From the Editor

Perhaps, it is I That Has Been Unclear

Recently, my great-niece, Annaka, was standing in my living room, looking at The Tray, the piece which inspired my short story, by the same name. It was a find made by Kate, in Rochester, New Hampshire, at the Salvation Army. Annaka asked me what it was; I found the question rather intriguing, but as I am prone to do, I followed her lead. I said it was a tray, she said yes, but what is it? She waved her hand around the whole tray, looking at me for more information. I was pleased to see her mind working. I then began to explain what the tray held, it contents. She observed each piece thoughtfully while I spoke, nodding her head, and reaching satisfaction. The tray holds a few of my Judaica treasures, and a bit more.

(Annaka has previously been drawn to this tray, I feel that conversation is not over; a couple of months ago she had asked about the menorah, on the tray. We spoke about it, and I asked her if she would like a menorah, her beautiful eyes lit up and she proclaimed that she would love a menorah. I just happened to have a menorah ready to give her.)

I began collecting Judaica by chance. When we bought our house in Florida, from Mel, who had been forced to go from his home into assisted living, after a fall, which landed him in the emergency room; he sold the house “as is”, including the contents. Thus among other things, I inherited the fruits of Mel and his wife’s travels, including a series of little wooden plaques, all made in Israel.

There were quite a few of these little treasures; I kept those I liked the most, and eventually shared the rest with others.

As I have previously written, my souvenir, from my trip to Israel, is a blue, hand blown, vase; I decided that having been to Israel was enough for me to be able to justify keeping and displaying my inherited Judaica. I will say that initially I felt that perhaps I was doing a bit of cultural appropriation; but of the many Jewish people I have been fortunate to have in my home, none have ever taken umbrage.

Years later, having been gifted Judaica by our Jewish friends, and made some incredible finds at the various vintage and second hand stores I frequent, you cannot step foot inside our homes and be even slightly confused of where we stand, when it comes to Israel. We stand with Israel.

Though I will say that if you had known me, even as a child, you would have known that I loved Israel; as I have said already, on these pages, as a Christian and historian, the first history I studied and was taught, in church, was Jewish. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Ruth, Esther, Joseph, Deborah, David . . ., all Jewish hero’s and people firmly implanted in my world, and in theory, in the world of people who claim to be Christians.

Also, if you have ever had a conversation with me about more than the weather and the like, or read these pages, or seen my post on social media, or looked through my libraries, you should understand that I stand with Israel.

I do not know if my interest in World War II was birthed by interest in Israel or the Late Night Movies; but by the time I was eleven, I was aware of the atrocities of the Holocaust, and remember speaking with both of my parents, at different times, trying to understand how it could have happened. I still do not understand and I am still horrified every time I read another book, see another movie, visit another site or place of remembrance, to this horror.

In general, I live in a state of disbelief about many things, but mostly at what people are capable of doing to each other. For the last few years, I have followed the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe, with much concern and shock. While many of the attacks have been at the hands of people spewing religious dogma, others are committed by seemingly normal and sane people, who are of course neither, as they are infested with hate and ignorance.

But lately my disbelief and horror is at the blatant anti-Semitism being espoused in the United States of America, a place that should be a haven against such vile thought and behavior.

I never believed that in my lifetime, I would see such a rise of anti-Semitism, in the United States. Our hands are not clean, regarding World War II, we knew so much of what was happening, and did little to nothing – one of my issues with President Franklyn D. Roosevelt. While one of the reasons I so admire his successor, President Harry S. Truman, is that despite that hate all around him, including from George Marshall who declared that he would not be able to vote for President Truman, in the next election, if President Truman recognized Israel; eleven minutes after Israel declared its statehood, the United States became the first nation to recognize her, thank God.

We have seen the pictures and films, many taken by the Germans to document and celebrate their atrocities, and others taken by the forward thinking men who liberated the camps. Personal testimonies now abound, irrefutable physical evidence has been brought forward and displayed that supports these first-hand accounts of destruction of life, community, and history. But less we think that the issue of anti-Semitism is limited to the Holocaust perpetrated by the Germans and their allies, we are now painfully aware of everything from the pogroms in Russia to the Spanish Inquisition, including the treachery endured before and after these acts, all over Europe; and what has happened to the Jewish communities in Arab countries, especially in the Twentieth Century.

The United States cannot support anti-Semitism, especially by being silent; too much blood has been shed, and we will answer for it; this is not about being on the “right” or “left” or being a supporter of President Trump or anyone else throwing their hat into the ring for the presidency in 2020, in the United States.

Not so oddly, I have digressed from what I had originally wanted to say, so let me try again. You cannot walk into my home and be confused about how I feel about Israel, thus, I have been rather shocked, that on more than one occasion, I have had people at my table(s), which have actually made anti-Semitic remarks to me. None of these people left my home(s) confused about how I felt about their statements, though I must say, some being dearer to me than others, the conversations were very uncomfortable and sad. How can it be that people who claim to be “Christians”, people who are educated and have had multi-cultural interactions, feel comfortable making comments to me, which reflect their small minds and dark hearts? I am deeply disturbed that someone would confuse my hospitality and lack of desire for people to feel anything but welcomed and comfortable, in my home, for permission to share their wicked thoughts.

So in case I have failed to make it clear: I stand with Israel. I believe in and serve the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jesus was / is Jewish. The Jews are God’s chosen people. The Bible, my holy book, contains sacred Jewish writings; God inspired Jews to write my Bible, which is also a book of history, among other things, for the Jewish people. And, yes, I believe that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, I believe that they have rightfully won the right to control the Golan Heights, and all of Israel. I admire, respect, and appreciate how incredibly brave and fierce and determined and hardworking and dedicated Jews are and have been in their efforts to reestablish their homeland and make the dessert flower.

I could go on, and on, and if somehow I failed to get my message across, I will; but for now, let me close by saying anti-Semitism is not about supporting Palestinians or an ignorant notion that Jews were responsible for the crucifixion of Christ, or being concerned about money in politics or any other false issues that you want to raise to hide your hatred. So knock yourself out, unfriend me, scratch my name out of your phonebook, call me names at church . . ., you do whatever you need to do, but I stand with Israel. That is all for now.

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