Category Archives: Judaism

Yes, Jews DO Celebrate Thanksgiving

I don’t know what’s up recently, but numerous people have asked me both online and in person if Jews can celebrate Thanksgiving. My reply: “Of course, I’m an America!”

With the exception of Christmas and Easter, there is not a single American holiday that I don’t participate in and enjoy celebrating. Other than the Orthodox community, which doesn’t acknowledge all secular events, this is the overwhelming custom for American Jews.

Thanksgiving has nothing to do with a particular faith, rather it brings together all faiths, teaching the lessons of gratitude, friendship, and harmony. If we could emulate the lovely example of tolerance and togetherness expressed by the Indians and the Pilgrims, it would be very beneficial in the modern age.

A lot of topics are discussed here on the blog, but most of all, I hope that by sharing my own ideas and customs, it will help to mainstream Judaism and Jews in general. We have made a lot of progress, for sure, but there are many misconceptions and stereotypes that persist. My life, as a Jewish American lady, is very similar to most others, even those who are a different religion.

The most wonderful part about America is that everyone is welcome. No matter what our race, creed, religion, or mindset, Thanksgiving is open for all and I truly appreciate that. Maybe the foods and participants vary from table to table and home to home, but it’s a day that doesn’t discriminate.

Granddaughter of Holocaust Survivors wants German Citizenship

A British lady, who is the descendant of Holocaust survivors, wants German citizenship. Not because of any particular love for Germany, but because Brexit makes her feel that Britain is no longer safe for minorities.

Natasha Walter, a writer and refugee worker, claims: “I see many of the experiences of my grandparents when they lost their homeland being repeated in this generation. The refugees I work with in the UK don’t have the right to work, they are exploited, they live in limbo, they wait years for citizenship, they are detained, they have left family members behind and they deal with all of that as they try to move on from the trauma they are fleeing.”

Most of that is patently untrue, but rather than debate the issues, I want to focus on the lady’s motivations.

While I can certainly understand how panic and fear can cause someone to make rash decisions, this strikes me as foolish. Returning to a country that killed your ancestors and turning away from the country that provided a safe haven is downright bizarre.

Like the author, all of my great grandparents where immigrants, coming from Lithuania and the Ukraine (places famous for vicious anti-Semitism and pograms). Not once in my life have I ever wanted to return to those countries and live, nor do I want citizenship. I’m curious to see those places, sure, but to live? Never! I am so thankful that my family came to America and provided the best possible place to grow up and have citizenship. Returning to where they fought so hard to leave would make a mockery of their efforts.

Life in America and in Britain is so much better and freer for the average citizen. Every single day we get to experience things that folks in other countries only dream of, which is proven by the huge numbers who want U.S. and U.K. citizenship. Brexit was about allowing British citizens to have more control over their own nation and not be subjected to the EU as the final decision maker. It is not about racism, xenophobia, hating Muslims or anything like that.

Certainly, in a free world, if an individual wants to leave the place of their birth and become a legal citizen of another country, they have the right to do so. But it strikes me as so sad and strange that people want to denounce Britain and America when those countries are the freest of all, with the most opportunity. Going back to Germany is not the answer.

 

Should Jews of German heritage reclaim German citizenship? I vote no.

Howard Stern’s Adult Daughter Embraces Orthodox Judaism

While most kids rebel against strict parents by becoming more liberal, Howard Stern’s daughter went the opposite way and embraced Orthodox Judaism. Now over 30 and still single, Emily Stern says she barely dates and prefers modesty rather than her famous dad’s “anything goes” attitude towards sex and relationships.

I found it interesting that she cites her parents 1999 divorce as a major cause in leading her towards Orthodoxy. Society often acts like divorce doesn’t create lasting problems, but in the case of children, it most certainly can and often does. I know that the divorce of my own parents, over 25 years ago, still effects me to this day in a very negative way.

Orthodoxy is definitely not the answer for everyone and if taken to an extreme it can be harmful, but if chosen as an adult, freely, it’s not a bad idea. Instead of drugs, alcohol, or promiscuity, which most young people prefer, Miss Stern wants to have a meaningful life and that’s awesome!

Should Jewish Professionals Represent Anti-Semites?

Not liking co-workers and clients is something anyone who’s employed has had to deal with during their career—most of us accept that as a normal part of the job. But what about truly offensive individuals who are downright evil? Should they be represented, and if so, by whom? Consider these two cases where Jewish professionals agreed to help open and notorious anti-Semites with bad results:

Dylann Roof, who committed mass murder at a Charleston church, is trying to fire his Jewish and Indian lawyers, calling them his “biological enemies.” The lawyers are actually fighting to remain on the case.

Tanya Gersh, a Montana realtor, was viciously terrorized by a troll mob after agreeing to represent Richard Spencer’s mother as a listing agent. She and her family literally had to flee for their lives as a result.

While I have immense sympathy for anyone who is being targeted and publically harassed and humiliated, I am truly puzzled that a Jewish professional would choose to represent an anti-Semite. It is certainly not a choice that I would make.

As many of my readers know, I was a realtor before I was a blogger, so I’m familiar with how that occupation works. Realtors have a lot of flexibility; they can pick their own clients and set their own commissions. Mrs. Gersh was aware of the Spencer family’s ties to the White Nationalist agenda, and obviously that would be the polar opposite of her own ideology. Why she ever would willingly involve herself is truly beyond me. (That’s not to say she did something wrong or bad, just that it wasn’t the wisest decision.)

In the case of legal representation, I’m also familiar with how that works since I have many family members that are lawyers. Even in cases of public defenders who are assigned clients, if there’s a true ideological issue at stake, a lawyer can ask to be recused. Every client is supposed to get the best defense possible and it’s debatable if a lawyer can truly aid a client they hate. I know that within my own family, nobody would ever take on a client like Roof. Perhaps other lawyers are more accommodating, but again, why should a Jewish lawyer be put in such a difficult position when a non-Jewish lawyer could assist?

In almost every case, a Jewish professional should not participate in helping an anti-Semite. Probably the only instance where one may have to do it would involve a life-or-death situation—emergency room doctor, paramedic, police office, etc. Otherwise, I say no and I would encourage others to do the same.