Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Helen Thomas, a True Friend of the Jews

Helen Thomas, the multi-decade political reporter, got into hot water for saying that the Jews don't belong in Israel and should return home to Poland and Europe.

While I disagree with her, the upcoming Jewish holiday of Purim has made me realize that most Orthodox Jews are firmly in her camp.

The story of Purim, when the Jews under the rule of the Persian King Xerxes (made famous by the movie 300) were spared annihilation by the workings of a wise Jewish man and a pretty Jewish girl.

The story of Purim took place in Persia; renamed Iran during WWII because they were allied with the Nazis and Iran sounds like Aryan. And as I reflected on the story of Purim, I realized that every single story, event, happening that occurred in the Jewish texts of the 5 books of Moses, the Prophets and the Writings, all took place in Middle Eastern countries. The history of the Jews, as Orthodox Jews pray, read, study and celebrate, is the history of Jews in places like Egypt, Persia (Iran), Babylon (Iraq) and Canaan (Israel).

Not one single event in the the texts that the Jews claim to revere took place in Poland or England or the US or Europe. And yet, the leading Orthodox Jews of today, the most religious Jews who live in Israel, the mouthpieces and proclaimers and followers and true believers almost exclusively wear the clothes and eat the food and follow the rituals developed from places like Poland.

Certainly when one was living in pre-industrial Poland you would eat and dress like the natives, but these rituals and affects have become the symbol of their religion, and in many ways has become their religion.

The orthodox Jews are so concerned with maintaining their Polish and Germanic heritage, their ashkenazi mannerisms, that they imported these christian values into the middle of the desert, a land which is the polar opposite of Ashkenazi land. To be an Orthojew today you must be a shtetl polanya yid, a Polish Ghetto Jew.

And retaining the dress and mannerisms of that Polish Jew is more important than honoring the history of the Jews as the texts documented.

So if these great Jewish minds love Poland and Germany so much, let them follow Helen Thomas's advice and get out of the Middle-East. Don't import Poland into the heart of the desert and pretend it has anything to do with Judaism.

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