Sunday, April 23, 2017

Judaism Built on History and Memory, Part 1 Holocaust

Yes, there is a connection to this and to last night's post based on Pirkei Avot:
1. Moses received the Torah from Sinai and gave it over to Joshua. Joshua gave it over to the Elders, the Elders to the Prophets, and the Prophets gave it over to the Men of the Great Assembly. (Chabad)
Now that the Jewish World is commemorating Holocaust Memorial Day, it's also mourning the fact that there are fewer and fewer actual survivors who are capable of telling their stories to the younger generations.
Ignorance and amnesia – a deadly combination
World War Two, which included the Holocaust, ended over seventy 70 years ago, and that means that especially considering the problematic physical/medical condition of those who had survived, not too many people are still alive and in any condition to tell what they had suffered/experienced. Also, quite a few had kept all of those horrendous memories all bottled up in order to survive and thrive emotionally.

In recent decades there had been great efforts to convince survivors to tell/record their stories. And there have been many Holocaust memorials built all over the world. I've even complained that it's easier to raise money for these memorials than for any projects to try to increase Jewish identification, education and observance among young Jews.

Assimilation and intermarriage have been emerging as the direct result of Jewish embrace of Liberalism and Equality which aim to take down the social and cultural barriers between different religions. In many Jewish families living outside of Israel there is hardly a single marriage between two Jews on the horizon. What is most disturbing is that the acceptance of this situation is even described as a "Jewish value," and Reform Judaism makes "conversion" and the definition of "who's a Jew" simpler and more encompassing than ever. To do this they have gone farther and farther from traditional Torah Judaism, the Judaism that was passed on from Gd to Moshe and further in an unbroken line to this day.

At best they've kept the box and some superficial symbols but emptied them of Gd's authority over us. Convenience and modernity have replaced the Authority of Torah and Gd.

Modern "versions" of Judaism are also attempts to avoid/prevent antisemitism by making Jews less "different," as if the Holocaust was caused by the strict observance of Shabbat and Kashrut, two principles that separate the Jewish People from other religions.

The Nazi Holocaust had nothing to do with Judaism as a strict religion. Intermarried Jews, their children and grandchildren were murdered along with rabbis and their followers. Even German Jewish war veterans who had been awarded medals for bravery in World War One were included as Jews and not exempt as German patriots and heroes.

It is very necessary to look at the big picture, especially now that the individual stories are getting harder to hear.

The big difference between now and the world eighty plus 80+ years ago is that now there is a State of Israel, a Jewish State, which almost nobody really believed would happen way back then. And in addition, not only is strict Torah Observant Judaism getting larger and more popular, but even the non-observant Jews here in Israel are showing a strong interest in classic halachic (Jewish Law) literature and Philosophy.

Ironically, as Judaism is getting stronger here in Israel, Germany is at the forefront of the European Union and the concept of Europe as a People. Yes, I see the Hand of Gd in this.


Mr. Cohen said...

Bayta, since you mentioned that intermarriage is a bad thing,
you should like my blog post about that subject:

How intermarriage harms Jewish
sovereignty over the Land of Israel

Batya said...