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Europe Still Prefers Its Jews Dead and Quaint

Aug. 16 2017

Recent articles in Jewish and Israeli publications have noted the new fad of mock-Jewish weddings. Annika Hernroth-Rothstein comments:

Apparently, some villages in Poland are holding Jewish weddings without any Jews. These include a ḥuppah, people dressed up in “Jewish garb,” and a fiddler-on-the-roof-style atmosphere, and the participants mimic Jewish life in almost every aspect, apart from the pork-heavy menu. After reading up on this phenomenon, I learned that such events are taking place all over Europe, from Krakow to Seville, and that they are most common in countries that once had vibrant Jewish populations.

Having traveled some, of course I have encountered the vaguely anti-Semitic knickknacks sold on the streets of Poland, Hungary, and other East European countries, but I never knew of this intricate playacting. . . .

Living Jews, [meanwhile], are being turned away, persecuted, and driven out of Europe once again, and very little is being done to prevent this. In 50 or 100 years, the descendants of the people now holding the pitchforks will probably hold parties in our honor. They will wear clothes they know from pictures, perform rituals they learned from movies and songs, and desecrate the celebrations with foods we do not allow. They will call this a tribute, but I see it as absurd. . . .

The worst part of it all, the thing that really gets me, is that I think they prefer us that way. It seems they can only love and accept us when we are a memory, rather than a living people. After we are gone, they adopt our customs with teary-eyed nostalgia, and celebrate us. It is only after our death that they can embrace our traditions, because it is only then that they can do so on their terms.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Anti-Semitism, European Jewry, Jewish World, Polish Jewry

The Movement to Return Jewish Worship to the Temple Mount Has Gone Mainstream

Sept. 25 2017

During the eruption of violence against Israelis in Jerusalem this summer, and the subsequent struggle over metal detectors, the Islamic authorities briefly boycotted the Temple Mount. As a result, Jewish visitors, normally prohibited from praying there, immediately began to do so. Meir Soloveichik puts the episode in context and describes its meaning:

The Temple Mount is fast becoming a pilgrimage site for religious Jews. In the past, most abstained from visiting out of concern that they might enter a sacred area in a state of ritual impurity, but many now believe that, with a knowledge of the layout, history, and religious laws pertaining to the location, it is permissible to visit certain parts of the Temple Mount plaza. They thus visit the site under religious guidance—immersing first in a ritual bath, or mikveh—and tread only in specific areas. What was once a trickle of pilgrims has become a stream, and this year they numbered in the many thousands. . . .

[Indeed, a] sea change has taken place in the past fifteen years: . . . the segment of Jews visiting the Temple Mount is becoming more and more mainstream, supported by rabbis noted for their liberalism in social or religious affairs. . . .

Visiting Jews were, for a brief and brilliant moment [this summer], able to utter several words of prayer without interference. The Israeli media published photos of a diverse group of Jews standing on the Temple Mount reciting the kaddish, so close to where their ancestors, on Yom Kippur, had once stood listening to the high priest pronounce the Name of God. Soon after this kaddish, the [status quo ante] returned; Jews again were no longer free to pray at the site toward which all Jewish prayer has been directed for thousands of years. But images of that one unimpeded kaddish remain; to study them is to look back on the miraculous and heartbreaking past half-century in Jerusalem, to celebrate what has been achieved, and to mourn what might have been.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Judaism, Palestinian terror, Religion & Holidays, Temple Mount