister and I) still viewed my father as an iconic pillar of strength.  How foolish we ALL were.  As my mother lay in bed with Hospice care present, anticipating imminent death, my father crashed.  I saw him earlier that morning.  Our family were at their home to be present for my mother’s passing.  I off-handedly asked him how he was doing.  “Just a head cold” he replied.  Kissing my mother goodbye, I left their home to play golf.  Later that day my wife and sister stopped by, once again to see my mother for perhaps the last time.  But there had been a radical change in my dad.  He was dying from sepsis.  Five weeks in ICUs with pneumonia, congestive heart failure, sepsis, blood clots, pleural effusions……he survived.  But he was never the same. 

He crashed for one reason.  It was clearly the intense emotional stress of seeing the love of his life slipping into oblivion that annihilated his own immune system.  Had we all been more aware, we could have intervened.  As adult children, we should have stepped forward and assumed more responsibility, regardless of his refusals.  We could have insisted that he step back from the daily horror of dealing with someone who asked the same question, over and over again.  He could have been relieved of some of the burden–not only of the actual work involved but of the guilt that enveloped him as he gave in to anger, time and again.

The analogy with airflight is powerfully applicable.  When the flight attendant tells you to put your oxygen on before attempting to help another…..listen carefully.  It will eventually it will apply to us all– if not in the present than assuredly in the future.

JEWISH SELF-DEFENSE — Why Should It Be Needed

Yes. Bravo to the Jews of Paris who defend themselves agains hateful mobs.  But why should this be needed? Political discourse seems dead.  The rule of the mob is rearing its ugly head around the world.  Those individuals committed to peaceful discourse, negotiation, compromise are silent.

Are we as a people, nation, civilization descending into nihilistic chaos?  Aren’t rules of law designed to defend the minorities, those whose beliefs differ from others? What happened to the rule of law?

When scenes of European anti-Semitism in 2014 bring to mind the black and white scenes of Nazi Europe we are ALL in trouble.

There is an entire generation of young, liberal, tolerant Jews who support Palestinian rights and a Palestinian state who are in shock right now.  They never dreamed that such deep seated Jew-hatred still existed in the world.

 Thank God for the internet and social media.  Thank you Wolf Blitzer of CNN (never thought I’d write that) for allowing Hamas to expose their vile Jew-hatred with the insanity of blood-libel.  To those uniformed, Jews do not make matzah from the blood of children.  Jews were murdered and tortured in the Middle Ages by believing Christians.  Now Islamists have taken up the insanity.

What about  political solutions to the Israel/Palestine crisis?  Sadly, you cannot negotiate with primitive, uncivilized, hate-filled human beings. Hamas, Hezbollah, Jihadists do not seek political solutions to anything. They only respect power.  Because Jews are not ready to commit mass suicide, they must use violent means to defend themselves.

Jews with guns may be an anit-Semite’s worst nightmare.  But believe me, they rather not.  Israeli’s are producing technology to help paralyzed people walk, to defeat Ebola etc. etc.  Would not the world be better off allowing them to do just that? Hey.  It could even be used by those who hate Jews.

 Where are the  world’s rational Muslims here? Where are the French, Germans, Belgians,  Australians—everywhere where mobs have attacked Jews right now.

Think of this argument as self-serving.  Let Jews do what they do best–think, create and help mankind.

 Rational people can still save our world from imploding.  But they better act fast.