Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Stiff Kin

I am very little acquainted with the whole Rabbi Nosson (or Nathan) Slifkin affair – in fact I haven’t read even one word of his books, and only recently heard about the ban and controversy.
I did however read Gil Student’s article in the Jewish Press (8/18/’06), which left me with more questions than answers.

Mr. Student starts by saying that the Slifkin controversy signifies the lack of centralized rabbinic authority in our globalized world. That there is a lack of such centralization is a clear fact, and unfortunately the source of many problems and lots of pain in the last 80 years or so. It has very little to do with world globalization and even less with the Slifkin controversy, except maybe that with the existence of such a centralized rabbinical body Slifkin would have written his books slightly differently.

Gil, throughout the entire article, takes the approach of calling all rabbis 'rabbis', without ever specifying whether they are MO rabbis or yeshivish rabbis. Although in a utopian world this should absolutely be the case, Student himself refers later in the article to communities as "yeshivish", "hareidi" and "MO". One would expect a little more consistency: if you relate to the world as it should be, then there are Jews, period and rabbis, period. If you look at the world as it sadly is, then you refer to yeshivish Rabbis and Modern Orthodox Rabbis, and the yeshivish community and MO community. I sincerely don't understand why he tried to blur the distinguishment between these factions as if it were an issue of individual rabbis disagreeing on a certain subject.

It is interesting to note that Mr. Student, who quite obviously is familiar with the world of science, isn't aware of the fact that the scientific community has absolutely zero tolerance for any kind of thought out of the party line: renowned scientists such as Fred Hoyle, Stephen Hawking, James Lovelock took serious flak - the kind that makes the Slifkin ban like a benign joke - for advancing theories which aren't accepted among the mainstream scientists, not to mention what poor Bill Dembski had to endure for the mere suggestion that the idea of a creator might be considered as a scientific option.

Of course, the fact that the scientific community is stubborn, obnoxious and completely averse to any thought that doesn’t fit its strict ideology is no justification for our rabbis to behave in the same way. Yet it should be at least as much as a warning for Modern Orthodoxy from being so infatuated with modern science. Whether many MO leaders’ obsession with reconciling Torah and science (which, by the way, is not to be confused with technology) emanates only from their desire to look ‘nice’ and ‘enlightened’ in the eyes of Gentiles and frei Jews, or is their excuse to adapt halocha to their lives and modify it at the same pace as scientists modify the theory of evolution, I don’t know. But I do know that after some rudimentary study of evolution (yes, from real scientific books, written by real goyim who really don’t believe in G-d), I came to the conclusion that regardless of one's beliefs, wishful thinking and ideology-driven agendas have turned science into a religion. And since scientific philosophy and the scientific method are both defined by the scientific community itself, they are formulated in a way that precludes any and all honest review and criticism. Thus, leading scientists can deride any and all dissent from within their impermeable “temple” as pseudoscience.

It is beyond the limits of my space and time constrains (60+ hours physical –yes, it still exists- workweek) to discuss this issue even in relatively short terms(Rav Avigdor Miller's books on the subject are a good start), yet an example must be brought: one of the criteria for a theory to be considered scientific, it must stand the test of falsifiability, i.e. that it is possible, in theory to disprove it thus rendering all their theories “true until proven false”. Only thing is, the disproof must be accepted by the scientists, and they are the only ones who can decide if a disproof is valid or not. Yet when a theory with which they aren’t comfortable arises -such as Jim Lovelock’s Gaia theory- the mainstream scientists immediately dismiss it as black magic.

