From the Rabbi

Rabbi Mark

“The facts ma’am, just the facts!” Sgt. Joe Friday, Dragnet TV Series

The reports are getting bleaker! Anti-Semitism, really anti-Jewish peopleism, is on the rise. From all corners from classical anti-Jewish rhetoric to the Black Israelite movement, we are being attacked.

By far the most outlandish idea is that we are not true Jews but usurpers who have enslaved the true Jews, those who are Black, Brown or Native American. The other day, I was talking to a congregant who related that those anti-Jewish conspiracy theorists emphatically state that we are not the true chosen people but the people who stole the identity of others, enslaved them and then stole their identity.

I do remember when we left Egypt, some native Egyptians joined us for their chance to be free of Pharaoh, but I daresay they were nowhere near the majority so they could not have been the true children of Israel.

Maybe there is a case for Latinos being Jewish. Our people and the Muslims of Spain controlled most of the intellectual life in Spain until Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand threw us out. Many Secret Jews travelled with Cortex, Coronado, and Pizarro to the New World and when the Conquistadores left, the generals granted large tracts of land, called land grants, to the soldiers who stayed behind. Those soldiers called for women to come to the New World to marry them, most often a cousin or other relative was asked, most definitely also a secret Jew. So it is possible that some people who identify as Latino may in fact be descendants of those Secret Jews.

What is most upsetting of course is the claim that they and only they are true Jews. We are told that we are descendants of a Tribe of Hungarians called Khazars, who converted from paganism to Judaism.

This is not new!  The book “The Thirteenth Tribe” by Arthur Koestler published in 1976 described the same thing. Koestler and the new anti-Jews only talk about Ashkenazi Jews being inauthentic. They don’t dare take on Sephardic Jews.

In one of my arguments with Mina, I told her that the Jews lived in Poland for 1,000 years. She responded,” We Persian Jews know where Mordechai and Esther are buried!” Sephardi power! or at least truly authentic Judaism.

The “anti-Jewish people’s” claim of one of the Black Israelite movement’s favorite Basketball players led to his being suspended. If it wasn’t so serious, it would be humorous. Where does this basketball player play his home contests? Brooklyn! When I heard what he said about us and his subsequent suspension, I was reminded of a comment by Johnny Carson, when the King of Saudi Arabia came to New York in the early 1960’s and made disparaging remarks about Israel. Mr. Carson said, “Saying those things in New York City is like setting up a Ku Klux Klan field station in the Congo.”

These attacks, while without merit, are scary because some people believe them.

But I appreciate those who choose not to believe the hate.

Right after, Kanye West, or Ye, whatever he calls himself, made his comments, two non- Jewish women here in Burbank, on separate occasions, called me aside and told me how much they detested Kanye’s comments and his anti-Judaism in particular.

This is the key! We have allies, people who know the facts, people who know us as good solid citizens. When we talk to those who have doubts about our heritage, we deal with the facts, not just some other people’s conspiracy theories. We must talk freely and truthfully about our experiences in history and how we have been open to people choosing to join our communities, our people’s experiences with slavery, both classical and modern. And we personally must learn more about our people’s history to make intelligent conversation with both friends and adversaries

We stand tall when we speak about who we are with knowledge behind it!

If you still have problems combatting those who would take away our ‘Yichus’ (pedigree) invest in one of the DNA discovery programs.

I have! I am:

93 %Ashkenazi Jewish (No News There)

3% DNA of the Middle East (Me and Moshe Rabbenu)

3% Persian (Made Mina So Happy)

1% Scandinavian (Yumpin Yimani)

Seriously, Sweden invaded the Russian Empire in the 1500s all the way to Odessa!     

Learn about your DNA! Ask others to do the same!

Facts don’t lie. Conspiracy theories conspire!

B’ahava,

Rabbi Mark