Thursday, November 11, 2010

What American Jews Can Learn From Elephant

Before the 2004 tsunami people in Thailand heard wails and saw the strange sight of panic stricken elephants. The agitated elephants broke free from their chains, ignored the commands of their owners and ran for higher ground. The elephants’ flight happened minutes before the tsunami hit. This same behavior was observed in many other types of animals briefly before the tsunami crashed on shore.

Alan Rabinowitz, director for science and exploration at the Bronx Zoo-based Wildlife Conservation Society in New York, says animals can sense impending danger by detecting subtle or abrupt shifts in the environment. "Earthquakes bring vibrational changes on land and in water while storms cause electromagnetic changes in the atmosphere," he said. "Some animals have acute senses that allow them to determine something coming towards them long before humans might know that something is there."

What Mr. Rabinowitz is basically describing is a sixth sense. American Jews, what has happened to your sixth sense? Why aren’t you going to higher ground? Why are you not returning to Israel?

In his Yom Kippur message entitled, “Come Home!” Rabbi Nachman Kahana said, “Often it is difficult, if not almost impossible, to face the truth, but in our attempts to soften the sting, we often pervert the absolute truth.” American Jews, it’s time to face the absolute truth. America is not your home, no matter how at home you might feel here. Deep in your heart, and high in a realm of your conscious that is connected to Hashem, you know this truth. It shouts at you everyday, “Come Home!” The problem is though, you're not listening.

We just witnessed the 72-year anniversary of Kristallnacht. Brian Levin wrote an article in the Huffington Post entitled, “On Kristallnacht Anniversary, Critical Lessons Remain Unheeded.” Mr. Levin opened his article describing the horrid scenes and statistics of the infamous night of destruction of German, Austrian, and Czech Jews’ lives, businesses, and synagogues. The “angle” he chose for the remainder of the article led him to point out, of all things, the intolerence Muslims are facing, while unheeding the most critical lesson of all, that the only safe place for Jews, ironically, with all that it is facing, is Israel.

“How lucky we, particularly religious minorities like Jews and Muslims, and non-believers as well, are to live in the United States in 2010,” Levin said, “where different faiths or none can be practiced without the violence and threat that still blights other parts of the world. To be sure, religious hatred and intolerance does exist in the United States, and as someone who studies extremism across the board, I can conveniently spotlight incendiary demagogues from each of the Abrahamic faiths to demonstrate that intolerance is primarily a human trait, rather than a religious one. Neither our laws, our President, or religious minorities themselves will allow those pogroms of the past to occur here in the immediate future. Responsible leaders such as Presidents Obama and Bush, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Retired Justice John Paul Stevens have rightfully spoken out against religious intolerance, and Islamophobia in particular.”

This is wrong and inappropriate on many levels, but I’ll focus on Mr. Levin feeling lucky to be an American. The absolute truth is that Mr. Levine is not lucky to live in the United States. No matter how welcomed and comfortable he, along with other Jews feel here, the United States is part of the galut. The only home for a Jew, according to Hashem, is Israel. If a Jew’s address does not have Israel at the end of it, he is literally living in a dream world. A dream world, that history has shown over and over again, will more likely than not turn into a nightmare.

How many Jews throughout history living and prospering in varies countries felt Mr. Levin’s same false security? Putting hope in any country's laws, leaders, or religious minorities to prevent “those pogroms of the past to occur here in the immediate future” is utter foolishness.

Am I an alarmist, or am I simply looking at both ancient and recent history? History has relentlessly proven that too often no matter how long a Jewish community is welcomed in a country, eventually the host country turns on the Jews leading to devastating consequences. Modernism and “refined” cultures were no match for anti-Semitism in Europe. Are Jews willing to bet their lives that America’s modernism and refined culture will always guarantee their safety?

Jews, more than any other peoples, should have a spiritual sixth sense. And they do. Unfortunately, for so many American Jews in the galut, their sixth sense is suppressed by materialism and secularism. Hence, they are not heeding the warning from Hashem to flee to higher ground, to drop everything and go home to Israel.

Persian Jew, Spanish Jew, Russian Jew, Austrian Jew, German Jew, Czech Jew, and yes, even American Jew are labels that no longer need or should exist. Israeli Jew. That is the only label suitable for a Jew today.

I, along with others, who care about American Jews, need to quit sugar-coating the truth in an attempt soften it. If any American Jew is listening, my heart is shouting a message that isn't politically correct and it doesn't sound nice, but it is coated in concern and truth. “Leave my country! You don’t belong here. Go back to G-d's gift to you, the land of Israel.” Deep down inside you know I’m right. Because deep down inside your heart is shouting the same thing.


  1. Cami, I love what you have in your heart and what you wrote. We need more independent thinkers like you.