Friday, August 28, 2009


I remember an archeology program on TV about excavations in Jerusalem. 3000 years of existence give plenty to dig. 'Here are our true roots, not in some shtetl in Poland', the archeologist said. Perhaps he's right, but 2000 years of diaspora made their mark on the Jews.
Deportation and enslaving by the Romans, burn-alive, torture and deportation by Spanish Inquisition, pogroms and other atrocities were all suffered before the terms 'human rights' and UN were invented.

For some reason unknown to me, lately I think more and more about the Holocaust. The other day, I was standing in my shower and thinking about the poor souls who were told they are about to take a shower, just to die suffocated by Zyklon-B a few minutes later. I wonder what they felt in those last moments. It's not that I am in a generally morbid mood, it just crept up on me.

When it comes to certain isues, my usual logic is suddenly suppressed by emotions. An American gentile acquaintance of mine (now in a divorce process from an Israeli) asked me for a recommendation letter to help him with the authorities against his residency revocation. I hesitated. On one hand he is a nice person and a potential positive citizen, on the other hand, he is not Jewish.
Israel is not like any other country, very deep roots and emotions attach the Jews to it, even those who do not live here. The sheer fact of its existence gives Jews around the world a sense of security and pride. It is true that many non Jews also live in Israel, spouses or family members of Jews, and native arabs. For those who don't fall into one of these categories, no citizenship is granted by law.
After an internal debate, I realize that luckily I don't have to make the decision. The Minstry of Interior has. That's why my taxes pay their salaries. I write a letter listing all his achievemnts here, as objectively as I possibly can and send it to his lawyer.

Forty years after WWII, Jewish genealogy was one of two major Internet applications. (Sex was the other one, in case you wondered.) The primary challenge of the Jewish people today is bonding together the Jews who live in Israel with those outside it. One great way of doing this is the Taglit-Birthright project. Dan just returned from a week of accompanying 30 Hungarian Jewish youngsters. Don't know how the trip affected the Hungarians, but Dan's Hungarian improved significantly.

I am thinking of visiting the death camps in Poland around Passover. Just feel every Jew must go there once. Some read books, some watch movies and some feel they have to physically touch the remnants of evil. The plans of Auschwitz have been recently found and handed to the Israeli PM during his visit to Germany.

The residency issue is not over. Now I'm facing a series a emails on behalf of my acquaintance requesting me to donate money to pay his lawyer. After some soul searching, a gut feeling takes over me. I'd rather have a [criminal] Jew as a citizen than a honest gentile.

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