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Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews -- For those who like their news and truths frank and sharp

Shockingly, Jewish unity hardly has any priority

This is something that must change immediately

The Sages and Rabbis teach us that Jews hating each other on no grounds, slandering, and lacking unity are delaying Redemption, humanity reaching perfection and the end of all suffering still in the world. You would think: Solving that must have the highest priority. But, it hardly registers.

Reminds me of the scare that humanity could become extinct in 50 years, with crossing a point of no return (pardon the pun) in 10 years. You would think: What could be more important? I’ll tell you what’s more popular: to make money, fight wars, and eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die. If we continue like that, this certainly will be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

But, if we would pull off Jewish unity, all other problems must fall away.

Deep-down, Jews are united. Antisemites know that when they hate all of us equally. It also shows in times of serious distress. But we don’t want to ‘force’ G^d to give us much stress to bring out this underlying reality.

Gentile friends can play a superb role in fostering Jewish unity because they see our infighting as silly at best. They lack irritation, lack of patience, partisanisms, and hopelessness many of us seem to have in abundance.

Why then don’t we Jews spend 10% of our free time and income on creating Jewish unity? Beats me. Let’s think about what it would take.

For Jewish unity, it’s not enough to be tolerant of everyone we agree with. We need to take a hard look at Jews who are different from us, Jews different from us, especially the ones we can’t stand.

Some groups of Jews cancel other Jews.

  • The ultra-right: the ultra-left (“‘erev rav, malshinim“).
  • The secular: the religious, and vice versa (“I know they hate us”).
  • Israeli Jews disliking US Jews (“imperialists”).
  • US Jews looking down on Israeli Jews (“primitives”).
  • Jews: Converts from Judaism (“traitors, liars”).
  • Jews with warm Gentile friends: those without (“Those racists”).
  • Ethical people: con artists (“They make you want to run”).

These are some of the things we can do:

  • Invite Gentile friends to help us.
  • Should Jew-haters kill them? No? Then, see them as precious.
  • Let’s motivate ourselves. No Antisemites can harm us when we are united. (Yet, it’s still not our fault. They also couldn’t harm us without gravity. That doesn’t make gravity guilty.)
  • Give a deserved compliment to a fellow Jew you can’t stand. (Don’t admit what gave them the honor. I did once. Bad idea.)
  • Publicly defend Jews who you can’t stand without buts and ifs. We have plenty of enemies who abuse us. We don’t need to help them.
  • Think about the kind of Jews you can’t stand the most, look for such Jews, and notice what they are great at, how they are an asset to Judaism and humanity, and say so. (What you do when your partner, kids, or students irritate you to no end. Look for the good.)
  • Don’t be so sure that such ‘terrible Jews’ are so terrible and wrong. Argue with them. See how good your ideas are. See who wins.
  • Israeli soldiers and physicians defend and fight for everyone, no questions asked. Be like them.
  • Don’t attack our leaders, faulty as they are. Don’t do the opposite: don’t idolize some of our teachers. We’re all human and imperfect.
  • As activists, let’s make sure we attack policy, not people.
  • Refuse to read/listen to Jews slandering Jews and other ego trips.
  • Always consider that Judaism has high standards, and Jews have much scar tissue from attacks by our enemies. Don’t blame victims.
  • Don’t expect Jews to be super-human. That would end in disappointment and exaggerated condemnations.
  • Don’t be a chauvinist justifying all the unjustifiable. But, do highlight the abuse ‘unacceptable Jews’ first received. Not to excuse, but to motivate us to stop all abuse. Yigal Amir was canceled as Yemenite.
  • Learn more empathy. This can be learned. Would you have done better in their shoes? How would you feel, and what would you need in their place? Could you provide that to them a little?
  • Focus on what you like about fellow Jews, not on dislikes.
  • When we see someone’s faults, it is our task to get them on the right path. This includes not attacking them.
  • Not caring about someone is worse than hating them.
  • Love yourself to know what it feels like.
  • Be proud as a Jew. Then you don’t need to trash others to feel good.
  • Improve yourself to remember how hard it can be.
  • Out loud, recall daily some ways that Jews, Israelis, and Israel are remarkably great. See that our imperfections aren’t exclusively ours. If divisiveness didn’t work for 2,000 years, maybe just stop it?
  • Smiles all day keep wars away.
  • Don’t live in a bubble. Be a loyal part of communities with their inevitable wicked people. On them, we practice baseless love. Darling people are hard to love ‘regardless.’
  • Do we hate Jews because they seem to dislike or not care about us, we envy them, or they once said no to us? That is baseless hatred.
  • It’s harder to love than to hate; let’s be ambitious.
  • Stop all talk that these kinds of Jews are all such-and-such. There are good and bad apples in every basket. (In Hebrew: yesh weyesh.)
  • Get to know Jews in different communities and see for yourself how the stereotypes are not true of some if not of anyone.
  • Don’t drink alcohol ‘for fun.’ It brings out the worst in us. There are enough Gentiles to drink up the world’s alcohol production.

