Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Jewish Identity Was Very Important To Non-Religious Jews, Even During The Holocaust, But Not In Today's Popular Culture

I will copy part of an actual E-Mail that I received today from my cousin in Israel:

Hi Gary,
Happy Passover! We're still reminiscing over our amazing seder last Passover and how great it was to have everyone here. This year was much quieter. One of [my husband's] friends came, which definitely made it more celebratory. He is the child of Holocaust survivors and during the seder he suddenly remembered his mother telling him years ago that when she was in the camps, the Jewish prisoners figured out it was Passover and decided not to eat any bread. To punish them for this act of Jewish identity, the Nazis said that if they weren't eating bread, then they clearly weren't hungry, so they didn't need any other food either. [Passover lasts 7 days] Despite this, his mother said that it was that important to her, even though she didn't come from a religious background, to not eat bread, and that even though they were starving, she felt much stronger that week.
When I was in Israel, a year ago, I learned that Judaism is a nationality, not a religion. Many Jews in Israel are non-religious, yet their Judaism was very important to them. Jews feel a kinship toward Jews in all nations. This is why Israel is so important to the Jewish people. No matter where you live, if you are Jewish, Israel is your homeland. This is why Zionism is an important part of Israel's culture. The Jewish people were scattered throughout the world because of persecution. Many Jews lost their religion, but  most retained their Jewish identity through custom and marriage. Zionism is an effort to repatriate the scattered Jews of the world to their homeland, Israel.

Zionism in Israel does not exclude Arabs, Muslims, Palestinians or any other people. Arabs live, work and worship freely amongst the Jews in Israel.

My cousin, who wrote me this E-mail, and her husband are American Born, we grew up together. They moved to Israel 20 years ago to return to their "Homeland" and start their own Jewish family.

Unfortunately, the identity of Western Jews is being destroyed, not by Arabs, Muslims nor Palestinians, but by  Western popular culture and intermarriage. Our traditions are being lost in this new generation because many of  today's young  Jews are more concerned with today's popular culture,  than with their Jewish Identity.

I never knew why, but I always considered it very wrong for a Jew to date or marry a gentile. Now I know why. 

This article is not about politics, it is about a culture that has existed for 5,000 years under persecution and under all forms of repressive governments.  No government has had the power to destroy Judaism or weaken the Jewish spirit, not the ancient Egyptians, nor the 20th century Nazis. However, I feel that the biggest threat to Judaism is today's cultural revolution. The Jewish culture will be doomed when when the popular culture trumps the Jewish culture and sexual identity trumps Jewish identity. I saw signs of today's popular culture taking hold in Today's Israel. This was very disheartening to see.

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