Unfortunately, as Mr. Student points out, there is a similar situation in our midst as well. However, science is hardly the best framework to take example from. As I have mentioned before, I am hardly acquainted with the controversy, the ban and Slifkin’s books, so I really can’t take sides here. But even taking the article at face value, there might be justification in the Yeshivish rabbis’ actions; Slifkin, after all, is neither Rabbi Avrohom son of the Rambam, nor the Maharam Schick. These people were first and foremost immersed in intensive Torah study and piety, and investigated science only subsequently. I’m not sure this is the case with Nosson Slifkin. As for the Student’s question what exactly is wrong with the books –to which the rabbis gave no answer to this day- I think there might be some insight: although no one will be banned or excommunicated if, for example, he listens to rock’n’roll privately. But if he writes books about rock’n’roll being compatible with Judaism or that the Leviim in the Bais Mikdosh played Black Sabbath and Pink Floyd, I don’t think he should be surprised if a cherem is thrown at him. Even if factually there isn’t anything heretic in the books, these things maybe shouldn’t be shouted from the rooftops. Maybe we still need some barriers between the secular world and us. I’m not trying to imply that this was the rabbis’ intent, yet it might be possible. It is also possible that they were manipulated by powerful behind-the-scenes decision makers, such as the Hebrew Yated Lo Neeman’s Nathan Zochowsky, or other powerful scoundrels.

Yet what puzzles me most is that this article, relating to a three years old event, not only made it to the Jewish Press, but merited an editorial. Mr. Student and the JP decision-makers apparently couldn’t find anything more important and relevant to contemporary Jewish life. Apparently six women shot, one killed, in Seattle by and Arab terrorist is no news for the Jewish press. The entire nation is ablaze about the border situation – the JP is silent. Forget that Zapata (TX) county sheriff and his men reported numerous incidents of Muslims paying up to $50,000 to cross the border into the States. Forget that they had Arabic propaganda and patches with planes flying towards buildings. Forget that drugs, gangs, illness, prostitution and violence are flooding in from Mexico. Forget that Jews and Jewish institutions are terrorist’s primary targets. That is not important. After all, publishing such articles might prompt some Jews to ask their Rabbis what they have done in order to protect them. Maybe if too many Yidden demand that their security be improved, the Orthodox organizations would have to bargain with politicians for sane borders, instead of cash. Maybe if Jews would decide to get prepared to defend themselves, they’d have less money to donate to the rabbinates. Maybe.

One thing is sure: even the tiniest and most “primitive” living creatures, such as the amoebae and algae have an instinct for survival - Jews don’t. Evolution disproved.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Ignoramus Anonymous

I’ll delve a little more into the j-blog topic, as it is a theme worth examining, and has important ramifications.

As I have noted in my previous post, grossly generalizing, many of the disgruntled religious bloggers share a somewhat left-to-center ideology, ultra-tolerance, and advocacy for the frum leadership (if such a thing exists) to ‘open up’ or ‘enlighten’ by acceptance of the modern times. In short, many ”frummies“, or rather, ex-frummies, are discovering the sixties: an open-minded compassion to homosexuality, the “liberation” of frum women, dropping the dress code, and many similar concepts are very much the order of the day on such blogs.

Somehow, they seem to believe, it is the rabbis stiffness and refusal to officially endorse TV, the internet, nightclubs and bars that creates most -or many- of our social problems. Of course, this is a rather unfair oversimplification and generalization, but an individual analysis of each entry in each blog is beyond the scope of such a post. What we seem to witness here is a tendency to graze on foreign fields instead of trying to solve the problems within our own society. But just as the rabbis concentrating their efforts on banning the internet and Indian-made sheitels while ignoring far more serious ails in the community, those criticizing them won’t solve those problems by promoting Led Zeppelin and touting different perceived freedoms from the secular world. This especially won’t fly from behind anonymous blogs, whose authors are shadow warriors, whispers in the night. What puzzles me is that many of these writers seem sincere, and write in a serious and respectful way, yet the hide for fear of communal reprisal. But why do they fear being rejected by a society, -or rather exactly that element of their society which they are most critical of- to which they don’t want to belong? Do they want their children to marry people who would refrain from that marriage would they know their prospective in-law is author of such-and-such blog? And if they want to belong to that community but wish to correct its faults, how will they achieve that incognito? And will those problems be solved via the internet blogs which aren’t widely read in their communes?

Apparently there is a broader concern lying herein. The ominous discontent cannot be blamed on communal and leadership crises alone. When one is aware and wary of problems within his community, his leaders and communal institutions, the least logical solution is to pick up fashionable tendencies from contemporary secular society. Yet this is what most disgruntled Orthodox bloggers do, almost religiously. Not only do many of these fads outright run against core principles of Judaism, their acceptance won’t solve any of our problems. Then, an avalanche effect manifests itself; the authors start lamenting the lack of these trends in our communities. I wonder what the acceptance of homosexuality and Arab terrorists have to do with corruption in frum institutions, child abuse, ignorance, white-collar crime, uncontrolled and unsustainable reproduction in certain circles and the establishment’s turning a blind eye to -or outright promoting- these and many other problems?

