The End of European Jewry

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Unless the unexpected happens, the time has come for Europe’s remaining Jewish communities to pack up and call it quits. Norway’s leading daily published an op-ed by Jostein Gaarder, one of Europe’s most celebrated literati. Completely over-the-top in its anti-Semitism, it hints at what is to come as surely as the publication of Mein Kampf predicted what was ahead for German Jews. Andrew Sullivan, decidedly not a Member of the Tribe, offers the same glum forecast, and the same understanding that the anti-Semitism it evidences is just the tip of the fjord. Here are some of the choicer excerpts, albeit not the ones Sullivan chose to showcase:

We need to get used to the idea: The State of Israel, in it’s current form, is history. We don’t believe in the notion of God’s Chosen People. We laugh at this people’s capriciousness and weep at it’s misdeeds. To act as God’s Chosen People is not only stupid and arrogant, but a crime against humanity. We call it racism… We have left the Middle Ages behind. We laugh uneasily at those who still believe that the god of flora, fauna and the galaxies has selected one peoples in particular as his favorite and given it silly, stone tablets, burning bushes and a license to kill… May the spirit and the word blow the apartheid walls of Israel down. The State of Israel does not exist. It is now without defense, without skin. May the world therefore have mercy upon the civilian population; for our prophecies of doom are not aimed at the civilian individuals… We don’t believe that Israel grieves any more for the forty killed Lebanese children than it has wailed over the forty years spent in the desert three thousand years ago. We note that many Israelis celebrate such triumphs in the same manner they once cheered the plagues of the Lord as “fitting punishment” for the people of Egypt. (In that tale, the Lord God of Israel appears as an insatiable sadist.) We ask ourselves if most Israelis think that one Israeli life is worth more than the forty Palestinian or Lebanese lives… We do not recognize the old Kingdom of David as a model for the 21st century map of the Middle East. The Jewish rabbi claimed two thousand years ago that the Kingdom of God is not a martial restoration of the Kingdom of David; the Kingdom of God is within us and amongst us. The Kingdom of God is compassion and forgiveness.

The old anti-Semitism saw the Jews of the Old Testament, brimming with meanness and vengeance, replaced by the love of the New. My guess is that Gaarder has not seen the inside of a church in decades, but that did not stop him from appropriating the old imagery, and merging it with the more modern form of anti-semitism, in which Jews are seen as a misanthropic race which cannot abide the company of other decent people. Unless there is unequivocal condemnation of this piece by Gaarder’s intellectual peers and by government figures, Lloyds of London should stop selling insurance policies to European Jews. (Don’t hold your breath. Before this article came to light, Norway’s government was considering a proposal by one of the ruling coalition partners to revoke tax-exempt status from exactly one class of charitable contribution: monies paid to Jewish institutions in Israel.) Leave now while you can, make aliyah, and satisfy yourselves in a few years when you watch Gaarder’s throat being slit by one of the new barbarians at the gates of Vienna and every other European capital.

For us in America, any lesson is far less clear, but I will throw in my own view. Those of us who have not yet done so have to open our eyes to the difference between our non-Jewish neighbors in this country and the ones in the Greater Dar al Islam in the making. One of the first comments I saw on one of the first blogs to discuss the article was by a non-Jewish American who suggested that he and others ought to don Stars of David in solidarity. This time around, friends, it won’t be the Danes doing that.

One of the ways this should be manifested is more sensitivity in what we say and do – perhaps starting with the internet, and this blog. Chazal exhort us: “Wise one! Be careful with your words!” As I wrote in the Jewish Observer years ago, the “bird of the heavens” of Koheles (Ecclesiastes) has sprouted digital wings. Whatever the half-formed ideas you may want to cathartically emote and that you reconsider five minutes after hitting the “send” button, realize how far your words are likely to travel. This blog is primarily aimed at observant Jews, and those interested in hearing what observant Jews have to say about contemporary matters. Do you have any idea just how many non-Jews of every stripe and persuasion routinely read our contents, and share them with others? Are you sure you are sanctifying G-d’s Name?

