Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Enigma variations

When Winston Churchill described Russia as "a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma," he could have been talking about Jews.  The term "Jew" includes at least three meanings, first the religious, second the ethnic and third the national.  In that respect there are three main kinds of Jews in the world, each emphasizing one of these three aspects, first the religious, who believe in and practice Judaism, second, the ethnic, who eat at the deli and who are liberals who believe foremost in human rights and third the Zionists, who realize the national aspect of being a Jew is the only course for Jewish survival.  
Which one are you, or are you a mixture of two, such as a national religious Jew (1 and 3)?  But, you can’t really be a mixture of 2 and  3, you can’t be both a liberal Jewish ethnic and a Zionist.  That’s the sticking point.  Those Jews who have concluded that Zionism is the only path for Jewish survival have made their choice to stand with Israel, but those who have accepted an ethnic Jewishness, that allows them to wallow in chicken soup or to become fervent internationalists and good liberals, will ultimately disappear in the Diaspora.  They are creatures of the exile (galut), with no long-term plan for survival. 
Because they are good liberals they have no problem with their children marrying out to good liberal secular people of other ethnic origins.  But, that spells the end of the special existence of the Jewish people.  And of course these liberal Jews cannot accept the special "narrow" national definition of Jewish nationhood, after all they are good Americans or British or whatever.  And they certainly cannot justify the actions of the Israeli Government and the IDF carried out to ensure the survival of the Jewish State, not done in their name.
Our oldest grandson was inducted into the IDF this week and we went to see him on his base.  It was a moment of great pride for us, a moment of transition from being creatures of the galut to being authentic Jews, living in our own homeland and being ready and able to defend it.  Nothing can compare to the satisfaction of that.  


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