I was ready to go with the second part of my post: Questioning Faith… Is What Was Found Now Lost?
For today, I am heartbroken. We all should be heartbroken. We all should feel the pain of not only what happened in Charlottesville, Virgina…but what happened in its aftermath.
I don’t care what party you’re in or who you voted for, but I do care if you stay silent. I do care if you stay seated, I do care if you ignore the hatred, racism, bigotry and anti-Semitism that is very real, and very alive, and very active.
As Jews, we should understand this hate more than anyone. We have been persecuted for centuries, from the Inquisition, to the Pogroms, to the Holocaust and yes, to Charlottesville. White supremacists and Neo-Nazis hate Jews as much as they hate Blacks and anyone else…maybe more. We all know that we are the scapegoat of the world. One need only look at the motions brought up at the UN, over and over and over.
So what MUST we do?
We MUST CONDEMN these hate groups in the most specific way possible…We MUST NAME them and name their actions. We must call them out and use our words. Whatever pulpit or soap box we have, climb high onto it and speak out!
We MUST FIGHT against this hate and evil with every fiber of our being.
And all civilized people MUST do the same thing… and MUST INCLUDE JEWS in the conversation. Let us not forget the violence perpetrated against Jews and Jewish symbols all over the world and sadly right here in our own backyards… Temples, schools, Jewish cemeteries.
Let us NEVER FORGET that Jews were on the front lines during the Civil Rights Movement, walking arm in arm with our Sisters and Brothers.
Let us NOT be selective in speaking out against hate. The danger of this is exemplified in the final quote I use in this post!
The United States Of America fought AGAINST the “ideals” of the Nazis. 50-80 MILLION people lost their lives because of WWII. And to those hateful and ignorant idiots who dare to call themselves the protectors of this country, we lost over 400,000 AMERICANS in World War II. This “philosophy” has NO PLACE here.
There is the famous expression that we “live by the sword and die by the sword.” But it also works, perhaps even more powerfully, if you remove the “s.”
WE LIVE BY THE WORD AND DIE BY THE WORD.
Hitler made all too clear what his intentions were. He used the written and spoken word quite precisely. To say the writing was on the wall was no understatement when it came to the Nazi party. They told Germany and the world EXACTLY what they were going to do… and sadly, they did it.
The Arabs did the same in 1948, 1967, 1973 and on and on. Listen to the rhetoric. Listen to the hate mongering. Listen to the speeches about wanting to spill Jewish blood and wipe out every last one of us. Read the charter of Hamas.
And then look at the actions. How many more times must we learn the same lesson over and over and over???
I suppose we can just ignore these “words”…
Or perhaps a better, wiser and safer idea is to recognize that they almost always lead to action.
I will NEVER FORGET the words of Aryeh Ben Yaakov at Misgav Am. “If someone says they are going to kill you, believe them!”
WORDS: Telling… Revealing…
And just as we comprehend the very power of our own words, we must also FULLY understand the immense power of the words of our leaders. And yes, the silence.
SILENCE SPEAKS VOLUMES.
WE MUST hold our leadership accountable for what they do or DON’T DO… What they say or DON’T SAY.
We need true, unequivocal and unwavering moral leadership… Always, but especially now. Not after a practice round and off a teleprompter… But with words spoken from the heart and gut… Words filled with passion and fire and fury and honesty… With eyeballs locked to the audience, both live and at home.
Condemning hate, racism, bigotry and anti-Semitism should not be hard. It should be the easiest, and most mindless thing to do. It should be a natural instinct.
But at some point, we have to ask ourselves, what is the cost?
How much will we lose, by losing our moral compass?
How much will we give away, by giving away our own dignity and ethics?
How much will we not see and miss, by turning a blind eye or turning a cheek?
What is the price for our souls?
There comes a point when we have to do what is right, no matter what.
To do what is right, knowing we might be sacrificing gains and things we have wanted for a long time.
But blood money will always be soaked in blood, and stained red.
And as a wise friend of mine once said, “Don’t paint the red flags white.”
So raise those banners, raise them high… Speak up and speak out, and hold our leader(s) 100% accountable.
And never forget the unbelievable and insightful words of Pastor Martin Niemoller:
“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.