Friday, November 30, 2007

Jews of Egypt
by: Schvach Yid

According to what I’ve read there aren’t many left, at least in their Arab homeland, and there’s no Chabad House there, but still, the pride goes on at The Farhi family – Egyptian Jews who have relocated to the USA, Taiwan, and elsewhere (I guess) have chosen to honor their family roots by re-publishing their family’s siddur compiled by Dr. Hillel Farhi (died 1940); the siddur, which is published in Hebrew with Arabic translation, is sold out - I assume another printing is in the works. Also available on the website is a Farhi family geneology search engine and surname database. It’s not new and there’s a lot there. Enjoy!

By the way, in elementary school I had a classmate, Jewish, whose mother was Egyptian. That’s nice.

Here’s the link:

Here’s the Farhi family logo (?).

Have a good Shabbos!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Proof of the Pudding…
by: Schvach Yid

In the joint statement released by Ehud Olmert and PA Chairman Abbas, the reference to Israel as the Jewish State was omitted. Now, in several on-line articles, there appears much debate about justifying the Jewish claim to the Holy Land as the Jewish Homeland, and to Israel as the Jewish State.

No justification is needed by Jews concerning the Jewish identity of Israel. America doesn’t seek to justify its former expansionist policy of Manifest Destiny; we in America have no plan to return Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, much (or all) of California, Nevada, Colorado, and Gd knows what else to Mexico or to the Native Americans. And they, to my knowledge, have never made a claim to share these former territories with the United States, nor to eliminate The United States from these lands.

The borders of Europe have changed with each successive European war, as have the names of many of the encompassed cities.

We Jews have never had an expansionist policy in the Levant, or anywhere else. Am Yisrael Chai may just as easily be stated as Eretz Yisrael Chai. It is, and always has been, ours. Today, as in the past 1½ millennia, Judaism’s two garage knock-off religions refuse to acknowledge and accept the Jewish identity of the Land of Israel – all of it – rather than assert some spurious accusation of a Jewish ‘claim’ to the land.

Today’s joint statement emanating from Annapolis is no shocker, but highlights an excuse for Israeli leadership that places the Jewish Nation squarely onto the deck of a sinking ship.

We are ready for it. I believe that the post-1967 reality will be changed in a very significant manner’ is the only excerpt I’ve read from that joint Annapolis statement that provides a glimmer of hope. It’s ambiguous, and that’s about the only good that’s discernable. Perhaps Olmert has lied to the PA and other Arab interests concerning his intent in dealing with Arab plans to stealth Jewish existence in the Middle East out of existence. If so, then to quote the popular silly exclamation, ‘that’s a good thing’.

But it’s doubtful. He’s chicken. Israel is pooped. The hyenas have run the Jews ragged. Israel is begging for peace when they should fight for victory. Want peace? Okay. Win!

We don’t ask to be accommodated on the Temple Mount. If they fight, so do we, and we shouldn’t do it with rubber bullets. If someone gets eliminated from the Temple Mount, it’ll be the Moslems, not we.

If the non-Jewish world doesn’t like it, then they can shoot themselves with any four letter word they find appealing.

The ‘West Bank’ is indeed occupied – by Arabs; so too is North Africa, much/most of Central Asia, and most of the Levant. Arabs derive from the Arabian Peninsula. They got where they are, geographically, by military conquest. Now they want to negotiate? What do they want? An end to Jews – everywhere; let’s not kid ourselves.

And the proof of the pudding? Simple. Just what do they have against our presence to begin with, and what is the legitimacy of their claims? One is hard pressed to find a defensible answer.

The Way It Should Be
by: Schvach Yid

In the November 16th edition of The New York Jewish Week, Jonathan Mark posted ‘the way’, and his lesson is greatly appreciated. In his article titled Chabad Gathering: No Jew Left Behind, found at:, Mr. Mark noted the recent comment by Conservative (and Orthodox) Movement leaders about Chabad Lubavitch as ‘the religion closest to Judaism’, and then directed the almost entire 6 column-long article to all the positive good work done by the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s schluchim (emissaries) on behalf of world Jewry. No animus, no lashon harah, no sinat chinam.

Mr. Mark highlighted the friendship of Satmars and Lubavitchers in Beijing, China, rather than emphasize the standard age-old conflict between the two groups.

This is the way it should be. Lubavitchers and Satmars should get along, as should all Yiddin (not to mention all of humanity), and I shouldn’t post negative, critical blogs (they’re my specialty, you know). Mr. Mark is correct in his estimation that the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s schluchim are ‘pure and the closest thing to Heaven’ for Jews who are geographically stranded and isolated, for Jews who are lost in their personal lives, for any Yid who yearns for Yiddishkeit – even just for a single refrain of Lecha Dodi or Adon Olam – for those who need emotional support from a familiar voice in the wake of personal catastrophe. For these, the schluchim of Chabad never fail to 'put out' and come to the rescue.

