Friday, June 28, 2013

The Roman and his Question

 A Jewish story:

Once there was a teacher who was teaching his Jewish students.  And as often was the case, some romans would come it and sit in the class -not to learn, but to try and stump the teacher or make trouble.

Sure enough a Roman entered the class just when the teacher was teaching about the court system. His last words were, "and so the majority rules!"

The man didn't hear the earlier part of the lecture and said, " so ! if the majority rules, then you all must conform to the Roman's ways because we are more of a majority!"

The teacher paused.

He asked the Roman. "How are you, Sir? Do you have sons?"

"yes." Replied the Roman.

"How are your sons?" Asked the teacher.

"Its a big headache when they come to visit," sighed the Roman. "they each come with their personal gods and arguments always insue as to which god is the preferred one."

So the teacher replied, "When you can sort it out between your sons, then come back and I'll answer your question."

The Roman understood.  He and his people was not a majority.  Each one was beholden to a different "head."  Every man was for himself.

As we all look on at the Muslim take over of the world, we are hesitant to really band together and really do something about it.  The goverments discourage it, but also the people are scattered.

My own personal fear is that many Americans and Europeans will want the help of others to fight Islam. They will praise the fighters in Myanmar for their victories, they will note the successes in Africa.

But once, if ever, the Muslims are defeated, my fear is that those same fighters will become "non-humans" once again in the eyes of the Americans and Europeans.

Basically, we are so scattered and divided, we are not a majority.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Brave Jews

Quotable Quotes

"The US is the modern day Sodom and Gomorrah while Christianity triumphs in Russia"

The US is the modern day Sodom and Gomorrah while Christianity triumphs in Russia.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Dirty Truth

We all know the story from midrash that goes:

Hashem decided to create man and asked His minsters, Peace, Kindness and Truth what they thought.

Peace and Truth thought it was a bad idea. One said it would bring war and the other said man would bring falsehood.  Kindness was pro-man. He said man would do such acts of kindness that it would be worth it.

So, Hashem throws Truth down to the ground and proceeds to create Man.


This makes me wonder: Is Truth dirty now?

Is it something people don't really want to see? And when you do bring it out people don't even like it?

Does Truth have to be coated with a bit of lying in order to be swallowed? Sort of like a raw nerd. He has knowledge, but its suave and so people dislike him.  Only when he figures out how to have a "coat of suaveness"  (as in "..sheker hachein" from Mishlei) only then are people duly impressed with him and his knowledge?

And if Truth was thrusted to the ground, is it like ore? Ores need to be chipped away until the real precious metal is able to be taken.  Would precious metals represent Truth in the physical world?

Inquiring minds want to know!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Making of A Racist?

Maybe I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning?

Sometimes in the deep deep secret of my heart, I wonder where is the loyalty of the Black Jew? Is it to his blackness? Is it to his Jewishness?  Is there a right answer? Should there be?

Many Black Americans feel compelled to have allies of like people around them.  Its comforting and creates less chance of verbal gang ups by whites, less chance of being visibly singled out and shunned,  less chance of victimhood.  Even as they enter the Jewish world, which is diverse however, in America there is a prominent Ashkenazi population, even then they seek out their color brother for safety and comfort.

And when such color brothers are nowhere to be found, or are too few and far between, then the borders are knocked down and color brothers are searched for in other realms.  Thus, we have many groups of "Black Jews" which includes Orthodoxy, Conservatives, Reforms, Black Hebrews, Hebrew Israelites, Christians, Messianics, Muslims, you name it all in the same group. If its got the color, its in.

However, because the value system is not upheld (I mean seriously, does an Orthodox Jew believe Conservatives or Reforms are Jews or are they just flattering for the sake of having the numbers around them for the time being? Don't Reforms feel weary of the Orthodox's "holier than thou" thinking? Do Messianics and Christians not want to eventually devour the Jew's mind and replace it with their own dogma? ), the Black Jew must compromise on much of what they claim they hold dear for the sake of getting along with their color brothers.

As a result, they participate when these "others" slander the State of Israel,  they participate when Others denounce any rabbinic ruling they are not in favor of, they slowly disrobe themselves of the faith they once had for the sake of accommodating others' ideals.

(Granted I know why this is done.  Its the middot we are after, the kindness, the comfort the love that can be found from another.)

The poor Black Jew is just about ready to give up his Jewishness for the approval of his color brothers.

But what he doesn't know, and what is usually the case, is that those Other color brothers would love to have his Judaism. So an exchange slowly happens.

As the Black Jew gives up his Jewishness, his brothers slowly pick up his sparks that are foolishly discarded. They pick up his diction, his words, his clothes, his knowledge, his Torah, etc.,  at least at face value.  Then he begins to walk around amongst the Jewish people pretending as if he is a Black Jew.

