Newspaper Archive of
Heritage Florida Jewish News
Fern Park , Florida
Lyft
September 15, 2017     Heritage Florida Jewish News
PAGE 4     (4 of 48 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
 
PAGE 4     (4 of 48 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
September 15, 2017
 

Newspaper Archive of Heritage Florida Jewish News produced by SmallTownPapers, Inc.
Website © 2019. All content copyrighted. Copyright Information.     Terms Of Use.     Request Content Removal.




PAGE 4A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, SEPTEMBER 15, 2017 We CGn By Rabbi Aryeh Kaltmann suffering inflicted by the hurricane in Texas and wish for relief from the ravages of the In the wake of the awful events in Char- storm. Yes, we wish, but what can we do? lottesville, Billy Joel's fans got an inspiring Well, we can donate money or supplies to any surprise toward the end of his recent concert number of organizations offering support to in Madison Square Garden. The singer, who the victims--including many organizations does not wear his Jewish upbringing on his in the Jewish community. (Some individuals sleeve, came out for his encore in a black are even able to help in a hands-on way. I just jacket with a yellow Star of David sewn on the read about Jewish summer camps in Texas front and back. Deservedly, Joel has received being opened to provide shelter for hurricane kudos in many quarters for spurning silence, victims and about a young Jewish man from By boldly wearing the startling image of the Ohiowhose organization hasbeen on thewater star that Nazis forced Jews to wear during the volunteering in rescue efforts.) Holocaust, he was decrying anti-Semitism And what about the rest of the year? Times in particular and, by implication, racism and that do not convey a sense of urgency or elicit other forms of hate. our compassion? I have a current illustration But Billy Joel is a celebrity. What can we for that as well: do to help repair the severe divisions beset- On August22, the New YorkTimes' podcast ting our nation--to fulfill the ideal of tikkun "The Daily" profiled Derek Black, a young olam? I believe we can do plenty. I believe we man born into one of the "first families" of can always do more. white nationalism. As a boy in Palm Beach Take even Billy Joel, for example, who did County, he already had a radio show aimed make an indelible statement. What if instead at youngsters that spewed bigotry and white of donning the yellow star, he had returned supremacy. As a teen, he got into politics to to his piano wearing a kippa? What a mes- further his cause. sage that would have delivered: that instead Then he went to college. There, he hid his of reminding his audience of anti-Semitism's background, but after a while videos of his terrible toll on victims including his father's earlier activities surfaced at the school, and family, he had chosen to symbolize the pres- many fellow students learned of his past. ent and the future. The fervent, ongoing wish One of his friends did not shun him, however. that Jewish traditions and values will not only Instead, that young man, an Orthodox Jew, survive, but thrive, invited Derek to one of the Shabbat dinners And that brings me to my main point. It is he routinely held for a wide range of friends. one thing to wish; it is another to do. Judaism, That was the turning point. Derek started after all, is a tradition of deeds--of perform- to open his mind to others' experiences and ing mitzvot, views. After a while, he came to see his values The perfect illustration is occurring right as all wrong and painfully turned his back on now as we watch with sadness the massive his family's teachings. Now, though he comes "0 ~0 By David Markus context, but usually includes action knowable to others. It can mean actually speaking apol- (Rabbis Without Borders via JTA)--As the ogy to people we wrmged (not just thinking High Holidays tides approach and soon over- or feeling it). It can mean correcting a rumor wash with their poignant waters of joy, awe, we spread (even if we can't undo all of a ru- solemnity and introspection, it's tempting to mor's harm). It can mean sending an email imagine that this season is only for emotional to begin repairing a relationship. It can mean and spiritual internals, communicating forgiveness long restrained by This season of teshuvah (returning, repair- grudge. It can mean returning an item that ing, forgiving) is for thinking and feeling tes- belongs to another. huvah--butmainlyasspringboardsforaction. In all of these cases, teshuvah means do- It's good to think teshuvah in our minds ing: Thinking and feeling are the fertile soil and feel teshuvah in our hearts. It's healthy to of teshuvah, but action is the harvest--the commit to change behaviors that don't serve purpose and fulfillment. us, others or the world. It's right to arouse Teshuvah often is risky: action risks intention to seek and give forgiveness. Good, rejection