THE HOLY BOOK OF UNIVERSAL TRUTHS,
K. U. P.
(Kimball's Unauthorized Perversion)
Subject: Sermon - Rosh HaShanah - 1st day
Benny Rok Campus
Rabbi Ed Farber, Rosh HaShanah 2004
Americans are the Worldís Newest Jews
If you were on one of those shows where you win money for knowing all sorts of obscure facts and the question was--How many Jews are there in the world, rounded off to the nearest million--how many of you would be real confident about your answer? I think that most of us would be reaching for that life line or asking for audience help. So, while most of us donít really know the answer or quite frankly even an approximate number, there is one thing we all know - there arenít enough of us. There arenít enough of us in the sense that we need a critical mass of people to maintain Israel as a Jewish state and Diaspora Jewish communities as viable religious, social, economic and educational structures. Every population study done of the American Jewish community bemoans the fact that we donít seem to be even replacing our numbers let alone growing.
But something very interesting and strange has happened in this new millennium. Itís not just Jews who realize there arenít enough Jews. It seems that the world has come to realize the same thing. And that is a problem for a significant part of our world--you see the world just doesnít have enough Jews to scapegoat and to hate. After all, how long can you sustain anti-Semitism in countries like Poland or Japan or Norway when there are hardly any Jews there? How long can you blame everything that is wrong in the Arab world on the Jews--when the Arab world is nearly Judenrein--totally free of any Jews? How long can you continue to sell the idea that America is controlled by the Jewish community when that community numbers less than 6 million out of nearly 280,000,000? So what the world has conveniently done is this--because it killed off so many Jews in the 20th century it has decided in the 21st century to create more Jews--new Jews. And it has done that by turning Americans into the new Jews. And there is certainly no shortage of Americans. There are plenty of us here in N. America and we have a pretty good presence and influence in most other parts of the world. Let me explain what I mean. USA Today, Americaís most-circulated daily - last year reported on its front page that American tourists on the European continent are being attacked by their European hosts. From Paris to Munich to Rome to Amsterdam, American are being spat on and yelled at by passersby. And weíre not faring much better in Canada where Al Jazeera can be seen on cable but FOX News is banned and where most Canadians under the age of 25 think we do more harm in the world than good.. An American mother and daughter expressed disgust when they saw a sign that said, "Shoot Bush, not Saddam." USA Today delivered advice on their front page for Americans traveling to Europe this past summer--advice that I never thought I would see. They told American tourists traveling abroad to disguise the fact that they are Americans. Some of the hints included: 1) speaking less boisterously; 2) not wearing clothing with overt patriotic displays like an American flag. I guess my Marlins and Dolphins hats are out too!
And should you think that this is all coincidental, that Americans are being related to the way Jews in general and Israelis in particular have for so long been related to--then consider this. What has been the standard claim of the anti-Semites? It was all laid out carefully in the most infamous of literary frauds known as the Protocols of the Wise Men of Zion. This forgery suggested that there is a worldwide Jewish conspiracy aimed at reducing the gentiles to slavery or exterminating them.. According to the Protocols the Jews were going to use the cloak of modern democracy to gain control of the world by first gaining control of the financial resources of the world. Even when the Jews seemed to be doing something good for society, like curing diseases or making critical scientific breakthroughs, their motives were maligned--money was our sole motivation--we wanted to usurp the world order and enslave the Christian world and we would do it by gaining control of the worlds economy. Hitler made great use of this notorious anti-Semitic forgery and it has come alive once again in the Muslim world and can be found throughout Europe.
But ladies and gentlemen, America now stands accused of the very same thing that the Jews were accused of. Americaís foreign policy we are told is based on love of money and imperialism--not altruism--not love of liberty and freedom and democracy. Listen carefully to the attacks on America by the radical Moslem world and by our detractors in Europe. They say that America went into Iraq under the guise of promoting democracy in order to gain control of the Iraqi oil. In other words money was our motivation. And we went it alone--claiming that we were trying to protect the free world when in truth we wanted to usurp the world order and control the world as itís only super-power. Now of course no one would claim that we wanted to enslave the Christian world--but what have our enemies in the Moslem world claimed? They just switched Islam for Christianity and lumped the Christian world in with the Jewish world. It is now the world wide Jewish community joined by the American Christian crusaders who want to enslave and humiliate Islam. And Israelís reward is that America will assist Israel in the genocide of the Palestinian people. These are the accusations you can read in the Arab press and in the Muslim world. And although Europe does not claim we are trying to enslave the world of Islam--it has made clear that it thinks that we went in for the oil and for military and political domination in the region. You see, there simply werenít enough Jews in the world to blame for the Arab worldís problems so they have turned America into the Jews of the 21st century--and instead of the Protocols of the Wise Men of Zion we have the Protocols of the Crusading Christians (and Jews) of America.
