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Posted by: Josephina ( )
Date: August 11, 2019 07:23AM

My Jewish friends up the street were born into Slavic Ashkenazi families. Raised religiously in Jewish communities, got Hebrew educations, though not really religious themselves do still follow some traditions. In my very tolerant town, they are very sensitive to the slightest scent of something that might have been markers of persecution in the past. They act on edge if someone brings up circumcision, and I have had to reassure them that though DH and I chose not to circumcise our boys, we have absolutely nothing against parents choosing to circumcise. Muslims in my area get upset about this issue too--and I do realize that my experience with these two groups is limited. There are other sensitive issues that arouse fear. Their parents and grandparents had taught them, as children, about horrible things that were perpetrated on their own family members. The wife is more sensitive than the husband and son, but there is this background fear of violence happening even in our peaceful tolerant town. She claims that anti-Semitism is creeping back with some people.

I just want to know if this is typical of Slavic Jewish people in the States, whose families emigrated here when they were young children.

I have not read most of the threads here about circumcision. I did read one thread claiming persecution over the issue, and I don't want to get in on the fight and make any kind of judgement. My area is very liberal, with many people being openly critical of circumcision. Some of the Reform Jews here don't circumcise anymore either. My friends were raised Orthodox, But they don't follow it themselves.

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Posted by: Tevai ( )
Date: August 11, 2019 03:16PM

As I read your post, your main question is about fear: That Jews you know personally are--at this moment in time--seemingly fearful of violence occurring to them, specifically because they are Jews....and this despite the fact that you all live together in a highly tolerant and accepting community, and you don't understand why. Although you didn't say this, my interpretation of your words is: you think your Jewish friends are being at least a bit irrational.

I can understand why you feel this way....and I also understand why they are, RATIONALLY at this moment in time, fearful of violence happening to them BECAUSE they are Jews.

I am afraid too.

I think most every Jew, from at least school age up, in North America or in Europe (and very probably in certain other places as well), is now fearful of personal violence to them, and to those they love and cherish, because they are Jews.

We live in a different world now than was the post-WWII world most of us grew up in. We now live in a world of instantaneous communication, which can be totally wonderful--and also, as we are discovering, totally lethal.

Lethal in ways that did NOT exist during the WWII era of the Holocaust, nor during the previous post-WWII decades.

Lethal in brand new ways we are still struggling to identify and understand, in the hope that we might (hopefully in the near future) be able to eventually cope with.

But we certainly aren't "there" at this moment in time.

In a six-month period (October 27, 2018 to April 27, 2019) there were two, totally unexpected, massacres in Jewish synagogues (and both of them took place in the kinds of communities you describe). One took place in a Pittsburgh suburb, and the other in a suburb of San Diego. In each case, the congregations which were targeted had NO reason for being targets other than they were each places where groups of Jews were gathered for ordinary Shabbat religious services (which occur every single week, all across the entire planet).

This year, there have been two massacres in mosques: Christchurch, New Zealand (March 15, 2019), and today, in Oslo, Norway.

People who hate and want to kill Muslims are also (without any exceptions I am aware of) people who also hate and want to kill Jews. Muslims are bellwethers for Jews, and Jews are bellwethers for Muslims.

What happens when one group is targeted is usually what then, not so far down the line, happens to the other group--and both groups are excruciatingly aware of this.

Those who seek to kill Jews (or Muslims) are now connected to each other (through message boards, email, etc.) at all times....constantly amping up the hate rhetoric, and inevitably causing the most disturbed among them to seek group status, "fame," and a [usually previously missing] sense of "accomplishment," by killing as many of those targeted as is possible. (They have kill counts on the Internet, and they are constantly competing with each other to raise the single event kill totals as much as is possible with each new massacre.)

I am afraid.

I would be surprised if any Jew (or Muslim) was not afraid now.

It is rational fear.

I can look back at the post-WWII period (which I lived through) and see it with new eyes now. There was, for a considerable part of that time (many decades), residential segregation, and exclusion from groups (sororities and fraternities, local clubs, important professional associations, "Jewish quotas" at colleges and universities), and there were limits on how far Jews were allowed to "rise" in a given organizational structure (outside of the, effectively segregated, business areas into which Jews were historically allowed).

