To Be or Not To Be, Stupid That Is

by Zahava Englard Shapiro

Yom Hashoah – Holocaust Remembrance Day

Yom HaShoah is upon us, and I’m thinking, why do we bother? It’s not as if we won’t be facing yet another calamity against our people in one form or another. It’s not as if any lessons are learned by setting aside a day to reflect on the horrors of the Holocaust – not by us, as too many of our people are still sitting in the diaspora, and clearly not by “them”.

Sure, we mourn our dead. We pay homage to our millions. Because that’s what we do. Though it’s not as if the threats to destroy our nation has ceased. There will be more attempts to annihilate us. More deaths. More degradation. More dehumanizing. More destruction. And again, we will pick up our weary bones from the depths of despair as we have for 2000 years to build anew. Because that’s what we do.

Until the next time.

Will we designate a new day of mourning for the next disaster that strikes us, or should we just simply lump all of the atrocities under the same one day that is already set in the Jewish calendar?

As a child of survivors, I grew up in the States with my eyes wide open. Never for one moment did I believe as most of my peers did, that there was a future for the Jewish people in the United States. That we were finally safe.

The quiet was contained compared to what it is today, though I came face to face with ruptures on enough occasions to realize that the general containment was temporary. And quite aware of our history, I knew it was just a matter of time. When I voiced my opinions, people laughed at me. Some said I was as “radical” in my opinions as Rabbi Kahane. I took it as a compliment. In later years I bought a gun for protection and joined with some other like-minded people in my neighborhood to form a gun club, the local Jewish paper wrote us up in an article with a clear undertone depicting us as Jews with extremist views. So rare was it for American Jews to conceive of defending themselves if and when the need arose, that an entire page in the paper was devoted to this anomaly. After the “breaking news” hit the stands in the community, I discovered there were parents of my children’s friends who would no longer send their kids to play at our home. Never mind that I kept the gun locked in a safe, and the bullets locked away separately. I shrugged off their reaction and scoffed at the mentality of American Jews. I found their naiveté unfathomable and had no patience for their sense of denial. “You wanna be stupid, be stupid,” I thought with my New York head.

Some family members also considered me a “fanatic”. Not my parents, however. They knew the truth. They lived it. They most certainly understood that our ability to live in the diaspora was dependent on how long our hosts would tolerate our presence.

While my parents’ hearts and minds were one with Israel, certain unplanned and uncontrollabl circumstances led their journey from the displaced persons camp of Europe to the shores of the United States. Our home was pro-Zionist to the core. I was raised on the early pioneer songs of
Israel and with the spirit of Betar in my veins. While in grade school, I consistently begged my parents to move the family to Israel, until the one time my father, a survivor of Auschwitz, a sole survivor from his European family, said, “Zahavaleh, we just don’t have the koyich (strength) to start over again.”

I understood and never bothered my parents about it anymore. But I swore to myself that when I grew up, I would make it to Israel. There was no way I or my future children would beg for our existence in any diaspora hell. And, praise God, I eventually did make it back home to Israel.

It is from my home in Jerusalem that I write how today, right before our eyes, like clockwork, we are seeing the once contained Jew-hatred in America ripping through the superficially buried containers and rushing to the surface in its all too familiar repulsiveness.

Also like clockwork, the Jews, this time in America, are in denial. And if not in denial, they are wasting their time arguing with each other about the cause of the revived Jew-hatred surrounding them. The leftists are screaming “It’s Trump” or “It’s Netanyahu”. The right are screaming “It’s Omar, Tlaib , AOC, Farrakhan, the NYT”. From all sides people are pointing fingers and scrambling to come up with philosophical and ideological reasons for the upsurge.

Oh for God’s sake! Stop it. There are no logical reasons for the millennia old Jew-hatred. Whatever the left or right espouse, whatever some Christians or Muslims claim, they are just mere excuses for an unexplainable lust for our destruction. Their hatred of Jews is completely illogical.

Quite frankly, however, if you ask me, it originally sprouted from envy. That’s right, envy. Envy of the Jewish nation, the first monotheistic nation on this earth, the ones who brought the Torah code of morals, straight from the God of the universe to this world. An envy so great and so unadulterated and so uncontrollable, they’ve been frothing at the mouth for our blood ever since.

But honestly, I don’t give a damn about the reason for Jew-hate. It doesn’t matter. It just is. And it’s not going away. After 2000 years it’s time to get a clue, no?

So, my fellow Jews in America, stop attempting to obfuscate the realities of being a Jew in the diaspora. Stop being stupid.

Pack your bags and come home to Israel. It is where we truly belong. It is the only place where we belong. It is where we are meant to be. Yes, we’ll continue to commemorate our murdered in the Holocaust. Because that’s what we do. But Auschwitz isn’t our legacy. Don’t wait for another one. It isn’t our heritage. The Torah and Israel are.

Our people are not meant to be sitting ducks in the face of our haters. In Israel we are the masters of our own destiny. We have a beautiful and bountiful land. With God’s help we built it with our own hands. We toiled for it, fought for it, and yes, died for it. Because the Jew-hatred will not disappear until we are fully redeemed with the coming of the Moshiach. But here, in Israel, we don’t have to grovel at the feet of our hosts. We are the hosts. We are proud and spirited warriors for our nation and for our country. Our children are raised with the love of their land, for In Israel we walk in the footsteps of our forefathers, joyful of our heritage 4000
years strong. We don’t live cowering under the Jew-haters’ threats. We won’t.

With Yom HaShoah upon us, there is only one way to truly honor our dead – you have the power to help make it a memory that will never recur. Coming home to Israel and living our legacy is thee answer to the Nazi slime and the most noble and worthy manner in which to honor a third of our people who did not have that choice.

Sure, I can shrug my shoulders again and think, “you wanna be stupid, be stupid.” But I can’t.

Not this time. Not now. Come home!

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