For over 2000 years Jews have asked ourselves the question "Why do they hate us?" And now we read articles in American newspapers and hear commentators on American TV asking the very same question about Americans: Why do they hate us? Is it possible that the underlying causes of anti-Semitism are similar to the underlying causes of anti-Americanism? Many books have been written about the causes of anti-Semitism. There is no shortage of theories to explain this: The Talmud suggests this reason nearly 2000 years ago. The Rabbis connect the word Sinai, where the Torah was given, with the Hebrew word for hatred, Sinah; Sinah=Sinai, you can see how they would make the connection. They look alike and sound alike. And the Talmud tells us that Mount Sinai was given its name because after the Jews received the Torah and committed themselves to lives of ethical virtue, the hatred--the Sinah--of the world descended upon them. Why? Because the Jews were upholding moral values that the world had rejected and in doing so stood as the worldís accusers. The Jews became the conscience of the world; all human beings are created in the image of God, deserving of freedom and dignity; we proclaimed, "Thou shall not murder, thou shall not steal, thou shall not give false testimony against your neighbor." This was not how the Roman Empire or the Kings of Europe or Nazism or Fascism or Communism wanted to run the world. It is not the way Radical Islam wants to run their societies and eventually the world. That is why they turned on their Jews--they had to eliminate the moral conscience which could challenge the legitimacy to their claims of leadership and foment rebellion. Nazism turned on the Jews, Communism turned on the Jews and on Christianity as well. Every dictator seeks to shut down religious institutions which have the Bible as the basis of its teachings.
Well America has done the same thing Jews have been doing for centuries--it has asserted itself as a moral conscience. Soviet Communism was called the Evil Empire, N. Korea, Iran and Iraq were referred to as the axis of evil; and Europe was mortified. How could you say such a thing, how can you judge a different political system in terms of morality? But we did, and it angered the European capitals. And just as the nations of the world always had to kill the Jewish message of morality and justice by killing the messenger or by turning the messenger into a pariah - now they are attacking Americans and impugning Americaís motives. All that talk of good and evil they say is pure smokescreen. All America wanted was the oil and a new American colony. They want world domination.
At the root of the Arab hatred of Israel is the simple fact that Israel makes the Arabs look bad. Israel is a democracy where Muslims have greater freedom then in any Moslem country--while the Arabs all live under dictatorships, not a democracy amongst them. Israel is literate and contributes mightily to world culture, science and medicine while tens of millions of Arabs are tragically, illiterate, and their contributions to the world negligent. The Arabs claim to be strong--it is a source of great pride to them--but Israel has time and time again proven them to be weak. Israel is hurting Arab pride big time and it hurts them, so instead of getting the message they just attack the messenger. Likewise America has made European leaders look bad and weak (with the notable exception of England). They are not prepared to fight for their convictions because they have no convictions--all they have are interests. As Rabbi Shemuely Boteach so rightly pointed out, the problem is not that we speak English and they speak French or German or Italian, the problem is that we speak the biblical language of right and wrong, while they speak the contemporary language of "Letís make a deal" and "whatís in it for me."
Jews created universal education, charity, care for the elderly, respect for the rights and dignity of women, the primacy of saving human lives and the importance of justice which led to intense Jewish involvement with the legal, medical and scientific world. Americans have done the very same. Islam in its earliest history built universities, made medical and scientific breakthroughs. But no more! Now Islam is bringing out the beast, decapitating people and putting it on the Internet while chanting that "Allah/God is Great." And there is virtually no outcry from the world of Islam. What do you think Christians or Jews would do if a group of their own behaved in such a way? There would be protests all over the Jewish and Christian world.
America is built on the shared values that Christians and Jews have from the Hebrew Bible, the Old Testament. Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah all thundered against injustice and railed against oppression. Moses became a leader when he refused to turn away from a Hebrew slave being beaten by an Egyptian and pretending that he didnít see the abuse. He smote the Egyptian and rescued the oppressed slave, even though by doing so he forever forfeited the privileged and pampered life of an Egyptian Prince. That is what Jews have tried to do ever since, most of the time we were powerless so we tried to do it by example and by teaching the world the Biblical tradition. America is doing the same thing now but she is not powerless and does intervene forcefully at times, just like she did when she rescued the world from Fascism, Nazism, Japanese Imperialism and then from Communism. Now she is prepared to rescue the world from fundamentalist, terrorist Islam. And she has the power to do it and the moral conviction to do it. America has become the world's new Jews. In a way you can say that America and the Jews have indeed teamed up to take over the world. But it is a conquest of ideas--ideas of freedom, democracy and human dignity--the idea that we are created in the image of God. The world had better hope that this team wins the battle--unless it prefers to be ruled by the likes of Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, the Taliban and the Ayotollahs of the world.
