KJ Hannah Greenberg

Well-placed Indignation

Okay, so today I feel angry. Whereas it’s invaluable to judge people favorably, I’m struggling. See, I’m having trouble grasping why familiar others, friends, and family are essentially shrugging or worse when asked to aid the rest of our Klal, that is, to stand with those of us blessed to live in Eretz Yisrael.

On balance, it’s true that I didn’t realize how relatively well-off, in terms of material goods, Americans are until my husband, children and I made aliyah. I did, however, appreciate, decades before moving up to Israel, how poor they are in terms of spiritual wealth.

There’s never been a “golden medina;” Being “a land of opportunity” never kept swampy things at bay nor deterred the worst of human characteristics from taking root in immigrants. Many of our people lost their way when they found “refuge” in dollars.

Assimilation is sufficiently horrific on its own. Worse occurred, though; many of our brothers and sisters began to side with Israel’s enemies. I’m not referring to individuals who morally strayed by “marrying out” or by identifying with nonexistent  genders. I’m also not signifying persons who rationalized doing away with Shabbot observance or with kashrut. Instead, I’m denoting people content with their own small mindedness, else with their lack of any and all mindfulness. I’m speaking of people who hate themselves for being Jewish.

Whether or not these characters, who the media portray as belonging to Am Yisrael, and who are siding, via protests and more, with evil, are actually Jews who have either lost their way or never been exposed to the derech eretz, or are other ethnicities, it’s troubling to note their actions. Seemingly, guilt and shame have caused mental disorders in our actual or alleged dear ones. No healthy person makes allowances for butchery, rape, and other atrocities.

Concurrently, members of our greater family and so-called friends of our greater family are acting unthinkingly. For instance, an editor of a publication to which I had long contributed just published a “balanced issue,” which mostly featuring Palestinian writers. Additionally, the photos, which she had received from me and had, months earlier, accepted, were published as “Agricultural Paradise,” not as “Holy Land Fields.” Despite the fact that, last year, the gatekeeper in question nominated my work for a prestigious award, I can no longer contribute to her venue. If my reaction is confusing, consider that during the aftermath of 9/11, no one in Western media as much as peeped support for al-Qaeda or its dispatched terrorism.

I’m a former rhetoric and communications professor. I know that the media is biased. I’ve taught for decades that its agenda nearly never brings truth to light. Yet, given the present-day proliferation of convergent channels, I had hoped that honesty, in the least, critical thinking, at most, would win over minor fonts. I was wrong.

Then there’s the example of the suitcase. Before the war broke out, Hubby was supposed to fly abroad. While there, he was supposed to return some valises to a person who had left them in Israel.

Among the many recent requests for help that I’ve received was one from women organizing goods for displaced persons, who are temporarily sheltering in a Jerusalem hotel. They asked for: bras, belts, hangers, and suitcases. I had a new bra with the tags still on—it went into the box. Hubs had two belts on his side of our closet—they went into the box. We scavenged for hangers (usually our family only uses dry cleaning for Hubs’ kittel or for our challah covers), which, too, went into the box. Meanwhile, my dear spouse contacted the person whose suitcases we were babysitting to ask if they, too, could be donated. Mind you, this person has been constantly contacting my family to see if they can “help.”

At communication’s end, the cheap ones went into the box.  We were asked to continue to store the “fancy” one. The suitcase’s owner has enough resources to have traveled the world, including Antarctica, many times. Yet, they were unable to release a mere suitcase to fellow Jews who have nothing. Sadly, their reaction typifies that of many of our associates in Chutz l’Aretz.

The best that I can do to embrace Machrio L’Chaf Zechut in this situation is to assume that the suitcase owner is scared, lacks a strong connection to The Aibishter, and, accordingly,  feels out of control. Holding one suitcase back from donation is their puny attempt at control. Sad.

I have no energy to pat the hands, as such, of folks living abroad. I can’t and am loath to reassure them that everything’s okay. Everything’s not okay. It’s their job, not mine, to get hold of themselves and then, immediately thereafter, to step up and shower Eretz Israel with support.

I’m no Anne Frank. I’m not so pure and I’m not in hiding. I’m a life-tested grandma who grasps that no human, ultimately, has any say-so in their life’s goings-on. At the same time, I’m convinced that each and every one of us must do our histadlut  Today, emphatically, each of us must stick with Eretz Yisrael!

Diligence is not about blank promises, but it is about surpassing one’s ordinary limits. I want the people whom I know in the media to use their platforms! I want my academic peers to trounce rabblerousers who are articulating melliferous ideologies! I want every Jew whom I know and every Jew whom I don’t know to rise to protecting our homeland in ways that utilize the best of their abilities and other resources! I want humanity’s goodness to prevail over evil!

War is not convenient. War is not about “making relative choices.” There is good. There is evil. Period.

Today is the only day with which we can occupy ourselves. “Opportunity” is a transient entity. People who fail, today, to ally themselves with Eretz Yisrael might never (IYH, Moshiach’s on his way) have another chance to do so. If you are reading this post, you have bran cells. Use them to battle the wicked.

About the Author
KJ Hannah Greenberg has been playing with words for an awfully long time. Initially a rhetoric professor and a National Endowment for the Humanities Scholar, she shed her academic laurels to romp around with a prickle of imaginary hedgehogs. Thereafter, her writing has been nominated once for The Best of the Net in poetry, three times for the Pushcart Prize in Literature for poetry, once for the Pushcart Prize in Literature for fiction, once for the Million Writers Award for fiction, and once for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay. To boot, Hannah’s had more than forty books published and has served as an editor for several literary journals.
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