…It’s the place and the time. The right place and right time…a time when all the cosmic tumblers have clicked into place – and the universe opens itself up for a few seconds, or hours, and shows you what is possible.” W.P. Kinsella: Shoeless Joe Comes to Iowa
I like W.P. Kinsella, and I love Shoeless Joes Comes to Iowa. It’s a permanent resident on my nightstand, a book I read over and over when I cannot sleep. I discovered it long before FIELD OF DREAMS was made, before Jerry Salinger became Terrence Mann and Holden Caufield was excised from the script along with all references to Catcher In The Rye.
The only problem, however, with those pesky cosmic tumblers is that they can show both sides of the possible, and at this moment, the ugly side is winning.
The tumblers for the dark side clicked this past week when the president invited Robert Jeffress to annual White House Hanukkah party. You have to wonder what made them invite a known Jew-hater to such an event…and then ask him to speak. I rather like VANITY FAIR’s description:
But the president also called upon evangelical Christian leader Robert Jeffress to speak, claiming he’s a “tremendous faith leader.” Jeffress, in turn, called Trump “the most pro-faith president in history.” But Jeffress has a long history of hateful comments toward other faiths. In 2010, he called both Islam and Mormonism “a heresy from the pit of hell,” then issued a warning to Jews. “Judaism―you can’t be saved being a Jew,” he declared on the Trinity Broadcasting Network.
In a 2009 sermon, Jeffress expounded on his bigotry, saying: “Not only do religions like Mormonism, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, not only do they lead people away from the true God, they lead people to an eternity of separation from God in hell. You know, Jesus was very clear. Hell is not only going to be populated by murderers and drug dealers and child abusers. Hell is going to be filled with good religious people who have rejected the truth of Christ.”
This is the new and improved version of anti-Semitism we’ve all been waiting for. The president hails Jeffress as a tremendous faith leader, and invites him to attend a party with the same people he damns to hell, including that hot tamale Ivanka and her husband, Jared. What kind of father does that to a child, even Ivanka? Especially when her children would be mischling. This is a father who doesn’t give a brass farthing for his kids: ME, ME, ME, it’s all about ME! And while I’m at it…YOU are now the other.
All this on the same day the president signed that ridiculous order that made Jews a nationality, and defined Jews as a distinct nation, NOT American in the usual sense of the word. Do you see this for Italians? Or Irish? Or Somali? Or even Mexicans? No, you don’t. Because they’re not Jews and somehow being one of them is less offensive than being one of us.
Some Jews have forgotten the outcomes of the last few nationalistic attempts on our existence. Yellow stars stitched onto clothing is not particularly attractive. And to that end, I am reprinting Jew…or Not Jew, the Wifely Person Speaks episode from February 6th, 2017:
Are you a Jew?
Most of us who consider ourselves Jewish are born to Jewish parents. Some of us converted to Judaism. Some of us are Jewishly educated, others are not. Some of us are Orthodox, Masorti (Conservative…not to be confused with a political position) or Reform. Some are Hassidic, some are Renewal, some are Humanist. Some consider themselves “culturally” Jewish, others say they’re “food Jewish,” some say they are unaffiliated Jews. Some are agnostic Jews, others are atheist Jews.
If one parent is a Jew, you’re a Jew.
For the record, Jewish law requires that a Jew by birth has a Jewish mother. Jewish fathers are not required. We argue amongst ourselves about this, by the way.
If 2 grandparents are Jewish, you’re a Jew.
But here’s the thing: it doesn’t matter. Even Ivanka, Jared, and the kids fall into the same hopper. And that hopper leads right to something unpleasant. A concentration camp…or, as one of my readers suggested, right into the ovens. Do not pass go, do not collect $200.00.
If you’re affiliated with a Jewish community entity, you are a Jew.
You probably want to read up on Mischling. The statute that will be used to segment us will resemble the Nazi version. Two parents: Jew. One parent: Jew. Two grandparents: Jew….so forth and so on. Even if you go to church and take communion, you might be a Jew.
If you’re married to a Jew, you’re a Jew.
Apparently Ann Coulter has done her homework. Back in November, she tweeted an odd statement, a bit of a harbinger. What is she hinting at? That only real Americans are born in America? I guess that makes my kids American, but not me. The Pew Foundation, on the other hand, recently released a poll showing 60% of Americans don’t think you have to be born in America to be or become a “real American.” Nor does that same 60% believe you have to be Christian. But turn the statements around, and suddenly, 30% think you do…and that number may very well be growing.
If you are the offspring of an extramarital affair with a Jew, you are a Jew.
Call me whatever you want…. but sticking your head in the sand isn’t going to change how they label you when the time comes. And the time is coming when Bannon and his buddies are going to try.
If you are a Jew who converted to Christianity, you are a Jew.
So let me make this short and not-so-sweet. If you are Jewish and never considered yourself Jewish, get used to the idea. You are Jewish. You will be targeted as Jewish.
Nice people don’t take to the streets. Nice people don’t get involved. They have their own families, their own livelihoods, their own safety to worry about. They are not going to be on the front lines with you no matter what you think right now. But that’s getting ahead of myself.
Here’s the thing: if you are considered a Jew, be prepared. That means if push comes to shove, you will be harassed, bullied, or threatened. Figure out what you’re gonna do when you are confronted on the subway by a group of people who suggest your place is not on the subway. Figure out what you’re gonna do when that bagel shop you frequent suddenly has graffiti on the front window. Your non-Jewish neighbors are unlikely to come to your aid…no matter what they say now.
Now is the time to start getting used to your new reality. You might want to learn something about who you are…or who they think you are. Grok the idea. Talk it over with your family. Jew or not Jew. It probably doesn’t much matter if you’re Mischling.
I have grandkids, and I’m worried. If you’re not worried about the future of Jews in America, you must be living elsewhere. That flat in Herzliya looks better and better.