Jimmy Winokur


Ideas and Quotations
of Jewish Interest


On Other Ideas:   Jewish topics:

On the Mind, Emotions, Human Nature
On Creativity
 On Love
On Modernity and Related Matters
 this page --> On Jews: Israel, Anti-Semitism
On Learning, Teaching and Law


Favorite Books
Song Lyrics

Judaism & Religion
On Israel
America and the Jews
Anti-Semitism, Anti-Zionism, examples, etc.
My Jewish Background


Website Home

this page:

Judaism, Religion, God
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


If I am not for myself, who will be?
If I am only for myself, what am I?
If not now, when?

The Talmud


Being a Jew is like walking in the wind or swimming: you are touched at all points and conscious everywhere.

Lionel Trilling
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


Website homepage/index 

Don't be too sweet lest you be eaten up; don't be too bitter lest you be spewed out. 
 Jewish Proverb

The only truly dead are those who have been forgotten.
Jewish Proverb

Worries go better with soup than without.
  Yiddish Proverb


To educate a man is to educate an individual.  
To educate a woman is to educate a whole family.
Bubbe Annie's Scrapbook


Website homepage/index 






No matter how corrupt, greedy,
and heartless our government,
our corporations, media, and our religious and charitable institutions may become, the music will still be wonderful....

If I should ever die, God forbid, 
let this be my epitaph:

'The Only Proof He Needed
For The Existence Of God
Was Music'

Kurt Vonnegut



Einstein on God, 
in 25 words or less....
[In 1929] New York's Rabbi Herbert S. Goldstein asked  Albert Einstein by telegram:
	 "Do you believe in God? Stop. Answer paid 50 words." 
In his response, for which Einstein needed but twenty-five (German) words, he stated his beliefs succinctly: 
"I believe in Spinoza's God, Who reveals Himself  in the lawful harmony of the world, 
	not in a God Who concerns Himself  with the fate and the doings of mankind."
The rabbi cited this as evidence that Einstein was not an atheist, and further declared that: 
"Einstein's theory, if carried to its logical conclusion, 
would bring to mankind a scientific formula for monotheism." 
Einstein wisely remained silent on that point.


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.
Simon Weil
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
Website homepage/index 

Beyond logic or the intentional or unintentional anti-Semitism of the movie, "The Passion of The Christ,"  I became troubled by something else. ....An intelligent Jewish man ... asked me with earnestness, "Rabbi, how do we answer it? Did the Jews kill their god? Why do we Jews reject Jesus? Why did we not appreciate his suffering?" The depth of his questioning revealed that something more than anti-Semitism was at stake. ...  The root of the question is ... "Why can't we be Christians?"  ....

... Every religion has its root story which expresses the purpose and meaning of life who we are, what we hope our children will become, how we regard those who may not accept our story. ...  Mine is not superior to yours, nor yours to mine. Without understanding what Judaism affirms, we are left only with what others consider our rejection. ...

My friend echoes their question, whether or why we killed the son of God. ... The question derives from their story, their premises and presuppositions. What does it mean to torture and murder God? In my story, the question makes no sense. In my story, God is not a person, not incarnate, not made of flesh and blood. In my story, God is not visible, not mortal, not victim, not capable of being killed. God is not a sacrifice. In my story, we bring sacrifices in the name of God, but God is not our sacrificial lamb. Abraham's sacrificial ram is not Isaac, the son of Abraham, nor the son of God. In our story, when Abraham believes that God would have him sacrifice his son Isaac, the angel of God in the Bible contravenes: "Do not raise your hand against this child or do anything to him."


The accusation "Why did Jews kill God?" begs the question. It makes sense only if you accept the theological premises and presuppositions of another story. I feel trapped, [as in the loaded question],  "And when did you stop beating your wife?" It wrongly assumes that which is to be proven. In my story God is not to be made into any image: "You shall not make me into any image or any likeness that is in the heavens above or in the earth beneath." We sing it in our liturgy: "God is not a body, nor the semblance of a body."

We must respect the uniqueness of each other's story, but we cannot impose our story upon the other. Am I to respond to your question "Why did you reject Jesus as the son of God?" with "Why did you reject the tradition of Moses? Why did you reject the mother faith?"

