Tag: Holocaust

Why Jews Have Abandoned Judaism

 

Abandon is a pretty strong word; I could have worded my title differently, but I believe that most of modern Jewry have, for all intents and purposes, left the fold. Only a small number of Jews are observant Jews, and I am not one of them. I decided to explore this question, and hopefully clarify for myself not just what it means to be a Jew, but what it means for me to be Jew. As you look at the lives of Jews whom you know, you might want to explore some of these issues with them. I am including some of my personal experiences as a Jew, and I will leave you to determine the legitimacy of my claims.

First, I was raised in a nearly secular family. We rarely if ever discussed G-d. I don’t even know if my father believed in G-d. Although my mother occasionally mentioned G-d, her level of belief (if at all) was unclear. Both my parents were raised in broken homes, with some version of Judaism that might have included keeping kosher, but I honestly don’t know if they observed any of the holidays. I know that my father read Hebrew, but I just now realize that I don’t know if he was a bar mitzvah. And both my parents have died. When I asked my father why he grudgingly went to synagogue on the High Holidays, he said he didn’t need to go there to experience G-d. Whether he experienced G-d elsewhere I’ll never know.

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This month of Thanksgiving was marked by the quiet passing from this world into the next, of someone who risked her life to save members of the Jewish Resistance during a time when pure evil threatened everyone in its path. With determination and courage to fight back, this small group of nuns stepped out to […]

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America shake their heads as the Republican National Committee furiously tries to line up a few Democrats to push Mike Pompeo over the finish line as the next Secretary of State. They also hang their heads as large percentages of Americans demonstrate very poor knowledge […]

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I guess this shouldn’t surprise but when I saw it in my Sunday NY Post I think it got elevated in my mind. This wasn’t from FrontPage or Jihad Watch or one of those stalwarts that keep an eye on radical Islam, but from a major newspaper from a city and region that has a […]

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The elision of history continues. Canada now has their very own Holocaust memorial that, curiously enough, doesn’t actually mention who the victims of the Holocaust were. The architecture of Canada’s new National Holocaust Monument in Ottawa is both symbolic and haunting, with six concrete triangles depicting the stars that Jews were forced to wear in […]

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On Slack today, @exjon observed, “Condemning Nazis is the easiest political move in history. It costs Trump nothing.” I disagreed. There are a lot of ordinary people who fear that “Nazi”, at least these days, is chiefly a stick that elitists use to beat the proles. This fear, as many Trump voters like to put is, […]

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The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference. More

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So when visiting the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin, Germany should one behave with dignity? Apparently not for numerious millennial generation visitors. Why not frolic about shooting smiling selfie pics, jump around like it’s an obstacle course, juggle balls, strike yoga poses in a sports bra, lay around or stand on the concrete slabs while snapping […]

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No, the White House Did Not Deny the Holocaust

 

At some point, the overwrought and ridiculous accusations against President Trump have to peak. I have a visceral dislike of him and yet those attacking him have gone so far round the bend that I am forced, over and over again, to defend him. No, the White House did not deny the Holocaust in the press release for Holocaust Remembrance Day. To think otherwise is crazy with a side of ridiculous and covered in stupid gravy. Harsh words? Yes. Necessary? Absolutely.

I would have never imagined such claim would exist had I not seen it with my own eyes. I would not have cared if such asinine claims were made by anyone other than Ricochet contributors I respect. Our very own @claireberlinski has bought into this, as has John Podhoretz. Here is the tweet that got me started on this rant today:

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Gratitude: Praise the Lord, and Pass the Ammunition!

 

We see what we choose to see. No set of data forces any rational thinker to accept that one theory or explanation is incontrovertibly true and all others are incontrovertibly false. This explains how good and intelligent and wise people on Ricochet can consistently arrive at different conclusions, even though we have access to the very same data. Whether we are talking of science or of politics, there is no objective inevitability to any of our arguments.

Instead, we are left with the things that we accept as true. Most people take our assumptions and presuppositions for granted, but some people (probably a very few), can and do freely choose to see things a certain way. And here we arrive at the nub of the matter, because of all the things that we can choose to accept or deny, gratitude is both the most optional, and also the single most important for our state of mind, the state of our families and the health of our society.

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Most have read/watched Schindler’s List. Fewer have learned about Gilbert & Eleanor Kraus, a Philadelphia couple who risked going to WW2 Germany and save 50 Children, and then there’s this little known but incredible story from my friend Salvador Litvak who shared this in his Thursday Heroes series at the Accidental Talmudist. Jan and Antonina Zabinski were Polish […]

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What The Reactionary Anti-Semitism Gets Right

 

flag-408317_1920Growing up, my South African father used to remind us American kids that “There are only two types of people in the world: Jews and anti-semites.” This used to upset us terribly. It’s patently false, we would think. Our experience shows our society to be tolerant and kind. Where in the United States is friendlier and more welcoming than suburban Atlanta? Of course, the specter of Leo Frank’s lynching always hung like a shadow in the backs of our minds. But that was a long time ago. Surely, that old hatred is dead.

But it’s starting to look like dad was right after all. From Islamists, to progressive Europe, to the dregs of the Alt-Right on Twitter, we Jews are surrounded by a resurgent tide of anti-Semitism.Which leads to the question my progressive neighbor likes to constantly ask: “Why do they hate us?”

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My subscription to BookBub has been worthwhile, despite the fact that it means another daily update in my inbox. Often there are one or two short-term deals that are potentially enriching reads, and I’ll purchase them if I have some Amazon credit. Some of the free book offers have been good, or at least warrant a browse […]

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I contribute to the American Society for Yad Vashem, the US supporters of the big Holocaust Memorial in Israel. [which should be high on your list of places to visit there] They have a quarterly newsletter that I receive, entitled “Martyrdom and Resistance”. I always learn valuable things from their newsletter-they often have interesting stories […]

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In Outcry, Manny Steinberg records his Holocaust nightmare in brutal detail. It’s a difficult yet profitable read. I found myself pushing on to get to the liberation part, but I’m discovering that final freedom was a prolonged ordeal as well. The experiences of this one individual and his family made the evil of the Holocaust vivid to me. […]

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http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/No-Holds-Barred-What-Elie-Wiesel-told-governor-Chris-Christie-404052?utm_source=taboola&utm_medium=referral I found this via Politico and I thought some on Ricochet might find it interesting. At the very least, it depicts Christie as a staunch friend of Israel. More

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The Nazi Within

 

amis_cover_3019706aI recently finished Martin Amis’s novel, The Zone of Interest, the plot of which centers around the conflicts of a host of characters inside a Nazi death camp — German soldiers, their wives, children, and, of course, the Jews. The book was rejected by Amis’s German publisher and received mixed reviews when it came out last year. That’s largely because of the unconventional and sometimes uncomfortable use of satire in a Holocaust novel.

The book reads much like a conventional character drama, centered around themes of jealousy, lust, ambition, and longing. Only, in this case, this rather standard human tale happens to be taking place in the midst of the most inhuman atrocities imaginable. Gruesome and brutal crimes of world-historic proportions serve as a mere backdrop for a story that stubbornly focuses on the mundane and rather unremarkable relationships of those guilty of the crimes.

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I want to recommend an amazing movie I saw last weekend: Woman in Gold. With Helen Mirren, Ryan Reynolds, Daniel Brühl, it will (should) win awards. More

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There are advantages to belonging to a denomination—Unitarian-Universalism— that allows and even encourages its members to speak in a variety of what a Catholic priest friend has described as “the rich variety of human spiritual languages.” There is value, too, in the attempt to agree upon a kind of spiritual Esperanto in which we might speak […]

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