Most important message I ever wrote
I spent a lot of time on this. Probably one of the most important messages I have written. I respectfully ask you to not skim this but to read it carefully and more than once. Please take it in the spirit of friendship and urgency that it was written. I truly do not mean to offend anyone.
To my pastor friends and Christian leaders:
I assume that you all have heard that 11 Jews were murdered while praying in a synagogue in Pittsburgh this past Saturday.
I feel like I must share with you, my friends who are Christian pastors, my perspective on this tragic event.
For me, as a Jew, I have always taken a long view on history and put everything in to a broader context. It is possible to see this episode as some nutty guy who hates Jews (He screamed “All Jews must die”) and put the episode in a neat little box detached from anything that happened before this event.
This is not the Jewish way of seeing things.
Let me put it this way.
The norm of Jewish history since the destruction of the Temple can be summarized like this: Jews have been persecuted, victimized, scapegoated, tortured, murdered, forcibly converted etc. by most of the world. We have been accused of being too rich, too poor, too different, too integrated, blood suckers, Christ killers, vermin, dirty Jews, kikes etc. and most recently called termites by Farrakhan. (Below is a partial historical list if you are curious)
The exception of Jewish history is when Jews are integrated as equal citizen, having freedom like everyone else—(freedom of worship, freedom of religion, speech etc).
The exceptional parts of Jewish history are few and far between. You could probably point to about a total of 100 years in the last 2000 that Jews have lived in the exception.
One of those exceptional periods is now. The United States has been the greatest haven for the Jewish people in a post Holocaust world where six million of my brothers and sisters were murdered. When given freedom, Jews will not only survive but thrive and lift those around them and the countries they live in. I deeply believe in the Biblical verse of “Those who bless you will be blessed.” History is littered with proof of this verse.
All of the above brings me to what happened in Pittsburgh. This was the worst anti-Semitic act ever on US soil. In 2017, there was a 57% rise in anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S and this level has not been seen since the 1930’s-1940’s. So, the questions being raised in the Jewish community are:
Is this the watershed event that once again will put us on the run?
Is this the moment where the U.S changes and we are once again “a nation that dwells alone” and that we are no longer welcome?
I am not exaggerating. You are not on the lists and chats that I am in the Jewish community.
This is what I am seeing. Jews are wondering if they should get on a plane and move to Israel asap because the U.S is no longer hospitable to Jews. Over the last few years there has been a dramatic rise in anti-Semitism in the U.S. (By the way, I do not blame Trump as some idiots are).
Hopefully all of the above, can help you understand on a new level the urgency of how I feel about the work I am doing. You have to step out of your world and try to see things how the Jewish community sees it to really understand. What happened in Pittsburgh, for many Jews, pushes them to isolate and withdraw from the non-Jewish world as a threat to our way of life.
So the question I have for you as Christian leaders---What should we (the Jewish people) do? Does our community have your silent support or are you willing to stand up in your churches (perhaps you have) and call this out for what it is? Have you prayed for the victims and perhaps equally as important, have you prayed for the U.S?
In my heart of hearts, I feel that I am opening a door and giving the world an entrance in to the Jewish community that was long ago slammed and nailed shut. We fear the world and for good reason.
Do I make mistakes not understanding the Christian community correctly? Absolutely. Do I say silly things sometime in front of Christian audiences? Definitely. Do I fail in reaching out to some churches? For sure. Do I offend some Christians? Probably. I will try to learn from you and be a better friend.
I will continue to do what I am doing. Even more so now. For those who have been ambivalent, I am hope my words will light a fire under you and get you to be more involved in my organization.
After what happened in Pittsburgh this work has become more difficult. People are saying that Trumps support for Israel and the moving of the U.S embassy to Jerusalem is the reason why he killed all those people. They insanely see Israel as the problem.
All we need in this world for evil people to succeed is for the good people to do and say nothing. Pope Pius XII never said one word during the war years imploring his Christian brethren to help and save Jews. That silence is deafeningly loud in the Jewish community. I am sorry if that offends your sensibilities but it is the truth. He never said anything. He may have silently supported Jews but he never made a public statement.
I am in a lot of pain right now. The way out for me is to re-double my efforts. My hand is firmly out in friendship. I will continue to try to understand you, I will continue to offer free trips to Israel for Christian leaders, I will continue to build conferences, I will continue to write, to post, to reach out, to raise money for Israel, I will produce videos---all in the name of building bridges and hoping that what happened in Pittsburgh is an aberration and not the beginning of a return to the norm of Jewish history as I wrote above and that we, the Jewish community will dwell alone.
I ask you to join me.
