Remembering is not enough

By Batsheva Haber

A man walksImage into a room full of Jews and shoots – killing three, days later eviction notices are taped to Jews’ doors. Sound familiar? Of course, it’s Nazi Germany in the 1930’s.

Except it’s not. It’s the United States of America, it’s the year 2014.

April 13th 2014, a man walks into a crowded Jewish center and shoots three people in cold blood. April 24th 2014, Jewish students in NYU are targeted by a group of pro-Palestinians, who post eviction notices on their dorm rooms.

And outside the US? In the last month alone: Ukrainian Jews received leaflets claiming to be from the government (they were not) requiring them to register as Jews, and a Synagogue in Ukraine was targeted and burnt. A group of Muslims in France come out with a statement that, “all the evil in the world originates from the Jews.” And a Spanish town decides to hold a vote in order to decide whether it is justified to change the name of their village – “Kill Jews” (a phrase they also use as a toast, while drinking on Easter).

And that’s without even starting on the attacks and threats made on the Jewish state Israel, both verbally and physically.

A report released recently shows that Anti-Semitic attacks have increased worldwide in 2013.  It’s the 21st century, and yet the Jews are still being targeted for no reason, other than them being born Jewish.

Today is the Holocaust Remembrance Day, the day where Israel commemorates the brutal murder of 6,000,000 Jews, 1,500,000 of which were children. On this day I turn to the world leaders. Only 69 years ago you made us a promise – “Never Again!” Are you living up to it?

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The Politically Correct Ma Nishtana

By Batsheva Haber

download (1)Every year at my family seder each and every one of us children is forced to get up on a chair and recite the traditional “Ma Nishtana”, from youngest to oldest. Being the second out of 5, by the time we’ve reached me it gets kind of repetitive. Therefore, each year I try to change it up a bit.

This year, in honor of my entering the academic world, I thought it would be appropriate to recite an intellectual and academic reading of the four questions. That of course would be the politically correct version, since the traditional text has no place in out postmodern world.

So without further ado, I give you the “Ma Nishtana” for the politically correct:

Father, and or Mother, I wish to ask you these four questions.

But before I start I must add that, like with all questions, there is no right or wrong, there is only perspective.

What makes this night unique from all other nights?

That is not to say, of course, that all other nights are not unique, for all nights were created equal, and equally unique –but rather, in what way does this night express its individuality?

On all other nights we do not discriminate between rich bread and poor, for neither is better or worse. But tonight we shut our tables to the rich bread and only accept the “lechem oni” – the poor bread! How can this be??

On all other nights we have an inclusive and diverse salad, but tonight we eat only bitter herbs. I do not of course mean that the herbs themselves are bitter, but rather that they are perceived as bitter by those who do not understand them.

On all other nights we would not dare to dip one food in another, for that would imply that the dip had no individual worth, and that its only value is to be a secondary addition to another food. And yet tonight we commit this injustice, not once but twice!

On all other nights we are given a choice: do we stand straight in our actions or beliefs, or do we sway and lean with them? But tonight, we are all forced to lean (to the left of course! One must never lean to the right!) Where is our freedom of choice?

There! Now if only we can deal with that whole killing all the Egyptians business (after all, they only wanted to peacefully coexist), we may be able to celebrate with a clear conscious.

Happy Holiday of Liberal(ty)!!