Ideas and Quotations
of Jewish Interest
|On Other Ideas:||Jewish topics:|
God said to Abraham, "Leave your country, your family, your father's house, and walk inward to the land I will show you." This is what true spirituality demands: to leave everything we know; to relinquish everything we are; to wander without a goal, path or teacher or teaching , simply trusting that when we get "there" we will know. Buddha did that. So did Lao Tzu, Jesus and Mohammed. They all left home....
.... Does it matter that Jews sit zazen or Buddhists keep Shabbat? No. What matters is that for just one moment, we heed the call "lech lecha, walk inward," and leave home for the unknown
Rabbi Rami M. Shapiro quoted in Utne Reader, July-August, 1998
Being a Jew is like walking in the wind or swimming: you are touched at all points and conscious everywhere.
The force of the battle against idolatry is not in promoting a positive idea of God but in the negative idea of rejecting false gods. Central to the biblical struggle against idolatry is that there are sinful illusions that make us take the wrong attitude toward the world and cause us to lead lives that are deeply wrong. Worship is an indication of an attitude toward the world: it singles out what deserves our veneration and what does not.
The biblical criticism of idolatry can be seen as a forerunner of the criticism in modern times of ideology as based on illusions that cause great damage to our lives. Whether in the form of idolatry or ideology, the error is one of ascribing absolute value to what has very limited value or no value at all.
Avishai Margalit, After Strange Gods Reviewing Podhoretz, The Prophets: Who They Were, What They Are. New York Review of Books, October 9, 2003
Don't be too sweet lest you be eaten up; don't be too bitter lest you be spewed out.Proverb
The only truly dead are those who
have been forgotten.
Worries go better with
soup than without.
To educate a man is to educate an individual. To educate a woman is to educate a whole family.
Bubbe Annie's Scrapbook http://www.bubbe.com/
No matter how corrupt, greedy,
If I should ever die, God
Proof He Needed
However, elsewhere, Einstein elaborated his ideas:
The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. It should transcend a personal God and avoid dogmas and theology. Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things, natural and spiritual as a meaningful unity.
In the Church, considered as a social organism, the mysteries inevitably degenerate into beliefs.
Does anybody really think it is harder to stand up in public...and say "I believe in God" than it is to stand up and say "I don't"?
Michael Kinsley, reviewing Steven Carter's The Culture of Disbelief
Tel Aviv from Yafo copyright, 1985, Jimmy Winokur
The only bit of news here -- and I guess in Israel it is a big deal -- is that we are expecting snow here in Jerusalem tonight or tomorrow morning. ....
....I must admit, that when our fair city is blanketed in pure, white, snow, its a lovely, tranquil, sight. Defying present circumstances, Jerusalem almost lives up to its namesake and almost looks like a peaceful city. It's a change from the gold and it gives us a temporary reprieve from the red. . When it snows, we know the terrorists can't move around freely... a strange association for snow.
(email to me),
Jerusalem, January, 2002.
I don't mind the wolf dwelling with the lamb as long as I am the wolf.
After decades of what came to be called a national consensus,
the Zionist narrative of liberation [has] dissolved into openly contesting versions.
[One version,] founded on a long memory of persecution, genocide,
and a bitter struggle for survival, is pessimistic, distrustful of non-Jews,
and believing only in Jewish power and solidarity.”
[Another,] nourished by secularized versions of messianism
as well as the Enlightenment idea of progress,
[articulates] a deep sense of the limits of military force,
and a commitment to liberal-democratic values.
America and the Jews:
Azareli Towers, Tel Aviv, 2001
lit in Solidarity with 9/11
[Though less than 3 % of America's population, Jews make up]
* 50 percent of the top two hundred intellectuals,
* 40 percent of American Nobel Prize winners in science and economics,
* 20 percent of professors at the leading universities,
* 21 percent of high level civil servants,
* 40 percent of partners in the leading law firms in New York and Washington.
Jews now attend Ivy League colleges at twelve times their presence in the general population. They constitute approximately one-third of the students at those eight institutions.
