This morning our local Jewish Community Center received a bomb threat.
Rochester, NY the city of Susan B. Anthony and Fredrick Douglas, a community with a long rich history of Jewish immigration and philanthropy, is facing a wave of anti-Semitism.
Since the political rise of Donald Trump, Rochester has seen hateful defaming pamphlets, desecration of Jewish cemeteries, and now a despicable bomb threat to the JCC. This is a place where parents bring infants and children to daycare and seniors come daily for sociability.
Well, during the primaries there were some foolish people, Susan Sarandon comes to mind, who argued that she didn’t care if Hillary or Trump won the election, because a Trump victory would just “heighten the contradictions” and give the left an opportunity. (Note: No need to re-argue the primaries; there were about 500 better reasons to vote for Sanders.) Anyway, Sarandon and all the little Lenins of the left got their wish; the contradictions are being heightened daily, and growing vertiginously.
Paul Ryan is conducting a phone poll on the ACA (Obamacare), hoping to hear overwhelming popular opposition to it. If you would like to express your support for the Affordable Care Act, call 202-225-0600. There is 20 to 25 seconds of silence, then the recording comes on so don’t hang up.
Press 2 to weigh in on the issue.
THE JEWISH PLURALIST WISHES YOU
A YEAR FILLED WITH BLESSINGS, WISDOM, AND PEACE
I have always been an avid theatergoer. Klári, one of my friends at lycée, and I went to the theater every Saturday afternoon from the time we were fourteen years old. Fortunately, my mother considered the viewing of a play a culturally enriching experience and approved my regular attendance. I became infatuated with a matinée idol by the time I was fifteen. Had my mother known about my crush on an actor she would have responded with extreme distress and grounded me for at least a month. For a while I was content with worshiping the object of my infatuation from my orchestra seat, but after a couple of months this became less than satisfactory and my mind was busily at work hatching a variety of plans to secure a personal encounter.
My paternal uncle, Aaron, was a figure of mystery, a man I knew only through a photograph in his officer’s uniform. I knew little else about him until one day, when I was ten years old; my father received a letter from his widow Helen. After he finished reading it he told us that Uncle Aaron had left a wife and three children when he died in the war. They lived in Miskolc, a city on the banks of the Bodva River. My parents had met four years after Aaron’s death. By the time my father courted my mother, he had stopped speaking of his late brother.
What should we do in the midst of fear and turmoil? How should we respond to extremists who try to divide us, who pounce on fear to promote hatred, racism, and xenophobia? The city of Haifa in Israel responded by celebrating an interfaith religious festival of light, refusing to be drawn into the horrific wave of racism, Islamophobia and violence.
I received an email today from Sharona noting that Haifas Jewish and Arab citizens draw hope from the citys determination to publicly display religious pluralism. She attached these photographs of Haifa and wrote, Haifa is adorned with lights. I went past these festive decorations on my way to my mothers house. Just to see the city presenting itself as one is heart-warming. Haifa is special and unique in insisting of being a city of pluralism where all have a place that celebrates all faith festivals. You can tell that the message is getting through when you see the many locals and tourists taking pictures of the lights that include Jewish, Muslims, Christians and Bahia faith tradition. During the month of December this blend of interfaith of lights is called in Haifa the Festival of Festivals. Our friend Jimmy took the photos that I include here. Earlier today I called Jimmys mother, who lives in Nazareth to wish her Merry Christmas and she was happy to hear from me.
We light the second candle of Hanukkah at a local senior independent living community with our elders, who were the pillar of their community, who built schools and synagogues, fed the hungry, clothed the needy, and practiced the mitzvah of Tzedakah.
These women and men are a community of immigrants, Holocaust survivors, American born citizens who served their country and promoted freedom and justice. They are a source of strength in our life. They are people of vision, compassion, courage and hope and the light that makes America live up to its promise.