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July 13, 2018

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PAGE 4A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JULY 13, 2018 By Jonathan S. Tobin immigration from China. The unwillingness of the United States to open its doors to those (JNS)--Only hours after the U.S. Supreme fleeing Nazi Europe is also imprinted into the Court issued its decision to uphold U.S. Presi- Jewish consciousness by usually putting them dent Donald Trump's right to restrict entry on the side of those claiming refugee status. into the United States from seven countries, Revulsion at the way the president has including five with Muslim majorities, Jew- engaged in demagoguery regarding immigra- ish groups were issuing condemnations and tion has deepened these convictions. Trump's organizing protests. Much of the organized December 2015 call for a ban on the entry of Jewish community has been involved in op- all Muslims smacked of bigotry. Since then, posing the administration. That opposition his comments depicting illegal immigrants as has deepened as the understandable anger criminalshaveappealedtoourbasestinstincts over the government separating children more than concerns about security. from their parents who had crossed the But the idea that Jews are compelled to southern border without permission ignited condemn the Supreme Court's decision or a firestorm of protest, oppose the administration's focus on border Thisangerhassetoffatorrentofcomments security says more about Jewish politics than that damn Trump as a racist and proto-author- principles. The tone of this debate reflects the itarian, as well as prompted a comparison of way theleft-right divide inAmerica has become the situation of current immigrants to the the function of a culture war on everything, plight of refugees from theHolocaust, and of rather than specific debate on the merits of the administration to the Nazis. Yet some of any one thing. The invocation of the Holocaust those who have been inflaming this debate reflects a general panic felt by many liberals believe that in doing so, they are upholding and Democrats about the Trump administra- Jewish values, tion, in which they are not so much opposed Are they right? to its policies as convinced that it is a threat Concern for the "stranger" is deeply in- to democracy. grainedin Judaism. The immigrant experience Shock at Trump's unexpected election vic- isalsocrucialtounderstandingthewayAmeri- tory led to some apocalyptic rhetoric about canJewsviewtheworld.MostJewstracetheir his presidency. But rage about Trump has originstothewavesofmigrationfromEastern now gotten to the point where much of the Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centu- country cannot separate his personality and ries.Thathistoricalmemoryhelpedformboth tweets from what has been for the most part the political worldview and the culture of the a rather conventional conservative govern- American Jewish community. Identification ment. Normal disagreements about border with subsequent generations of immigrants security and much else have been inflated from other communities were often tied to into existential questions; people feel they ideas about Jewish identity and faith, cannot agree to disagree as is necessary in Supporting more liberal immigration laws any political debate. is second nature for Jews who remember that But no matter how deeply you are angered most of their forebears arrived in this country by the "zero tolerance" policy when it comes prior to 1924, when the United States more to illegals at the border, the desire to conflate or less welcomed anyone in good health that the plight of Central Americans seeking to wasn't excluded by racist laws prohibiting enter the country withoutpermission largely he By Jerome Marcus had a mentor, chosen from among experts in lasers, radar, optics, photography, fire-fighting (JNS)--A peculiarly Israeli approach to and other fields. national defense was on display recently at a Representatives from the army were also high school in Shaar HaNegev, "Gate of the there, along with people from a local college Desert." There, as described in an article in and residents of the region. There were also the Hebrew-language online daily Globus, 350 high school students in the crowd, mixed in Israelis showed up for a Hackathon dubbed with everyone else because in Israel, it'sunder- "What Happens to Every Balloon." stood to make sense to put a 16-year-old into The event announcement called for the same group with a laser expert from the volunteers to try to develop solutions for army and a professor. You never know where the latest "war" effort emanating from the the best new idea will come from. Gaza Strip. Balloons, filled with helium The other uniquely Israeli spin: People who stolen from Gaza hospitals, are equipped had never met each other were plopped into with bombs, grenades and other flammable a meeting room, where they were expected materials, and then sent flying into the air, to brainstorm for a day and come up with which the Arabs hope will carry the kites solutions--purely technological, purely de- north and east to the Jewish communities fensive--to this latest threat. nearby, to the fields where many in these At the end of the day, each group presented communities farm. Focused