Seymour Martin Lipset and Earl Raab, Jews and the New American Scene (1995)
American Jewry: Liberalism vs. Zionism
Among American Jews today, there are many Zionists, especially in the Orthodox world, people deeply devoted to the State of Israel. And there are many liberals, especially the secular Jewish - people deeply devoted to human rights for all people, Palestinians included. The two groups are increasingly distinct. [Among] younger generations, fewer American Jewish liberals are Zionists. And fewer American Jewish Zionists are liberal. The leading institutions of American Jewish institutions have refused to challenges Israel’s behavior in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and toward its own Arab citizens. For decades, the Jewish establishment has asked American Jews to check their liberalism at Zionism’s door. Now they are finding many young Jews have checked their Zionism instead.
American Zionism is in a downward spiral. There seems to be emerging Orthodox-dominated, Zionist leadership whose naked hostility to Arabs and Palestinians scares mainstream Jewish leaders, and a mass of secular American Jews who are apathetic or appalled.….
In the American Jewish establishment, the language of liberal Zionism—with its idioms of human rights, equal citizenship, and territorial compromise—has been drained of meaning. It remains the lingua franca in part for generational reasons: many older American Zionists still see themselves as liberals. They vote Democratic; they’re unmoved by biblical claims to the West Bank; they see average Palestinians as decent people betrayed by bad leaders; and they are secular. They don’t want Jewish organizations to criticize Israel from the left, but neither do they want them to be agents of the Israeli right.
Many of these American Zionists were shaped by the terrifying days of the Six-Day War, when it appeared Israel might be overrun, and by the aftermath of the Yom Kippur War, when much of the world seemed to turn against the Jewish state. n that crucible, Israel became their Jewish identity, often in conjunction with the Holocaust. These Jews embraced Zionism before the settler movement became a major force in Israeli politics, before the 1982 Lebanon war, before the first intifada. They fell in love with an Israel that was more secular, less divided, and less shaped by …the occupation
These older Zionists … continue to identify with that more internally cohesive, more innocent Israel of their youth, an Israel that now only exists in their memories.
But these secular Zionists’ children have no memory of Arab armies massed on Israel’s border …. Instead, they have grown up viewing Israel as an occupying power. They are more conscious than their parents of how behavior violates liberal ideals, and less willing to grant Israel an exemption because its survival seems in peril. Because they have inherited their parents’ liberalism, they cannot embrace their uncritical Zionism.
To sustain their uncritical brand of Zionism, therefore, America’s Jewish organizations will need to look elsewhere to replenish their ranks. They will need to find young American Jews who have come of age during the West Bank occupation but are not troubled by it. And those young American Jews will come disproportionately from the Orthodox world. Because they marry earlier, intermarry less, and have more children, Orthodox Jews are growing rapidly as a share of the American Jewish population. While Orthodox Jews make up only 12% of American Jewry over 60, the Orthodox constitute 34% between the ages of 18 and 24. While only 16 % of non-Orthodox adult Jews under the age of 40 feel “very close to Israel,” among the Orthodox the figure is 79 %.
Its parochialism—Jewish concerns, outweighing more universal ones—gives Orthodox Jewish Zionism a distinctly illiberal cast. While 60 % of non-Orthodox American Jews under 40 support a Palestinian state, only 25% of the Orthodox do. In 2009, Theodore Sasson … found Orthodox participants much less supportive of dismantling settlements as part of a peace deal. Even more tellingly, Reform, Conservative, and unaffiliated Jews tended to believe that average Palestinians wanted peace, but had been ill-served by their leaders. But Orthodox Jews more often see the Palestinian people as the enemy, and deny that ordinary Palestinians shared common values with ordinary Israelis or Jews. Orthodox Judaism has a uniquely wonderful communal warmth and commitment to Jewish learning.… But if current trends continue, the growing influence of Orthodox Jews in America’s Jewish communal institutions will erode even the liberal-democratic veneer that today covers American Zionism….
heavily compressed and edited from:
Peter Beinart,The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment
New York Review of Books June 10, 2010
A Response to Beinart's article:
Peter Beinart offers a conveniently impressionistic view of the American Jewish community to frame his critique of Israeli policy trends. He should know better than to generalizing about the Jewish state without proper context. He sees an Israel that is clearly moving to the right, that has less regard for the “other,” no matter who that may be, and that is unwilling to take seriously efforts toward peace. Many Israelis as well as the American Jewish community, feel frustrated that efforts toward changing the dynamic have been met with rejection and/or violence.
