Anti-Semitism In America ~ When Will We Stop Judging Each Other?
Anti-Semitism In America ~ When Will We Stop Judging Each Other?
Why Can’t We Learn to Love?
Currently I’m in Columbia, South Carolina at a training class for my day job. Or, the one that pays the bills as some might call it. Regardless of the technicalities, after class today I came to my room and turned on the TV. This is a very normal methodical thing with me as I like to have back ground noise at all times. It can’t be the radio though, that I will sing along with and get nothing done. Sorry, I wander. Anyways, when I turned the TV on, the news was playing. The report was about Muslim Americans supporting the Jewish cemetery which recently was defaced.
While I do not recall the news station I was on, it showed a Muslim man in front of the Jewish cemetery which had recently been defaced. While I’m not Muslim I am human and I’m also an American. It brought joy to my heart to see Muslims helping Jews. Just as individuals from the Jewish population did when the immigration ban first came out.
For those of you who do not know it, these two groups in Israel are in a state of ongoing war. Time and time again I post to my Facebook page that I support Israel, because I classify myself as a Messianic Jew. In case you haven’t heard that term before it’s someone who believes in both Jewish and Christian doctrine. Ask a traditional Jewish person and they will likely say it’s not even a thing. That my friends is not the point of this blog.
Being Pro One Thing, Does Not Automatically Mean Anti Something Else
Muslim and Jewish Americans
My real point in saying that is that I do not post pro Jewish things as a way to say I’m against Muslims. I’m not. Quite the contrary. I am all for religion in any form the person chooses. After all, let us not forget Christianity and the Muslim religion was born of Judaism. All three of these groups are very passionate about their religion with one little difference. That being what they don’t believe about the others. But at the end of the day they do share one God. Just stop for a moment and understand we are all praying to the same God. Each religion its own path, but a path just the same.
What I really wanted to say is that it makes me proud that American Jews and Muslims can put aside their differences and recognize anti-Semitism. Wrong is wrong in my opinion. It is a beautiful thing when two groups can set aside their differences and work toward a common goal. According to the New York Times roughly 2.2% of America is Jewish. At the time of the survey it represented 5.3 million adult Jewish Americans. According to The Huffington Post 1% of America is Muslim. This represents 319 million residents in America. I have to admit I’m surprised. The sites I found are a little outdated, so it’s likely those numbers are a bit higher now.
The United States is Predominantly Christian
As a comparison, Pew Forum in 2014 reported 70.4% of Americans as some form of Christianity. This is a decline in Christianity, but according to the chart it looks like people are getting less faithful, not a result of
immigration diluting the numbers. What I’m referencing is the chart which appear just before this paragraph. The big jump is with those who identify themselves as having no religion. The changes in “other” religions as an increase is so minute that in the big picture it has no real impact.
The truth is, neither of these groups are having a large impact on American policy and what I mean is “other” religions make up 4.7% of America. They are not getting our Pledge of Allegiance pulled. They didn’t get religion out of our schools. My friends, 4.7% is not enough for a majority rule. Generations of Americans who’ve become less faithful have done this. But certainly these two groups are easy targets.
Wrap My Hair, or Don’t. That is The Question
I have to admit I do not know a lot about the culture or beliefs of Muslims, but I know a lot about Judaism. Sometimes I wrap my hair. Certainly I don’t have to, but I do it when it’s on my heart to do so. I’ve received many looks. I see people are trying to judge me and decide what religious group I belong to. Why? What is gained by that? I can only image what either of these two groups go through.
The only way I can remotely relate is being tattooed. I can see the judgement and dirty looks on some people’s faces. Perhaps they think they are better. That’s okay. That is a fundamental problem with their lives, not a reflection of mine. These individuals should ask themselves, why do I hate this person? What do I even know about them? What is it about myself that I see in them? Because the truth is we know very little about any group we are not a member of and even less about that individual.
When in Doubt, Research
In preparation for writing this blog I read over a couple of websites about the Jewish cemeteries. What each of the sites had in common was a group of people who have been disenfranchised by the popular norm. What these groups have though, that most of us don’t is each other. In a world where the majority population is mixed, we cannot afford to judge. There is only room for love on this planet. If there is no love and acceptance then we have failed as humans. There is never a need for someone else to suffer in order to make your life better. There is part of the world for all of us. Each with our own special talents to lend to humanity.
Headed to Columbia, SC
As I flew out here to South Carolina on my flight from Dallas I sat next to an older gentleman on the plane. I’m certain he didn’t even know I realized he was Jewish. But as a lover of the faith I noticed things many did not. When I arrived on the plane he was already seated. I took off my jacket and sat down. Here I am covered in tattoos. I wondering if he would judge me, he likely doing the same? Do you think this man judged me? No he did not. He started a little conversation with me. Buried in work eventually I took to my phone to read a couple much needed articles.