With Sincere love and tears from Israel
We survived attempted genocide in 475 BCE. -Expulsion from Rome in 139 BCE. (and then again in 19 CE) -Pogroms in Alexandria in 38 and 37 BCE. -The destruction of our holiest temple, first in 586 BCE by the Babylonians and then again in 70 CE by the Romans. Both accompanied by mass murders of Jewish families and the taking of Jews as slaves. -The first recorded blood libel in 94 CE -The murder of more than 500,000 Jews during the Bar Kochvah revolt in 132-153 CE -Forced conversion in Italy, 224 -Expuslion from Carthage in 250 -Destruction of the Jewish community of Nehardea in 259 -Forced conversation / slaughter in Menorca in 438 -The murder of half of the Jewish population of Isfahan in 469 -Forced Baptism of all Jews in Merovingians in 582 -Massacres of Jews all across the Byzantine Empire, 608-610 -We survived it when Persians forbade us from settling within three miles of the city, 617 -We survived forced baptism at the hand of the Byzantine Empire in 632 and then again in 874 -We survived it when Jews were burned at the stake in Toledo, Spain, 638 -We survived when we were expelled from Arabia in 640 -We survived when Abbassid Caliph Harun al-Rashid ordered all Jews in the Caliphate to wear a yellow belt, 807 -When French king Charles the Simple confiscated Jewish-owned property in Narbonne and donated it to the Church. 900-929 -We survived when the Jewish population of Sparta was expelled after Nikon the Metanoeite said it would rid the city of a plague, 985 -We survived when the Jews of Ligomes were given the choice of baptism or exile, 1010 -We survived the pogrom against Sephardic Jews in Córdoba 1011 -We survived when the Jewish community of Kairouan, Tunisia was forced to choose between conversion and expulsion, 1016 -We survived the First Crusade, a slaughter of 5000 Jews across multiple regions in 1096 -Forced conversion, Morocco, 1107 -Destruction of Jewish Quarter of Kiev by arson, 1124 -We survived when 150 Jews were killed in Ham, France, 1143 - We survived when 100,000 Jews were massacred by the Almohads in Fez and 120,000 in Marrakesh, 1146 -We survived expulsion from Spain, 1147 -Conversion or death, Lucena, 1148 -Forced mass conversions in Yemen, 1165 -Blood libel In Blois, France, 1171 -Expulsion from Bologna, 1171 -Confiscation of Jewish property and annulment of all loans made to Jews, Paris, 1181 -Expulsion from Orléans, 1182 -Slaughter of all the Jews of Norwich, England in 1190 -We survived when 57 Jews in St. Edmunds were killed in a massacre on Palm Sunday, 1190 -The massacre of 500 Jews in York, 1190 -Forced conversions and mass murder in Toledo, 1212 -We survived when Jews were forced to wear identifying symbols by by Pope Innocent III in 1215 -We survived when crusaders attacked the Jewish communities of Anjou and Poitou and attempted to baptize all the Jews. Those who resisted (est. 3,000) were slaughtered in 1236 -We survived when Duke Jean le Roux expelled Jews from Brittany in 1240 -We survived yet another blood libel in Kitzingen in 1243 -Expulsion of all Jews in Poitou 1249 -We survived when Louis IX expelled the Jews from France and their property and synagogues was confiscated in 1254 -We survived when "The Badge of Shame" was imposed locally on the Italian Jews in 1257 -When Jews were banned from ascending above the 7th step on the Cave of the Patriarchs. This ban would last 700 years, starting in 1260 -We survived the massacre of Jews in London 1260 -We survived it when Synod of Breslau ordered Jews to live in a segregated quarter in 1267 -We survived yet another blood libel in Mainz, 1283 -We survived when 104 Jews in Bonn, Germany were killed during a pogrom in 1288 -When Jews were expelled from Gascony and Anjou in 1289 -When the Jews of Baghdad were massacred, 1290 -Forced conversion and expulsion from Italy, 1292 -Forced conversion, and conversion of synagogues into Mosques, Egypt, 1301 -Seizure of all Jewish property and expulsion of Jews (again) France 1305 -We survived expulsion from Sens, 1306 -Being required to wear yellow badge, Sicilly, 1310 -Expuslion from Breslau 1312 -Expulsion from Milan during a persecution of 'heretics' 1320 -We survived when King Henry II of Castile forced Jews to wear yellow badge, 1321 -When Jews in central France were accused of ordering lepers to poison wells. After massacre of est. 5,000 Jews, King Philip V admited they were innocent, 1321 -We survived when King Charles IV expelled Jews from France (again), 1322 -We survived when 5,000 Jews were massacred and their houses were burned down following anti-Jewish preaching by a