Most Israelis understand that continuing to sit in the West Bank is not good for the country. So at Camp David in 2000 they proposed a solution of ending the conflict – including withdrawing from 90% of the territories and eliminating most settlements. They got a big no and suicide bombs. In 2005, they withdrew unilaterally from Gaza with the intent to do likewise in the West Bank because they saw no partner for peace. They got Hamas and rockets against their civilians. In 2008, they went back to a full and better offer for a Palestinian state and got nothing again.
There’s no evidence of a fundamental change in Israel away from peace and concessions. What there is is a justified cynicism about the willingness of the other side to end the conflict and a confusion about what real options Israel has regarding its dilemma of how to withdraw and still have security. The issue is what can be done with a divided Palestinian leadership and with at best a passive if not destructive Arab world, to bring about full Palestinian acceptand of the legitimacy of the Jewish state.
Abraham H. Foxman
Anti-Defamation League, 2010
Book Review of:Peter Beinart
:‘The Crisis of Zionism’
Reviewed by Jonathan Rosen
-- the editorial director of Nextbook, and the author, most recently, of “The Life of the Skies: Birding at the End of Nature.” New York Times Book Review, April 13, 2012
eter Beinart has expanded the article, above.
Here are excerpts from a review of his
A Missionary Impulse
...Peter Beinart is especially good at invoking facts as a way of dismissing them. Thus Israel’s offer to withdraw from conquered land in 1967, and the Arab States’ declaration — “No peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it” — becomes literally a parenthetical aside in which the Arabs’ “apparent refusal” made Israeli settlement “easier.”
.... In Beinart’s world, anti-Semitism seems little more than a form of Jewish self-deception. The Anti-Defamation League fights “alleged” anti-Semitism against Israel, he tells us. To worry about existential threats to a country the size of New Jersey, with fewer than eight million people living in a suicide-bombing nuclear age, is to surrender to “Jewish victimhood.” Surely it is possible for a country to be both powerful and precarious? Surely “vulnerability” would be a better word than “victimhood”? But Beinart’s feints toward nuance repeatedly give way to stark dualisms: “Liberalism was out, tribalism was in.”
Though allowing that “there is some truth” to the argument that Palestinians have turned their back on past offers of a two-state solution, Beinart [suggests] , that peace is Israel’s to bestow, incidentally robbing Palestinians of any role in their own destiny. But then Beinart has little to say about Palestinians in any case. While there is a chapter called “The Crisis in Israel” and a chapter called “The Crisis in America,” there is no chapter called “The Crisis in Palestinian Society” or “The Crisis in Islam,” though Islam has played an enormous role in Palestinian nationalism. Beinart may of course believe there is no crisis in these quarters, but he is essentially silent on the matter, just as he pays scant attention to the larger Arab world, finding it easier to recast a Mideast struggle as an American-Israeli drama.....
The wish for a new testament is old in Judaism, though some would say that Beinart’s attempt to separate Judaism’s sinful body from its liberal soul — the better to save it — is an antiquated act. Others might say that Israel is itself a new testament, or to borrow Theodor Herzl’s phrase, an old-new testament. Herzl, a hero of Beinart’s, didn’t think Israel would need an army. In 1902, this fantasy was still possible.
