Tag: Tree of Life

Attending Temple Today

 

I wept. Frequently. 

I am a Christian. However, I unequivocally state that I experienced the presence of God while attending a synagogue today. Today, I was one of the children of Abraham with my brothers and sisters. 

Thinking About Anti-Semitism

 

In the days following the murder rampage at the Tree of Life synagogue, I received several expressions of grief from friends who are committed Christians. One included in her note a verse from John Donne:

No man is an island entire of itself . . .
any man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

This largeness of spirit is what I have come to know and love in America. The incubus of anti-Semitism, so ineradicable and durable everywhere else in the world, has been gloriously and nearly miraculously minimized in the United States. Of course there were episodes. Leo Frank, a young factory manager, was lynched in Georgia in 1915. Henry Ford publicized the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Following Kristallnacht in 1938, radio preacher Father Coughlin told his large audience that the Jews had brought it on themselves. “Jewish persecution only followed after Christians first were persecuted.” The Ivy League and other institutions maintained Jewish quotas, and country clubs and sometimes whole neighborhoods were “restricted.”

The Atlantic’s Franklin Foer: Jewish Trump Voters Must Be Shunned

 

As a Jew who usually finds it hard to be offended by idiotic, emoting leftists spewing irrational assertions, this may be one of the vilest, most deranged and dangerous things I have read. The Atlantic’s columnist Franklin Foer (former editor of The New Republic) essentially casts blame for the Pittsburgh horror on Conservative Jews.

In Donald Trump’s abhorrence for globalism and in his inability to smack down David Duke, it was easy to hear the ominous chords of history, to see how he was activating dormant hatreds with his conspiratorial tropes.

This is a President that fulfilled his promise to move the American Embassy to Israel’s capital, Jeruselum. This is a President that has reversed Obama’s capitulation on the Iranian regime who’s mullahs refuse to accept Israel as a legitimate nation and continually call for Jews to be pushed out to sea. This is a President who has a Jewish daughter and son-in-law and grandchildren. A man who prayed at the Western Wall, the holiest Jewish spot on earth.

The Lonely Man with a Gun

 

Another lonely man with a gun has murdered innocents. Whether you call it mass murder or terrorism or a hate crime, it doesn’t matter. And as a Jew, I am deeply concerned about the rise of antisemitism. But there is something that cuts across these all to frequent acts of violence. It’s almost always a lonely man with a gun. Understandably, there’s a lot of focus on the gun part. But I want to think about the lonely man.

There is a debate in economics about our standard of living in the United States and a debate about the relationship between happiness and material well-being. What is missing from these conversations among economists and non-economists is the importance of meaning in our lives, our longing to belong, our desire to be important and to matter. These urges are not fulfilled by material goods. They never can be.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that almost all of the acts of mass murder and terrorism are committed by men, mostly lonely men, disaffected, alienated from modern life, alienated from the standard of success our culture aspires to, disconnected from those around them. No one pays much attention to them until people are forced to pay attention at the point of a gun. No one pays much attention until the headlines that scream that these lonely men have finally achieved something people are going to have to notice.