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Vax the Jews? No, we're good.

10/27/2021 08:43:06 PM

Oct27

Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss

 

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Vax the Jews?  OK.  That would be a great idea, if only we weren’t already the most pro-vaccine ethnic group in America to do so (85% of us!)  What’s that?  That wasn’t their point?  They weren’t really talking about that kind of vaccination?  

Some morons last week hung a banner in Austin over the MoPac Expressway very near the Shalom Austin JCC with the words, “Vax the Jews.”  And this, folks, apparently was  made possible by the latest, in an eternally long line of Jew-haters, who quite self-admiringly call themselves the “Goyim Defense League.” Perhaps it was their way of celebrating the three-year anniversary of the Tree of Life synagogue massacre in Pittsburgh, which took place on October 27, 2018...

They claim-- just as the guys with the torches in Charlottesville, the neo-Nazis of Skokie, Stalin and the Cossacks, not to mention the early and medieval church (including quite a few popes) - that the Jews will replace them.  Or have replaced them.  Or are currently planning secret machinations for taking over the world.  The tragic irony of Jew-hating is this: Whether we are poor or rich, landed or migrants, in power or powerless, light skinned or dark, English speakers, or French or Dutch or Hebrew or Russian or Amharic or Arabic speakers, it doesn’t matter - we always seem to be the world’s Rorschach ink blots.  Bolsheviks.  Imperialists.  Capitalists.  Communists.  No matter what they're looking at, the blame always somehow circles back to the Jews.  

You know, you would think that a drive to be original would be something the Jew-haters would ascribe to.  But over and over again, it’s the same trope.  And I wish I and we could count them out, disregard them, because they are just so silly.  However,  it doesn’t take much for national and world leaders to latch onto Jew-hating, because it just seems to be in the water.  Everyone’s water.  How is it that Poland is still overwrought about the Jews?  There were 3,000,000 of us prior to 1933.  The Nazis killed all but 300,000.  Jewish life in Poland was all but obliterated, and while today there is indeed a small but beautiful resurgence of Jewish life there, what’s in the headlines?  The Jews...And really, Charlottesville?  What could we possibly have done there?  Didn’t you know that all Jews in America are city dwellers, urchins, living in cells, waiting to pounce on the world?

What can I tell you about Jew-hating?  To me, it feels like the best of times and the worst of times.  Never before so free, yet all of us (including me) were shocked to discover just how easily it can resurface.  

So allow me to remind us all about us. I serve a community that is open and caring and loving, one that channels the best of the Hebrew Bible and the wisdom of our ancient and modern sages.  We teach love and acceptance and embrace of every kind of difference; we challenge our community to think beyond themselves, to dream, to create, and to hope.  We feverishly protect our children, and remain worried and concerned and committed to alleviating the suffering of all people, regardless of how they believe or practice. 

To the GDL I say, if a Jewish person has indeed ever made you feel bad or less than, because you are not Jewish (because you are a goy), I am so sorry.  That person was not channeling the best of our tradition, and they probably needed to be shaken up and hugged a helluva lot more when they were young.  But really, the Nazi salute?  Help me with this one.  You claim that we are lying about the Holocaust, about how the Nazis plotted to gather, and collectively destroy all Jews to make the world judenrein (not a word we made up!); that our claims of genocide against our people are at best exaggerations, and at worst, Machiavellian.  And yet, when you want to threaten us, you do it with the straight-armed Nazi salute?

I make a promise to you and to those who remain silent.  To you, I promise that you couldn’t be more wrong about us, but I don’t imagine you’ll take my word for it.  And to those who remain silent, the Jew-haters won’t stop with us and you can take that to the bank. 

As Martin Niemöller taught us and we must remember:

"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.

Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak for me."


 

Wed, December 1 2021 27 Kislev 5782