Truth is, when one starts emulating the ways of The Village Voice, The New York Times and other malicious pseudo-journalistic manifestos, there is something far deeper than discontent with the establishment. The fact that Modern Orthodox youth abandon Judaism in droves testifies to the fact that admitting TV as a family member, allowing children unlimited access to the internet, “liberated” women and interpreting the halocha at will are no solution to anything. The aforementioned bloggers may well face doubts and uncertainty about Yiddischkeit itself. And I can’t blame them. We are sick at the core, and few are willing to admit it. The Orthodox -including the Modern Orthodox- educational systems are out of par both with contemporary society, with Jews surrounded by that society and their relation to each other. To the best of my knowledge there isn’t one Orthodox education system that consistently offers a strong Jewish ideology and worldview that would prepare its graduates to face the real world as strong Jews with a deep and exhaustive understanding their faith and who would stay true to it in face of the secular world’s glittery offers, its traps and pitfalls. It is simply impossible to expect people to toe the line on their own and of their own understanding and agreement by giving them a few one-liners from Mesilas Yeshorim, Rabbi Cook’s writings or Noam Elimelech. This is especially true when the line expected from them to be toed is a specific party line, instead of Judaism per-se, or at least Judaism first and the specific party second. There is no excuse for this even if we are to accept the claim that each group truly believes its own way to be the true form of Judaism.

Some time ago I had a conversation with a “Modern Orthodox” woman, whose father I know well. He is a kind and intelligent person who takes Judaism seriously, and is well versed in halocha and gemora. His daughter was complaining about the rigid interpretation of the Torah in our time: why is it forbidden to flick the light switch on Shabbos, when she’d so much enjoy reading in bed. Nowadays making a fire isn’t such a big deal, after all, and she’s “sure” that that’s not what the Torah meant. I was sincerely baffled to hear that a religious born, raised and educated woman could actually express such thoughts in all sincerity. My initial reaction was to tell her that if she’s really so ignorant she might as well abandon Judaism altogether, or take some “Judaism 101” course, but I just kept quiet. A short time later I was listening to a Genesis track while she was present. Her only reaction was to say that Phil Collins (Genesis’ vocalist) is an anti-Semite. Sadly, I could bring many more such examples, but the main point is that such mentality can be attributed only to poor education and brainwashing by cheap and malicious media. Such shallow and superficial acquaintance with Judaism –and especially Jewish philosophy- while relating to the world at large on an “anti-Semites” and “non anti-Semites” model is unfortunately ubiquitous throughout all variants of Jewish society. Similarly, the bloggers who criticize the Orthodox establishment for their failings and shortcomings, seldom offer viable solutions, and even more rarely identify the core causes of these problems.

Albeit these blogs serve a good cause and many of them are good and entertaining, it is questionable whether they will be the source from which change will emanate – only time will tell. Yet it is sure that if they’d come out of anonymity they would become far more efficient; first, they could freely communicate and coordinate their communication with community leaders and other influential people. Second, they’d reach far more frum people who don’t regularly cruise the web waves. Third, coming forth would unveil the communities’ true attitude towards their ideas –which, in my estimation should be very positive, at least in general terms- and strengthen their position. Fourth, open and respective criticism of our leadership would cease to be de-legitimized, and the mocking and derisory blogs would lose their status and glitter. Last but not least, these blogs’ authors would necessarily have to hold themselves at least to those standards which they expect from our leaders.
The door is open now, and the bloggers’ reaction to these suggestions can be used as a litmus test to find out whether their concerns are truly sincere, or if they only want to grumble from the back row.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Blog, Blogger, Bloggest

I must admit, until very recently I was quite unfamiliar with the whole blog notion, let alone j-blogging. But through an interesting turn of events, I realized that among the wide array of free internet services, the free blogging sites earned a seat of honor, which has brought about a flurry of Jewish blogs. From personal diaries to jokes to news and assorted information to collectibles, it's all there. Yet the vast majority of Jewish blogs deal with the authors' grievances, or at lest some dissatisfaction, with the orthodox 'establishment', i.e. prominent Rabbis and batei-din, community leaders and the frum media. Whether and how justified these grumblings are depend vastly on the individual author and the reader's perception thereof; yet it is undeniable that there is indeed a grassroots wave of dissatisfaction - and a yearning for change - of the frum leadership from within the orthodox community.