Some of our readers were disturbed that Jews (including this author) would take time in the middle of a war and address rants of another misbehaving celebrity on Pacific Coast Highway. They have a point. I wonder, however, if they realize just how important the Jewish reaction is to that huge population of supportive Christians who help create the difference between our government’s policies and those of godless Europe. Media took sound-bites of Jewish spokespeople and presented them, without the sentences before and after, and presented them to the public. Some of these comments made it seem as if Jews rejected the notions of forgiveness and repentance, rather than introduced them to the civilized world. Because these themes are immensely important to Christians in particular, it would seem to me to be good horse-sense to show that Jews have quite a rich tradition concerning repentance, even if it must necessarily differ from the concept in other faiths. Is it not important to try to convey a more nuanced understanding of teshuva to the non-Jewish world, so that they can applaud, or at least not draw back in disdain? The feedback I got from my Gibson piece on Jewish World Review was hugely supportive – at least from Christians.

I think it was worth the effort.

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28 Responses

  1. Baruch Horowitz says:

    I had to look up “Anschauung” before commenting.

    You remind me of a story that I was saving for a post on my own blog when things would get too quiet, but the time has come to use it here:

    A talmid of RYBS Z’tl was speaking about two years ago and used the word “teleological”. I think he realized that much of the audience(including myself), had heard the word, but had no idea what he was talking about, unless they took and remembered Philosophy 101. So he said, “I don’t either know what it means, but the Rav used to use it, so I am as well!”

  2. Bob Miller says:

    Baruch,

    Your comment really hit the nail on the head, rang the bell, or maybe pushed the envelope. Our Welt has never seen such a terrific Anschauung.

    You have a bright future in Jewish academia. Make sure they pay you by the word. But I didn\’t see \”subsumed\” or \”rubric\” anyplace, so you need some more practice.

  3. Baruch Horowitz says:

    Bob,

    Your point about the usage of “weltanschauung” is certainly well taken, appreciated, and generally respected. Maybe, perhaps, and quite possibly,”efshar”, we might suggest or advance that “weltanschauung” is an example of a type of specialized word, term, jargon, or nomenclature, that is best left for writers that have experience dealing with technical, philosophical topics.

    I do, however, agree, concede, and am generally– as they say in Latin– “modeh al haemes”, that language should be used to simplify, clarify, and elucidate, not to obscure, muddle and confuse, as you point out, illustrate and amply demonstrate. Some words may also have a certain sound, tone, ring, panache, and phonetic flavor, which we need to be sensitive to, careful, and precise regarding the related useage.

    As Dr. Wilfred Funk and Norman Lewis advise:

    ” Try to avoid the too frequent use of such Latin words as juxtaposition, animadvert, salutation, recapitulate. They tend to make your style heavy, dry, and pedantic. Short Anglo-Saxon words have force–gift instead of donation; poor instead of impecunious. The Latin and Greek words are important to know, but should be used with discretion, and never to overwhelm a reader or listener. Simplicity and directness in language are always effective . …”(30 Days to a More Powerful Vocabulary , page 86).

    Two additional points:

    1) Note the European connection between “Anglo Saxon” and Norway. Lashon Nofel al Lashon? Perhaps a language scholar on this blog can tell us if they both share the same Indo European derivation.

    2) It seems that your only, quibble, disagreement, and difference of opinion, is regarding my choice of words in the very last paragraph. What do you think about my substantive, essential and entirely more salient point in the directly preceding paragraph, i.e.–err, that is, the idea of one or more Charedie discussion forums ?

  4. Aryeh says:

    Sini, perhaps as someone who’s actually living in Norway, you can tell us how widespread these view are among the “elite” and the “common man on the street.” And how do they square with the common feeling in Norway on Muslim immigration and crime?