and failure. But in most cases, healthy and right as our inner turns can be, that's exactly the point. Except in abusive they aren't fully teshuvah until they spur ac- or dangerous contexts in which repair is not tion where action is possible, safely feasible by action in this world, risk Jews are called to action. Our spiritual is part of what we must do to heed the call ancestors answered Sinai's call by responding of teshuvah. A true teshuvah of action asks "na'aseh v'nishma," "We will do and we will courage to risk our hearts in service of do- hear" (Exodus 19:8)--doing is paramount, ing true repair and Ihealing. Our hearts and Shabbat doesn't just happen magically: "The souls--and others' hearts and souls--are ChildrenofIsraelwill doShabbatforalltheir worth it. generations as an eternal covenant" (Exodus That's the call of this season--a teshuvah 31:16)--doing makes Shabbat. Doing is our of action that's riskier--and far more healing covenant, and liberating--than thinking or feeling alone. Doing is the goal of the inner return and Justice andlovingkindness, community and repair we call teshuvah. The riveting High spirituality, compassion and mercy, forgive- Holidays Avinu Malkeinu liturgy pleads to God ness and repair, Shabbat and Jewish life--all "Aseh imanu va'chesed"---"do with us justice of these call us to do. So in this season of and lovingkindness." On Yom Kippur, we hear teshuvah, what are you waiting for? Make that anew the call to emulate God--"Be holy, for I call. Send that email. Just do it. [the Holy One] am holy" (Leviticus 15:2)--so Rabbi David Evan Markus is co-chair of this season calls us to do likewise. We are to ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal, the do the same justice and lovingkindness that umbrellaorganizationfortheJewishRenewal we crave for ourselves, movement, andco-rabbiofTempleBeth-Elof What is a teshuvah of doing? It depends on City Island in New York City. THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ON THIS PAGE ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE VIEWS OF HERITAGE MANAGEMENT. [ CENTRAL FLORIDA'SINDEPENDENTJEWISHVOICE ISSN 0199-0721 Winner of 45 Press Awards JEWISH NEWS 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 HERITAGE 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: news@orlandoheritage.com Editor/Publisher Jeffrey Gaeser Editor Emeritus Associate Editor News Editor Gene Starn Kim Fischer Christine DeSouza Society Editor . Office Manager Gloria Yousha Paulette Alfonso Account Executives Kim Fischer Marci Gaeser Contributintg Columnists Jim Shipley Ira Sharkansky David Bornste~in Ed Ziegler Production Department David Lehman * Gil Dombrosky Joyce Gore across as a humble individual not out to make a name for himself, Derek has gone public with his transformation to help others. Given the deep divisions in our country right now, many leaders have called upon us to stop demonizing people outside our belief system or political leanings and, instead, try to understand their perspectives. This is definitely something each of us can do. It should come as no surprise to you that The Rebbe, of blessed memory, offered a beautiful example of how we can move from feelings to action: The story is told of a Jewish leader who suggested that in the days leading up to Passover the Rebbe should tell all his Chabad followers to add an extra chair, which would remain empty, at the Passover seder table. The empty chair would remind us of those missing because of the Holocaust. The Rebbe wisely replied that, yes, he would encourage the setting of an extra chair at every seder but to be certain to fill it with a By Andrew Silow-Carroll (JTA)--I used to joke that I am not a self- hating Jew: It's all those other Jews I can't stand. Like I said, I used to tell that joke. In the current political climate, self-hatred is no laughing matter. Calling another Jew "self-hating" is pervasive and toxic--so toxic, in fact, that some observers can't distinguish it from actual anti-Semitism. A lot of liberal Jews label Breitbart News anti-Semitic in part because of an article by right-wing activist David Horowitz that essentially called William Kristol a self-hating Jew. (Horowitz's actual term was "renegade Jew.") Similarly, the Washington Post explained lastweek thatWilliam Bradford resigned from the Energy D epartment over reports of his "rac- ist and anti-Semitic tweets." In the aftermath of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg urging followers not to vote for Tru rap, Bradford posted this tweet that the Post called anti-Semitic: "Who is this little arrogant self-hating Jew to tell anyone for whom to vote." "aren't Pretty nasty, but it turns out Bradford him- self is Jewish. So is Horowitz, who explained that he called Kristol a renegade Jew because he felt the conservative pundit, in opposing Trump, had "betrayed the Jews." Like Horow- itz, Bradford apparently saw himself not as an anti-Semite