There are exceptions.

  • Con artists, for whom words have no meaning and human closeness is a threat. Get away from them. Conspire to disempower them. But don’t hate them. Pity them.
  • Oppose abusive, bigoted, and antisemitic Jews, but don’t hate them.
  • As a measure of last resort, we must sometimes scold abusive Jews but only for constructive reasons. Make sure your motives are pure: to protect their victims, to show bystanders not to stay silent in the face of evil, to diminish the abuser’s suffering in the future world, to make the world ready to corner dangerous people collectively, and on the off-chance that that would help the villain to repent.

What things do you see we can do for Jewish unity?

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, an almost daily blog contributor to the Times of Israel, and previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. He often makes his readers laugh, mad, or assume he's nuts—close to perfect blogging. He's proud that his analytical short comments are removed both from left-wing and right-wing news sites. * As a frontier thinker, he sees things many don't yet. He's half a prophet. Half. Let's not exaggerate. He doesn't believe that people observe and think in a vacuum. He, therefore, wanted a broad bio that readers interested can track a bit about what (lack of) backgrounds, experiences, and education contribute to his visions. * To find less-recent posts on subject XXX among his over 1600 archived ones, go to the right-top corner of a Times of Israel page, click on the search icon and search "zuiden, XXX". One can find a second, wilder blog, to which one may subscribe, here: https://mmvanzuiden.wordpress.com/. * Like most of his readers, he believes in being friendly, respectful, and loyal. Yet, if you think those are his absolute top priorities, you might end up disappointed. His first loyalty is to the truth. He will try to stay within the limits of democratic and Jewish law, but he won't lie to support opinions or people who don't deserve that. He admits that he sometimes exaggerates to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quite a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * Sometimes he's misunderstood because his wide and diverse field of vision seldomly fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what some love about him. He has written a lot about Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (including basic statistics), Politics (Israel, the US, and the Netherlands, Activism), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, LGBTQIA+, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust, and Jewish Liberation), the Climate Crisis, Ecology and Veganism, Affairs from the news, or the Torah Portion of the Week, or new insights that suddenly befell him. * His most influential teachers (chronologically) are his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, and, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim, Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, and disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed. He aims to bring a fresh perspective rather than harp on the obvious and familiar. He loves to write encyclopedic overviews. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds should be disputed. In short, his main political positions are among others: anti-Trumpism, anti-elitism, anti-bigotry and supremacy, for Zionism, Intersectionality, and non-violence, anti those who abuse democratic liberties, anti the fake ME peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, pro-Science, pro-Free Will, anti-blaming-the-victim, and for down-to-earth, classical optimism, and happiness. * He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (https://diethylstilbestrol.co.uk/studies/des-and-psychological-health/), born in 1953 to parents who were Dutch-Jewish Holocaust survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork. He grew up a humble listener. It took him decades to become a speaker too. Bullies and con artists almost instantaneously envy and hate him. * He holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam) – is half a doctor. He practices Re-evaluation Co-counseling since 1977, is not an official teacher anymore, and became a friendly, empowering therapist. He became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids non-violently. For a couple of years, he was active in hasbara to the Dutch-speaking public. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's being a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. He lives with his library in Jerusalem. Feel free to contact him. * His writing has been made possible by a (second-generation) Holocaust survivors' allowance from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having an original peek outside of your cultural bubble.
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