Diane Weber Bederman

The New Jews:Lions of Judah

There is a 2000 year old cultural meme of anti-Semitism. An irrational hatred of Jews and Judaism. When you understand this then you understand why anti-Semitism is the default position for so many. It makes sense.

But along with this 2000 year old anti-Semitism meme I think there developed within the Jewish people a meme as well. A survival meme that developed in response to our coping mechanism against elimination. Duck and run; hide, especially during the terrible times during Easter; the blood libel and Passion plays that led to the pogroms. We learned from experience to avoid those who hated us; to lower our heads; stay out of the way; to pay respect. Over the centuries we learned to bargain with people like Napoleon: then during the 1930’s bargaining with the democracies; in hope of saving our people, while too many were trying to find the answer to the perennial “Jewish Question.” We internalized the message: don’t rock the boat; work behind the scenes; don’t be pushy. In times of trouble, this has become the Jewish people’s default position. And understandably so.

Times have changed, though and I’ve had enough. Time to change that paradigm-that Jewish meme. We have been blessed with our own state, a country that was attacked from the moment of its birth, then again in 1967 and 1973 and the two intifada, and now we know more than 8600 bombs have been dropped in Israel from our enemies. Israel not only survived, she has thrived, rivaling the many democracies that at one time averted their eyes away from our potential annihilation.  Now the State of Israel has an IDF that is unsurpassed, not only on its ability to defend Israel, but maintain the morals, values and ethics of our religion, to show empathy and care for our enemy without expectation of reward.

This is the new Israel. This is the proud Israel. We are the new Jews.

I’ve had enough bowing down, kow-towing, turning to others to speak for us, justifying and defending our right to our own state, a Jewish state, in the land of our ancestors: ISRAEL.
We are the LIONS OF JUDAH from the diaspora to Eretz Yisrael.
Either stand with us or get out of our way.

I refuse to be made to feel beholden to those who speak on our behalf because as they so often point out to me-we don’t have many friends and we don’t want to upset the “few” we have. Sadly, I have heard this from Jews as well. Sorry. I will not accept friends like Calev Myers and Jamie Cohen, formerly Cowen, whose ulterior motives are to change the Law of Return in Israel to open the floodgates to Messianic Jews/Jews for Jesus/Hebrew Christians –in other words –Christians.

And most recently  I have been reprimanded by a distinguished Christian  Zionist Pastor  for suggesting to him that rehabilitating Paul-yes Paul, the one whose letters and writings led to the 2000 years of anti-Semitism, was disrespectful to the Jewish people.

I was responding to this post:

“And let us not be weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”- Rabbi Sha’ul.

I asked if he was referring to Paul. Yes he was.

He said, “He is still called Rabbi Sha’ul by many, if only affectionately.”

He said he called “the apostle Paul, Rabbi Sha’ul – at times. That is my prerogative. And, quite frankly, it is rude and inappropriate for you to question me in doing so. That you don’t approve of my terminology because it does not coincide with your understanding of Halacha is irrelevant.”

Calling Paul, Rabbi Shaul, with affection, is to be accepted because it his prerogative. Interesting dynamic. That history is being revised has no bearing. My Jewish opinion is irrelevant. It doesn’t carry the same gravitas as his. There is an underlying sense of entitlement to tell the Jew what is right. I didn’t receive the same courtesy he, himself demanded.This, unfortunately is becoming a new meme. Fear of offending the friendly “other.”

Avuncular Rabbi Shaul-really Saul of Tarsis, was a nasty piece of work as a Jew: Acts 9:1-2. There are no texts suggesting Saul was a rabbi. It seems to be an assumption, perhaps made to give Saul more credibility, amongst the Jews, today.Then came his revelation on the road to Damascus and his transformation into-Paul, follower of Jesus the Christ:Acts 10:1-16.

Why do some Christians feel entitled to lecture Jews on Halacha or our history and then cry foul when we have the temerity to question their assertions? Have they come to expect us to sit back meekly, grateful for their crumbs of love for us?

Where is the respect for me as a Jew in this attempt to re-Judaize a man who spoke disparagingly of the Jews for not accepting the teachings of Jesus as taught by Paul: Acts 13:Acts 13:41-14:7. Acts 18: 1-17.  Or in Paul’s words in Ephesus:

“I have served the Lord in all humility, with all the sorrows and trials that came to me through the plots of the Jews.” Acts 20:19-20.

We, the Jewish people, have worked hard to overcome the horror, the hate that still exists, so that we can sit with our younger Christian brothers and sisters and do good things together. The Shoah is still fresh. That we refuse to forget the past is our prerogative. That we never act on it is our saving grace. In return all we ask is respect.

We are the LIONS OF JUDAH from the diaspora to Eretz Yisrael.
Either stand with  us or get out of our way.

About the Author
Diane Weber Bederman is a multi-faith, hospital trained chaplain who lives in Ontario, Canada, just outside Toronto; She has a background in science and the humanities and writes about religion in the public square and mental illness on her blog: The Middle Ground:The Agora of the 21st Century. She is a regular contributor to Convivium: Faith in our Community. "