Looking back from today, all that seems like Disneyland now--a bowdlerized version of "what once was" that is quickly becoming incomprehensible because it is, by today's standards, becoming unbelievable.

Today, and with each new major cycle of news, Jews everywhere are going to Shabbat services, or Jewish holiday observances, or short daily minyan services (these occur three times each day), or are enrolling their kids in local synagogue activities for children, and the thought occurs: "Am I, or is my child/spouse, going to die today?"

It is no longer WWII, but it IS 2019--and for Jews (and Muslims) it is, with each passing new massacre, becoming the life we live.

I hope this helps.

Your friends have valid reasons for their fears. I hope this helps to understand.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 08/11/2019 04:08PM by Tevai.

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Posted by: babyloncansuckit ( )
Date: August 11, 2019 04:18PM

I think there are a few things at work in these shootings.

1. A stigma against mental illness. There’s little effort to detect and treat mental problems. Crazy people don’t fix themselves. Especially since it is very expensive in the US.

2. Social media puts every significant shooting in your face. It makes the problem seem worse than it actually is.

3. Anything-goes reporting. Since these shootings are so sensational, the media makes money covering them. This spawns copycats. Politically connected media uses them as a political football and as a distraction. Kind of like the circus in “bread and circuses”.

4. There is a correlation between violent crime like shootings and income inequality. Income inequality in the US is the highest it’s ever been.

5. Medications used for treatment of depression and ADHD are very widespread. Rare side effects include uncontrollable rage and murderous impulses.

6. Critical thinking skills are not emphasized in school. This leaves people open to being radicalized. The current political correctness movement isn’t helping. There will always be bad ideas. They should be analyzed out in the open rather than festering.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/11/2019 04:23PM by babyloncansuckit.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: August 11, 2019 05:30PM

Critical thinking might yield a couple of other contributory factors, including the greatest of them all. One wonders why that that one escaped your notice.

Conversely, the notion that anti-depressives and ADHD medication plays a role in any of the mass murders in recent years is entirely speculative.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 08/11/2019 05:44PM by Lot's Wife.

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Posted by: saucie ( )
Date: August 12, 2019 01:07PM

Thank you for being the voice of reason on this post.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: August 12, 2019 01:09PM

I hope you are having a pleasant morning, Saucie.

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Posted by: saucie ( )
Date: August 12, 2019 03:49PM

Lot's Wife Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I hope you are having a pleasant morning, Saucie.


Thank you Luv... I wasn't until I talked to the Olddog, and now I am. He makes everything better.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: August 12, 2019 04:09PM

He's a fine man and a suitable companion for you.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: August 11, 2019 03:40PM

I second what Tevai says. There is a Jewish community center with soccer fields, an extensive gym, basketball courts, spin rooms, meditation facilities, and all sorts of classrooms and meeting rooms near my home. Actually, there are two such JCCs that my family frequents.

They are nice, modern, clean, excellent facilities. They are also somewhat militarized. What I mean is there are discrete barriers to where vehicles can go, guards in the parking lots and entrances, cameras all over, etc. To someone like me, who has spent lots of time in dangerous countries, the places are unsettling, more Third World than First. The institutional, if not individual, fear of violence is palpable; and reasonably so given what has happened in various cities around the world and even in the US over the last few decades.

The places I am describing are all 10-20 years old, so the precautions antedate the recent surge in anti-Semitic and anti-Islamic violence. Jewish and Muslim anxieties are understandably greater now than they were when the structures were erected. I would add that a third group--Latinos--share this elevated sensitivity. And similar trends are evident in Europe as well.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/11/2019 05:52PM by Lot's Wife.

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Posted by: Dr. No ( )
Date: August 11, 2019 04:02PM

Seems for any people historically scapegoated and "hunted" - with routinely lethal consequence (pogroms, the like) - a survival skill would be the possession of a highly sharpened sensitivity to even the slightest indication - to even those indicators that are real yet so minimal as to be imperceptible to the typical person.

Unease which "doesn't make sense" simply indicates the detection of something very real, yet imperceptible to the average person.
To one who has this heightened perceptibly, able to see, wariness is demanded by the circumstance.

I think of historically persecuted minorities as the "canary in the coal mine" - persecution starts here, and if others remain unaware and idle, not standing in firm opposition, these dark forces eventually come for us all. It is in the nature of it.

