15 September 2010

A Stitch in Time.

Time Magazine's gift to the Jewish people for the year 5771.
If you have access to a Hebrew calendar, you will discover that the world was created on the 25th day of Elul. At sundown the fourth day following, on the eve of Tishrei 1, begins the festival of Rosh Hashanah, commonly known as "Jewish New Year." Unlike the civil New Year, Rosh Hashanah is a religious holiday. It celebrates the Creation. Children are taught that Rosh Hashanah is the "Birthday of the World."

Coming a week before the "Day of Atonement," Rosh Hashanah is a time for reflection and repentance. It is also a time for celebration. Traditionally, Jews wish each other a "sweet and happy year." But it has not always been thus. In 1943, the Gestapo began rounding up of Danish Jews the night of Tishrei 1, the date having been chosen because it was assumed that they would be in their homes celebrating.1

This year's New Year gift to the Jewish people is an article, "Why Israel Doesn't Care About Peace," that appeared in Time Magazine on Tishrei 3 (September 11). The author's premise is that Israelis are too secure, too busy making money to bother about peace with their Palestinian neighbors, a latter day twist on the traditional "evil Jewish bankers" canard — go here for discussion.

Neither Karl Vick, the article's author, nor the editors of Time, who approved it, are Nazis, of course. They just wish that Israel would be more accommodating, neglecting for the sake of convenience the fact that continuing accommodation is an almost certain recipe for disaster. More precisely, the folks for whom Vick et al. carry water desire "peace" in the sense that the word applies to the cessation of violence that follows destruction of a hated foe. Hamas, the "more moderate" Palestinian Authority and the Arab world generally long for the destruction of the Jewish state and the expulsion, if not the outright slaughter, of its citizens. Should these dreams be realized, the folks at Time will have been as culpable as any Danish collaborator who provided names and addresses to the Germans in 5704.

No man, of course, is an island, and no magazine is published in a vacuum. The editorial proclivities of Time reflect the Left's view of Israel as a colonial state oppressing indigenous people. This view can be disputed, convincingly I believe, but that is not the subject of today's post. Rather, I wish to consider why a majority of American Jews continue to support those who would recreate the world as it was before 1948.

One answer is that American Jews are too comfortable, too secure to care about co-religionists half a world away; a second, that leftist secularism has replaced religion as their "moral" (I use the word advisedly) compass. Finally, there is habit, reinforced by an all too human reluctance to disavow past belief.

With regard to Jewish comfort and security, the increasingly out in the open alliance between Leftists and Islamists will prove salubrious. For the past decade, this association has been most in evident on college campuses. More recently, it has spilled into the public square as indoctrinated graduates made their way into politics and the media. That the President himself is one of these will further accelerate the process.

Regarding ascendant secularism within the Jewish community (I except the Orthodox), hard times tend to encourage traditional ways of thinking about man and his place in the universe. And it is hard times that have been amassed, bit by self-indulgent bit, these many years.

As to habit, generational turnover, if nothing else, will provide the remedy.

So there is no question that American Jews will get it eventually — "it" being the fact that the secular Left is their foe, and the Christian Right, their natural ally. "Eventually," however, can be a long time. And time is just as much an enemy of the Jewish people as any Jihadist intent on slitting an infidel's throat. "Tempora mutantur et mutamur" — "times change and we change." Indeed. But sooner is better than later. Best to stop, look and listen. Best to resolve this year, before the Book of Life is sealed, that conventional ways of thinking can be self-destructive.


1. The round-up was largely unsuccessful. Tipped off several days in advance, the Danish resistance and Jewish community leaders arranged for the escape and eventual transport to Sweden of nearly all of Denmark's 8000 Jews. A charming account, albeit with some not so subtle proselytizing, from the perspective of two Danish teenagers can be had in Robert Elmer's A Way Through the Sea.

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