The common denominator of these blogs, even the more intelligent and serious ones, is a certain aspect of the authors' mentality: a claim to an open mind, a rather superficial acquaintance with Western culture, and a leaning to centrist-moderate outlook on current events, as well as their perception of their world and the world at large. This is especially true to the blogs authored by ex-Hassidim or incognito-blogging Hassidim. Examples include bemoaning the war's claim of innocent Lebanese lives despite the author's taking Israel's side, or taking the grotesque and tasteless Brooklyn-style furniture for "a chair taken out of a French museum" (the author was deriding the Hassidim's obsession with covering those brute "masterpieces" with thick, child-resistant plastic). This is in fact nothing but a mental "nouveau-riche" state, in which a formerly schtreimel-enclaved soul discovers the other side of the street, causing his disc-changer to contain Pink Floyd, Eminem and Billy Idol at the same time, not realizing that this is the secular equivalent of wearing jeans and a schtreimel, or shorts and a black hat, which automatically give away the "baal-thsuvah" on sight. These bloggers, with all their merits and/or faults are in fact reverse baalei-tshuvah; not in the sense that they abandon Yiddischkeit lock, stock and bagel, but with their misreading and false impression of the "goy" street.

These blogs might have passed unperceived, maybe even unnoticed, by the frum community and its aforementioned 'establishment', if not for the flagrant, confrontational, despicable and outright offensive attacks of the “Un-Orthodox Jew” against it, which recently created a storm in a teacup. The blog started as a vent pipe for grievances with everything that is wrong within the frum community, and quickly escalated to unbriddeled thrashing in every imaginable direction. Outright smearing of venerable Talmidei-Chachomim long deceased followed hammering of frum institutions for frauds and cover-ups, especially of child molestation, all done in a vile, disrespectful and confrontational tone. A chain reaction ensued, as opponents and supporters opened their own blogs, and some prominent rabbis got indirectly involved.

Unfortunately, instead of bringing these important issues to the forefront and open examination by the community itself, the strife played itself out on the internet and the pages of secular media, alerted partly by the “UOJ” and/or someone acting on his behalf. Yet so far none of these issues has been solved nor improved. I may even wander to think that it made things worse: albeit there might be a little more ghetto-wide awareness to institutional dishonesty and child abuse, the vitriolic commentators on the UOJ blog are anonymous, and the author himself still claims not to have been identified; no conviction has been brought about, and the child molesters and their accomplices are still at large. This can hardly be seen as a defeat for the criminals. Yet the UOJ is still vociferating victory, promising to provide more and more child molesters. And whenever one of his targets fails to be at least reasonably falling under public conviction, he leaves the subject and finds a new one. Many rabbis have been named, and then forgotten, without follow up or apology. This not only shreds the UOJ’s credibility, but turns away undecided people, or those who support the cause and oppose the modus operandi. And albeit there may be truth to his claim that without the use of four-letter monosyllables and besmirching revered names no attention would be paid to the issues he raised, the rush to see immediate results vs. slow, painful and not necessarily prompt, visible results have not been correctly weighted. For even in the unlikely event that the criminal-friendly judiciary would convict sexual predators, Mr. UOJ would still be considered the bad guy by the ‘establishment’ as well as the majority of the community. Just as his supporters and alleged supporters comment anonymously, so would they continue to hide their support in person. If bringing change has ever been his intention, Mr. UOJ has failed.