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Posted by: Tevai ( )
Date: August 11, 2019 04:14PM

Dr. No Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I think of historically persecuted minorities as
> the "canary in the coal mine" - persecution starts
> here, and if others remain unaware and idle, not
> standing in firm opposition, these dark forces
> eventually come for us all. It is in the nature
> of it.

Absolutely true.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: August 11, 2019 04:29PM

In the present world, such hypersensitivity is merited. But it is an understandable adaptation that has very unfortunate consequences. People who experience such anxiety and terror are permanently changed by it.

Consider those who experienced the Holocaust. They carried PTSD, which is a form of hypersensitivity, with them their whole lives as well as the concomitant depression, anxiety disorders, and relationship troubles. They bequeathed that to their children as well, for the latter had to deal with all sorts of psychological challenges. The same is true of kids in refugee camps or those deprived of the support of parents and community.

Which are in many ways variations on the points you are making.

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Posted by: Dr. No ( )
Date: August 11, 2019 04:44PM

Lot's Wife Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> In the present world, such hypersensitivity is
> merited. But it is an understandable adaptation
> that has very unfortunate consequences. People
> who experience such anxiety and terror are
> permanently changed by it.
>
> Consider those who experienced the Holocaust.
> They carried PTSD, which is a form of
> hypersensitivity, with them their whole lives as
> well as the concomitant depression, anxiety
> disorders, and relationship troubles. They
> bequeathed that to their children as well, for the
> latter had to deal with all sorts of psychological
> challenges. The same is true of kids in refugee
> camps or those deprived of the support of parents
> and community.
=======================================

Not only does Horror change the neurophysiology of the witness, there seems evidence that - through the mechanism of epigenetics - the consequence of Horror is heritable

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2018/10/trauma-inherited-generations/573055/

We are optimized to survival - and pay a price

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Posted by: celeste ( )
Date: August 11, 2019 04:46PM

I get it. I think this world is generally scary, but especially, next level for Muslims and Jewish people. I’m so sorry you live in fear.

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Posted by: Tevai ( )
Date: August 11, 2019 04:48PM

celeste Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I get it. I think this world is generally scary,
> but especially, next level for Muslims and Jewish
> people. I’m so sorry you live in fear.

Thank you.

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Posted by: pollythinks ( )
Date: August 11, 2019 05:21PM

My experience with Jews comes from being politically active with them.

I was invited to see inside one of their temples. As we walked up the turning stair case, pictures were attached to the walls bragging about who donated how much. A friend of mine (a male) told me that sometimes these framed donations upped the amount donated so that the person would have to donate more than he actually wanted to give.

A female very good friend tried to donate to her church, but because she was unable to donate enough to the cause so they turned away her finical offering.

Another dear Jewess political fried of mine lived in a house behind a house, and did her own cleaning in the nude (to take a shower afterward).

My husband, on his way to work, would stop and deliver papers that had to be signed by both her and me. Once, as he stopped by to give her papers to sign, she was shaking her duster outside her house, naked, when he arrived. All he could do, was hand her the papers, and turn to go away. (We laughed about that for quite awhile.)

As I said, I was politically active in the city in which I live. The citizens were allowed to speak at the podium reg. what they had to say. When it was his time to stand up to speak on the subject at hand, he stood up to support what a Jewish had to say at the podium. One of the council members said he was out of order in this regard. However, he bagged to differ as he had personal knowledge of what occurred in Germany while he was there.

BTW, I still have a portion of a Nazi flag that he picked up off the top of a tank he came across.

One more thing: He learned a little German while he was there and once--when they had to stop in a farmer's field (because my husband had become air sick from all the twirling around to get the pictures of the railroad tracks), he held a Luger pistil he had traded with another man for his ration of free cigarettes.

When he told the farmer why they had to land for a few minutes, both the farmer and they had a good laugh, and the farmer helped them turn the plane around so they could take off.

Also, because he could speak a little German, the Brass had him drive them around town in their Jeep, so he could interpret for them what they need to know.

The above provides quite a bit of history--including his original uniform still stored in a suitcase in my hall closet.

BTW, when one of my sons took it down to see if the uniform would fit him, he still couldn't quite fit into the outfit.

