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AAJC Happenings

April 25th, 2018 Posted by AAJC Happenings 14 comments

Dear AAJC Friend,

Greetings to you as we rapidly approach the summer months of 2018.  It is our prayer that so far this has been a blessed, healthy and prosperous year for you and your loved ones.

I saw a recent editorial headline that read, “America is a more divided nation than ever before”  At first, I agreed wholeheartedly with that statement.  But then, I questioned myself.  After all, we were a pretty divided nation in the 1770s.  Some wanted to break with England while others did not.  We were a very divided nation in the 1850s.  That division even led to a bloody war.  We were divided in the 1930s.  Some wanted to participate in finishing off Nazi Germany while others wanted to leave the ‘Old World’ to fight its wars alone. 

But now really is different.  At the time of our founding, we were divided about declaring independence but we all agreed about the Judeo-Christian basis to our society.  During the Civil War both sides relied on the Bible for guidance.  Many Americans did not want the country in World War 2 but everyone agreed that the Nazi barbarians threatened the Judeo-Christian values that had built civilization.

But today, we are divided about those Judeo-Christian values.  Some believe them to be vital for our nation’s survival while others view them as primitive obstructions to progress.  Some regard the work of those wise Christian men over two hundred years ago, our Constitution, as vital for our nation’s survival while others see it as a primitive obstruction to progress.  Today, we really are divided about the fundamentals of our existence.  The kind of lives we shall live and the kind of country in which our children will grow up is up for grabs.  It could go either way.

It should be obvious to all that civilization as we know it and as we live it in comparative tranquility every day utterly depends upon Biblically based Judeo-Christian values being gently and lovingly implanted in every hearth.

This is a question I regularly ask when I am being interviewed on radio and television:  Right now, would the world be a better place or a worse place if a billion Moslems became Christians.  The long silence I usually get indicates that everyone knows the answer.

We’re living in a time Christians and Jews must stand up for  what we believe.   Only Judeo-Christian values can save the world from descending into decades of darkness.  That, in short, is our mission.

And in support of this mission we’ve been sending out Thought Tools free to over 40,000 subscribers every week now for ten years.   I hope you receive it and enjoy it.  More than that, I hope that you extract meaning from it and discover new spiritual strategies to apply in your life. 

(If are a new subscriber to Thought Tools and have yet to benefit from it or you do not share my views about the future of civilization and what we could be doing, I apologize.  Please ignore it and forgive me for troubling you.)

However, if you have been reading our Thought Tools for a while, you might have noticed that this weekly spiritual strategy is sent out by the not-for-profit American Alliance of Jews and Christians.  I would like to tell you a little about the AAJC.

The American Alliance of Jews and Christians grew from the deep conviction held by a group of Jewish and Christian friends, that despite theological differences, millions of Jews and Christians share a common vision of civilization and furthermore, definitely prefer civilization to its alternative—barbarism.

Civilization prefers tranquility to violence; it prefers men to treat women with respect and deference; it prefers freedom to centrally planned tyranny; it prefers people enjoying economic independence through their own efforts to socialism; it believes in charity by choice rather than in government redistribution by force; it believes that marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman devoted to one another and to their children, and it believes that both the beginning and end of life should be in God’s hands alone.  Civilization engenders friendship, beauty, compassion, and courtesy rather than brutishness and vulgarity.  Like the American Founders, we prefer a Biblically inspired culture to the sordid stain of secularism and the socialistic society it tends to inspire.

In recent years, America’s Judeo-Christian principles have been increasingly under assault by the media, our universities, as well as the government.  The self-evident truths of 1776 that the Founders based so solidly on Scripture have been marginalized by the notion that no such truths exist.

Some insist that America must change by casting off the old and putting on the new.  But the change that we urgently need is not movement away from, but a return to our founding Judeo-Christian principles.  At this important time in our nation’s history, we must respond by retaking and resolutely defending the high ground of America’s founding principles.

That is why we began this important work over twenty years ago which led to our establishing the  American Alliance of Jews & Christians.  Since that time we have been directly impacting our world by promoting better understanding and cooperation between Christians and Jews who care about God’s Biblical blueprint.