entirely on itswork.Theproposalsrangedfromasystemof civilian targets--and so a clear violation of lenses that identifies threats and then focuses the law of war--the tactic hasn't Yet caused the sun's rays on them to destroy them; and any Jewish deaths. But it has destroyed many a flying fire-detection system, equipped with thousands of acres of Israeli farmland and a thermal cameras and the capacity to shoot nature reserve, as well as caused the deaths fire-extinguishing chemicals (and to land, of many animals, reload and relaunch automatically). More volunteers signed up than the site The event's name is taken from a popular could accommodate, and registration for children's book published in 1974, written in the event had to be closed. The Israelis who Hebrew, called "A Tale of Five Balloons." It came--kippah-decked and bare-headed, men teaches, among other things, about loss. The and women, and mostly young--were divided story ends with the balloon popping, and the into groups with three different goals: iden- child learning that this is what happens to tifying the threat; destroying the threat; and every balloon. Halevai. If only. minimizing the damage. Among these three Jerome A. Marcus is a lawyer and a fellow groups, a total of 20 teams were created. Each at the Kohelet Policy Forum in Jerusalem. THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ON THIS PAGE ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE VIEWS OF HERITAGE MANAGEMENT. CENTRAL FLORIDA'SINDEPENDENTJEWISHVOICE ISSN 0199-0721 Winner of 46 Press Awards HERITAGE Florida Jewish News (1SN 0199-0721) is published weekly for $37.95 per year to Florida ad- dresses ($46.95 for the rest of the U.S.) by HER1TAGE Central Florida Jewish News, Inc 207 O'Brien Road, Suite 101, Fern Park, FL 32730. Periodicals postage paid at Fern Park and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes and other correspondence to: HERITAGE, P.O. Box 300742, Fern Park, FL 32730. MAILING ADDRESS PHONE NUMBER P.O. Box 300742 (407) 834-8787 Fern Park, FL 32730 FAX (407) 831-0507 email: Editor/Publisher Jeffrey Gaeser Editor Emeritus Associate Editor News Editor Gene Starn Kirn Fischer Christine DeSouza Society Editor Office Manager Gloria Yousha Paulette Alfonso Account Executives Kim Fischer * Marci Gaeser Contributing Columnists Jim Shipley Mel Pearlman David Bornstein Ed Ziegler Production Department David Lehman Gil Dombrosky Joyce Gore because of economic reasons with Jews oth- erwise doomed to death in Hitler's Europe is a function of the impulse to "resist" Trump. It's simply not sober analysis. Nor is there any substance to attempts to compare Trump to Hitler or even to claim that disagreements over immigration policy echo the first steps towards fascism in Germany. You don't have to be a fascist to think that the government should enforce current im- migration laws, whether or not we completely agree with them. Officials of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement authority, which some on the left demand be abolished, are not the Gestapo, anymore than they were when President Barack Obama was the one giving orders to arrest illegals. Nor is the effort to evade the law by providing "sanctuary" to those who entered the country illegally the same thing as hiding Jews from the Nazis. Such analogies are an insult to the Holocaust and misrepresent a debate largely motivated by partisanship. Support for the rule of law or opposition to what amounts to a call for open borders is not racist. Like all countries, the United States has a right to determine who may cross its borders, and saying so is not contrary to Judaism. The same applies to the so-called "Muslim ban" upheld by the court. One may claim By Andrew Silow-Carroll NEWYORK (JTA) --A few months ago Iwrote a humor piece titled "Don't eat off the seder plate, and other tips for non-Jews attending their first seder." It drew a miffed response from a rabbi friend who often works with interfaith families and suggested "it's time to drop terms like 'non-Jew' and gentile." At the time I scoffed. Yes, it is a little weird that a people who represent less than 0.1 per- cent oftheworld's population define everybody else as "not us." It's like someone with lactose intolerance saying he doesn't eat "dairy ice cream." Which is technically true, although it tends to over-privilege Tofutti. And yet non-Jew and gentile have their uses, especially if you write about Jews for a living. Whether you are making demographic distinctions, writing about Jews in relation to their neighbors or talking about Jewish practices that cross over into wider culture, non-Jew comes in handy. Unless you want to pretend there are no distinctions between people who identify as Jews and people who identify as something else--and making such distinctions strikes me as about 85 percent of entire Jewish enterprise, starting at Sinai--why would you retire two perfectly serviceable words? Who do you offend by keeping them? Then I met Lindsey Silken, the editorial director at InterfaithFamily, a resource for people in interfaith relationships. Lindsey and I sat on a panel at a Jewish journalism convention last week, and she passed around her in-house style guide. It explained why they don't use terms like "half-Jew," "shikse," gentile and, yes, non-Jew. I get why half-Jew could be offensive