 In our story, the affirmation of our faith, we...do not single out Jesus for rejection.  no one, neither Abraham nor Isaac nor Jacob nor Moses nor David is accepted as divine, perfect or infallible. There is no rejection of any priest or prophet, only an affirmation expressed in the book of Ecclesiastes: "There is no person who has walked the face of the earth and has done good and who has not sinned." In our story, no one who walks the face of the earth is divine. In our story, the struggle is against apotheosis, making of anyone a god. No priest, patriarch, rabbi is worshipped. We have no saints; we have no beatification or canonization of any patriarch, priest or prophet. In our story, we do not even know where Moses was buried lest his burial place become a shrine. In our Passover story, the name of Moses is not to be found in the Haggadah, lest we deify a human being. This is our affirmation, not our rejection. Our affirmation of the One-ness of God is prior to the claim of the Trinity of God.

We are asked why we do not accept a savior to save our souls from the burning coals of hell and perdition. Here again the question is loaded: The question makes sense from the point of view of their story that is based upon the belief that every human embryo is stigmatized by an original sin, not a consequences of free choices, but, like DNA, an involuntary sin inherited from conception. In that story, sin is supernatural and therefore cannot be overcome, erased or expiated by human deeds or human efforts. In that story, vicarious atonement, the death of God's son, can wipe out my sins. But that never was our story. In our story, no sin is original, no sin is supernatural. My sins are not inherited, they are chosen by me and I am responsible to expiate for my transgressions. There is something I can do to apologize, forgive and repair for the hurt.


In my story, neither God, nor priest nor rabbi can stand in my place. In my story, there is no vicarious atonement, no surrogate for my doing teshuvah. If I sin, it is I who must pay, I who must appease. No one else, neither father, nor mother, nor saint can suffer for the hurt I have inflicted on others. It is I who must bind the wounds, set aright the broken bones. In our story, no one can fast for us, no one can pray for us, no one can beg forgiveness for us.

When you speak of saving our souls from hell and perdition, you impose another story upon ours. In our story, hell is not "down there." Hell is not an eternal torture for people who don't believe in our story. In our story, hell is here on earth starvation is hell, slavery is hell, genocide is hell, terror is hell, prejudice is hell, hatred is hell. In our story, in the Talmud, in the name of Rabbi Jacob it is taught that "One hour of repentance and the practice of good deeds are better than the entire world to come."

You cannot read your story into mine and then question my fidelity. Out of your story comes the belief that souls must be saved, that "extra ecclesia nulla salus", "outside of the Church nobody is saved." That story is not ours. In our story, no one who does well, no one who lives a good and decent life, is excluded from the world to come. In our story, the sages declare: "I call as witnesses heaven and earth that be it an Israelite or Gentile, a man or a woman, only according to the deed does the Holy Spirit rest upon him." In your story, souls are saved. In our story lives not souls, are to be saved.

Rabbi Harold Schulweis, After "The Passion "  (2004), responding to Mel Gibson's controversial -- arguably anti-Semitic -- retelling of the crucifixion of Jesus:  "The Passion of The Christ" .




This I Believe: How Is It Possible to Believe in God?
I've always liked the exchange featuring the excited young Darwinian  
at the end of the 19th century. He said grandly to the elderly scholar, 
"How is it possible to believe in God?"  The imperishable answer was, 
"I find it easier to believe in God than to believe that Hamlet was deduced 
from the molecular structure of a mutton chop."

That rhetorical bullet has everything -- wit and profundity. It has more than once 
reminded me that skepticism about life and nature is most often expressed 
by those who take it for granted that belief is an indulgence of the superstitious -- 
indeed their opiate, to quote a historical cosmologist most profoundly dead. 
Granted, that to look up at the stars comes close to compelling disbelief -- 
how can such a chance arrangement be other than an elaboration -- near infinite -- 
of natural impulses?   Yet, on the other hand, who is to say that the arrangement of the stars 
is more easily traceable to nature, than to nature's molder? What is the greater miracle: 
the raising of the dead man in Lazarus, or the mere existence of the man who died 
and of the witnesses who swore to his revival?

The skeptics get away with fixing the odds against the believer, mostly by 
pointing to phenomena which are only explainable -- you see? -- by the belief that 
there was a cause for them, always deducible.  But how can one deduce 
the cause of Hamlet? Or of St. Matthew's Passion?  What is the cause 
of inspiration?

