Monday, 28 May 2018

Jews Have a Right To Be Offended

A wise man once noted that before one is respected and treated with respect, he must learn to respect himself.

And that goes for an entire people, an entire nation, as well.

Watching the way some Jews carry themselves, we wonder if the Jewish Nation really respects itself.

We are specifically referring to responses by some Jews to
 trends of repeated efforts by gentiles to define us. Some non Jews, unfortunately, take it even further and usurp our most precious Jewish ONLY symbols and great concepts, those that have kept us through hard chapters in our history.

Moreover, the indifference to such practices and, in some cases, even the condonation, enablement and support of such efforts by many Jews, leave some of us utterly aghast and dismayed. We see Jews attending a “Christian Seder” which distorts what a Seder is about, and smile with acceptance along with a self-deprecating joke about not really liking matzo or gefilte fish. When that Seder is later followed by an article, written by a Jew, lauding the commemoration of such a  “Seder” by Christians for whom the event amounts to no more than the celebration of the last supper of Jesus, we are dumbfounded. 

We see Jews facilitating the arrival of Christian missionaries to the Jewish Homeland and give them land in Eretz Yisrael where they set up tent. We see missionaries in Yisrael describe their mission as “bring the Gospel to the farmers of” Judea and Samaria.  We hear them sing to us about “The New Jerusalem,” and we spot them teach the Gospel at the Knesset.

Observing some of our own bending backwards to appease and pander to those who clearly want to hurt them, demean them and destroy them as a religious community, culture, and people is disheartening, to say the least.  There is no self-respect when what others do to offend Jews gets a sick kind of smile, no objection and in some cases condonation and support of it

How far will they go before someone says, enough, we don’t have to sit and smile and be nice about the theft of our heritage and the demeaning of what is ours?
We are all for cultural exchanges. At the same time, we realize that we cannot stop cultural appropriation and usurpation. It is as old as humanity. All of us are enriched by learning from other cultures, by adopting what is best of them all.  We all like good pizza, Brahms’ music, the latest clothing from New York.

 However, when cultural appropriation becomes cultural hijacking and calling it authentic, when taking the customs of great significance of one people and reinterpreting them for another to completely change them for some conflicting purpose, we are verging on deliberate efforts to erase lines between cultures, efforts that should be eliminated. 

Furthermore, why do Jews allow and accept Christian or Muslim interpretations of Jewish texts? Why do Jews remain silent when such interpretations come with demands to agree with them? Why do Jews just smile to such efforts and fear offending those that make demands on them?

Again, it is nothing more than a demonstration of a lack of self-respect.

Yes, we know, a lot of this is the result of 2000 years of developing defenses to existential threats. The ghetto leader whose daughter was kidnapped by the Lord of the Manor, raped and beaten and then returned to the ghetto, who thanked the rapist with a smile on his face for returning his daughter alive and not dead, was protecting his life and that of his whole community because under the circumstances there were no choices. That bought a few months of peace, not respect, and when it becomes a habit, long after the cause for the behavior is gone, that is just sad and sick and a drain on our survival today.

So, we ask these questions.  Do Jews have the right to be offended?  Do Jews have the guts to object to being offended?

And while we are at it when missionaries approach Jews in a city like Jerusalem, offending Jews by handing out their literature, which on more than one occasion distorts sacred Jewish writings, ask them why they are not doing it in Muslim areas and in Muslim countries. Or are they worried about offending them?

Ben-Gurion spoke of a time when Jews would be a normal nation. Being normal also means the right to be offended, the right to demand respect. Time for Jews to be normal and practice these rights.

This article was written jointly by Roger Froikin and Bat-Zion Susskind


  1. You are absolutely right! I'm saddened by the way the messy pants movement, and the Xians are treating the Jewish people. It is sick what they were doing, and they will have to face the just judge one day.

  2. The reform movement, which I term the reform church, is one of the greatest causes of the symptoms you have described. Just yesterday on TV here in Israel we saw a young “model”, a brainless product of Israeli’s irreligious society, announce that she is marrying a famous Spanish non-Jewish footballer and that the wedding ceremony will be performed by the reform movement/church.
    The reform church’s crime is that of presenting “an alternative” to basic Judaism. It is not by chance that most USA reform Jews supported Obama and then Hilary Clinton.
    I understand that your article was provoked by attitudes to xian missionary activity here in Israel. Fair enough. But the greatest danger to Judaism at large is – IMHO – to American Jewry, particularly to those Jewish members of the reform church, which is distorting Judaism beyond all recognition. The litmus test – which only time will see – is how many grandchildren of reform church members will remain Jewish, wedded to Jewesses.

    1. If we don't reform Judaism from its lies, it is monstrous rape culture. Deuteronomy 22: 28-29 says that if a virgin is raped, the rapist may make a pimp of her father by paying him fifty shekels and then the daughter may choose to marry the rapist for "honor". That is not the word of God and to defend that is to defend and spread rape culture. If that is a "sacred" wedding and two guys can't get married, I'm calling bullshit. As a reform Jew, the only way one can be a true Jew is reform. Otherwise you are a rape-enabling parrot of some corrupt old world ruler that lied in the Torah. Any scholar of Torah will tell you there are enough contradictions that its sole divine authority is impossible. It's like sifting through sand to find gold. There is value, but there are also monstrous lies that have brought the worst consequences on us. When we teach that love it self is wrong, we betray King David, our very symbol, for he loved Jonathan more than any woman. And not as platonic brothers. Romantically. Brothers used to mean that too, and that double meaning survived to this day in the term of fraternizing--military personnel are banned from fraternizing, or flirting. Honor love and REFORM, or there is no Godliness.

  3. If Jews are not offended, they should re-examine their Yiddishkeit and hashkafa.

  4. As someone above mentioned..."alternatives to basic Judaism," or "alternatives to Judaism."

    Excuse this non-Jew for making the observation, but trying alternatives is one thing, trying to legitimize the alternatives is another.

    It's not like "alternatives to basic Judaism haven't been tried before, in the last centuries of the second Temple.

    Unfortunately, those alternatives didn't fare well over the long term, and only ended up sparking a new religion.