Barry Shaw

Coping with Crisis the Jewish Way

How is it that we Jews, Israeli Jews I mean, cope with the virus crisis better than the goyim?

It’s because we have coped with crisis all our lives.  You have to understand that a Jewish live is about three thousand years.

We’ve had to manage with being turfed out of our ancient land and made to suffer many times by goyim in all their forms. Christians. Muslims. Even people who don’t exist anymore. Babylonians. Mamelukes. Amalekites. Egyptians. Romans. Greeks. Ottoman. Nazis. Soviets.

They blamed us for their Black Death. They blamed us for their economic and political ruin. They even blamed us when the Romans killed a Jew.

We cope. They disappear.

Even when driven out of our homeland and forced to live under the goyim we cope. Even with the pogroms, the hate, the impositions, the inquisitions, the expulsions, the massacres, the ghettos, the farhud, the holocausts, the death camps, the gulags, we coped.

Crisis in our more recent life means we have to leave our home and fight off whosever wants to kills us again.

So when the hidden enemy came to strike us we were ordered to stay home. That for us is not a crisis. We experienced that already back in the day when we were slaves in Egypt as we were reminded ourselves during our Passover Seder service. We had to stay home then. They died. We lived.

Today we have to stay home. We sit, we eat, we watch television.

That is not a crisis. That is a pleasure.

We mange crisis well. What we also do well is worry. We worry how we will cope when we are allowed out. Will we be able to live our lives to the level we had before? That, for us, is a crisis. Why? Because we don’t want to go back to living the way we had before. We want to do better. That’s what Jews do. Try to do better than we were. But we will cope. We know we are going to start behind where we were. But we know we will get back to where we were and then progress. That is what we are good at.

The only thing that troubles us is that it is going to take that bit longer to get back to what we were doing.

As through all our life we are not troubled by the goyim. Let them sort themselves out. If they can’t cope with crisis they will have crisis until they sort themselves out.

It is those among us that trouble us. That is because there are some of us who get in the way of our crisis management. They cope by ignoring the danger. That’s not coping. That’s extending our crisis.

Who are these people who are so slow to cope with this crisis?

They are the ones who enter our lives when we are born, marry, and die.

They emerge from their warren to snip our penis when we are born, marry us when we are in love, and bury us when we die.

Apart from that, we don’t see the black-suited army until they interfere in the way we eat or want to behave on Shabbat. Their shadow rules our life until we have to fight then they disappear, until we die while coping with an external crisis. They do what they do and disappear into their shtetls.

They live a life detached. To them, we are the goyim. Yet they are a part of us.

So it annoys us that they are slow to join us in coping with this crisis. We see them collectively and individually not coping the way they should and it troubles us.

For people with their noses in the book, they seem slow to learn. But learn they must if we are to survive this crisis.

Maybe this will bring them closer to our collective need to cope, not only with this crisis but with others to come.

For that is our fate. The collective Jewish fate of coping with crisis.

Barry Shaw. Author of ‘Fighting Hamas, BDS and Anti-Semitism.’

About the Author
Barry Shaw is the Senior Associate for Public Diplomacy at the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies. He is also the author of ‘Fighting Hamas, BDS and Anti-Semitism,' '1917. From Palestine to the Land of Israel, 'BDS for IDIOTS,' and his latest work 'A Tale of Love and Destiny,' the dramatic life of a Jewish heroine.
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