Lest anyone finds out his ruse, he builds a wall. A wall called "Racism!"  If anyone dares ask him questions as to where he comes from or who he really is, he will declare the questioner a racist.  It doesn't matter that the question is asked out of stupidity, foolishness, curiosity, for the sake of clarity; any and all questions are
met with the dreaded label of  "Racist!"

So now what are the rest of the Jews to do?  How should they deal with the fake Black Jews and the real Black Jews.  How can they tell the difference? How will they know if that levite they are calling up to the Torah reading is really a Jew at all? How will they know if that couple that asked for their son to be circumcised on Shabbat is really a Jew at all? Can't ask! Don't want to be a racist!

And then we have another issue with our color brothers.  The studious Hebrew Israelites and Black Hebrews who learn Torah, not because they want to be part of the Jewish people with all its diversity. No.  They would rather usurp the title of Jew. Why? I have no idea. But it wouldn't be the first time people wanted that title. And so they work, tirelessly, to create the history of the Moors and how they were Jewish all along.

The Nigerians are getting in on this action too.  As they insist to their fellow Nigerian counterparts that all their other Nigerian oral traditions are false except the one that says that they were of Jewish descent.  They keep the propaganda going because if you say something long enough and loud enough... just maybe...

There is an enormously loud knocking on the Jewish door. Can you all hear it? Or is that a window getting broken?

And how unfair it is! Undoubtedly, there are White folks who try to sneak in the back door as well.  However, that is not spoken about as loudly. Different culture. Different methods.   But it personally hurts me, a Black Jew, that Black folks are doing this.  For all the struggles that I and people like me have gone through, and then to have to deal with this smoke screen, this fog, is disheartening. It makes that people can never be sure if someone is for real. And I'd like to keep it real.

So what's the solution? Granted, the problem of fake Jews pretending is not in a big scale as far as I've seen so far.  I've seen enough to make me nervous, but not enough to call the police ( Say where's the Sanhedrin when you need it? come on, people!). But its enough to raise an eye brow. So what's the answer? My fear is that if White Jews heard of this, they'd automatically take the easy lazy route and just dismiss all Black Jews. Black Jews will probably bite their nails. But whats the answer?

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Azonto (from Ghana)

The State of Black Jewish Affairs

I want to note that when I say Black Jewish, I mean the orthodox definition of Jewish: Mother is Jewish or person had an orthodox conversion.

Baruch Hashem many are coming out of the woodwork --at least in my eyes- and its great! However, many are self concious, which is not strange, very sensitive and want to be accepted -especially those from America.

That is fine.

The problem comes when we are so willing to cover ourselves with reform, conservative, seculars, Christian, Muslim, anything black to cover our true selves in the hopes that numbers, quantity, trumps quality / values.  As a result, in order to not be a hypocrite to our comforters, we end up rejecting the very teachings of orthodoxy, and accept all sorts of people as Jews, accept all sorts of position (gay is okay, reform conversion is okay, etc) so that at least, we will have their acceptance, and together with them complain and slander our own.

Hmmmmm... what's wrong with this picture?

We need to recognize that there are things we don't like in the social scene in the Jewish world, but slandering our own Orthodox Jews to "outsiders" is not going to help. Nor does it help these friends.  They may be having their own issues in their own communities, but the motives may be totally different from what motivates our problems.  It will also make us look ridiculous for being still in that group. And that will create a cycle which will slowly, but surely, eventually pluck us out of that orthodox world.

If there is a problem, a possible solution is to voice our complaint where it can make a difference, and we should do it in a way that our complaints will be heard. While there is a place for venting frustration, we should be cautious that it doesn't turn into a breach of communal security -sending a bad scent of all the community's misdeeds to shamayim.

Who's got our back?

That is the big question! That is the whole reason we are turning to what we knew from before or what we think is the stronger, friendlier group who will comfort us.  Where is our bitachon? Where is our emuna? Where is our trust that our community has our back?  Where is our faith that Hashem will protect us and defend us?

Trust! Hashem protects the converts.   Trust! Those who were born Jewish, the Torah is our strength. Fortify yourself by immersing in Torah, in mitzvot, in getting your questions answered, in becoming the best you that you can possibly be, and the people that you "need" will come into your life either as "friends"  as "neighbors" as "family members" and however else Hashem works it.

There are many Black Jews who came in via conversion --and not from the same beit din.  Which means, there are at least three rabbis who feel and think it is good and right for black Jews to be Jewish, times that by however many black Jewish converts you can think up.

The good guys are out there.

p.s.  This is not to say that reform, conservatives, seculars, gays, Christians, Muslims, etc etc should be treated badly, G-d forbid!! They are humans and belong in the big pool of the human race. But it is to say that if your values are being stepped on, its not beneficial to go to a place who don't hold your same values, to get comfort and strength to fight harder for your values. You may meet eye to eye on that one point, but that is not enough.