Joining Our Enemies

Commentary by Dr. Ursula A. Falk


Anti-Semitism Revisted


The remnants of the Jewish people who have lived through the Holocaust are exceptionally alert to anti-Semitism, especially in the month of November when our memory takes us back to Kristallnacht (Nov 9-11, 1938) and other atrocities that left a mark on the psyches of the victims.  The pain, the helplessness, the fears, are relived and applied to current experiences, words spoken, remarks made, intonations heard and interpreted.  The feelings of the erstwhile survivor are real, the statements made may occasionally be interpreted by the experiences of the listener rather than the speaker.  Alluding that Jews  “have all the money” and have gotten it through devious means when the listener is a hard worker who has stretched his ultimate strength into his old age to be secure, when he/she can take a vacation and the speaker cannot or feels he can not, when envy enters and rears its ugly head and reality is ignored.  Anti-Semitism is expressed also by begrudging that the Jewish people have the small land of Israel, the once desert land that Israelites irrigated and through strenuous labor and scientific knowledge made livable, by presuming that whatever we have is gotten through devious means, by contending that we have alleged antagonism about other people’s faiths related to the old myth that we are “Christ killers”, by claiming that circumcision is a brutal procedure akin to castration of male infants when the reality is otherwise, by expressing anger at the request of a “Christian” physician alluding to the belief that other religions are not good or evil, by claiming that the Jewish people are stingy and self seeking when the reality is otherwise – Jewish contributions and charity are greater than in all other segments of our society.  Charity and giving to the poor and the needy is an important tenet of the Jewish religion. Already in biblical times the Jewish farmer had to give a percentage of his crops away to the poor, the needy.

As Jews we have often gone too far in our liberality.  We have created our own self destruction.  Having felt the horrors of the Nazis, the pogroms in Europe, the terror of the dictators, and the prejudices of the masses, we have the habit of the proverbial “bending over backwards” in becoming super liberal - taking a part in our own destruction.  We agree with our haters, giving to those who would do us ill because they are poor, those that would begrudge us, those whose prejudices damn us.  We go so far as join our enemies.  We are so liberal that we intermarry, lose our Jewishness, lose our very identity. 

Let us remember who and what we are.  Let us remember the ten commandments, the mitzwot (blessings) that we can do and the blessings that are ours.  Let us remember our forebears, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Sarah, Rachel and Rebecca.          . 


Dr. Ursula A. Falk is a psychotherapist in private practice and the author of several books and articles.

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