Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews

The Notre Dame of blessed memory?

Sometimes, we only really value what we have lost.

Who can look at the total and the magnificent details of this Gothic monument without being amazed beyond words?

I know, the goal of these cathedrals was not only to laud G^d. It was also to impress upon the mortals their insignificance so that their servitude towards the L^rd would also extend to obedience towards the rich–religion as opium to the masses, as Marx so aptly said.

Still, one can marvel the amazing art as a tribute to us mortals who, after all, designed, built and decorated it.

How shocking to realize that much of this may be lost. Hopefully by negligence of restaurateurs and not by a terrorist attack, although the sight of the fire in this landmark building did bring back memories of the New York Twin Towers on fire. Shocking even if this time only one person was hurt.

At my Amsterdam workplace, Amstelhof, the most colossal old-age home it ever had, where I was night watch until I made aliya, a fire under the roof was discovered while I was at my post. Workers had forgotten some cloth with cleaning stuff close to an open container with paint and the stuff had begun a chemical reaction, the firemen explained to me. There was much smoke under the roof but none of the 250 residents were hurt, also because the wooden beam above the paint container was too thick to burn. It had just smoldered for 10 hours.

Contrary to earlier rumors, the epic organ was miraculously saved:

Even if it’s unclear at the time of this writing, what of this building, with all its outer beauty and inner treasures, was rescued, can be restored or be brought back to “life,” clearly much must be lost. Yet, let’s remember that it is better to have loved and lost than never have loved at all.

Who could have foreseen that one day, the bell would might toll for her?

And yes, as K’vutzat Yavne community rabbi Rabbi Ilay Ofran just wrote, “nearly 800 years ago, Catholic officials gathered at the massive courtyard to burn 12,000 [hand-written] Talmud manuscripts not long before Jews would be expelled from Paris.” Whole volumes of the Talmud are unknown today, likely because of that terrible act of ethnic cleansing. May her horrifying fire of yesterday be an atonement.

About the Author
The author is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (DES - Diethylstilbestrol), born in 1953 to two Dutch Holocaust survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork, and holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam). He taught Re-evaluation Co-counseling, became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a vegan for 8 years now. * 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 lehavdiel bein chayim lechayim: Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo and Rav Zev Leff. * Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years he wrote hasbara for the Dutch public. His fields of attention now are varied: Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science, Politics (Israel, the US and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight Truth), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, GLBTQAI, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), Ecology and Veganism. Many people can't understand or like him because he has such a wide vision that he never fits any specialist's box. But that exactly what others love about him. Many of his posts relate to affairs from the news or the Torah Portion of the Week or are new insights that suddenly befell him. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, reassure the doubters but make the self-assured doubt more. He strives to bring a fresh perspective rather than bore you with the obvious. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds must be disputed. In short, his main political positions are: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, democracy, anti the fake peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, Science, Free Will, anti blaming-the-victim and for down-to-earth optimism. Read his blog how he attempts to bridge any discrepancies. He admits sometimes exaggerating to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quit a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second generation Holocaust survivors 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. November 13, 2018, he published his 500st blog post with the ToI. * He likes doing age-appropriate and age-inappropriate things and looks forward to getting to know his timeless mature out-of-the-box soul mate. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me.
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