For change is hardly brought about by court rulings – and although this has happened before, it is questionable whether people’s attitudes and mentality really changed as a result. A series of convictions and harsh punishments may deter the individual perpetrator and per consequence decrease the occurrences, but the tribal psyche will not shift gears. Change must be brought from within, from the bottom up to the top. As long as parents are more concerned with a prestigious shidduch for their precious child more than the child’s well being, no court action will stop the coverup and tacit denial, or even worse –acceptance- of such crimes.

And changing an entire community’s mentality doesn’t befall overnight. Apparently anger and patience are traded for each other, and UOJ gave the latter for the former. The amount of responsible and serious blogs however testifies that it is possible to relate to a journal –even an anonymous one- unlike a highway. But it also testifies to something much more important: that there is a growing feeling of dissatisfaction with the current structure of orthodox Judaism; that the old walls of the new ghetto don’t retain water; that too many wrongs have to be righted; and that the black clouds aren’t at the horizon anymore. Slowly people not only realize, but even voice their discontentment with the compartmentation/segmentation of our community(ies) and the ills it drags in its path. True progress lies however in peoples’ bahvior, and whether peer pressure or pure reasoning prevails will be determined by the course of their actions; if the way in which schools are chosen, how dating will be approached, and how people relate to each other and different subjects arising in the community will change for the better.

A wise man once said that the toughest battlefield lies in the five inches between our ears. How true this is when multiplied by several millions – especially when those millions are Jews! We must pray and do everything in our power to smooth out those battlefields into one army, despite the deep differences between those battlefields. Unity does not mean unanimity, and equal and identical are very different. Unanimity and homogeny benefit tyrannical dictatorships. True unity is achieved by walking the fine line between diversity and adversity while together, to one goal.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


I did not lose sleep over Mel Gibson’s tirade of ten days ago. But others did. A true flurry of angry comments and indignation flooded the media – especially the Jewish media. From Jewish papers to websites to radio programs to blogs, you couldn’t hear anything but “Gibson Gibson Gibson Gibson” and Gibson again. Every pundit and commentator became an expert prosecutor/lawyer to prove why and how Gibson was/wasn’t guilty/innocent of anti-Semitism/Judeophilia.

A few days later came the counter-attacks, mainly against people who didn’t toe the line that they were supposed to toe according to their opponents. It is really heart warming to know that so many people care about anti-Semitism and justice. It is really wonderful to see how many people won’t let hateful and incendiary speech pass them by and sit idle. It is very important that they check under their beds for Nazis every night, for they remember what happened not so long ago, and they take every step to help prevent it from happening again. Or almost. I’m not so sure they have stocked up on firearms and ammo, learned well how to use them, and are well trained in survival and tactical skills. But if screaming is the best they can do, screaming isn’t bad either.

Quite baffling is the mainstream media’s reaction to the Gibson incident – they didn’t miss an opportunity to jump at his throat, all the while cheering at each rocket falling in Israel. Perhaps they are worried about infringement of their exclusive rights by Gibson. But that is another story.

I just don’t understand why the Jewish medias only scream when it’s a drunken celeb from Hollywood who spews hate diatribe. Where are the angry protesters when the New York Times openly supports the Hizb’Allah? When the NPR, CNN, NBC, FOX, ABC etc., all take the side of the murderous maniacs and pat the genocidal madmen while showing how the evil Israelis wreak havoc and misery upon the poor practitioners of the religion of peace? Why don’t the Steve Weisses of the world check for Paula Zahns and Dan Rathers under their beds? And where are the Rabbi Lapins who to explain to us why the LA Times is really not a subdivision of the Völkischer Observer, and that Bill Clinton’s Mein Life contains only the truth, and nothing but the truth, including the truth that he orchestrated the slaughter of innocent Serbians who fought on our side and saved many Jews (my grandfather included) from the Nazi Croatians and Bosniaks during WWII, as well as the truth about who engineered the Oslo accords arming the PA, costing hundreds of Jewish lives and the eventual weakening of Israel. But that of course hasn’t anything to do with anti-Semitism, does it?