Ein yid bis ein yid, and ‘every Jew is precious’, whether one’s face is sculpted into the rock of the side of a mountain, or one has a Nobel Prize, or one is battling substance abuse, or one is sitting in a federal prison for tax or investment fraud, or whether one is just ‘average’, Chabad is the place.

There’s a mikveh in Beijing, China, thanks to the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s schliach and funding provided by the Satmar Chassidim.

Here’s a related digression. I know a family, the husband is Modern Orthodox, his wife Lubavitch. He smartly emulated HaShem’s directive to Abraham to listen to his wife Sarah, and so they raised their kids in the wife’s minhag. The oldest of their children, entirely Chabad raised and educated, married a Satmar – emes.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Nation Whose Flag Bears the Sahada and a Scimitar
by: Schvach Yid

The prophet of Islam entered Medina on a horse, scimitar in hand and the Shahada on his lips. We know what he and his rabble did; they’ve been doing it ever since.

Saudi Arabia. Syria. Who else? How many will attend? How many will gang up against the Jewish State in this American government-sponsored gang bang? The Arabs have failed time and again to obliterate Israel militarily and by economic boycott. But not all is lost in the Arab rage against Jews. Enter America with its great lesson: violence is subtended to administration; throw policy at ‘em; nothing injures and subordinates quite as well as a zero tolerance policy and a good, long, prolonged adrenaline surge. You know, protracted chronic stress.

Olmert and Company, Ltd., will have an exacerbation of their good long adrenaline surge. They ain’t seen nothing yet! Remember the appearance of Zippi Livni during the Lebanon war of 2006? Haggard, exhausted, broadcasting an image of defeat. One would think she had made the decision to attack Lebanon (eh, eh).

When, as a lad, I took a course in the physiology of the digestive system, I learned that the sequence of anatomic and physiologic events that culminated in vomiting was initiated with a deep breath. Lately, I have had to exert an effort to keep my breaths shallow.

Maybe I’m suffering from sea sickness. I know that once in Annapolis, Olmert and his crew will.

Welcome to Annapolis, home of the US Naval Academy; you know, as in war – get it?
Welcome to
Annapolis, located in the State of Maryland; you know, as in Christianity’s ‘Mother of Gd’ – get it?
Annapolis Maryland. Who wants to be driven into the sea (okay, so it’s only Chesapeake Bay - it’s still drowning material)? The Arabs couldn’t do it to us in the Mediterranean amidst all their loud-mouthed bravura, so perhaps they think a change of venue might be advantageous.

Diplomacy might be regarded as polite, mutually agreed upon lying. Innuendo, suggestion, and symbolism (semiotics?) play key roles in the art and craft of the diplomat, and as a former health care worker, I’ve learned an enormous amount about manipulation – the art and craft of the sociopath. The upcoming fête in Annapolis promises to be more of a convention than a conference.

I almost feel like fasting this week, like Esther in Megilat Esther, but there’s nothing holy about staring down the barrel of an ultimatum.

In the 1970 film Patton, named for the US Army General George S. Patton of World War II fame (Patton was nicknamed ‘Old Blood and Guts’), the lead character, played by George C. Scott announces, ‘I don’t like to pay for the same real estate twice’. Israel – the Holy Land – is strewn with the blood and guts of Jewish children and young adults - the victims of Arab Jew hatred. Why would any Jewish leader ever consider relinquishing any portion of the Land, to say nothing of HaShem’s commandments concerning our possession of Eretz Yisrael.

Some people never learn; others can be bought; still others can be coerced and intimidated. National leadership is not for the weak and faint of heart. Israel – the Jewish State – that finger-nail clipping of real estate – is not up for grabs. Contrary to Menachem Begin’s grandiose statement that ‘everything is negotiable’, Israel is not. Our people don’t die for nothing, certainly not for agreements from those who carry swords and lie.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Oh, Let’s Be Friends and Just Push the Reset Button
by: Schvach Yid

Here’s an idea: access Arutz Sheva (the on-line edition of Israel National News) simply by clicking the link,, and have an enlightening read. Partners in peace my foot!

Arlene Peck has the correct analysis, posted on Arutz Sheva, at

Why the concern? Because Israel hasn’t been very bright for a couple of decades, at least in the matter of Israeli autonomy (what you say - Palestinian autonomy?). The hyenas have fatigued – make that pooped out – Israel, and are now poised for the kill. Israel is on its back baring its belly, begging for reprieve.

Annapolis won’t be a recapitulation of the Sharks vs the Jets – not by a long shot. The upcoming fête in Maryland will emulate a gang rape, with the sponsor/referee having solidly taken sides against the Jewish State. Global economy aside, it’s all about Jew-hatred, don’t kid yourselves. Just what do the Arabs have against the existence of the Jewish State, anyway?