Dennis Prager suggested that instead of asking, "Why do they hate us?", we should ask, "Do the people who most hate us build beautiful societies themselves?" What is the normal state of the people who hate us the most? The Islamic terror world has built Sudan, Taliban, Iran and Saudi Arabia. Compare that with the societies built by Americans and Israelis.
A few years ago our daughter, Dahlia, was in a play entitled Dear Esther. She does drama as a hobby--itís a release from the theoretical math that is her profession. Dear Esther was the story of a Holocaust survivor. Dahlia played the young Esther in the Concentration Camp, Lillian Andron played the adult Esther looking back on the experience. I saw the play three times, not only because Dahlia was in it, but because it was so powerful. Oh, by the way, donít tell Dahlia that she wasnít the only reason I went three times. There was a scene in it that tormented me. A mother and child were in hiding, they were found, the baby was taken by the SS guard, taken by the feet and bashed to death against the wall. I remembered having read as a teenager an account of Nazi guards throwing Jewish children in the air and using them for target practice. Itís haunting, it's terrifying, it's numbing. I have visited the Childrenís memorial at Yad Vashem in Israel many times. One and Ĺ million Jewish children were slaughtered by the Nazis. And you know what I always thought--what I think we always thought--only Nazis slaughter children intentionally and only Jewish children are marked for slaughter. We were wrong. I saw the body of a Russian child, a girl, with 47 bullets in her body; I saw Russian children treated like animals and slaughtered without mercy, without any iota of humanity by their killers. And suddenly I realized that in the 21st century Russians are also Jews; their children are for slaughtering, they are not really human, they are to be killed in any and all ways imaginable, men, women and children. How many millions of Russians are there? They are now Jews as well. And Spaniards were blown up in their trains--I thought only Jews were put in trains and slaughtered--the Spaniards are finding out that in the 21st century they are now Jews. And tens of thousands of black Christians in the Sudan are being systematically murdered by Muslims and the world is just standing by and watching. The European Union is talking about sanctions on Sudan if it doesnít get this murder and rape under control. Sanctions? You offer sanctions while thousands of human beings are being slaughtered because they are the wrong color, in this case black, and the wrong religion, in this case white? Sanctions are what you use when there is some human rights abuses going on, not when it's murder and rape; then you use force, you save helpless human beings who are being slaughtered. You know I thought only Jews were systematically slaughtered without the concern of the world. In the 21st century black Christians in the Sudan are now Jews. At the end of WWII a protestant minister and theologian by the name of Martin Neimoller penned these now famous words: "In Germany, they first came for the communists, and I didnít speak up because I wasnít a communist. Then they came for the Jews and I didnít speak up because I wasnít a Jew. Then they came for the trade Unionists, and I didnít speak up because I wasnít a trade Unionists. Then they came for the Catholics and I didnít speak up because I wasnít a Catholic. Then they came for me, and by that time there was nobody left to speak up."
Itís not very pleasant being the object of enmity and hate because you are a Jew or an American or a Christian or, well, letís do what the media just canít bring itself to do. Letís just say the truth: you are an object for slaughter if you are a non-Muslim. It is wearisome and is it is worrisome. But we will prevail, and the world will be a much better place, and the Muslims will have better lives in spite of themselves, and maybe the antagonism will wane and the jealousy will dissipate. But even if it doesnít any time soon we can console Americans and all the other new Jews, by reminding them of how proud we are as Jews, how we never allowed the hatred of the world to make us doubt our real character or abandon our true values and our mission of being a light unto the nations. The world needs its Jews, the world needs America. Without either one of us, darkness would envelope the world and humankind would be thrust back into the darkest of dark ages.
The Mormons believe that America is the new Zion. In a way they are right. For while Torah comes forth from Zion and the word of the Lord from Yerushalyim, freedom and human hope flow from America. Every morning I recite the Bíracha found in our prayer book "Praised are You O Lord our God who has made me a Jew." I have taken to add thanks to God that so many Jews are Americans; it is the greatest partnership the world has ever known. Those of you who know me well--know that I am extremely hesitant to identify specific events or happenings as being the hand of God. But this new millennium has made it clear to me that the creation of America and the Creation of Israel are the hand of God for He could not stand to see His creation sink back into total cruelty and brutality and to prevent it He needed partners. That makes us objects of hatred and jealousy for now but it is a small price to pay for being the instruments of saving Godís world. I know that the Europeans would gasp in horror at this but Iíll conclude with it anyway: May God bless America and Israel and may the hundreds of millions in the world who have been turned into Jews learn the secret to Jewish survival and while weíre at it may the number of the worlds actual Jews grow and grow and grow in the years to come.
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