From the Editor

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Are You Not Weary of the Hate?

“Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him.[c] 19 For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.”

~ Genesis 18: 18 -19 ~

Walking in the area of Echo Park, in Los Angles, sometime in the early 1980’s, I happened upon a “junk store”; one of those temples of treasures that is entirely disorganized and stacked to the hilt. One must be highly motivated to step into such places and begin a search; yet quite honestly, they are among my most favorite second hand stores, as the very nature of their chaotic state lends an element to a treasure hunt that is unrivaled by neatly organized temples with labels and price tags.

What I found that day was a cobalt blue Milk of Magnesium bottle that for some reason I fell deeply in enamored of, despite the dollar price tag; I know a dollar does not sound like much, and even back in that day, it was not much, but I was on a very tight budget. I brought home the bottle, gingerly cleaned it, and placed it in a window sill; I loved how it looked with the sun shining through it. The bottle eventually became a vase, before earning the distinction of being the impetus for my collection of cobalt glass, which my Mother quite appreciated and over the years added to, as did one of her best friends, Leona, who gave me a blue glass that had once been my Mother’s and my Aunt Helen, who gave me a small blue bowl, that I believe had been her mother-in-law’s.

I tend to keep my cobalt glass treasures safely tucked away in my bedroom, though there is one piece that has the best chance of being displayed where others can enjoy it, and that is a vase that I purchased in Israel. Yes, it is a hand blown vase, the shape is iconic, and the size ideal, but it is not an extraordinary piece of art, it is simply a vase that I was drawn to, when I stepped inside a shop in old Jerusalem, on a trip I took alone, shortly after my initial purchase of cobalt glass.

The insanity of that purchase was not the price, but rather that I imagined I could get it home. I had been traveling in Europe when I decided to go to Israel, using my Pan Am credit card, so far back in the day! I had soft sided luggage, and to get “home” meant flying back to Paris, where I had departed from, for Israel, taking a train to Madrid, from where I had landed, returning to New York, then deciding at JFK that I would head to Columbus, Ohio, before eventually going back to Los Angeles, all while carrying a vase – a vase that I must add has been moved dozen of times in the states, and can still hold flowers – a great purchase as it turns out.

I will never be a non-materialist minimalist, my treasures are all attached to memories, and when I look at the things that fill my homes, I remember my life, the people I have loved, and the places that matter to me, like Israel.

You cannot walk into my house and doubt where I stand regarding Israel; I stand with Israel. There are many reasons that I support and admire Israel and Jewish people and their culture. I do not know of a stronger people, who have endured, survived, and thrived despite what so often seems like insurmountable odds, a people who have preserved their history, found ways to work together to build and rebuild their nation, treasured each other, and gifted the rest of us with everything from music, art, literature, science, and faith!

I will never understand how anyone who claims to be a Christian cannot and does not support Israel. The root of all of my knowledge of who God is and my faith in Him, comes from diligent, literate, pious Jews who allowed themselves to be used by God to write the Bible, my Bible, their Tanakh (the Torah, the Prophets and the Writings). I could not and would not have been able to become a Christian had it not been for Jews – yes, as trite as it sounds, Jesus was Jewish; and that Book which feeds my soul and comforts my spirit comes to me because of the benevolence of Jews who have paid an incredible price to preserve this text. Though we, as a civilized world, have never been presented a bill, we nevertheless owe a debt to Jews that we will never be able to repay.

When I saw the news unfolding, in Pittsburg, regarding the massacre, at the Tree of Life Synagogue, on October 27, 2018, I was filled with sorrow and shock, and completely dumbfounded. How can this be happening in the United States of America?

Yes, I do keep up with current affairs, and I am aware that the madness of these mass shootings has become too common place in our nation; but still, I do not understand why. I do not understand what is happening to American society; we are supposed to be a nation founded on Judo-Christian principles, encapsulated by the Golden Rule, whether we quote it from the Tanakh or the Bible:

“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.”

~ Leviticus 19:18 ~

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

~ Matthew 7: 12 ~

We have lost our way and I mourn, first the fallen of this latest massacre:

Joyce Fienberg, 75, of Oakland
Richard Gottfried, 65, of Ross Township
Rose Mallinger, 97, of Squirrel Hill
Jerry Rabinowitz, 66, of Edgewood
Cecil Rosenthal, 59, of Squirrel Hill
David Rosenthal, 54, of Squirrel Hill
Bernice Simon, 84, of Wilkinsburg
Sylvan Simon, 86, of Wilkinsburg
Daniel Stein, 71, of Squirrel Hill
Melvin Wax, 87, of Squirrel Hill
Irving Younger, 69, of Mt. Washington

But secondly, I also mourn for us, as a people. The senseless violence continues to grow; but do not be fooled; whether the intended targets appear to be infidels, homosexuals, African-Americans, school children, shoppers, pedestrians, or Jews, we are all victims.

I am not unaware of our history, as a people, in discriminating, targeting, mutilating, tormenting, and murdering those we find different; but I would like to believe it was the exception and not the rule, and that we have learned from our past and tried to correct the insanity that said because of what you look like, or who you sleep with, or how you pray, or how much money you have, or what groups you socialize with, we can systematically persecute you.

Blaming anyone other than the incarnation of evil that murders these innocent souls is a distraction and a waste of time. But the fact is that we live in a society, where in polite conversation or on social media, we allow people to make bigoted, hate filled, raciest, sexists, homophobic, and anti-Semitic remarks; we do not stop to think that today it is acceptable to disparage and murder Jews, which is okay with us, because we are not Jewish, but tomorrow, as Pastor Martin Niemoller so perfectly and succinctly stated, tomorrow it could be us. Do you really not think that evil can take issue against people who are too tall or too short, too thin or too fat, or too educated or not educated enough, or have green eyes or red hair, or live in the East as opposed to the West, or go to church every Sunday or not all? The insanity of hate is that it is without reason; we simply decide to hate what is different.

As Christians we are taught: “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[e] 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[f] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[g] There is no commandment greater than these.”

~ Mark 12: 29-31 ~

My question to you, are you living this teaching? If not, at the very least could you please stop calling yourself a Christian? The world is listening to our words and we are most assuredly reaping what we are sowing. We are all guilty of prejudice, but we can repent! That Is All For Now.

“When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. 34 The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.”

~ Leviticus 18: 33-34 ~

As always, thank you to Biblegateway.com

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This is a trading world and men, women and children, who cannot live on gravity alone, need something to satisfy their gayer, lighter moods and hours, and he who ministers to this want is in a business established by the Author of our nature.  If he worthily fulfills his mission and amuses without corrupting, he need not feel that he has lived in vain.
 
~ Phineas T. Barnum ~
 

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