Beinart cites approvingly Israel’s declaration of statehood, read aloud by David Ben-Gurion in 1948. It promised “complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex.” Yet Ben-Gurion also decided to eliminate from that document any reference to Israel’s borders, because the Arabs were preparing to attack and he wasn’t fighting to defend rejected borders but to save his state. The written as well as the unwritten words form a kind of text and commentary that Israel still struggles to balance amid all the brute realities of an unforgiving region. Sometimes it does this well and sometimes badly, but the struggle itself is the hallmark of a civilization far beyond Peter Beinart’s Manichaean simplicities.
The Balfour Declaration
November 2nd, 1917
I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty's Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet.
"His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country."
I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.
Arthur James Balfour
Of note is theBalfour Declaration's, obscure phrasing in endorsing "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people. What is a "National home"?
"Unhindered Jewish Aliya!
Tel Aviv: Defus ha-Arets, 1939
"Aliyah" = Jewish return -- going up -- to Israel
This election poster for the 21st Congress, held on the eve of World War II, opposes the MacDonald White Paper of May, 1939 (see immediately below) , and advertises the Po‘alei Ziyon and the Marxist Circles (list yod-dalet).
This Zionist Shekel certificate
was issued in 1925 to a member of
the Mizrachi (religious Zionist) movement in Poland.
Girona, Spain, photo (c) jimmy Winokur, 2004
Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism: Examples, etc.:
Defaced Medieval Synagogue, Barcelona, Spain, photo (c) jimmy Winokur, 2004
The law of dislike for the unlike will always prevail. And whereas the unlike is normally situated at a safe distance, the Jews bring the unlike into the heart of every milieu, and must there defend a frontier line as large as the world.
The Koran pointed to a contemptible characteristic of the Jews; their craven desire to live, no matter at what price and regardless of quality, honor and dignity.
Sayyid Qutb, Egyptian Islamist, hanged in 1966 in Cairo for sedition, quoted in Paul Berman, Terror and Liberalism (2003 )
Special Ingredient For Jewish Holidays is Human Blood From Non-Jewish Youth
For this holiday, the Jewish people must obtain human blood so that their clerics can prepare the holiday pastries. In other words, the practice cannot be carried out as required if human blood is not spilled!!
The Jews' spilling human blood to prepare pastry for their holidays is a well-established fact, historically and legally, all throughout history. This was one of the main reasons for the persecution and exile that were their lot in Europe and Asia at various times.
How the Jews Drain the Blood From Their Young Victims:
I would like to tell you how human blood is spilled so it can be used for their holiday pastries. The blood is spilled in a special way. How is it done? For this holiday, the victim must be a mature adolescent who is, of course, a non-Jew -- that is, a Christian or a Muslim. His blood is taken and dried into granules. The cleric blends these granules into the pastry dough; they can also be saved for the next holiday. In contrast, for the Passover slaughtering, about which I intend to write one of these days, the blood of Christian and Muslim children under the age of 10 must be used, and the cleric can mix the blood [into the dough] before or after dehydration.
The Actions of the Jewish Vampires Cause Them Pleasure:
Let us now examine how the victims' blood is spilled. For this, a needle-studded barrel is used; this is a kind of barrel, about the size of the human body, with extremely sharp needles set in it on all sides. [These needles] pierce the victim's body, from the moment he is placed in the barrel.
These needles do the job, and the victim's blood drips from him very slowly. Thus, the victim suffers dreadful torment -- torment that affords the Jewish vampires great delight as they carefully monitor every detail of the blood-shedding with pleasure and love that are difficult to comprehend.
Dr. Umayma Ahmad Al-Jalahma , Professor, King Faysal University in Al-Dammam, in the Saudi government daily Al-Riyadh (March 10, 2002) Translation by memri.org
JLW: This notorious blood libel dates as far back, at least, as the Middle Ages, and was prominently restated, for example, as justification during the Spanish Inquisition. For further in-depth explanation, see e.g., the widely respected site for hoaxes and Urban Legends at: http://188.8.131.52/religion/blood.htm
For discussion of an even more recent Anti-Semitic declarations by prominent Arabs, see the New York Times, Editorials/Op-Ed, Islamic Anti-Semitism (October18, 2003), voicing concern about* an October 16, 2003 speech by Malaysian prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, to the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference;* reaction thereto by delegates from Egypt, Afghanistan and Yemen; and* the European Union Summit's decision not to condemn Mahathir Mohamad's statement:
the most worthless of men - they are lecherous, greedy, rapacious -
Chrysostom, the Patriarch of Constantinople,
Hermann Goering, quoted in Leon Goldensohn & Robert Gellately, The Nuremberg Interviews (2004).
all the beauty still left around you and be happy.