  5. EV says:

    Bob, u have 2 understand that some of us use every abbreviation we can, like “ie,” cuz we are on keybds all day im’ing each other.

  6. Bob Miller says:

    Time out for a digression:

    I respect everyone who uses the term, but think “Weltanschauung” could easily be replaced by “world view” in English language discourse, for greater clarity.

    Also, people often say “i.e.” in conversation, which is the Latin “id est”, which means “that is”. So say “that is” ! And instead of “e.g.”, try “for example” !

  7. sini says:

    Ok, first of all as a Norwegian, I would like to apologize….. it’s so embarrassing to read this “op-ed” from one of the most renewed and respected authors in Norway. I think it is a disgrace, and yet another proof of how deep anti-Semitism is rooted in Europe. The most ironic thing though, is the fact that this comes from the country that not long a go published the drawings of Mohammed, which stirred quite violent reactions in the Mideast. After the cartoons were published, the newspaper which did it (a Christian magazine, which ironically was in favour of the ban on the Monty Python film “Life of Brian”) was criticised, and it led to a debate in Norway concerning free speech and its limitations. Most found it unnecessary and highly provocative to publish such cartoons, but when it comes to Jews and criticism of Israel, it seems to be considered a necessity to “openly and freely criticise Israel without being considered anti-Semitic.” It clearly shows the double standards, while media should refrain from criticise the Muslims and their religion; everyone can criticise and mock the Jews.
    Well, again I apologize….

  8. Baruch Horowitz says:

    I agreed with Rabbi Adlerstein\’s original piece about Mel Gibson when I first read it. The issue is larger than a particular celebrity, and represents a positive Torah approach to appropriate interaction and outreach with umos ha\’olam, inasmuch as it shows a model of Teshuva, forgiveness, and spiritual improvement (\”You will not find a better fan club than the Jewish community warming up to a foe turned friend\”). An example of affecting people positively, is the incident of a Christian girl who began crying during a college lecture on the Holocaust given be an Orthodox Rabbi(\”Tales out of Shul\”, page 284).

    Some might feel that the above represents a blurring of lines, and that only the AJC or Edah(now defunct) is permitted to maintain any sort of an \”outward-focused\” approach. In truth, however, we see from Neveim and from the Aleinu prayer that Hashem is concerned with the spiritual development and progression of the non-Jewish world , and that by implication, we in turn need to emulate this, as appropriate.

    On a different level, my impression from the J-blogs is that that there are sincere Jews that have as one of their \”taynos\” on the Charedi world, the idea of inappropriate \”bittul\”. We need to make clear that the ideas held by a few do not represent the attitude of the Torah, of Gedolie Torah, or of the overwhelming majority of the Charedie World(see March, 2004 issue of the Jewish Observer for some positive and amazing stories).

    There have also been at least three articles about this topic that have appeared in the past two years in the Jewish Press, read by non-Jews, including an entire Christian congregation in the Midwest! I am not even speaking about newspapers like the Forward. I think that we still have more work to do in representing our public image. If the Torah Community leaves a vacuum regarding the issue, and does not project a nuanced view regarding \”Particularism vs. Universalism\”, then the views presented to the media will de facto be of an unbalanced nature, and not in keeping with the topic\’s sensitivity.

    This is a shame because the situation needn\’t be like this. It hurts me that an Orthodox movie producer felt that the only way he was able to express his disappointment with a speech which didn\’t properly reflect the nuances and sensitivity of the topic, was by producing a documentary filmed by an Emmy-nominated team, which resulted in significant negative press-coverage. More generally, there needs to be a healthy forum for Charedie laymen to openly bring up issues and differences in opinion(other than blogs and newspapers), so that we are not left with playing catch-up in hasbara.

