Given my last name, it’s quite common for many people to assume I’m Jewish.
This is because, in decades past, many people changed their names to common Anglo-saxon last names because names like “Finkelstein”, “Goldberg” or “Rosenbaum” carried a death sentence and persecution in certain parts of the world.
It really never phased me. And when you find salesmen offering you better deals and bargains… you never seem around to get around to correcting their assumption either. :0)
Here in our resort/community, the entire resort has been bought out for Passover by a very wealthy and strict Jewish sect from New York (It’s less of a hassle than preparing their houses.)
This also means hiring gentiles (non-Jewish folks like us) in the community for babysitting their children (and elderly) as they go to their services in the resort’s chapel… and paying handsomely for it.
Well, I can’t speak for God… but they are definitely MY Chosen People at this moment. :0)
And, given our name, we are offered somewhat more of an “inside circle” position than the others. There’s a bit of favoritism with us, we’re trusted, and it drives the rest of the residents a little nuts.
Ya gotta love it. :0)
At the same time, it’s rather sad. It’s obvious to me that a lot of anti-semitism (and hatred of anyone different for that matter), stems from the fact that bigots obviously never take the time to understand the people they hate so much. Perhaps it’s the closed-in and distrusting nature of Jewish people (and can you blame them?) that drives haters to believe blatant lies like the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, rather than take the time to know them?
I don’t know. The ones we met this week have been warm and friendly, and all too happy to share their beliefs, traditions and life experiences with us. It’s the side of Jewish people I wish everyone saw. It was quite a learning experience for us, too.
With Max and Ida Rosenberg*, you walk away with almost a century of knowledge and wisdom. Max is the 95 year old father of the Rabbi leading this week’s celebration of Passover. He’s here and (naturally, as favorites) our family was assigned to keep him and his wife company.
It’s also widely believed this will be his last Passover.
Max is also a Holocaust survivor. As he napped, Ida showed the burns on his arm to my wife where the Nazis tried to tattoo him.
He woke up later and Ida and my wife found him sobbing. At first she thought it was the nightmares (which never went away), but instead he felt he needed to tell her how much he loved her and even with 65 wonderful years of marriage together, he was sorry he couldn’t give her more.
How many people can claim they’ve ever experienced that?
Everyone in that room had tears in their eyes.
There’s been quite a fear of a rise in “Holocaust denial” and anti-semitism since Mel Gibson’s “Passion of the Christ”. Personally, I don’t blame the movie. I blame the “Christian” idiots who missed the entire point of the Passion. It wasn’t about “who’s to blame”, it was about “humanity’s redemption”…
From the Christian perspective, it’s believed that Passover was a foreshadowing of the fate of the Messiah. The blood of the lamb in Exodus causing the Angel of Death passing over a house, and the blood of the “Lamb of God” in Christianity to pass over Judgment from those who accept it.
Not a terribly difficult concept to grasp, is it?
No TRUE Christian will ever use this event as an excuse to hate.
If we’re going to play the “blame game”, then why not beat the crap out of Italians too? After all, it was the Romans who did a large part of the dirty work… It’s my belief that these kinds of people will use any excuse to justify hatred. It was in them long before the movie was even filmed.
With people who have seen the tattoos, the eyewitness accounts, the newsreels, all the photographs and STILL chose to deny the Holocaust ever happened… I can’t think of anything that will convince them, short of hopping a time machine and sticking them in Auschwitz, Treblinka or Baden-Baden personally.
Currently there are groups going to schools educating kids about the Holocaust. Here in the Poconos a group consisting of two survivors and an American G.I. who liberated a camp tell their stories and presents tons of photos as evidence.
Why? Because this will be the last generation to give an eyewitness account. After they’re gone, it will be up to the history books and a lot of anti-semitic propaganda for people to decide what is truth.
With all of their incredible history of survival as a people: Slavery by the Egyptians, destruction by the Romans, near extermination by the Nazis, and the rebirth of Israel…
…nothing will inspire me more than the experiences of the 20th century Jewish people. Their first-hand accounts of facing pure evil and sharing a lifetime of horror, triumph, traditions and even the true love… we’ll never forget them and we feel richer for just knowing many of them.
… and when they’re all gone, the world will be poorer for it.
*Needless to say, Max and Ida Rosenberg’s names were changed.