This I believe: that it is intellectually easier to credit a divine intelligence 
than to submit dumbly to felicitous congeries about nature. 
As a child, I was struck by the short story. It told of a man at a bar who 
boasted of his rootlessness,  derisively dismissing the jingoistic patrons to his left 
and to his right. But later in the evening, one man speaks an animadversion 
on a little principality in the Balkans and is met with the clenched fist 
of the man without a country, who would not endure this insult to the 
place where he was born.

So I believe that it is as likely that there should be 
a man without a country 
as a world without a creator.
William F. Buckley, Jr.: 
National Public Radio's Morning Edition, May 23, 2005 
Is this interesting exposition Persuasive to you?  Not to me.


Jews and Anti-Semitism
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.
Israel Zangwill
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 )








"Saudi-Arab Scholar Keeps Alive
Ancient Anti-Semitic
"Blood Libel "
Against Jews, 2002":

"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:	


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:



"Jews are the most worthless of men - they are lecherous, greedy, rapacious -
they are perfidious murderers of Christians, they worship the devil,
their religion is a sickness ...
The Jews are the odious assassins of Christ and for killing god there is no expiation,
no indulgence, no pardon. Christians may never cease vengeance.
The Jews must live in servitude forever.
It is incumbent on all Christians to hate the Jews."

John Chrysostom, the Patriarch of Constantinople, 
an "early father of the Christian Church in the Middle Ages,"
quoted in  Allan Gould, What Did They Think of the Jews? 



No one knows the real Hermann Goering 
I am a man of many parts. 
[The Holocaust] violated my chivalric code:
I revere women and I think it unsportsmanlike to kill children. 
That is the main thing that bothers me about the extermination of the Jews.

Hermann Goering,
quoted in
Leon Goldensohn & Robert Gellately,
The Nuremberg Interviews


Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.
Anne Frank



You know this is a Protestant country,
and the Catholics and Jews are here under sufferance.

Franklin 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
" FDR's Auschwitz Secret,"
October 14, 2002


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.

Albert Einstein

voice Click here for a 114 K .mp3 file.



[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

J. Robert Oppenheimer
his Harvard student
Rutherford nonetheless declined
to take the Jew , Oppenheimer,
into his laboratory.)

Website homepage/index




       "Harry Truman's Jewish Problem"; Varying Views:

The Jews, I find are very, very selfish. They care not how many Estonians, Latvians, Finns, Poles, Yugoslavs or Greeks
get murdered or mistreated as D[isplaced] P[ersons] as long as the Jews get special treatment. Yet when they have power,
physical, financial or political neither Hitler nor Stalin has anything on them for cruelty or mistreatment to the under dog."

                                         ^^click pages to enlarge ^^

Diary of Harry S Truman, July 21 1947. 
criticizing the views of Henry Morgenthau, the Secretary of the Treasury,  who was Jewish, and who had phoned to discuss the fate of Jewish refugees.   Although Truman supported recognition of Israel in 1948, he was known to use anti-Semitic language. In a letter written years before he entered the White House, Truman referred to New York City as "kike town."


There are three basic types of anti-Semites. First, there are anti-Semites whose hatred of Jews translates into action against Jews. In this category go such notables as Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, Yasser Arafat and Osama Bin Laden.   Then, there are anti-Semites who don't like Jews but also refuse to let that dislike alter their decisions on what is moral and what is not.

Truman was clearly the second kind of anti-Semite. As David McCullough notes in  Truman,

In private, Truman was a man who still, out of old habits of the mouth, could use a word like 'kike,' or, in a letter to his wife, dismiss Miami as nothing but 'hotels, filling stations, Hebrews, and cabins.

Yet it was Truman who overruled his State Department and recognized the legitimacy of the State of Israel. It was Truman who, in April 1943, traveled to Chicago to deliver a speech before a huge rally to urge aid for besieged Jews in Europe and implicitly criticized President Roosevelt for not doing enough. It was Truman who lobbied for change in the Displaced Persons Act to end discrimination against Jews as well as Catholics.

There is also a third type of anti-Semite: the practical anti-Semite. This is the person who does not hate Jews stereotypically but always acts against the interests of Jews. Perhaps this is the most dangerous anti-Semite of all because while an all-around anti-Semite can be labeled as merely anti-Jew, the practically anti-Jew person cannot be labeled as such.