    I therefore see plenty of room and value in a proactive approach, as illustrated by the Mel Gibson post. Note, that there have already appeared balanced and sensitive discussions on the general issue of Bein Yisrael L\’amim in both this month\’s and the March 2004 Jewish Observer, as well as in the Fall 2004 Jewish Action. May we see an accurate public attitude expressed about our weltanschauung, which causes people to reflect positively on Hashem and his People!

  9. Steve Brizel says:

    If you want to read a local version of some of the themes in the linked column, read Kurt Anderson’s column from last week’s New York Magazine.

  10. Steve Brizel says:

    It is fairly ironic at least that the nation that gave the word “quisling” as a new low in political behavior during WW2 and who helped Norwegian Jews to the death camps now seeks to preach ethics and pacifism to Israel, which only seeks to defend itself as a democracy in a dangerous part of the world.

  11. Nachum Lamm says:

    R’ Adlerstein, two points:

    1. “Herzl, it is said…” Said by who? Said where? I’d like a source for that story. Neither half of that statement sounds at all like Herzl, and the response sounds not at all like a European Jew used to pogroms. In fact, it sounds like one of the standard stories commonly told, unfortunately, in charedi circles today to disparage early Zionist leaders, and like you’re trying to polish up your credentials with Hillel.

    Of course, Jabotinsky did go around Poland warning of a Holocaust in the late 1930’s. It is obscene to suggest that he was somehow responsible for what followed, or that he would have welcomed it.

    2. It may help to recall that many Europeans are decent enough people. Parties that support Israel regularly do well in elections- the leader of the National Alliance, the right-wing Italian party that is the distant successor of Mussolini, actually spoke at a pro-Israel rally recently.

    The problem, however (apart from Muslim minorities) is the elites. And although they may be a very small slice of the population, they have the power to shape both opinion and policy. An ordinary Englishman who votes Labour because of his working-class roots may have nothing in particular against Israel or the Jews, and may even approve, but he’s hardly the person who’s going to be sitting in Parliament, or editing a newspaper. Indeed, one may well wonder how a country which traditionally was one of the most tolerant toward Jews in Europe could, in less than ten years, turn to killing six million of them. I think we know now.

    And this is not limited to Europe. While I freely admit that the US is a much different place, both at the level of the common people as well higher, I read about the mayor of your city apologizing to Muslims for not coming to their rallies, or about the nutty anti-Semites who support Lamont in Connecticut, and worry about the power of elites here as well.

  12. Bari says:

    Along the lines of what R’ Yaakov commented, I put up a post recently about what may very well lurk in the darker corners of the European psyche.

    http://bariveshema.blogspot.com/2006/07/why-europeans-hate-israel-theory.html

  13. Yaakov Menken says:

    Can’t find the Anti-Semitism? As someone wrote on the original translator’s site:

    It’s an expression of cowardice. Every single one of his complaints about Israel apply in large multiples to the US war in Iraq. But the author is only offended by the relatively powerless and hated Jews. He puts himself in the traditional pose of the civilized white european, looking in horror at the orientals lack of humanism. A citizen of one of the worlds richest nations, wallowing in oil wealth while half the world starves, smugly decries the barbarity of someone else. All the pompous ignorant blather about the bible only makes it worse.

    I suggest you read one of Rabbi Adlerstein’s earlier articles. This was anti-Semitism at its most sophisticated level of vulgarity. “Oh, we know how culpable we Europeans are, and of course they need a State — but to defend themselves against those who wish to massacre its civilians… why, that’s unconscionable.”

  14. Gunnar Andreas says:

    It is not fair to quote excerpts out of context and then argue as if that was the substance of the article. Please read Gaarder’s text in full, without preconceived opinions, even if the translation does not give full jutice to the Norwegian text. It will be hard to find any anti-semitic utterances – unless you consider critic of the Israeli government as anti-semitic.

  15. HILLEL says:

    Reb Yitzchok:

    Thanks for the clarification–I still think the title of your piece is overly provocative. There may be a City Councilman or two in your audience who might repeat it.

