Friday, November 28, 2008
The Holtzbergs- Not "Ultra" and Not Missionaries
The Mainstream Media are already in the process of demeaning and dehumanizing the Jewish victims of the Mumbai massacre.
They are routinely called “Ultra-Orthodox” and I have already read of them them being referred to as “missionaries”. Shabbat is approaching so I don’t have time to frame a complete response and as much as it is not my usual way to write in haste, I need to tell you, these are lies.
I know the Lubavitchers very well. When we went to Ukraine to adopt our two boys six years ago we spent Passover with the Chabad in the Grand Synagogue of Kiev. The soviets had used it as a marionette theater. It was virtually destroyed until it was lovingly restored by the Chabad. There was no condescending pretense that our (Conservative American) brand of Judaism was less Jewish than the full Lubavitch observance. There was only the open handed, loving hearted Chabad wish to help us be the best Jews and human beings we could be. Their hospitality ad open-mindedness are the only "Ultra" thing about them.
We also visited Zhitomir, the city where my grandfather was born. There too, a tireless and dedicated Shaliach welcomed us and treated us with respect and love. He showed us how they have restored the Shul, are reclaiming the Jewish cemetery and are, daily, sending out hot meals over hundreds of miles of decayed and neglected country roads all over the Zitomir Guberna (a political region, like a state that I think is about the size of one of our eastern states) to the elderly, isolated Jews who have survived first the Tsar, then Hitler and then The Soviets.
Since we brought our boys home, they have attended the local Chabad Jewish day school here in Boston, Shaloh House, where they have learned to excel in Mathematics, Science, English, Tanakh, Mishna and Hebrew. They have also seen, first hand, the love and gratitude the whole families of Russian immigrants whose children they study and play with, feel for America and Western Civilization- in all its diverse and chaotic glory. They are not insular and isolated, they are accepting and open.
We have attend religious services there and I can tell you, although the ritual basis is very traditional and strict, they are open and helpful for those who can't keep up.
The Rabbi at Shaloh House, Dan Rodkin is, as were the Rabbis we met in Ukraine, a luminous soul with not a missionary thought in his mind nor a derogatory word in his vocabulary. I am very sure that Rabbi Holtzberg of Mumbai was out of that same mold.
The mainstream media is ignorant (only some are intentionally so) but, in a way, you can't blame them- because so many of our fellow American "Jews" foster the "Ultra" canard about these beautiful souls who in so many way epitomize what it means to be a not just a Jew, but a “fully human being”. May Rabbi Holtzberg and his wife, at least, be the beginning of an awakening.
Tell the world: “They were neither Missionaries nor ultra-Orthodox zealots they were, simple, devoted and loving people serving a very high purpose.”
They were murdered by zealots for purely political and bloody purposes. Here is a question for anyone who still denies that Caliphate Islamism is a problem: If they could do this to the Holtzbergs, if they could do this to all the other innocents people in Mumbai and Madrid and Beslan and New York and Jerusalem, how long will it be before they do it to you or someone you love? When will you stop trying to minimize and even excuse what they are doing by denigrating their victims?