What’s their justification for waging war against Jews/Israel since the inception of the Jewish State? Arab ignorance? Arab illiteracy? Arab stupidity? Arab poverty? Too much sunshine? Ashkinazim don't have enough melanin? I have the answer. Culture. It’s the Arab prerogative to hate/kill Jews and wage war against Israel because that’s a component of their culture.

The United States had a culture, especially in the American South, which permitted the wanton murder of Black Americans. That has been brought under control. Given America’s experiences in ‘culture’ and domestic politics, surely the current administration in Washington DC can clearly discern the correct analogy as applied to the ‘autonomy issues’ of the Israel-Arab conflict.

Thank Gd for enlightenment. And remember, it was the Arabs, Palestinians included, who rejected the UN partition plan for ‘Palestine’, not we, and since then plenty of Jewish bodies have been strewn along the Arab path to ‘autonomy’.

Good Shabbos!

Photo Credit: Arutz Sheva

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A Quip For This Season

by: Schvach Yid

Here’s a funny take on the ‘old bromide’, offered by Snoopy The Goon on the Simply Jews blog site at:

Actually, it’s just the moniker that’s funny, at least for me – it’s the first time I’ve come across it. There’s nothing funny about the rest of the blog. I still can’t figure out the position of the Simply Jews blog site. Can/will anyone help?

Sunday, November 18, 2007


by: Schvach Yid

Oops! I missed it by eight days. Sigd falls on the 29th day of the Hebrew month of Cheshvan. And what is Sigd? Sigd is the national holiday of Ethiopian Jews, where, in Ethiopia, worshippers gather on mountaintops to pray and fast for their speedy return to Mt. ZionJerusalem; in Israel, members of the Ethiopian Jewish community travel to Jerusalem for this annual observance.

Sigd means prostration in Amharic, the secular language of Ethiopia (its alphabet has 260 characters – and I thought Hebrew was tough). Gez is the Ethiopian Jewish religious language.

The Jewish Ethiopian community in Israel is in the process of establishing official recognition of Sigd as a formal holiday in Israel. One Jewish Ethiopian youth remarked, ‘We are very proud of our culture’. And why shouldn’t they be?

For those who are interested, here are some links:

This is the stuff for which Michael Freund and his organization Shavei Israel live. One year I’ll manage to remember the date and show up in Israel for the fest.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Holy Contentions, Batman
by: Schvach Yid

I know, I know, bats aren’t kosher, but this isn’t about recipes. Tzvi Fishman, who writes the blog Hollywood to the Holy Land for the on-line edition of Israel National News, Arutz Sheva, has just posted a kabbalistic ditty for Shabbos titled The Secret of Shabbat, a sicha for the Jewish seeker taught by the Kabbalist Rabbi Eliyahu Leon Levi of B’nei Brak.

Some will enjoy this, others will revile it; in either event, have a read. Even for those who may recoil and/or chuckle at some of the content, there’s probably some benefit to be gleaned by every Jew with a hunger for yiddishkeit. Here’s the link:

In advance, have a good Shabbos.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Bashing Chabad
by: Schvach Yid

Conservative Movement: ‘I don’t think you’re quite ready to wear tefillin; I think it might be more beneficial to wait until you’re a bit better prepared; besides, you haven’t yet completed your post-bar mitzvah assignment’.
Congregant: ‘But I’m 23 years old; so what if I didn’t ‘get into’ law school and that I’m unemployed’.

Chabad: ‘Have you put on tefillin today? It’s a mitzvah – a commandment from HaShem. You don’t have tefillin of your own? Here, put on mine; I’ll show you how, and I’ll help you recite the appropriate blessings and prayers.

Conservative Movement: 'I don’t think you’re quite what we’re looking for at JTS. Your recommendations are a bit weak, and a BA from SUNY Cortland just doesn’t stand up.'

Chabad: ‘Would you like to study in our yeshiva in Morristown? Don’t have time – how about a ‘Yeshivacation’ there. We have scholarships, if they’re needed. Perhaps your wife/daughter/sister/female acquaintance would like to study with Rabbi Friedman at the Bais Chana women’s yeshiva. Scholarships are offered for this as well.'

Conservative Movement: ‘If you qualify, we’d really like you and your family to become members of our synagogue; here’s an application and fee schedule.'

Chabad: ‘Every Jew is precious; we want you to be Jewish and involve yourself with yiddishkeit. Please feel free to attend our services. We have a minyan for Shacharis and Mincha/Maariv every day. Can I have your name and address for our mailing list? Do you have an e-mail address? We have lots of classes you can attend, and a Hebrew school for children. Our cholent we serve on Shabbos is second to none – you'll love it. Please feel free to attend our services and classes any time.'

Well, I ‘said’ I had more to write about the Conservative Movement, so here it is, a diatribe by a member of the tribe. But first, please believe me, no lashon hara or sinat chinam is intended.