Did anyone raise as much as an eyebrow after the Seattle shooting, when the police chief assigned equal protection to synagogues and mosques? This de-facto implementation of the NPR/UN dogma of equating victim with predator (except if the predator is a Jew of course) somehow failed to arouse the ire the Jewish media (unless the Savage Nation passes for Jewish media – and according to David Duke and Jesse Jackson it sure does). Where were the Jewish crusaders for media accuracy? Where was the honorable “Rabbi” Abe Foxman? Did he forget about his Jewish brothers between the lobster and the cheeseburger? Where were the protests in front of the Seattle PD? How many shuls have implemented reciting Theilim in light of the situation here in the USA? Or are we really so blind as not to understand that if this is the police’s response to a single shoot-out, the government’s reaction to a major-scale terrorist attack won’t be different?!

Apparently yes. Apparently the sand is really warm and comfortable, so while keeping our heads therein we can afford lambasting people who besmirch the Jews – or some of them. That’s why we won’t see editorials in the Jewish media about what is being preached in mosques and Moslem schools in the USA, but we can read about evil people who attack the rabbinical establishment and smear innocent tsaddikim with false accusations.

Which leads me to think that maybe the infamous “UOJ” is none other than Mel Gibson himself.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Wall

Mr. Gorbachev: Tear down this wall!
-Ronald Reagan, June 12, 1987

There is unrest in the forest
There is trouble with the trees
For the maples want more sunlight
And the oaks ignore their pleas

So the maples formed a union
And demanded equal rights
The oaks are just too greedy
We will make them give us light
Now there’s no more oak oppression
For they passed a noble law
And the trees are all kept equal
By hatchet, axe, and saw...
-"The Trees", Rush (Hemispheres, 1978)

When G-D created the iron, the trees became very afraid, and they appealed to G-d: who will save us from the blade, now that you have created the iron? And G-d told them: The iron cannot harm you unless you give it a handle yourselves.
-Midrash Rabbah, Bereishis 5:9

As we’re speaking, rockets are falling into Israel by the dozens. After years and years of begging, pleading and caving in to their Arab brothers for peace, after giving in to demand after demand, it seems that they are finally learning the hard way that there is no pact with the devil. If it weren’t an utterly disgusting comparison, I’d venture to say that it reminds of how Stalin was stabbed in the back by Hitler. But slapped in the face they were, again and again by those with whom they dreamed to co-exist in peace and harmony. As a side note, I’d like to make the observation that the Hebrew term for coexistence, “du-kiyum”, translates literally into double-existence. And double-exist they must, on two sides of a wall truncating the frail country in its middle. A wall which cannot prevent Kassam rockets from flying above it, but at least sixteen year old boys with explosive belts can’t cross it (except where the Wall is missing due to violations of an olive tree’s human rights).

There is another wall, which proved far more durable and more effective, as it does not prevent prayers from flying above it to their intended destination. That is where rivers of tears have been shed for salvation, both personal and communal, and that is where now thousands of Jews gather to pray for their brothers’ and their own peace and salvation. That is where in tragic times Jews of all affiliation pray side by side. And the mere fact that Jews unite only when struck by tragedy is a tragedy – Jews should always pray together, and there should never be schism or separate communes.

Yet another wall, in its embryonic stage, is planned along the Mexican-American border. Its construction is not anymore a question of if but where. That wall would keep out drug smugglers, arms and gang contraband, infiltration by terrorists, and illegal invaders. You may raise an eyebrow at the definition, but the not-so concealed objective of the Mexican leadership

is to re-establish their alleged ancestral homeland of Aztlan, ancient site of the Incas and Aztecs, which, according to Mexican nationalists, spread from current day Mexico’s southern border to the northern borders of California, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma. A good third of the USA. But we need no electrolysis to separate myth from history, and we can reassure you with utmost confidence that the Mexicans’ ancestral land is not Aztlan, but traditionally anti-Semitic and Hitler’s WWII ally, Spain. To their credit we will not hide from you that despite their alliance with Hitler, the ancestral home of the Inquisition actually hosted a large number of Jewish refugees during the war. But today they are at the forefront of the EU’s anti-Israel incite-media, and host to some of the most vile Der Stürmer-esque cartoons. And the Mexican immigration advocacy groups are ferociously anti-Semitic, and dead serious about taking back what they claim is theirs. As serious as the Palestinians. The people behind this ideology are not mere fringe loons; prominent politicians, professors, councilmen and local officials who make little effort to hide their nationalistic aspirations.