  16. Steve Brizel says:

    Obviously, American media and culture are replete with many examples as cited by Mr. Sullivan. Tony Judt is one case in mind whose views are identical to the views cited by Sullivan.

  17. Yitzchok Adlerstein says:

    Hillel’s point is well-taken, and at least as important as the one I made. Actually, it fits hand-in-glove with my point. I just happen to think he has misapplied it to this situation.

    Herzl, it is said, would deliver fiery speeches in his travels through Europe, speaking about what disasters the future was going to bring upon Jews. Leaders in some of the towns protested that he was instigating anti-Semitic violence. He responded that this was not so terrible. If it happened, it would spur more Jews to move to Palestine!

    No Jew (other than a halachically authorized leader, like a king) has the right to take risks with the safety and well-being of other Jews, even when well intentioned. The higher up the political food chain, the greater the risks and responsibility. Elected leaders, politicians, frequently quoted spokespeople (self-appointed or otherwise) have the greatest responsibility, because more of the public hangs on to more of their words. A Jewish City Councilman who announces that he believes that Iran should be nuked might very well be irresponsible to the interests of the 25000 Jews remaining in Iran. A shul rov who says it might have some more leeway – unless one of his congregants is the City Councilman who will repeat it.

    Hillel’s application to the situation at hand is inapposite. Gosh, we’re talking Andrew Sullivan on Time.com! Nobody was going to stuff this cat back into the bag. The forecast of foreboding had already been made and splashed in public. All my piece did was connect it to more vicious quotes from the Gaarder piece than Sullivan cited.

    I disagree thoroughly and entirely with Hillel’s second point. Seeking the welfare of your city, and praying for peace within your country are not a recipe for political quietism. We have to remind ourselves of our restrictions and limitations in galus (i.e our attitude should never be the complete assertiveness of entitlement that Alan Dershowitz argued for in Chutzpah), but that does not mean that we have no hishtadlus obligation in the spheres of political action – at the ballot box, and behind the scenes – and in shaping public opinion. We must definitely be mindful of Hillel’s first point while doing this, but silence has its risks as well. Pressure applied directly upon French government officials did succeed in getting them to take more forceful measures to protect French Jews, and recognize the huge anti-Semitism problem they have. (No Chirac will never get it, and Sarkozy always has.) Pointing out governmental and media bias has also been a frequent item in the haredi press, even outside the parameters of a strategy to influence people in positions of power.

  18. Chareidi Leumi says:

    Hillel,

    The Kuzari only lists two approaches to galus and neither is the one you list.

    The first is absolute acceptance of it as a divine PUNISHMENT – which the kuzari interprets as living a temporary life lacking ALL permanence (no fancy houses, nothing that shows we have and roots in galus, c”v) and showing Hashem that we are dedicated to correcting the sins of the past and starting over.

    The second flows from the first and involves ACTIVE-HUMAN-PHYSICAL effort to return to the land and leave the galus far behind us.

    Your approach advocates neither and should be rejected.

  19. Ori Pomerantz says:

    I don\’t know if this is authentic or not, but if so it\’s a relevant perspective.

    All European life died in Auschwitz:

    By Sebastian Vilar Rodrigez
    This is a translation of an article from a Spanish newspaper.

    I walked down the street in Barcelona, and suddenly discovered a terrible truth – Europe died in Auschwitz. We killed six million Jews and replaced them with 20 million Muslims. In Auschwitz we burned a culture, thought, creativity, talent.

    We destroyed the chosen people, truly chosen, because they produced great and wonderful people who changed the world. The contribution of this people is felt in all areas of life: science, art, international trade, and above all, as the conscience of the world. These are the people we burned.