Chabad Lubavitch has succeeded where the Conservative Movement has failed, and this goes beyond outreach/continuity. This falls into the realm of fundamental values.

Chabad has succeeded, in part, by utilizing an image which many members and followers of the Conservative Movement reject as repugnant – the image of the shtetl Jew. Chassidim of the Lubavitcher Rebbe (that is, the men) clad themselves in traditional garb: kapote, gärtel, yalmulka, signature hat, beard. Compare this to the rants of some members/followers of the Conservative Movement (or some other Jewish religious organizations) – tales of how their antecedents, so disgusted with traditional Eastern European Jewish life, tossed their tefillin overboard into the ‘drink’ during their transport across the Atlantic en route to America.

Now, compare this to the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s tefillin campaign.

Who do you think has the correct approach to Jewish outreach? Which group’s values have succeeded in revitalizing Jewish life, world wide?

Such disdain is held by the Conservative Movement toward ‘the old way’ that it has jumped hook, line, and sinker onto the bandwagon of Israel’s animus for all things shtetl/Yiddish.

Years ago, a history professor – an author of Jewish history books directed at the non-academic lay public – gave a presentation at the local Jewish Community Center. He wasn’t Orthodox – not by a long shot. His talk centered on the life of Jews during our ‘Golden Age’ in Medieval Spain. During the course of his lecture, he described running into a Chabad family while visiting Madrid. He said he confronted them about their ‘isolated’ life in Spain. He then let loose in a cadenced, shouting rant, in which he referred to the Chabad shluchim as ‘garlic soup slurping, cholent eating, herring chomping …’ You get the picture. Thank Gd the local senior Chabad rabbi wasn’t in attendance. Pickwickian as he is, he would have jumped onto the stage and clobbered that guy – and did that self-hating Jew have it coming.

I don’t know if this well-known professor of Jewish history is/was involved with the Conservative Movement, but his stance was clear, and certainly not unique.

Back to the American Conservative Movement rabbi I met on a kibbutz in Israel, mentioned in the previous blog. ‘Let me tell you what I don’t like about the Lubavitchers’, he said to me one fine sunny day. I don’t recall what he said, but never – and I mean never – have I heard a Chabad rabbi, sheliach or otherwise, ever say anything negative about any other Jewish group or individual Jew. I have no idea what they think, but I know what I have, and have not heard, from them. If it’s negative or divisive, they don’t say/do it.

Here’s a mini-tale. On that Conservative Movement kibbutz, two Conservative Movement rabbis, both American, and I were conversing. One of the two asked me, ‘do you have The Jewish Catalog?’ I answered yes. He then asked, ‘is it the original Jewish Catalog, or just the first volume of the three volume set’. I answered I have the three volume set and not the original volume. A look of disapproval came across his face. He chuckled and said, ‘that won’t do’. I had no idea I was auditioning.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Conservative Movement Should Be So Talented
by: Schvach Yid

Chabad bashing by the Conservative Movement of Judaism? Tzvi Fishman of Arutz Sheva – the Israel National News website - and of his own Jewish website, might call this ‘Yesod envy’. Yet the on-line edition of the Jerusalem Post has posted an article by Andrew Silow-Carroll titled The Chabad Challenge at The Chabad challenge | Jerusalem Post. Hah!

I’m a big fan of Chabad Lubavitch, and contrary to the article’s stated premise concerning the Conservative Movement’s stance toward Chabad, that "Chabad is the religion closest to Judaism", Chabad Lubavitch is undoubtedly the best thing that has ever happened to Jewish outreach. Chabad does in fact ‘beat the pants’ off the Conservative Movement’s number one concern, the quest for so-called ‘Jewish Continuity’.

I attended a Conservative Movement Hebrew school as a child. I spent several months on the Conservative Movement’s kibbutz in Israel. I’ve had various dealings with a few of their synagogues.

I don’t like the Conservative Movement of Judaism. They do, and I think that’s their number one problem.

Why problem? In the November 2, 2007 issue of The New York Jewish Week, Stewart Ain wrote a piece titled Adrift Branch Searches Anew for an Anchor. Not to eschew the role of wannabe poet, Mr. Ain went on to report about the Conservative Movement’s current effort to – well – define itself. After all, they don’t call themselves ‘Judaism’, do they? Their name is ‘The Conservative Movement of Judaism’, so they need a platform – a schtick.

Here’s the link:

And here’s my opinion of what’s wrong with the ‘The Conservative Movement of Judaism’.

First, they are about themselves. The Conservative Movement is about The Conservative Movement. They are all about their organization, not about providing for the Jewish community. They exist to perpetuate themselves and their success as an organization. If they were on the hunt for employees to whom they would provide salaries and employment benefits, they might have a chance, but like all movements, they’re after members. Their concern is with losing members. They’re worried about retention. They might as well run a country club.