in that is assumes the subject can't possibly identify as fully Jewish. (And here I am obligated to quote the famous Groucho Marx quip, when an anti-Semitic swimming club refused admis- sion to his daughter: "She's only half Jewish," Groucho said. "How about if she only goes in up to her waist?") Shikse, that awful Yiddish term that derives from Hebrew for blemish or abomination, is obviously beyond the pale. And gentile just feels so smug and fusty, like, I don't know, a 20th-century anti-Semitic swimming club. But what's wrong with non-Jew? Interfaith- Family says it is about the feelings of partners involved with Jews. "By constantly leading with the negative in reference to a Jewish person's partner, it can be perceived as derogatory," according to the guide. "It can make the people it is referring to feel excluded and on the outside of the Jewish community." Instead of non-Jew, the guide suggests "partner who is not Jewish, partner from an- other faith, not Jewish, person from a different background, person who isn't Jewish." In other words, don't reduce someone to what they are not, as if their entire identity is defined by their inverse relationship with a Jew. There are a few centuries of debate behind Trump's order was unnecessary or a political stunt. But it's also true that this order, which was well within his constitutional authority and far from unprecedented, wasn't a general ban on Muslims, and did impact countries where terror is rampant and where the abil- ity of the United States to vet asylum-seekers is limited. Sadly, what's happening now is not so much a debate about the merits of stands on immigration as it is a situation in which left and right increasingly view each other as evil and unworthy of respect. The president's instinct for division and incivility is greatly to blame, but his opponents are now responding in kind as Americans engage in a race to the bottom of the gutter. It's time for both sides to step back from the overheated partisan rhetoric. Supporting more liberal immigration policies is legitimate, though the same can be said of those who urge more caution. Still, it's not the duty of Jews to promote a false narrative about analogies to the Holocaust or to feed a hysterical panic about the end of democracy. Those who do so are now part of the problem--and not the solution. Jonathan S. Tobin is editor in chief of JNS--Jewish News Syndicate. Follow him on Twitter at: @jonathans tobin. the words InterfaithFamily hopes to retire. At the core of the debate is the traditional taboo on interfaith marriage. Traditionalists want to reinforce the notion that Jews should marry Jews in the interest of continuity. Isaac Herzog, the newly elected chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, announced his membership in the traditionalist camp this weekwhen he referred to interfaith mar- riage as an "actual plague," adding "there must be a campaign, a solution. We have to rack our brains to figure out how to solve this great challenge." Other traditionalists nodded, noting that support for Israel and engagement with Jewish life plunges outside of Jewish-Jewish marriages. Interfaith activists want to make the com- munity welcoming to mixed families. They also talk the language of continuity, saying that mixed families certainly will not raise their children as Jews if they don't feel comfortable in Jewish settings. And they talk the language of post-modernity, saying Jews can't stand at the shores of multiculturalism like King Canute, wishing away the inevitable waves of diversity that come with a free society. For those of us who do write about Jews and their significant others, that means tak- ing sides. Sort of. It's not our job to judge the debate between the traditionalists and the activists. But our language has nonetheless evolved along with the Jewish community. Non-Jews itself replaced gentiles over the years. "Jewess" went the way of the corset; "goy" shows up only in a direct quote or if modified by "Shabbos," which is a term of art and not a slur. We now use "haredi" instead of "ultra-Orthodox." And we long ago stopped assuming "rabbi" denoted a male, a "minyan" meant 10 men and "congressman" is the default for a lawmaker. This week we've been sharing around the office a JTA dispatch from 1934 that is harrow- ing in its casual racism. (Residents of Harlem are referred to as "the dusky, happy-go-lucky denizens of Africa in Manhattan." Wow.) How will we be judged in 84 years? What words will mark us as hopelessly mired in the prejudices of our times? So I am not scoffing anymore. I think we can reduce the use of non-Jew, especially to refer to individuals. It still remains a useful distinction if, for instance, we are reporting on a study comparing Jewish communities to the mainstream, on subjects like religious practice, genetic differences and voting pat- terns. But if it avoids insulting someone, why not refer to individuals as the "partner from another faith" or a "person from a different background"? As for humor? A little flexibility is called for. I am reminded of the Jewish man who con- verts to Christianity and becomes a minister. Giving his first sermon, he stands before the congregation and says, "Fellow " Oh, wait. Never mind. It's sort of offensive. And kind of hilarious. Andrew Silow-Carroll is editor in chief of JTA.