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« Ahmadinejad to step foot on U.S. soil today | Main | Charm offensive? I hadn't noticed. »

Monday, 03 May 2010

Comments

Mannie Sherberg
I read your post with enormous sadness -- because, while every word is true, I fear it will not be read by those Jews who most need to read it, and, if it were, it would be scoffed at or shrugged off. The terrible truth is that we are losing Jewish adherents at an alarming rate. Just a few weeks ago, my sister -- who's long been active in Jewish causes of one kind or another -- attended a Jewish fund-raisers' conference, and told me, after she returned, that she was distressed by the number of younger Jews in attendance who exhibited little or no concern for Israel or its future. These were, in other words, America-oriented Jews for whom Israel simply doesn't count for very much. This is not only troubling; it's symptomatic. Sooner or later, these young Jews, or their children, will drift further and further away from Judaism; they'll begin to ask themselves this question: "If I don't care about the future of Israel's Jews, why should I care about the future of America's Jews?" And once they do ask that question, they'll be lost to the Jewish people. I don't have an explanation for what's going on (although I have some guesses), but it seems clear that the lure of pure undiluted secularism (and all the universalistic propaganda that goes with it) is very strong, and is wreaking havoc on the Jewish people. The Torah of Liberalism (to use Norman Podhoretz's term) is proving -- in all too many cases -- more compelling than the Torah of Judaism. I'm sure many of those young Jewish fund-raisers couldn't identify "Belzec" -- and wouldn't even be able to define "Talmud." They're incapable of Jewish self-respect because they're not at sll sure what "Jewish" means. Those who are sure what "Jewish" means are those who will compose the "saving remnant" on which the future of the Jewish people will depend.
Tom Glennon
Manny has again written an excellent comment, which espouses the feelings of many. I wonder, however, if there are some differences dependent on locale. When I attended a Des Moines Symposium sponsored by Tifereth Israel Synagogue in Des Moines, featuring Brigette Gabriel, the over flow crowd consisted of an equal number of Jews who were proud of their heritage, and Christians like me who honored that heritage. I know that my Jewish friends in this area are aware of the many positive aspects of Jewish culture that have played an enormous part in defining the America we love and respect. But I do agree that we all need regular reminders, not only of the Holocaust, but of the contributions of Jewish culture to the betterment of the human condition. I pray that will never be lost. http://www.solomonia.com/blog/archive/2009/03/guest-post-a-remarkable-evening-with-bri/index.shtml
Mannie Sherberg
Tom -- you're exactly right: There are still plenty of Jews -- as well as, thank God, many committed Christians like yourself -- who care, and care deeply, about the future of the Jewish people. Unhappily, though, the Jews are suffering what I call "voluntary attrition." Their numbers are diminishing not only because of lowered birth rates but because some of them simply do not care all that much about Jewish continuity one way or the other. It has simply never occurred to them that a world without Jews -- indeed, a world without Israel -- would be a very different, and unimaginably worse, world than the one we now inhabit. One of the things that keeps me from becoming even more morose about this situation than I already am is that there people out there like you and Brigette Gabriel. You are all a true blessing.
Yael
I gladly second the motion. Tom has been a blessing in my life for some years now. I can relate to what he says because I can only imagine how difficult it is for believing Christians to comprehend some of the positions taken by American Jews these days. Indeed it is hard for Jews to understand Jews! When I adopted -and was adopted by- Am Yisrael, the Jewish People, I was told that some folks in the world would want to kill me as a result. I was told that I might be putting my family in danger. What no one told me, however, was that some Jews would increase that danger by virtue of a paradoxical set of urges, including both self preservation and self loathing. Rick tells me this is the Oslo Syndrome; see the book of that title by Kenneth Levin [you can click through to Amazon at the lefthand sidebar]. I guess I will have to read it again. {sigh}

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