A corollary is that The Conservative Movement does not do Judaism. They do surrogates of Judaism. ‘Look at our beautiful synagogue’; ‘look at our beautiful sanctuary designed by that world famous architect what’s-his-name’. ‘Here’s our gift shop; look at the beautiful chotchkas we offer for sale’. ‘Here’s our beautiful ballroom; you can rent it for all the important ‘life cycle’ events in your life. It’s not the least bit ongepotchket’. Minyan? Huh - where’s the bar mitzvah?

These are substitutes for the real thing. The Jewish Community Center in my Bible Belt locale does exactly the same thing. It’s basically a health club with a Jewish theme. Garbage!

Second, The Conservative Movement is about what former Vice President Spiro Agnew called in one of his speeches, ‘effete snobs’. Years ago, on the Conservative Movement kibbutz in Israel, an American Conservative Movement rabbi said of the ‘rank and file’ membership of that Movement, ’they don’t a thing’ about Judaism. What a nice perspective for a rabbi to have of the followers of his Movement. Today, he’s on the faculty of The Jewish Theological Seminary, the Conservative Movement’s rabbinical school.

Once I had relocated to the Bible Belt, I met another Conservative Movement rabbi who said the same sort of thing. He had been hired by a local Conservative Movement havurah to lead High Holiday services, which he did. He belted out one niggun after another with his mellow, silk-like voice - right into a microphone - on the High Holidays. Yup, he sure do know! After one of the services he said to me, ‘I could sing or do anything, they’d never know the difference’. Nice!

Third, the Conservative Movement has abandoned the ‘Jewish way’ in favor of assimilation. No wonder its members assimilate. Take, for example the Movement’s seminary mentioned above – please! It’s not a yeshiva. Yeshiva University, the so called ‘flagship’ institution of higher learning of the Modern Orthodox, is a real, honest-to-goodness university, with a real, honest-to-goodness rabbinical yeshiva (RIETS) as its rabbinical seminary. But at the Theological Seminary of America, the Conservative Movement has abandoned pilpul for term papers and dissertations. Moreover, they have abandoned traditional Jewish learning for apologetics. Just listen to them the next time some appear on TV, as in a recent rerun of PBS’s Three Faiths, One Gd. Dreck! A university is a university, just as a yeshiva is a yeshiva. When a student changes yeshivas – OK! When a student changes universities and leaves JTS – bye, bye! Judaism as an academic subject is not emunah; it’s not even religion. An academic subject is no basis for personal identity.

I could go on. The bottom line is that the Conservative Movement’s approach of competition against and abandonment of the real thing has never worked, and its snobbery is self destructive.

I have a couple of ditties from my time on that kibbutz, but not now.

Baruch HaShem for Chabad Lubavitch, and for the efforts of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson, olav hashalom, and if the Lubavitchers take liberties and do the ‘yechi’ routine, so what.

Lastly, if you’d like to read an entertaining and informative account of how the Conservative Movement got started (it was really in response to the success of the Reform Movement, and rejection of Orthodoxy), read Nathan Glazer’s American Judaism – it’s still in print.

New Jews
by: Schvach Yid

Not to be a bombastic, ego-inflated, boorish know-it-all who presumes dominant superiority – I frequently am/do – but I want to say kudos and a yasha koach to a blog spot I’ve just learned about from this week’s Haveil Havalim posting, #140, by the Life in Israel blogspot, called Jews By Choice (actually, from the comments section of the HH blog).

How thoroughly cool-odox! Yes jadies and jents, I accept the rabbinical interpretation of HaShem’s commandment that a Jew is one born to a Jewish mother, but c’mon, even in Tanach we are presented with ‘Jews by choice’. ‘Oh yeah’, you might say, ‘just name one other than Ruth’. Well, Ruth would be enough, but okay, let’s see, there was Moses’ first wife, Zipporah. She was Midianite, but outdid her most beloved prophet hubby by taking the initiative of circumcising their son, thus staying off a plague. Any doubt that her kids were Jews?

Let’s see, there must have been others, but I’m not that cool-odox (but I am the child of a Jewish mother, and of a Jewish father for that matter). Oh yeah, there’s Rahav in the Book of Judges - maybe she became Jewish. I’m sure there must be others. That’s right, Onkelos, the non-Jew turned rabbi who gave us the now-standard translation of the Chumash from Hebrew into Aramaic. He isn’t Biblical, but he’ll do.

Anyway, I think it’s both flattering and correct that non-Jews who feel a gravitation-like pull toward Judaism accept us to the extent that they decide to become us. There’s nothing like sincerity in choosing a shared life. In a way, this mimics a successful marriage, just as long as the conversion to Judaism is sincere and not a cover for an attempt at some covert infiltration for the purpose of proselytizing Jews away from Judaism.

