God, Garments, Godlings

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Forward to My Essay

What Makes a Jew ‘Jewish’? is the title of one of my Chabad references in Chabad’s Supernal Jews.  It’s a far cry from ‘What makes a human Jewish?’  Well, human I am.  What makes this human Jewish?  Both my parents were Jewish and were well aware.  My father was German, and I was born in Germany in 1932.  We were lucky.  My mother’s German-born parents were already living in Newark, New Jersey.  We got out of Nazi Germany in 1937 and out of Holland to the U.S. in September 1940.  (I still have visual memories of an air raid shelter, lifeboat drills, and a gas mask too large for my small head.)  We were liberal Reform Jews, celebrated the High Holidays in Temple and at home, skipped Friday prayers, ate everything, and stretched Chanukah into Christmas when the calendar didn’t cooperate.

I can’t think of any other Jew in the private, secular high school I attended (which started every morning with an assembly that included a Christian hymn, an unanticipated benefit that introduced me to formal multiculturalism, so to speak).  In my freshman year at college I joined a Jewish fraternity.  We painted the walls and desegregated the frat house.   It was my first extended experience (outside my family) with Jews my age.  I learned the rest of my life from many of my fraternity brothers: Be a better human and ‘Jew’ will take better care of itself.  Whether or not you’re religious.  I’m not.

The notion that being Jewish precedes (or replaces) being human is a horrendously bad ideology, as my earliest childhood realities remind me.  What rekindles these memories so late in my life?  The arrival of a Chabad emissary in the neighborhood some eight or so years ago.  I’ve met the young man several times in a one-to-one.  He is truly, sincerely, a nice guy.  The Chabad sect?  If I had come across the name, I had never taken note.  Now I do.  Never having had an education in the history of Judaism, I had to overcome my incredulity that some rabbis conscientiously articulate a Jewish theory of Jewish race.

‘What makes a Jew “Jewish”?’ Is it a Jewish question? A Nazi question? Or both?  ‘Both’ is the right answer.  Although Chabad and Nazi ideologies offer entirely opposite answers to the same question, they agree there is legitimacy and importance to the question as such.  Its underlying assumption is ‘Jews are a unique race’.  Remove the assumption and the ‘What makes’ question is the opener of a joke.  Chabad and Nazi ideologies only share the assumption, not the contents of or causal explanation for their basic premise, not the two movements’ conflicting reasons for promoting and imposing its version of the truth of a Jewish race.  In both cases, the life consequences of the question are not confined to the classroom.  The international Chabad sect wields measurable political influence and power here and in Israel.  It actively engages its influence and power to make Jewish racism the leading ethic for Jewish sovereignty in Israel-without-borders.

Chabad’s Sectarian Jewish Religious Racism

I am a Jew.  I have connections.  No, not the stereotypical I-can-get-it-for-you-wholesale connections.  Being a Jew I am born connected.  I am connected to every living Jew all over the world.  I am connected to every Jew who has lived and to every Jew still to be born.  Jews are a block and the block is timeless.  Put differently, a Jew is not an ‘I’, a self-referential egoist.  We are not a bunch of individuals who decided to come together and form a family, a community, a people, a people-hood, a nation, an Israel.  How come is that?  God did not create Jews as individual beings.  He built that timeless ‘interjew’ connection into every Jew right from ‘In the beginning’.  Non-Jews need not knock. (more…)

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End of Occupation » No 1068

Israeli drawings on detention and torture of Palestinian children

Parents against child detention, an israeli organization linked to the israeli committee against torture, has just launched a series of drawings on facebook to illustrate what Palestinian children are going through and to try to raise awareness of Israeli public opinion to these atrocities.

The testimonies are numerous and the complaints systematically dismissed by Israel.

Examples:

A soldier tied my feet up and handcuffed my hands behind my back. The handcuffs were tight and painful and my hands swelled up,” said W., a minor from Hebron, who was suspected of throwing stones.

R., 15, from Duha, was arrested at 3.30am in bed on suspicion of throwing stones. “I woke up to the strong glow of a flashlight on my face. I opened my eyes and there were 10 soldiers in the room,” he said. After their commander told him he was under arrest, he was taken to the police station. “Along the way, they cursed at me and called my sister a ‘bitch’. A soldier hit me on the elbow with the butt of his rifle and it was very painful. ” (more…)

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End of Occupation » No 1067

Damn Them All

Gideon Levy

Haaretz July 15, 2021

Damn them all. Damn Rafael Gana, the deputy head of the Israel Prison Service, who wrote to the interior minister: “Your request does not meet the prerequisites for consideration.” Damn Katy Perry, the head of the Israel Prison Service, who approved the decision. Damn Public Security Minister Omer Bar Lev, the heartless coward, who didn’t lift a finger to change this evil decision. And above all, damn the Shin Bet, which probably stands behind the decision, as it stands behind far more than we know.

Damn all those who are partner to this sadistic decision not to release Khalida Jarrar from prison to attend her daughter’s funeral. Damn this new government, which presumed to herald a change, and none of whose ministers acted to oppose the evil institutions that decided to leave Jarrar in prison. Not even ministers Merav Michaeli and Tamar Zandberg, who presumably have far more in common with the secular feminist freedom fighter Jarrar than with their colleague Ayelet Shaked. (more…)

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End of Occupation » No 1066

 Occupied Palestinian Territory: Israeli settlements should be classified as war crimes, says UN expert

GENEVA (9 July 2021) – The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, Michael Lynk, today called on the international community to designate the creation of Israeli settlements as a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

Lynk said the Israeli settlements violate the absolute prohibition against the transfer by an occupying power of parts of its civilian population into an occupied territory. The international community designated this practice as a war crime when it adopted the Rome Statute in 1998. (more…)

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