Truman's predecessor, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was such a man. Though FDR was careful never to belie any personal anti-Semitism, his immigration policy before and during World War II played a crucial part in allowing the Holocaust to reach its unimaginable magnitude. To the larger Jewish community, the idea that FDR's policies were anti-Semitic is anathema.

Ben Shapiro, Harry Truman, the anti-Semite? , July 16, 2003


Now Truman's statements are being used by some Arabs to justify their hostility to Israel. According to an intellectual, writing in the London-based Al-Hayat, the recent rise of anti-Semitism, especially in Europe, is very much attributed to Israeli practices against the Palestinians, practices that allegedly parallel those used by Nazis. He writes:

Israel is a shame to the Jews everywhere. Everyone who supports it is a partner in the crime, for it has been transformed from a country for the survivors of the Nazism to a new Nazi state that is practicing what Truman predicted over half of century ago."

This intellectual insists that anti-Semitism must be denounced. Yet, he emphasizes that

A government comprised of war criminals in Israel explains the rise of anti-Semitism in every country.

This line of reasoning speaks volumes of the predicament of the Arab mindset and constitutes the mortal threat to Arab-Jewish peaceful co-existence.  Why?  Because at the heart of this reasoning is an implicit claim that Jews are evil and that their integration as a distinct group into the region is dangerous and thus unacceptable.

Arabs generally think that Truman admired and sympathized so much with the Jews that he was the first president to recognize and thus legitimize the state of Israel. His diary statements, however, reveal a very different opinion of the Jews. Arabs' reaction was that "we have been telling you so about the Jews, just read Truman's statements."

Truman was not the first president to entertain anti-Jewish ideas. Two other presidents come to mind: Thomas Jefferson and Richard Nixon. But all three presidents did not allow their personal opinions of Jews to affect their actions. Indeed, Truman recognized the state of Israel. Nixon worked for peace in the Middle East and filled key positions in his administration with Jews. Jefferson approved of the American Constitution that guaranteed the protection and equal rights of mankind including Jews.

 Robert Rabil,  Now Anti-Semites Are Citing Harry Truman
Rabil is former project manager of Iraq Research and Documentation Project, Washington.




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),  journal entry while sailing across the Atlantic. 











   April 9, 2002 - At the University of Denver, an anti-Israel rally was held. One speaker, Val Phillips, claimed that "right now, Israeli soldiers are rounding up every Palestinian male in Jenin, and dividing them into two groups. One group to be arrested, and the other to be killed." Speakers compared Zionism to Nazism and a member of the Colorado Campaign for Mideast Peace called one of the Jewish students present a "kike."

Anti Defamation League, May, 2002 
JLW Note: At the University of Denver College of Law, I was personally involved in the attempt to Palestinian speakers during Diversity Week without including Jews or Israelis.! The panel was postponed until the Israeli perspective could be added to the panel.  The discussion eventually drew ~350 people.



Martin Luther: Anti-Semite:                                                                       








Therefore be on your guard against the Jews, knowing that wherever they have their synagogues, nothing is found but a den of devils in which sheer self-glory, conceit, lies, blasphemy, and defaming of God and men are practiced most maliciously and veheming his eyes on them.


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.

Prior to the first performance, a song from the play about three Jewish whores circulated in an inexpensive booklet of popular songs. A large number of Jews were grossly offended and bought tickets to the opening performance in order to make their dissatisfaction known. Trouble occurred, however, before the offensive song was even heard. In the second act, one of the characters, on being offered some goods by another character disguised as a Jewish peddler, replied, "I never deal with your people." The Jews in the audience instantly raised a clamor and kept it up until the end of the act so that it was impossible to hear a single sentence. They continued to protest in a similar fashion during the remainder of this performance and several succeeding ones

(Todd Endelman, The Jews of Georgian England, at  217(1979, ).

Comment on this:
The Jews' behavior was widely condemned by contemporary commentators who expressed outrage that such
"a barbarous howl" could have been raised by "a parcel of old cloathsmen and pedlars" (The Monthly Mirror, 1802).

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"
A Jewish Theological Seminary Exhibit. 
(The JTS is the seminary of the "Conservative" Rabbinate)


Website homepage/index