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Posted by: Tevai ( )
Date: August 11, 2019 05:53PM

pollythinks Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> My experience with Jews comes from being
> politically active with them.

Being politically active is a good thing. Kudos to you for doing this.


> I was invited to see inside one of their temples.

I'm glad you took this opportunity, and I want to point out that Jewish houses of worship are open to everyone and anyone, at all times they are open. No one needs an invitation, although inviting you inside was a nice thing for that person to do.


> As we walked up the turning stair case, pictures
> were attached to the walls bragging about who
> donated how much.

Donation plaques are common in many Jewish institutions (not just in synagogues, but in other institutions like colleges, and universities, and hospitals too), and the custom is traditional. This same kind of commemoration is frequently seen in American colleges and universities in general, and in hospitals in general, (etc.), when either plaques of some kind, or buildings (etc.) are named for donors: "The Miller School of Biological Sciences" (as a just-made-up example).


> A friend of mine (a male) told
> me that sometimes these framed donations upped the
> amount donated so that the person would have to
> donate more than he actually wanted to give.

I don't know if the male friend of yours is Jewish or not, but gentle social pressure to encourage donations to worthy institutions or endeavors are widespread throughout all sectors of American society--this isn't just a Jewish thing. [Okay, I just reread this, and I think you meant that there was some kind of mendacity involved. If this is what you meant, I (personally) find it questionable. Think about it: If this actually did happen to YOU, you would switch to another shul (as would I). There is no "up" side to anyone for doing this.]


> A female very good friend tried to donate to her
> church, but because she was unable to donate
> enough to the cause so they turned away her
> finical offering.

As I have said before when you posted this before, this makes no sense within a Jewish context. Every "active" Jewish family has a tzedakah ("charity," in American vernacular) box (often cardboard; sometimes of serious artistic or historical value) in their house, most often with each child having their own, personal, tzedakah box (the cardboard kind), where they accumulate coins to be eventually contributed to worthy causes: could be helping children (including children around the world), or tikkun olam ("repairing the world") causes dear to that child's heart (like animal welfare endeavors), or planting trees in Israel, or....

There is NO Jewish organization or institution of any kind which would ever turn away a contribution, even if it was (literally!) 18 cents. (The number "18" is significant in Judaism. Spelled out in Hebrew, it means: "Life!," and contributions to all kinds of Jewish causes are frequently made in multiples of 18, whether that is cents, or any other denomination of currency.]

Actually, I can't see any Jewish institution turning away even a single penny which was donated (which may be all that an impoverished person, or a person of elder years, COULD donate). This story goes completely against Jewish culture, and the principles of Jewish religion and Jewish life.


> Another dear Jewess political fried of mine lived
> in a house behind a house, and did her own
> cleaning in the nude (to take a shower
> afterward).

I know you may be unaware of this, but "Jewess" is considered very close to a "bad word" among Jews. It has been used throughout history as a derogatory term for a female Jew, and in current times especially, it is preferable to say "Jew," or (if specifying gender is important) "female Jew."

I would also like to point out that most nudists are not Jewish, but some nudists are. (I have known maybe a couple of dozen in my life--and there is no connection at all between being a Jew and being a nudist--even if a single person is both a nudist and a Jew at the same time).


> My husband, on his way to work, would stop and
> deliver papers that had to be signed by both her
> and me. Once, as he stopped by to give her papers
> to sign, she was shaking her duster outside her
> house, naked, when he arrived. All he could do,
> was hand her the papers, and turn to go away. (We
> laughed about that for quite awhile.)

Again: whether she was "shaking her duster, naked" or not has nothing to do with her being, or not being, Jewish.


> As I said, I was politically active in the city in
> which I live. The citizens were allowed to speak
> at the podium reg. what they had to say. When it
> was his time to stand up to speak on the subject
> at hand, he stood up to support what a Jewish had
> to say at the podium. One of the council members
> said he was out of order in this regard. However,
> he bagged to differ as he had personal knowledge
> of what occurred in Germany while he was there.

Gently here: the word is "Jew." And I assume you are saying that, at a city council meeting, someone on the council was anti-Jewish, and your husband defended what a Jew had previously said at the podium.


> BTW, I still have a portion of a Nazi flag that he
> picked up off the top of a tank he came across.

