Changing Identities

Commentary by Dr. Ursula A. Falk


The Destruction of the Jewish Family


We have given in to our destroyers, our enemies.  We have forgotten to honor our parents, our siblings, and the holiness and importance of our identity.  Children are frequently alienated from those who have given their lifeblood to them, who have diminished themselves for the sake of their offspring, who have given without emotional remuneration.  We have hidden  our heritage, our religion, our brothers,  our very identity, to be accepted by people who really do not care.  Our family, our parental convictions, our heritage  are the most important parts of our existence that we have abandoned to be a part of the group, the folks who could care less than a “June Bug in January.”

When looking for the cause of the dilemma we must find the history, the reason for this unhealthy behavior.  Our goal is to be loved, to be recognized, to be accepted.  In the beginning we felt the anti-semitism that brutally took the lives of over six million of our Jewish people during the Holocaust in Nazi Germany. We attempted to hide our identity in order to remain undiscovered.  It did not work.  We intermarried to hide our religion, our status, our fate, our very identity; we changed our names, and more.

We pleased our enemies because we were a people who disappeared, we shrank in half since possibly fifty percent of our remaining brothers and sisters became “goyim.”  We basically were human beings who had taken on the status of the majority. 

We gained very little by our “new” washed out identity.  We became non-persons.  Our voices became stilled when we attempted to mimic the average citizen around us.  We were no longer Jews, we were not Christians, who were we, who are we?

The famous late German poet Heinrich Heine described his feelings so well after he had given up his Jewish roots.  In spite of it all he was considered a Jew by those who knew him and by the Christian community he was considered a traitor.  He was neither “fish nor foul,” as such situations are described.  In one of his poems his sadness, ambivalence  and regret was so aptly written as his age progressed as did his thoughts, unalterable possible mistakes and regrets:  “Keine Messe wird man singen, keinen Kadosch wird man sagen.” No observance will be made, not even the Kadish prayer after the death of a human being (he meant that about his eventual demise that he would not be worthy or missed).

He regretted denying his Judaism and in the latter part of the above quote he had deep regrets that there would be no “Kadish” (Hebrew prayer for the dead said in synagogues or individuals for the soul or persons who had lost their lives).  Heine felt his death and /or life would be meaningless as a result of his lost religion.  His regrets were very sad.

We as Jewish people who have been minimalized into a very small number over history, as a result of hatred, deaths, “bilbulim,” (falsehoods) attributes that are unconfirmed and fallacious, the fact that we have been the proverbial scapegoats have lead to our destruction. 

We must take the ten commandments very seriously.  We must remember to “Honor your mother and father that thou may live long on earth.”  The emphasis on the people who loved us, nurtured us, and kept us safe.  If we remain loyal to our family, our heritage, our religio,n and remain true to our kin and ourselves, our lives will be healthier and happier than those of our people who have hidden from their religion, their heritage, and ultimately have lost their identity.


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

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