Chassidus/Kabbalah have a bit to say about conversion to Judaism, in relation to the transmigration – ibbur – of souls. Just consider for a moment what happens to all the souls of slaughtered Jews; surely, they must be available for reincarnation, even if the number of Jews in existence at any one moment is too small to accommodate all the available Jewish souls. Make sense? Besides, it improves the gene pool. Geneticists call it heterosis – genetic vigor resulting from out breeding (not a pc term when applied to human populations).

If you’re interested check out the Jews By Choice blog site at

And the answer is no – I don’t think we Jews should proselytize. Chabad Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, on the other hand,

Thursday, November 08, 2007

And the Kristall-Globe Award Goes To…
by: Schvach Yid

…us! It’s awarded to us Jews. Sound silly? Well, just consider the matter for a moment and consider the Nobel Prize. A commentator on one of the cable TV news channels commented about Al Gore’s award of the Nobel Prize, followed by the comment, ‘who doesn’t want one of those?’

Nu, what’s the big deal with this Nobel Prize already? The cash? The prestige? Why is it so prestigious? Is it because one gets to sup with the King and Queen of Sweden? Perhaps it’s because of the big names of one’s antecedent Prize recipients - you know, like joining a club.

The Nobel Prize is named after Alfred Nobel; actually, he named it after himself. Alfred Nobel is known for his Prize (no, he didn’t award one to himself), but should also be known for his invention. Alfred Nobel was a chemist who invented dynamite; he accumulated his personal financial fortune from the manufacture and sale of his invention, and left a foundation to posterity. Fortunately, AIDS wasn’t known back then, and so his financial resources weren’t commandeered to combat HIV/AIDS in Africa (just ask Bill Gates and Warren Buffet). Personally, I think we’re much better off with the Nobel Prize!

Alfred Nobel was a Jew.

People all over the world run after this prestigious accolade. Why do so many Jews ‘win’ the Nobel Prize? I dunno, but I think it’s nice that we share our Prize with everyone else, don’t you?

Why are relatively so few Moslems awarded the Nobel Prize? Because they hate Jews, Judaism, and the Jewish State of Israel, that’s why! Because during the Second World War, the Arab Moslem leadership conspired with the Third Reich to annihilate us. Because they interceded against European Jewish immigration to Britain’s Mandate in Palestine, thus condemning so many millions of Europe’s Jews to death. Because after the War, Arab Moslems recruited the defunct, on-the-run Nazis to provide them with tactical and strategic training in the Arab war against the Yishuv. Because Arab Moslem professors in Western universities formulate careers in Jew-hatred. Because the Arab Moslems are this generation’s Nazis, that’s why!

Two billion people world wide – one third of everyone – worships a Jew as their ‘Savior’. Don’t you think we Jews deserve a prize for that?

They’re after us. It seems that almost every group in the world chases us, frequently to our demise. Christians and Moslems we know about. Pogroms, Kristallnacht, and the Holocaust we know about. Why have former Hindu co-workers walked up to me in the lab were I used to work and asked about Jewish theology, only to spit venom in response and tell me ‘you got that from us’. And the Hindu-turned-Christian professor mentioned in my earlier blogs might as well have a neon sign flashing over his head announcing his disdain for Jews.

And American Black people (to paraphrase a former Black co-worker, ‘if I wanted to say African-American, I would have’)? ‘Follow the Jews’, ‘emulate the Jews’ are the instructions pronounced by some Black people, or at least this used to be the case. It’s my not so humble opinion that this has not led to the best situation for us Jews, or as a Black nurse once said to me, ‘Why are you people all the doctors; why don’t any of you work?’ Emes! Well, to use her rationale, I ‘worked’; in fact, I ‘worked’ with her, and I was never welcome to do so.

Back in the old days, in a hospital in Brooklyn NY, I wandered into the nurses’ station. Seated there was a Jewish physician, surrounded by several nurses (not Jewish). As if on cue, he began a soliloquy to the nurses about how he had, as a student, worked part time driving a meat delivery truck. He related how he had taken home a ham, and how much he had enjoyed it. The nurses stared at me as if to drive home the point. They succeeded. I wasn’t religious. I didn’t wear a yalmulka or keep kosher, but still, they apparently had a need to lay down the law – their law – with me, as though my mere presence demanded it.

Three years later, in the Bible Belt, I sat at a lab meeting. The company ‘alter’ sat across from me at the conference table. She was a lab technician with seniority points based on her years of attendance at one of the numerous local churches. The subject – an upcoming party for the new division boss. The űber-boss was there, as well as all the underlings, Ph.D. faculty members included. What flew from her mouth as she stared at me? Ham! ‘We’re having a ham for the party’ (I had never mentioned religion at work), ‘and you know what fine quality that means’, nodding her head up and down. Everyone else at the meeting groaned. The űber-boss was silent. She remained; months later I was asked for my resignation.

