Norman S. Lipson
Norman S. Lipson

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

A number of years ago, I watched an Israeli documentary about the Yiddish comedic team of Schumacher and Dzigan.  Surviving the horrors of the Shoa, they made Aliyah in 1950, spending their remaining years keeping alive the flickering flame of Yiddish humor and laughter within a sea of Hebrew speaking, but often, Yiddish thinking, Israelis.

Two black humor statements from that program have stayed with me to this day.  The first, brings a sad smile to my lips: “The Jews in the Łodz Ghetto celebrated life like it was  three different Jewish holidays: They lived in homes like it was Sukkos, (flimsy and shaky); they dressed like it was Purim, (in rags of clashing colors and patterns), and they ate like it was Yom Kippur.”

It’s their second statement, however, that keeps me awake at night:  “In the 1930s, the Jewish pessimists left Poland for Palestine; the optimists went to Auschwitz.”

The old and very tired expression: “the more it changes, the more it stays the same” has, unfortunately, never been truer than in today’s world, with the rise of anti-Semitism, in America and throughout the West, hiding in the guise of anti-Zionism.

Finding sanctuary within the loving embrace of Hard Left/Progressive political and economic theologies, modern descendants of Haman, without fear of pushback from their fellow Hard Left/Progressives, spill their bile on, as far as they are concerned, the most racist, oppressive and apartheid regime the world has ever seen:  Israel.  Today’s anti-Semite doesn’t require a black shirt, logo or jackboots, but rather, just has to give voice to “Support BDS”, mindlessly repeat the slogan: “From the River to the Sea”, and refuse to accept the existence of an independent Jewish Israel in any form whatsoever.

In the dystopian world of absolutist thinking and purity of thought, nuance, subtlety, or disagreement, is taboo and grounds for castigation and expulsion.  Woe unto that Progressive who dares utter an objection to this mindset, not march in lockstep with its dogmatic beliefs, or attempts to mount a defense, no matter how feeble, of Israel.

Jewish supporters of Israel who are Progressive to the core, are finding themselves on the horns of a dilemma:  choosing between Israel, their People, their family, or the ticking time bombs hidden within the jingoistic slogans and woke ideology of the Hard Left.

Those who stand with their People, supporting a democratic and Jewish State of Israel, with all her blemishes, failures, as well as accomplishments and successes, should not be faint of heart nor fearful of tomorrow.

God forbid, the goals of BDS and the fulfillment of “From the River to the Sea” come to fruition.  Those Jews who chose to not stand with their People, but rather cast their lot with those who will use them as willing stooges, and when no longer needed, become cast aside like yesterday’s news, their dreams will go up in smoke in the chimneys of tomorrow’s Auschwitz

About the Author
Rabbi Norman S. Lipson is Founding Rabbi of Temple Dor Dorim in Weston, Florida. Israel advocacy and education have been in the forefront of Rabbi Lipson's more than 50 years in the rabbinate. Having led numerous Pilgrimages to Israel, he teaches about Israel and Judaism through inter-faith and adult education programs in South Florida. A graduate of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, he holds a Master's Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. He is the author of two books: “How Many Memories Make a Minyan?” and “Rabbi, My Dog Ate My Shofar!” both available on Kindle Bookstore.
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