Monday, October 20, 2008

"Second Generation": On understanding my rabbi

Sitting around in the synagogue sukkah on Shabbat/Sabbath, I was describing to some fellow and sister congregants my understanding of the rabbi's approach to Judaism--"They're out to get us, and we're not going to take it anymore"--and my dislike for his constant negativism and my wish that he'd discuss something joyful about Judaism more often.

"You don't understand," said a sister congregant. "You were born here, and your parents were born here. They don't know what it was like to live through the Holocaust. My parents didn't live through the Holocaust either, but I know that when they cry on Tisha B'Av, they're not just crying for the destruction of the Temple--they're also crying for the lives they left behind." [Her family was expelled from a Muslim country when she was a young child, and she was raised in a maabarah (see photo here)]. My grandparents used to try to tell us about the lynchings, and my parents would whisper in Hebrew, 'Shush, don't talk about it in front of the children!' Because of his mother, it's a central part of his identity. You just don't understand."

I guess I don't. Maybe I've misjudged.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, here's the thing, if you only mourn Judaism, people don't stick around... The right-wing Eastern European leadership has had this attitude for about 200 years... as a result, they lost their first flock to Enlightenment, when 80% of the Jews fled them... their spiritual successors were so scared of that they had them stay in Europe instead of flee, so they lost their second flock to Germany in WWII, and then they set up shop in the US and lost their third flock here as the kids left.

Now a new generation of interested Jews that grew up in a world of Israel is fait accompli show an interest in traditional Judaism, and these losers-first crew bring them mourning weak Jews... they are pitching the "goyim are out to get us" to Wall Street Jews, Lawyer Jews, and Doctor Jews, and their children, to Jews that live in the top 1% of the country, it's unreal...

They talk about the Holocaust like we were random victims in the crosshairs of a battle of the Goyim... that might have been true in the crusades, but we were target #1 in WW II, a thousand year reich was goal #2.

I wish the Sephardi leadership would grab the reigns of power, their Judaism is way more fun.

Mon Oct 20, 01:02:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Al, I guess the trick is to find a balance between "Never forget" and "Ivdu et HaShem b'sinchah"/Serve HaShem with joy." I tip perhaps more toward serving HaShem with joy, my rabbi toward never forgetting. Both are necessary, but neither works by itself. This may be all the more true when one is trying to draw in those of recent generations who have not experienced persecution even indirectly, as you were saying.

Thu Oct 23, 11:12:00 AM 2008  
Blogger SuperRaizy said...

I think that survivors and children of survivors (like myself) really do have a different perspective. Many of us are more suspicious and less trusting than those who do not live with the memories of the Holocaust lurking in every corner. As children, we used to feel that we were "growing up with dead relatives"- (a strange idea, I know). In other words, Grandma and Grandpa and all the aunts and uncles were dead, Dad frequently woke up at night screaming in terror and wouldn't tell us why, and the older relatives that we did have all seemed to have odd quirks and would sudenly start crying for no apparent reason. It changes how you look at things.

Thu Oct 23, 11:05:00 PM 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But it's not a never forget, it's a never stop whining... that's a huge difference. The zionists took never forget into a mantra for Israel, because the Jews can NEVER be at the mercy of the goyim again... the inability to flee because nobody would take the Jews was seared into their mind.

My issue is not remembering a mourning our losses... we should never forget our martyrs and their sacrifices. My issue is that the wallowing is combined with a nostalgia that is dangerous.

Horrible things happened to our people, we should always be vigilant is a good idea.
Horrible things happened to our people, if only we could go back to our tradition where we were in that situation is NOT a good idea.

Our people and population were utterly decimated by the second world war where we were targeted for extinction and our leadership continuously missed the boat and assumed that the Nazis were exaggerating. Never forgetting that requires ALSO believing the Palestinians when they also say that they want to throw all the Jews out of Israel, instead of assuming that they are exaggerating.

The post-Zionists and the religious leadership HAVE forgotten the Holocaust, because they have focused on mourning the individuals, pretending that it was some tragedy that befell us like a plague instead of a calculated effort to exterminate the Jewish people and learned how to avoid a repeat.

Because we were weak, we were almost annihilated. Anyone who fails to understand that Jewish weakness made us a victim failed to learn the lessons of the Shoah.

Fri Oct 24, 10:26:00 AM 2008  
Blogger B.BarNavi said...

sAl, when Sephardim like Shlomo Amar get into a leadership position, you get very "way more fun" things like the conversion crisis. Besides, the Sephardi leadership in Israel is too black-hat as it is...

Sat Oct 25, 07:46:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Must be the Ashkenazi influence. Didn't the Sefardim used to be the more open-minded ones?

On a related but more literal-minded note, what's with this "black-hat" business? Isn't the whole black-hat "levush/uniform" for Orthodox men a minhag/custom of Ashkenazi yeshivish and chareidi origin? What is this, the Jewish version of that "Men in Black" movie?

Sun Oct 26, 02:11:00 AM 2008  
Blogger Nachum said...

The black hat is actually a chassidic thing that the yeshivos adopted.

Sun Oct 26, 03:43:00 AM 2008  

Post a Comment

<< Home

<< List
Jewish Bloggers
Join >>