More than a decade later the divisional administrator at another research institution where I worked was fond of displaying a computer printout depiction of Jesus. One fine day, just prior to Christmas and a few days prior to the Division’s annual Christmas party, she confronted me as I walked into the office. I had declined the invitation to the party by RSVP (Friday night, no less). She shouted (I mean it), ‘if you know what’s good for you, you’d better be at the party, mister’! This theater was staged in front of the Divisional Director’s office. He was in. His door was open. Not a peep (he wasn’t Jewish).

Alan Dershowitz, in his book Chutzpah, encourages Jews to not be shy. Speak up! He’s right. The isolated Jew is fodder. In the workplace I keep my mouth shut about politics, my religious convictions and about my genealogy, and I’ve paid.

And so, on the day preceding the anniversary of Kristallnacht, this year’s Kristall-Globe Award goes to ‘The Jews’. Us. And why not? We seem to ‘catch it’ all the time. We’re about to ‘catch it’ again in Annapolis on the 18th of this month. And my heartiest congrats go all the non-Jewish recipients of the Nobel Prize. Don’t forget, boys and girls, it’s we Jews who've given you something to kvell about.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Homeless in November - Kristalltag
by: Schvach Yid

The anniversary of Kristallnacht is this Friday, erev Shabbos. The night of November 9, 1938 was a night of rioting and brutality committed by the Nazis in cities all over Europe. Their targets were the Jews of those communities.

Kristallnacht constituted a personal and group defining moment forJews in Germany, Austria, and everywhere else it occurred. For them, it wasn’t a gruesome and heart rending news event (as would be the tragic assassination of President Kennedy). Life had turned against them; their countrymen had betrayed them. My mother, Vienna-born and raised, said she had no idea of the extent of Nazi sympathy in her native city, but during the day of November 10, 1938, the party pins came out of the pockets and onto lapels and blouses and as a result, a great wisdom was provided to the victims - the great betrayal had been placed on public display. My mother’s school teachers, and parents of friends of my mother whom she had never suspected of Nazi leanings, let alone of Party membership, had revealed their true selves as Jew-hating Nazi nationalists.

In his great volume on the subject of Nazi Germany titled The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, William L. Shirer calls the event of Austria’s annexation by Germany, ‘The Anschluss-The Rape of Austria. Baloney! Those who ‘came out’ for the ‘great’ event didn’t witness any violation of Austria’s national integrity. Instead, the witnesses observed joy and jubilation by the ‘good’ people of Vienna. Jumping onto the bandwagon never constituted rape; indeed, skirts were lifted for an entirely different reason - it was more of a homecoming than anything else (Hitler’s ‘triumphant’ entry into Vienna had occurred on March 14, 1938; he was a native of Austria and not of Germany, you will recall).

On November 7, 1938, a seventeen year old German Jew named Herschel Grynszpan had shot and killed Ernst von Rath, the Third Secretary of the German Embassy in Paris (who, according to Shirer, had himself been targeted by the Gestapo because he had never shared the Nazi penchant for Jew-hating; Grynszpan had actually been on the hunt for Count Johannes von Welczeck, Germany’s ambassador to France).

The night of November 9, 1938, the night of the Nazi rioting for which Kristallnacht is named and famed, marked the annual celebration of Hitler’s Beer Hall Putsch in Munich in 1923. Hitler and Goering were the guests of honor at that year’s fête, after which the glass-shattering progrom began in cities throughout Europe.

Kristallnacht went way beyond drunk and disorderly; it was a planned event organized by the SS’s number two man in the driver’s seat - that no friend of any Jew – Reinhardt Heydrich, who had also served as the mastermind of the ‘Final Solution’ planned at the Wannsee Conference in January, 1942.

One may recall Martin Luther, the founder of the Protestant Reformation, was born November 10, 1483 (as opposed to 1938 – get it? Hitler, Goering, and pals wish you many happy returns, Marty).

Do you know what Martin Luther said about Jews? Have you ever read his ditty titled The Jews and Their Lies? Liberty Bell Publications publishes their version of this slim tome. The publisher’s comments are just as telling as is Luther’s text.

Well, just as day follows night, Kristallnacht turned into ‘Kristalltag’. My mother, then fourteen years old, was home alone. My maternal grandparents had left their apartment on Westbahn Strasse in the Seventh Bezirke (district) of Vienna in yet another desperate attempt to appeal for entry visas to – anywhere, as long as it was off the continent of Europe. At around 9:00am a knock came at the door. The voice of the apartment building’s female superintendent – hausmeisterin – announced through the closed door that my mother was required to allow her into the apartment, that some men were with her and that they needed to speak with her.

Upon opening the door, my mother viewed the familiar hausmeisterin and two men standing in the entrance. The men were dressed in the standard SA uniform – brown shirts and trousers, black boots, with red arm bands that bore swastikas. They walked into the apartment and the men, who according to my mother were very polite and proper, informed her that she and her parents had to vacate their apartment. They then escorted my mother to the apartment immediately below theirs, occupied by another Jewish family.