The Minutemen who initiated the projects to build the wall, and effectively brought its urgency to Congress and Senate, are still trying to rally more people to support their clause. And the spontaneous spur of websites, Internet groups and nationwide protests indicates that the American public is indeed very concerned about out of control immigration. Yet flying in the face of the hostile mainstream media and political environment is not easy – the proposition to build the wall was struck down at the Senate level. Unfortunately, the Minutemen leadership left out maybe the most important component from their struggle: unity. A good example is the “portgate” affair, wherein several major US ports’ management was offered for sale to a Dubai company. But as soon as the news came out, an unprecedented roar of opposition rose in unity, in spite of president Bush’s strong desire to complete the sale. For the first time in history, Rush Limbaugh disagreed with Bush, Michael Savage didn’t call anyone names, David Horowitz and Patrick Buchanan didn’t write articles against each other; - the alternative media unanimously condemned the sale. Republicans and Democrats opposed the sale as one; and though one might argue that the Democrats did so only to score points against Bush, their fervent opposition to close the border and approval of Bush’s call for amnesty indicates that that may not always be the case. Even the usually pro-Arab, anti-nationalist mainstream media reported unfavorably about the proposed sale. All either understood the potential dangers of letting such sensitive national assets in the hands of a company from hostile nations, or understood that the American public is so opposed to the sale that approving it would mean political or business suicide.

Unfortunately, the wall does not enjoy such widespread patronage. Albeit many talk show hosts pretend to endorse it, they de-facto prevent it, by refraining from forming similar unity. They all complained about the Senate sabotage of the wall – the day after the vote. But where were their rallying voices, calls for action and sanctioning the senate bill before the vote? Unfortunately, the patriotic right wing has again failed to unite by each individual putting his own gain before that of his country. With just a bit of collaboration, Simcox, Tancredo, and Co. could easily establish a highly effective web-based collaboration system that would keep all anti-immigration sites connected and informed, and in turn inform the common people about activities in their areas as well as Congress/Senate activities. Sadly, they have failed –or refused- to do so.

Even more sad is that the Jewish community seems to be totally silent and in complete denial of the issue. Not only because it is an urgent matter of national security, but because Jews are affected by immigration more than anyone else. The terrorists coming in from Mexico target Jews primarily. The Mexican Reconquista movement is ferociously anti-Semitic, and the vast majority of Jews are unarmed. The growing immigrant population will soon outweigh the political importance of the Jewish community. The immigrants are sucking up the social services faster and faster, and at a certain point there won’t be enough for everyone – you figure out who will be dropped first. And if that wall isn’t built soon enough, it will have to be built much further north, along the northern borders of California, Nevada, Utah, etc. Losing a third of our territory would be a severe national disaster, and what would happen to the residents -especially the Jewish communities- in newly re-conquered Aztlan is anyone’s guess. And the ensuing nationwide unrest wouldn’t benefit the Jews either. We need look no further than Israel, and what happened immediately after the withdrawals from Gaza, Judea, Samaria and Lebanon. Walls have to be built before losing territory. But retaining territory and building a wall require will. And I fear we don’t have it.

I wonder whether the various Jewish organizations attending the Annual Glatt Kosher Dinner in Shushangton, D.C. ever bring up subjects of general, national interest, or the stuffed-turkey face-stuffing is invariably followed by pocket-stuffing only? For just as Congress and Senate represent the interests of their direct constituents far more than the collective good of the American people, so too these Jewish organizations cater first and foremost to the groups who sent them, rather than the collective good of the Jewish people - and this is a very cautious and euphemistic way to put it. Perhaps if we would demand more of them - higher national security, lower taxes, push for the voucher program etc., we’d see better results. Maybe we’d be better off making sure that our delegates care for our well-being. Maybe we’d be better off taking our heads out of the sand. Maybe instead of schnorring another jar of peanut butter for our Yeshivas and a few more dollars of foreign aid to Israel -who must learn to stand on its own feet and boot its oppressive Stalinist government- we should demand more security, less taxes and less immigrants.

And more leadership in the Jewish community.