View: A Retiring San Diego Rabbi Reflects on Rising Anti-Semitism

Opinion A Retiring San Diego Rabbi Reflects on Rising Anti Semitism
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Associates of the congregation at Chabad of Poway embrace immediately after the taking pictures. Photo by Chris Stone

By Rabbi Michael Berk

The sages of the Jewish people educate that words and phrases from the heart go straight to the heart. From the deepest component of mine, I write to inform you how alone Jews really feel suitable now. Abandoned.

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The degree of hatred Jews are going through is anything that has not been noticed because the holocaust. The supply of this present-day strand of hatred is a consequence of a confluence of two forces that is hardly ever excellent for Jews. As Roger Cohen has prepared in the New York Instances, the rise in anti-Semitism is earth large, and “…driven by a resurgence of those unsatisfied twins: worry and nationalism.” It is the unfortunate fate of the Jews that when others come to feel insecure and threatened they have turned to the simple target in their midst to unleash their hatred and their wrath: Jews.

Jews suitable now are astonished at how isolated we are. Why? Because of what we imagine it usually means to be a Jew.

Amos Oz, in his book “Dear Zealots” talks about  a little potsherd found several yrs in the past at the Tel Kaifa archaeological internet site, close to Beit Shemesh. Professor Gershon Galil of Haifa Opinion logoUniversity translated the ancient script. This minimal piece of clay is dated some time concerning the Jews’ obtaining out of Egypt and soon in advance of David was King—more than 3,000 years in the past! Here’s what it claims: “You shall not do it but worship God. Fend for justice for the slave and the widow, the orphan and the stranger. Plead for the infant, plead for the very poor and the widow. Rehabilitate the lousy at the palms of the king. Defend the bad and the slave. Guidance the stranger.”

This is stunning. As Amos Oz commented: “This is older than King David, more mature than the prophets, older than ancient Greece or Rome.”

And this is in which we Jews occur from. At our main, this is what we are about.”

This small summary of Judaism points out a ton, like why Jews have historically been in the forefront of the movements in America to make this place dwell up to it’s thoughts and beliefs. The labor movement, the civil legal rights movement, the Women’s Motion, the LBGTQ motion, the peace motion all of these have noticed the involvement, in some situations leadership, of a large amount of Jews. Why? Mainly because we’ve constantly imagined that that’s what God required from us. We have assumed this is what it intended to be a Jew. I know it’s what my mother taught me. She reported, “To be a Jew implies you look out at the world, and when you see a challenge or injustice, you do something about it.” A ton of us grew up contemplating this is what Judaism is about.

I am retiring in less than two months, and I’m distressed about something that I experience compelled to explain to you: The Jews in your midst are astonished at the degree of hatred against Jews and Israel. We are the only minority team I know of that is demonized by the left and the correct. The right thinks that we are Commies who own the entire world and are replacing white people. The left thinks we are greedy capitalists who very own the planet and oppress Palestinians. Each imagine we have mysterious powers to make folks do our bidding.

Rabbi Michael Berk
Rabbi Michael Berk of Congregation Beth Israel.

Of course, we have seen attacks on church buildings, mosques, and synagogues. But Jews are hated by the excessive proper and still left. In addition, and this is what actually hurts, we are sensation pushed out by the much less-extreme remaining — even the Democratic Bash. We are remaining excluded from other social justice actions simply because we are Jewish — social justice movements that have been prominently led by Jews in the earlier, if not enthusiastically endorsed by Jews. How can this be? How can liberals turn from a person of the most liberal group in The usa — Jews!

I have to have to convey up in this regard the problem of Israel. The challenge of Israel is that Israel, for several People in america, has become a issue. The remaining hates Israel. And the vitriol of that hatred bumps up against, and usually spills over into anti-Semitism. I want you to know: I am totally opposed to Benjamin Netanyahu and the right wing govt of Israel. I despise lots of of his guidelines. But no one who is aware of me thinks I really do not imagine Israel has a correct to exist. I want to say to you reading this, primarily if you are spiritual, no matter what your politics, if your disagreement with Israel is felt as hatred, if you don’t believe Israel has a suitable to exist, I inquire you to glance into your heart and question if your views are sullied by anti-Semitism.

The Jews you know are terrified correct now. You may perhaps really feel that Jews are white and wealthy. The present-day term is “privileged.” But, proper now, just a week immediately after a terror assault on praying Jews appropriate right here in San Diego County, I guarantee you Jews are not feeling white and privileged.

I believe our faiths connect with us to the exact same thing. We study it in our very own means. In accordance to my custom, God generally has only just one request of human beings. It is mentioned something like this: “Our rabbis have taught: ‘This is what the Holy One particular explained to humanity: My small children, what do I want from you? I want no additional than that you love a person another and honor 1 a further.’”

Really like and honor. Which is what we owe anyone. Even Jews.

Rabbi Michael Berk will retire in two months as senior rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel, the oldest Jewish congregation in Southern California.

Belief: A Retiring San Diego Rabbi Reflects on Mounting Anti-Semitism was previous modified: May 6th, 2019 by Editor

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