I am speechless here. I really have no words.



Edited 7 time(s). Last edit at 08/11/2019 10:17PM by Tevai.

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Posted by: Dr. No ( )
Date: August 11, 2019 06:36PM

Tevai Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> I am speechless here. I really have no words.
====================================

Well, the whole is nebulous, with no discernible surface to grasp, so it is impossible to deduct intent, though a noble attempt for response made ye.

On the other hand, I knew nothing of what you wrote beforehand, so found your writings illuminating -- gracias!

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Posted by: Tevai ( )
Date: August 11, 2019 06:50PM

Dr. No Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Tevai Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
>
> > I am speechless here. I really have no words.
> ====================================
>
> Well, the whole is nebulous, with no discernible
> surface to grasp, so it is impossible to deduct
> intent, though a noble attempt for response made
> ye.
>
> On the other hand, I knew nothing of what you
> wrote beforehand, so found your writings
> illuminating -- gracias!

De nada!

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Posted by: cl2 ( )
Date: August 11, 2019 07:22PM

boyfriend and his children. His ex-wife's family may feel the same way. Their family escaped the Holocaust as they had moved to the U.S. before WWII. They live in Arizona and have for a long time, but first lived in Ohio.

I'd have to ask my boyfriend if he has seen this. He was very active in the religion when his children were growing up. I know he worships in his own fashion now and sometimes he does discuss it with me in terms of high holidays, etc.

I'm not sure how much Hebrew he knows, but he talks in it now and then and when I ask him to say a blessing on the food (only because he reminds me of my dad in some ways and I always think of blessings on the food with him), he always blesses the food in Hebrew.

I have participated in the sabbath with another Jew I used to work with, but not with him.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/11/2019 07:23PM by cl2.

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Posted by: touchstone ( )
Date: August 12, 2019 01:30PM

My synagogue has a P.O. box as a safety measure since some rather nasty stuff used to show up at the mailing address. Also, we now have a doorbell to get in. I think there's a grant with Homeland Security in the works to get bullet-resistant glass.

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Posted by: Tevai ( )
Date: August 12, 2019 02:22PM

touchstone Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> My synagogue has a P.O. box as a safety measure
> since some rather nasty stuff used to show up at
> the mailing address. Also, we now have a doorbell
> to get in. I think there's a grant with Homeland
> Security in the works to get bullet-resistant
> glass.

This may well be better information than mine. I hadn't realized that recent events may have dictated these kinds of security measures "everywhere."

My inner "knowledge" has always been the--seemingly universal-- welcoming vibe throughout Jewish life.

I am sorry that this is, necessarily, no more. :(

[Exception: I was severely called out one time by some Chabadniks on Fairfax [a predominately Jewish part of Los Angeles], because I walked into the front area of their offices which was attached to their shul. I had a question, but instead of them answering me, I was heatedly admonished for my chutzpah, as a woman, for walking in the front door. I have been leery of Chabadniks ever since.]



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 08/12/2019 02:26PM by Tevai.

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Posted by: Hockeyrat ( )
Date: August 12, 2019 11:39PM

I think some synagogues in NYC have security and they won’t let you in if you didn’t call in advance, if you’re not a member or they don’t know you. This could of been after a recent attack , where some synagogues briefly had heightened security though.
I could be thinking of a historic synagogue too.
I just remember something about being “ buzzed in and out”.
It’s sad and sickening the money that some of them are forced to pay for security.
I went to a synagogue a couple of weeks ago , where one poor lady had a newly planted tree pulled out of the grave site of a relative . They also pulled out plants and flowers out of other sites in the Jewish section of the cemetery.

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Posted by: Josephina ( )
Date: August 19, 2019 05:37AM

I apologize that I never returned to this discussion. I have a chronic disease which sometimes prevents me from communicating online, even with a smartphone. Just want to say that I remember watching a show on Epigenetics made for nonscientists like me. They taught that we now know that people can inherit from their ancestors memories of traumatic events. They used famines as an example. The wife, who appears to be a case of Walking PTSD, has had the most terrible things happen to her grandparents/great-grandparents. The husband's background is similar, but not quite as bad, and he is somewhat more at ease. I wonder if anyone here knows more than me about the biology of inherited memories.

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