Jews come in many varieties, Sephardim, Ashkenazim, religious, secular; each group is further subdivided, but we all have one thing in common… We are all Jews! In spite of our strong disagreements, whether political or religious, in spite of differences in minhagim or nussach of prayer, we are all Jews! To the world at large, we are all one. You doubt it? Look at Jewish history throughout. Especially look at Hitler, yimach shmo vezichro, and his murderous Nazi henchmen. They didn’t care if we wore a shtraimel, a hat, a yarmulkeh or sported no head covering at all. Hitler didn’t care where, or even if, we prayed. In the interest of a mythological Aryan purity, the Nazis went went back six generations to see if there was a drop of Jewish blood so they could add more individuals to the roster of those they wanted to exterminate. Why? Because to them, whether one was an Eastern European Ashkenazi or a Greek Sephardi from Salonika, whether a world famous scientist, or a well known doctor, a renowned author or academic, or just a lowly – previously unheard of – shoemaker, we were all – without exception – verdammte Juden.
This week we commemorate the 70th anniversary of Anna Frank‘s death in a concentration camp, you would have thought that after the horrors of WWII, the world would have learned its lesson. Well… it obviously learned nothing or forgot it too soon! Look around you, religious and ethnic hatred are rampant and at heightened levels. Antisemitism in Europe is once again approaching the infamous levels of the late 30s. The more things change, the more they stay the same…
Starting on Wednesday evening through Thursday, we celebrate Purim. In the Hebrew year 3404, Haman – King Achashverosh‘ Prime Minister – decreed the Final Solution that was to annihilate every Jew in all 127 lands ruled by the Persian Empire. On the following year 3405 (356 BCE), on the 13th of Adar the Jews were victorious against their enemy. Today 2370 years later, Israel once again faces the same existential threat from Haman‘s spiritual heirs, now it is the Persian satrap, the Supreme Leader of Iran and his murderous fanatics. Just as we did then, we will emerge victorious again! We must realize that regardless of differences in degrees of religious observance or lack thereof, regardless of the hue of our skin, regardless of religious customs, regardless of social status, regardless of the cultural influences that mold the individual, we are all Jews; far too many people around the world still consider us verdammte Juden. WE GOTTA LIVE TOGETHER , in peace and harmony for only then will we be invincible!!!