but as a Defender of the Faith. Just like the Hungarian Jewish journalist who called financier and philanthropist George Soros a self-hating Jew. Or the Republican Jewish leader in Israel who called comedian Sarah Silverman a self-hating Jew. Or the JTA reader who called the late pundit Christopher Hitchens a self-hating Jew. Or the famous Jewish comedian (OK, Jackie Mason) who called Bernie Sanders a self-hating Jew. All of those who fling the charge would deny they are themselves being anti-Semitic. Here's Mason justifying his use of the term to describe Sanders' views on Israel: "If a non-Jew was saying it, people would call him an anti-Semite because he is an anti-Semite. Just because he's a Jew doesn't mean he can't hate being Jewish because he obviously is a viciously self-hating Jew." Got that? No doubt, there are Jews who are "viciously self-hating'---or at least they base their world- view on what Leon Wieseltier has called "the internalization of the standpoint of the enemy." We've had our traitors and kapos and turncoats. Post-emancipation, the Jews who believed that the "mirage" of anti-Semitic stereotypes was the real thing, as the historian Sander Gilman once put, were the subject of communal fas- cination and disgust and the topic of serious scholarship. We know this because there are some really good jokes about self-hatred (look person who would otherwise not have been at the seder. The point is that Judaism must be about what we are for, not what we are against. So with apologies to Billy Joel, who stepped out of character to bravely wear a yellow star, he could have acted in an even more courageous way if had gone beyond harking to the past and expressed or demonstrated what we are for. But to applaud Billy Joel further, he didn't stop with his important, symbolic gesture at the concert. A few days later, responding to all the attention his gesture had received, he cited the renowned quote by the 18th century Irish statesman and philosopher Edmund Burke: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." This is the Jewish way. We are instructed that when we encounter darkness, it is our responsibility--it is a mitzvah--to light a candle, to do that extra good deed. Rabbi Aryeh Kaltmann is the Chabad emis- sary in Columbus, Ohio. up the one with the punchline, "Is that all you people ever think about?"). But nowadays the charge is invariably politi- cal, pure and simple. Last month Naftali Ben- nett, Israel's minister of education, used the term "auto-anti-Semitism"---from a Hebrew term for Jewish self-hatred--to describe critics of a government-approved science textbook that included the prayer for rain. "Auto -antisemitism is asocial-psychological phenomenon inwhich a Jew develops obsessive contempt and hostility toward Jewish tradi- tion, Jewish customs and traditional Jews," Bennett explained on Facebook, according to The Jerusalem Post. Secular parents in Israel insist, meanwhile, that they don't hate themselves or Judaism; it's religious coercion that they can do without. Anshel Pfeffer, writing in the left-wing news- paper Haaretz, noted that the Jews who voted for Trump "aren't self-hating Jews," which of course suggests that some people think they are. On the flip side, The Jerusalem Post gave space to a 2,300-word essay arguing that "liberal Jews" who oppose Trump or criticize Israel are self-hating. In June, a writer for the The Daily Wire, the right-leaning news site, called Sanders (him again) a"self-hating Jew" because he gave a speech opposing the Israeli occupation. If you're interested, this is what Sanders said to earn the honorific: "I know so many of you agree with me when I say this occupation must end. Peace, real peace, means security not only for every Israeli but for every Palestinian. It means supporting self-determination, civil rights and economic well-being for both peoples." Describing Jewish liberals and Jewish critics of Israel as "self-hating" has become a reflex on the right, although occasionally the charge goes the other way, casting no more light on the issue at hand. Accusations of self-hatred are serious busi- ness not just because they shut down debate. They seek to excommunicate people based on political differences, and put the accuser in the position of Jewish Grand Inquisitor (and even Pope Francis has been known to say, "Who am I to judge?"). And they ascribe deep psychological motives to people based on flimsy evidence. If you plan on calling someone a self-hater, you have to be pretty sure of two things: One, that the opinions they hold are those of genuine anti-Semites and not just people with whom you disagree; and two, they came to their opin- ions via some sort of self-lacerating neurosis. Or just ask yourself this the next time you find yourself disagreeing with Bernie Sanders or Jared Kushner:What does"self-hater" add to your argument except a signal that you may not trust yourself to win the debate on its merits?