    And under the pretense of tolerance, and because we wanted to prove to ourselves that we were cured of the disease of racism, we opened our gates to 20 million Muslims, who brought us stupidity and ignorance, religious extremism and lack of tolerance, crime and poverty due to an unwillingness to work and support their families with pride. They have turned our beautiful Spanish cities into the third world, drowning in filth and crime. Shut up in the apartments they receive free from the government, they plan the murder and destruction of their naive hosts.

    And thus, in our misery, we have exchanged culture for fanatical hatred, creative skill for destructive skill, intelligence for backwardness and superstition. We have exchanged the pursuit of peace of the Jews of Europe and their talent for hoping for a better future for their children, their determined clinging to life because life is holy, for those who pursue death, for people consumed by the desire for death for themselves and others, for our children and theirs.

    What a terrible mistake was made by miserable Europe.

  20. HILLEL says:

    Steve:

    Smell the REAL coffee!

    By definition, Golus is an impossible situation: “SheBeChol Dor VADor, OmDim AleNu LeChaLoSenu.”

    Our survival in Golus is always a miracle. in fact, according to Rav Yaakov Emden, ZT”L, it is the greatest miracle of all.

    We do not rely on anyone’s goodwill to survive: “VeHaKodosh Boruch Hu MatZeiLenu MeYaDam.”

    Notwithstanding this, we are commanded to do our best to live in harmony with our non-Jewish neighbors, regardless of the latent feelings of anti-semitism that may suspect lurking beneath the surface.

  21. Bob Miller says:

    Unless America thoroughly overhauls (or finds ways around) its public school and higher educational systems, the majority here will begin to think about political and social issues in a European-like way. Politically slanted indoctrination about these issues begins at the elementary level and proceeds seamlessly through college. The propagation of “false facts” about Islam has already begun.

  22. Steve Brizel says:

    Hillel-wake up and smell the coffee. The veneer of civility that you describe in Europe is exactly that and no more. How Jews can reside in a continent whose civility is more properly described in the Kinos is beyond my comprehension.

  23. Alla Smorodinsky says:

    Yes, it was certainly worth the effort. Here is my e-mail exchange with a good Christian friend whom I forwarded the “Mel Gibson’s Toughest Role” article:

    From:
    Sent: Monday, August 07, 2006 4:44 PM
    To:
    Subject: RE: Emailing: adlerstein_gibson.htm

    You are very welcome. When a person lives his life in the way (learning Torah, and living life according to it) which results in being strongly attached to the ultimate reality (G-d), he grows to perceive reality clearly :-).

    ________________________________________
    From:
    Sent: Monday, August 07, 2006 4:37 PM
    To:
    Subject: RE: Emailing: adlerstein_gibson.htm
    Thanks. That was a very insightful article.

    I don’t think Christians and Jews are very far apart in their understanding of repentance. But I have never heard it expressed as clearly.

    ________________________________________
    From:
    Sent: Wednesday, August 02, 2006 3:41 PM
    To:
    Subject: Emailing: adlerstein_gibson.htm

    This may be interesting for you:
    >

  24. HILLEL says:

    P.S. When you talk of Aliya TO Israel, consider those who have found it necessary to make Yerida FROM Israel!

    Jewish Refugees in Cyprus

    Zionism in Regression
    By Shifra Shomron

    14th of Av 5766/ 8 August 2006

    Nitzan Caravilla site
    How things have changed: Haifa and Krayot residents are buying ‘refuge apartments’ in Cyprus according to Ynet news (7 August 2006). Four families have already purchased furnished apartments in Limassul and other towns. If more rockets fall in Haifa, these families are packed and ready to move.

    So, the secular Zionist dream has failed: Israel is not a refuge for Jews. Israel is not – but Cyprus is. The lovely island of Cyprus to which Holocaust survivors were dragged kicking and screaming. They reached there and were placed in encampments surrounded by barbed wire, British soldiers at the entrance, and wooden bunks in the rooms.

    But after all, now Cyprus is modern and developed: high rise apartments, English fluency, inducted to the European Union… Forward! To Cyprus!

