This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Monday, April 24, 2017

I Am A Jew

"Not all Jews practise Judaism. Traditionally, anyone whose mother is Jewish has been identified as Jewish, but that condition is not necessary for Jewish identity, either. Presently, many Jews are citizens of the modern state of Israel, but a majority of the world's Jews do not fit that description. Who is a Jew? It's a complex question."
The Holocaust Chronicle; A History in Words and Pictures

Who is a Jew? Me. I am a secular Jew. The history, the heritage, not particularly the culture, but most certainly an indefinable sense of being, view of the world, feeling for humanity, knowledge of right and of wrong, all elements that I acknowledge to be Jewish in origin and in being, are mine. To greater or lesser degree I share all this and more -- and less as well -- with millions of other human beings around the globe.

Had I been born elsewhere than in North America I might not have lived to see eighty years of age, which I now am. Had my parents not left Russia and Poland they would have perished as the extended members of their family had, and I would have been born, in 1936, in Poland or in Russia. My fate would have been sealed.

Instead, I can recall as a child whose family's poverty denied me childhood toys yet somehow managed to find me books, being aware of something monumental and evil happening, something that gripped my parents' perceptions, something that was mentioned often in hushed discussions with friends, but not neighbours. I can recall reading bleak, black accounts, of a type much too dismal and frightening to be shared with a child. I can remember navigating my own search for reading material unsupervised by my parents, at a time when a heightened awareness existed which no one in my hearing gave a name to.

I remember the shocking mumblings of my parents, after the war had ended and the "Greenies" began to enter Canada where we lived and a special, quiet regard of sensitive horror, of gratitude and of empathy was borne in the presence of survivors, that not only did refugees enter Canada, but those who walked the streets of Toronto whom the survivors recognized from another place where humanity was totally absent. That is what I remember.

What I have no need to remember is the stark awareness that has stalked my life, that the lives of Jews and their ill fortune was a curiosity to those not Jewish; sometimes an irritation, sometimes an embarrassment, something to be avoided in polite company. The knowledge of that desolation, of that muffling death through suffocation when a pesticide became the extermination tool of a deaths head regime that gloried in solving the problem of a worldwide pestilence with a solution no one else had yet devised because it had awaited the precise time and bureaucratic finesse of an ideology so well fitted to the task.
"Jews trace their origins to the biblical patriarch Abraham, who lived almost four thousand years ago. Judaism, a distinctively monotheistic religion is rooted in the exodus of the ancient Hebrew people from Egyptian slavery and in experiences they shared under Moses' leadership at Mount Sinai. The early Jews' ritual laws and ethical rules distinguished them from other groups."
"Eventually occupying the Mediterranean coastal land of Canaan, the Jews established the kingdom of Israel. Unable to sustain the unity and autonomy it enjoyed from about 1000 to 922 B.C.E., the kingdom was split by internal divisions, besieged, and occupied by a variety of conquerors. In 70 C.E., the Romans ruthlessly put down a sustained Jewish rebellion. Most of the surviving Jews were dispersed to various parts of the Roman Empire. Exiled Jews have lived in European lands for more than 2000 years."
"Whether their outlooks are secular or religious, their homes in Israel, Europe, the United States, or anywhere else in the world, Jews are not a race but a people unified by memory and history, culture, tradition and religious observances that are widely, if not identically, shared."

1934: "Twenty-Five Points of the German Religion" are issued in Germany by Professor Ernst Bergmann. It holds that Christ was not a Jew but a Nordic warrior put to death by Jews, and whose death spared the world from Jewish domination; Adolf Hitler is the new messiah sent to Earth to save the world from Jews. Heinrich Himmler is given responsibility for police in Prussia, making him the chief of police forces throughout the Reich. The Institut fur Erbbiologie und Rassenforschung (Institute of Hereditary Biology and Race Research) is founded at the University of Frankfort am Main by Dr. Otmar Freiherr von Versechuer to study racial and hereditary issues."

The Holocaust Chronicle; A History in Words and Pictures

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