Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Anti-Semitism under every rock

Noam Shpancer writes a column in my local Jewish paper. He's an Israeli living in my city and he has strong opinions, usually to the extreme left of Israeli politics, and more often than not, I think he's gone off the deep end. But his latest piece is excellent, albeit written in his confrontational style. He decries the tendency to see antisemitism around every corner. I agree. sometimes it seems like fighting antisemitism has replaced the richness of our actual tradition for some organizations.

Here's his article on the local paper's website or on his blog.

I once knew a guy named Ze'ev Maghen. I haven't seen him in many, many years but a quick google search found him teaching at Bar-Ilan. Anyway, way back when, I think around 1990, he wrote an article on how to fight anti-semitism. Its main point was that we shouldn't moan and wail about anti-semitism but go ahead and live rich Jewish lives and that's the best answer. I found a link to the article but the link is broken. However, this site quotes part of the article:

"Surely none of you will tell me that down four millennia, and through the wrenching vicissitudes and savage depredations of exile, it was our appeals, protests and screams for equitable treatment that sustained us, kept us in life, and brought us to this season. No, my friends, our history teaches us a different lesson: that those who, rather than appealing and screaming, choose to build, to educate toward cultural and national revival, to defy anti-Semitism not with Jewish pleas and Jewish hand-wringing but with Jewish learning, Jewish observance, Jewish strength and Jewish achievement-such are those who bring our people survival, salvation, a future."

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