As long as Nazi violence was unleashed only, or mainly, against the Jews, the rest of the world looked on passively and even treaties and agreements were made with the patently criminal government of the Third Reich.... The doors of Palestine were closed to Jewish immigrants, and no country could be found that would admit those forsaken people. They were left to perish like their brothers and sisters in the occupied countries. We shall never forget the heroic efforts of the small countries, of the Scandinavian, the Dutch, the Swiss nations, and of individuals in the occupied part of Europe who did all in their power to protect Jewish lives.
You know this is a Protestant country, and the Catholics and Jews are here under sufferance.
Delano Roosevelt, said privately to Henry
Morgenthau, Jr. (a Jew, primary Jewish advocate within FDR's private circle,
also Treasury Secretary under FDR and Truman, see
below) also in the presence of a Catholic FDR appointee, Leo Crowley -- as
reported by Michael Beschloss in "
Auschwitz Secret," Newsweek,
October 14, 2002
[He is] a Jew, but entirely without the usual qualifications of his race. He is a tall, well set-up young man, with a rather engaging diffidence of manner, and I think you need have no hesitation whatever for any reason of this sort in considering his application.
Percy W. Bridgman, Nobel laureate in physics, to Ernest Rutherford in 1925 recommending his Harvard student J. Robert Oppenheimer. (Rutherford nonetheless declined to take Oppenheimer into his laboratory.)
The steward tells me that most of the Jewish passengers are
sick. Imagine taking these Jews in addition to those we already have. There
are too many in places like New York already. A few Jews add strength and
character to a country, but too many create chaos. And we are getting too
many. This present immigration will have its reaction.
Charles A. Lindbergh (1939),
while sailing across the Atlantic.
Martin Luther: Anti-Semite:
Accordingly, it must and dare not be considered a trifling matter but a most serious one to seek counsel against this and to save our souls from the Jews, that is, from the devil and from eternal death. My advice, as I said earlier, is:
First, that their synagogues be burned down, and that all who are able toss sulphur and pitch; it would be good if someone could also throw in some hellfire...
Second, that all their books-- their prayer books, their Talmudic writings, also the entire Bible-- be taken from them, not leaving them one leaf, and that these be preserved for those who may be converted...
Third, that they be forbidden on pain of death to praise God, to give thanks, to pray, and to teach publicly among us and in our country...
Fourth, that they be forbidden to utter the name of God within our hearing. For we cannot with a good conscience listen to this or tolerate it...
-Martin Luther, On the Jews and Their Lies (1543)
"Family Quarrels", or "The Jew & the Gentile"
Thomas Rowlandson (London, 1803)
The print and explanation of its title:
The operatic play Family Quarrels was first performed at Covent Garden in December 1802.
(Todd Endelman, The Jews of Georgian England, at 217(1979, ).
Comment on this:
Jew and Gentile, may refer to the depiction of the two famous figures in the print. On the right, is a caricature of a Jew, recognizable as John Braham (considered the greatest tenor of his age) and on the left, a gentile.... The Jew's singing is characterized by a musical notation marked Allegro Squekando and his supporters, two bearded figures to the bottom right, show their appreciation, one of them remarking Mine Cod, How he shing. He appears exhausted at the physical effort of sustaining his note and is hunched forward. By contrast, the gentile is singing Moderato con expressione and the ease of his performance is encouraged by the encores of his English supporters. The print is a graphic representation of some of the tensions between Jew and gentile in a period when political emancipation was beginning to enter the agenda.
from "The Jew as Other: A
Century of English Caricatures: 1730-1830"