Funny How Memories Take Us Out of the Moment and Into a Memory
This man reminded me of something I read about Judaism. It’s tradition that one should never hurt one of G*d’s creatures for no reason. (Jewish people do not write the word G*d.) Not even a leaf on a tree. After all, that leaf gives us oxygen and takes in carbon monoxide. Without these plants we would die. I recall being a child and wondering if the grass hurt when I walked on it. Did a tree feel pain when I pulled off a branch? Are flowers sad when we cut them? Do they think of flowers as we do parts of the family?
Well, as we all do I grew up and took a couple science classes. I learned grass doesn’t feel pain and flowers don’t get sad. But there is something more important going on. The renewal of life. The renewal of oxygen. If there is any hope for our children we have to do better. Even if you are not a believer in G*d’s gift, understand the science and know future generations need these plants for their life giving properties.
All of The Sudden, We are Back in Realty
As I approached my row, the first thing I noticed was his beard and yamaka (ya-ma-ka). Of course I wasn’t sure if it was a yamaka or a small beanie because it was larger in size than most I’ve seen. I didn’t ask because
it seemed rude, although it may have not been. About half way through the flight I noticed he had the traditional curls. But as we were getting off the plane I moved from the aisle to allow him to get his bags. When I did I noticed he had traditional prayer tassels known as, Tzitzit. Just then I felt a little proud of myself. Proud to know that I understand another group of individuals. I know what you’re thinking, but you’re a Messianic Jew. Well…let just say traditional Jews do not believe in tattoos and move on from there.
Regret. It Creeps In When We Least Expect
To be honest I’m regretful I didn’t take the opportunity that was presented to me to get to know a little more about this man. I’m certain we would have had quite the conversation. But this is life. We regret later what we pass on in the moment. I regret very little in my life. This I regret. I’m very much a person who is going to do what I want. If you don’t like it too bad. We are as the snowflakes, each and individual.
I wasn’t raised Jewish, in fact I was partially raised Catholic then latter my mom switched to Christianity. As an adult I’ve question many things the Christian faith teaches. So I did what I always do, research. I’ve read many many books on the topic. I started with Judaism because it’s the basis of Christianity. Immediately I question, why a new religion? Jesus was a very good Jewish boy. He upheld all the high holidays, kept Shabbot and taught from the Torah. Jesus taught inclusion of all. When I read about Judaism, for me it makes a lot more sense. I find myself unable to leave what I’ve grown up with and that puts me right in the middle. In a way, unaccepted by either groups.
Christmas in The Harding House
In our home there is a Christmas tree with a Star of David and a Menorah on the mantel. At times throughout the year I make the Challah bread, light the candle and provide myself peace by upholding Shabbat. I admit, this takes devotion. For me, religion isn’t something to wave in someone’s face or a way to say you aren’t good enough. It’s just a difference. A difference in the same way I have a different color of hair, eyes or skin color. But certainly nothing to be hated for.
Like the Muslims who decided to take the high road and help out the Jewish cemetery, you are what humanity needs. We have enough hate. None of us need more of that in our lives. When will we decide love is enough? That no life is worth more than another? I encourage everyone, no matter your faith, no matter if you don’t agree with religion at all, do something great for someone else. We have the power to change the environment we live in. One good deed turns to two and on and on. Over time we have to power to create peace. We all just have to want it.
Every Statement Is Not Based on Skin Color
Recently I was asked if the statement I made about immigration was based on being white. I’m so much more than that and just because I look white on the outside doesn’t make me 100% white. Regardless I will say this, immigration is something we should all care about. My dad is 2nd generation American on his mother’s side. My great grandfather emigrated from Sweden. It’s easy to see foreigners as colored or a different religion than Christian. However, unless you are a Native American, your family immigrated!! There are no two ways about it. On my mother’s side, both my grandparents emigrated from Germany in the early 1900s. Regardless of my skin color, I’m well aware of the gift I was given being born in this country.
I think we can all take a few notes from the Muslim and Jewish people who are standing up for what is right. There are many Americans who are. That is a wonderful thing. Now is not the time to let the media agenda tear Americans apart. It makes me sick to think that any group may think I hate them because I’m white. Trust me, there is no gift in that.
When my time is up, and the good Lord calls me home, the best I can hope for is that he knows I did the best I could. That I tried in all the ways I know how to make him and my family proud, and that nothing I did was ever to hurt anyone else.