Franciscan friar, 1328 -We survived forced mass conversions in Baghdad, 1333 -We survived when European Jews were blamed for the plague in the Black Death persecutions. Jews were (falsely) charged with poisoning the wells. Massacres spread throughout Spain, France, Germany and Austria. More than 200 Jewish communities were destroyed by violence, 1348 -We survived when the entire Jewish population of Speyer was destroyed. All Jews were either killed, converted, or fled. All of their property and assets were confiscated, 1349 -We survived when 600 Jews were burned at the stake and the entire Jewish community of Zurich was annihilated as a part of the Black Death Jewish persecutions, 1349 -We survived expulsion from Hungary, 1376 -We survived when all Jews in the Swabian League were arrested, and their books were confiscated, 1385 -We survived when more than 400 Jews were massacred in Barcelona, 1391 -We survived expulsion, property confiscation, and forced conversion in Trier, Lyons, Vienna, Zurich, Iglau, Bern, Fribourg, Majorca, Speyer, Zurich again, Augsburg and Düsseldorf in succession from 1418 to 1438 -We survived when Moroccan Jews were put into ghettos, 1438 -We survived when Sultan Qaitbay forced Jews of Cairo to pay 75,000 gold pieces or be expelled. This severely impoverished the local Jewish community 1468 -We survived The Spanish Inquisition, where Jews were forced to convert or leave, starting in 1481 (lasting until 1834, yes, I said 1834) -We survived a series of expulsions, blood libels, forced conversions, from cities across France, Austria, Germany, Spain, Italy, Lithuania, Czech Republic for decades in the mid 1400s through the 1500s. -We survived when 25 Jews in Ancona were hung or burned at the stake for refusing to convert to Christianity, in 1555 -We survived when Jews were given ultimatum: embrace Russian Orthodox Church or die. Around 300 Jewish men, women and children were thrown into ice holes of Dvina river, 1563 -We survived the Mexican Inquisition, 1571 -We survived a series of Jews being burned alive at the stake for practicing Judaism in a variety of European countries, late 1500s, early 1600s -We survived when Jews in Vienna were forced to live in a ghetto, (again) 1625 -We survived when a variety of other communities forced Jews into ghettos, as well as a host of incidents of Jews being burned alive for practicing Judaism, mid/late 1600s. -We survived when the Jewish Ghetto of Prague was destroyed by French troops, including 318 houses and 11 synagogues, 1689 -We survived continuous and ongoing expulsions, blood libels, public torturing, in Russia, Poland, Lithuania, during the mid 1700s -We survived when the Sultan expelled the Moroccan Jews for failing to pay an exorbitant ransom, 1783 -We survived when Ali Burzi Pasha murdered hundreds of Libyan Jews in 1785 -We survived when Yazid became the Sultan of Morocco and immediately ordered troops to massacre and plunder the Jewish quarter of Tétouan, 1790 -We survived the destruction of most of the Jewish communities of Morocco. 1790-1792 -When 200-500 Algerian Jews were killed in what was dubbed the Black Sabbath massacre, 1805 -We survived the massacre of the Jewish community of Baghdad, 1828 -The massacre of the Persian Jewish population of Tabriz, 1830 -A month-long attack on the Jewish population of Safed including large scale looting, as well as the killing and raping of Jews and the destruction of many homes and synagogues, 1834 -We survived the Damascus affair: false accusations causing arrests and atrocities, culminating in the seizure of sixty-three Jewish children and attacks on Jewish communities throughout the Middle East, 1840 -We survived blood libels in Saratov and throughout Russia, 1853 -We survived when more than 500 Moroccan Jews were massacred in Marrakech and Fez, 1864 -We survived a variety of synagogue destructions, forced conversions, and large scale anti-Semitic incidents including the Dreyfus affair, rounding out the end of the 1800s. -We survived the Kishinev pogrom in 1903, the pogroms in Kiev and Yekaterinoslav in 1905, and the Casablanca pogrom in 1907. (leaving hundreds of Jews dead) -We survived the Fez massacre leaving 42 Moroccan Jews dead, 1912 -We survived when World War I prompted the expulsion of 250,000 Jews from Western Russia, 1915 -We survived when UNR troops killed 1500 Jews in Proskurov, 1919 -We survived the pogrom killing 4000 Jews in Tetiev, March 25th, 1919 -We survived when all Jews in Mongolia were expelled, 1921 -We survived when Adolf Hitler published Mein Kampf, 1925 and when he systematically murdered 6 million Jews…