Her parents returned to be greeted with the bad news. Several Jewish families had been corralled into that apartment; they remained there until their exit from ‘their country’ (their citizenship had already been confiscated), but later that day, my mother and grandparents were permitted to briefly return to their apartment to gather a few things, only to discover that it had been thoroughly ransacked; according to my mother, ‘everything was taken’.

If you think this isn’t the worst that could have happened, you’re right. My mother’s maternal grandparents were still in Slovakia (my maternal grandmother was native Slovak) and refused to leave. By War’s end my grandmother had received a letter from the International Red Cross informing her that her parents had perished in Auschwitz.

A similar event occurred with my father’s family in Bremerhaven, Germany, except that the rioting Jew-haters tried to break down the front door of their house in an attempt to do Gd knows what; thank Gd, they didn’t succeed, but the following day, November 10, 1938, my paternal grandfather was ‘collected’ and shipped off to the concentration camp in Sachsenhausen. Fortunately, their entry visas to the United States arrived, and after something like a two week incarceration in Sachsenhausen, they (my father, uncle, and paternal grandparents) were permitted to leave Germany for the US. They too had been kicked out of their home on November 10th.

Overt reminders of lousy life events have a habit of popping up after the fact. In the late 1980’s my parents and I attended an ‘air show’ – a display of primarily military aircraft, both on the ground and in flight, complete with various re-enactments of WW 2 air battles. As we left the show grounds, we passed a stand of men dressed in WW2 German military uniforms, complete with red swastika arm bands, black boots – the whole spiel. My father, who had served in the US Army during the Second World War as a hospital medic on Guadalcanal and Guam, looked at me in amazement and asked, ‘why are they dressed like that?’

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Autumn Kvetch
by: Schvach Yid

In the 1973 remake of The Three Musketeers (you remember – Michael York, Raquel Welch, Oliver Reed, Richard Chamberlain, Faye Dunaway, Charlton Heston), a freelance executioner (have ax, will travel) demands additional payment from his clients for transporting their condemned prisoner by boat across a lake to her execution site (Bastille Day is my favorite holiday), proclaiming, ‘I’m a headsman, not a sailor’.

In other words, one doesn’t get ahead by functioning as an oarsman. An oarsman doesn’t care where he goes, just as long as he gets paid and doesn’t lose his life in the process or fall off the edge of the Earth, as in the opening skit of Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life.

Israel has a deadly date in Annapolis, and historically, this is a month for Jewish disasters. Not to sound astrological – I have no use for astrology – but still, I get nervous during the month of November. In the Northern Hemisphere the hours of daylight reduce, people seem to become sluggish, hibernating animals get ready for their annual big snooze; in other words, this half of the world seems to be falling asleep. Emotional depression sets in. Face it, for various reasons the month of November is a bummer.

As if to presage impending disaster, CNN chose to rebroadcast its recent ditty, Gd’s Jewish Warriors – you know, diamonds and schmooze. One of Christiane Amanpour’s ‘great’ lines from that production, ‘…defiance of international law comes dressed in diamonds’ just about sums up the world view of Jews and Judaism (she’s married to a Jew, you know).

I kvetch about this often. I’ve lived much of my life either witnessing or functioning as the target of Jew hatred. The stuff stinks (in my little Bible Belt locale, the powers that be have decided to build the municipal sewer treatment facility perhaps 1/10th of a mile from an Orthodox synagogue, and believe me, that stinks on several levels).

I’m tired of it, but there’s evidently a lot more on the way. The only consolation was that this rebroadcast of media-sponsored anti-Jew tooth-nashing occurred on the evening of Halloween (last evening in October, by us, ‘erev November’). Get the message?

I’ve managed to change my view of Christiane Amanpour’s report about Jewish activism in and for Israel. At first I shrugged it off, but since re-viewing it several times it has now succeeded in grading against me. I now think it’s pure venom, and more is on the way, in Annapolis.

November 1938, the month of Kristallnacht, was all about capitulation. Granted, I don’t think anyone can blame the Jews of Europe (not just of Germany and Austria) for shying away from the political demands of the moment, given our long history as residents of Europe. We pretty much had been put and kept ‘in our place’ over a period of 1½ millennia. But more is on the way, and this time, it’s our Jewish Homeland that’s up for grabs.

The solution, according to the savvy meisters, has been to find ‘common ground’ on which all can agree. This makes for pleasant and low anxiety conversations at meetings. The chosen common ground is global terrorism. It must be stopped. Damn right! But this is no solution to the problem (and I don’t mean issue) confronting Israel. This so-called common ground of stopping global terrorism is a euphemism, or better yet, a distraction maneuver, from the real problem – Jew hatred. No happy talk with Arabs who demand the elimination of the Jewish State of Israel will solve anything; their position hasn’t changed, and won’t, and no third party mediation will change a thing.

For all intents and purposes, it’s November 1938 all over again.