    And what about Israel? What about our torn and bloodied country?

    Our country is torn, because we have been tearing pieces off to fling to the jackals surrounding us.

    Our country is bloodied, because the jackals keep lunging, snapping and biting… and we restrain.

    Since Israel is restraining itself from properly defending the residents of Haifa, Krayot, Tsfat, S’derot etc… perhaps the Israeli government should reach an agreement with Cyprus permitting building large encampments.

    We’ll provide the barbed wire. —

  25. Steve Brizel says:

    FWIW, I thought that your piece on Mel Gibson was excellemt. Perhaps, R D A Twerski could be enlisted to help him with his alcoholism, anger management and views towards Jews and Israel. R d A Twerski strikes me as far more qualified to deal with these issues, especially with a rich Chasidic approach vis a vis Teshuvah, than the typical rehabilitation spa that caters to Hollywood, etc.

  26. Steve Brizel says:

    European media , intellectual and political circles basically have been anti Israel eithersince 1967 when DeGaulle urged Israel not to launch the first strike or in 1973 when European nations refused US aircraft landing rights on their way to resupply Israel.They wrongly view the statute of limitations for philo Semitism that developed after the Holocaust and the founding of Israel as having long expired.That’s why one sees books about how the poor Germans suffered, etc under Allied bonbings,and the “atrocity” of Dresden etc

    That being said, Anti Semitism was dormant, but never dead in Europe. That factor, Islam’s influence as well as the inane notion advanced by self hating Jews such as Kenneth Roth that Israel fight Hezbullah by the Marquis of Queensbury rules of an amorphous body of law known only to its practictioners as “human rights law” lead to such pronouncements in the European media. When the NY Times opines that any UN resoultion will have to give some sort of victory to Hezbollah, this shows what kind of an upside down world we are living in, to paraphrase a Talmudic observation.

  27. HILLEL says:

    Reb Yitzchok, there seems to be a disconnect here.

    On the one hand, you quote our sages: “ChaChoMim HiZoHaRu beDivReiChem!” But you then go on to say reckless things that could seriously endanger our brethren in Europe.

    The provocative title of your piece “The end of European Jewry” plants an idea that should best be left unexpressed. You can think it, but why write it? There are hundreds of thousands of Jews who live and work in the European countries. They are dependent on the tolerance and and the goodwill of their non-Jewish neighbors. Why suggest that that they should leave for Israel?

    Jew-haters have claimed that we are not good citizens of their respective countries; that we have “dual loyalties.” Why write an article that seems to confirm this and gives additional ammunition to those who want to expel the Jews from their countries.

    I have always felt that, when some Israeli politician shows-up inEurope and suggest that European Jews make Aliyah because of rising anti-semitism, it is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    Our job in Golus is “Dirshu Es Sholom HaIr.” and “HeVe Mispallel BiShLoma Shel MalChus.” Seek the welfare of your city, and pray for peace within your country.

    This kind of anti-semite baiting embodied in your article is not in accordance with the Torah way of approaching these issues.

  28. kar says:

    Because these themes are immensely important to Christians in particular, it would seem to me to be good horse-sense to show that Jews have quite a rich tradition concerning repentance, even if it must necessarily differ from the concept in other faiths. Is it not important to try to convey a more nuanced understanding of teshuva to the non-Jewish world, so that they can applaud, or at least not draw back in disdain?

    There is no need to lecture on different concepts of repentance. You could accept the apology, note his history of Holocaust denial etc, and move on. I think we should not be in the business of telling other people how to repent, that is IMO arrogant.
    Our tradition tells us how to repent; it doesn\’t insist we hold other people to all kinds of standards before we accept their apology. Those standards are for God. For us, yiten l\’makeyhu lechi yisba b\’cherpa.
    Hollywood figures are not that important, and we shouldn\’t play along with the game that they are.