Our mission is to equip today’s thought-leaders and opinion-makers with the Bible’s ancient solutions to  cutting-edge problems that come directly from the sacred principles found in ancient Jewish wisdom. 

I am asking for your help and support today.  I am telling you this right now so that if you are unable to help at this time or simply do not wish to do so, you don’t have to continue reading. And that is just fine.  I value your time and I appreciate you and the many other ways you help defend all that is good.

But if you’re still reading, you might like to know more about our work and perhaps help our work continue by means of an appropriate gesture of financial support.  Let me tell you a little more about the idea behind the AAJC and its goals and dreams.

We have not done this work alone.  Countless people have given of their time and financial support to help us make a positive difference in America and around the world.   AAJC is a not-for-profit organization.  It is the support from people like you that allows us to continue broadcasting Bible teachings from ancient Jewish wisdom worldwide via radio, TV, books, the Internet, newsletters, personal appearances, speaking engagements and much more.

We have been honored to work alongside many wonderful organizations that share a similar conviction of restoring Biblical principles into the American culture.  Although the American Alliance of Jews and Christians   has made tremendous progress and it continues to expand its  calling, there is still much to be done.  We need your help more than ever. The threat of Muslim terror and political influence continues to rise.  Not only in the United States, but also directly against Israel.

How can we stop this onslaught against our culture?  Who has the knowledge and the ability to help fight this battle?  With your help, the AAJC has become a leader in this courageous fight.

The sacred mission of the American Alliance of Jews and Christians is to provide the ammunition for keeping the culture attached to its Judeo-Christian spiritual roots enabling it to continue as healthy and successful. 

Our weekly Thought Tools as well as the books and audio CDs we help make available, our daily TV show on TCT Television Network and our podcast now heard around the world are all part of how we provide the intellectual ammunition for good men and women around the world to deploy in the struggle to defend civilization and protect the culture we love. 

This year, AAJC continues to increase our effectiveness through new publications, programs, speaking engagements in the US and Internationally, and we look forward to soon announcing a national conference.

If these values are important to you and your family, I would like to ask you to join with us.  We have a responsibility to our children to do what we can to fight for a return to Judeo-Christian values.

I would never suggest how much you should or can give. This is an intensely personal decision; however, I will tell you that for our programmed activities during 2018-2019, we have planned a program requiring a budget of $900,000.  We are grateful for those few of you who give in the tens of thousands of dollars.  We are equally grateful to the many of you who give in the hundreds and tens. It is up to you and up to me and if you give us the tools, we’ll do the job. 

Whatever support you can give to our work will be very much appreciated. You can make your tax-deductible gift HERE or by mailing in your gift to: 

AAJC
P.O. Box 58
Mercer Island, WA 98040 

May God bless you and protect you and may we all be privileged to do our part in protecting the legacy He entrusted to humanity on Mount Sinai over three thousand years ago. 

Rabbi Daniel Lapin

President

American Alliance of Jews and Christians 

PS:  Just as ancient Israel arrived in the Promised Land with nothing but a set of Biblically-based ideas and proceeded to carve a civilization out of a wilderness, those great early Americans did the same thing.  They crossed an ocean bearing little more than those timeless truths of the Bible and they too carved a great civilization out of a great wilderness.

Now plucking a flower from its roots and bringing it indoors to enjoy might seem like a good idea but pretty soon we discover that anything severed from its roots dies mighty quickly.  Similarly, the great ideas of western civilization have roots too.  Those roots are enshrined in the page of Scripture. And trying to disconnect civilization from its roots assures it of a rapid demise.

Therein lays the sacred mission of the American Alliance of Jews and Christians.  Keeping civilization attached to its Judeo-Christian spiritual roots to maintain it as a fresh, strong, and influential force.

I want to support the  AAJC

A Rabbi’s Warning to Christians

December 28th, 2017 Posted by AAJC Happenings 127 comments

I am certainly not a Winston Churchill. I am not even a Jean Francois Revel. I am having enough trouble just trying to be a Lapin. But I am issuing a very serious warning about a problem with deep consequences, just as they did. It is a warning about the earliest stages of what could become a cataract of disasters if not resisted now.

During the 1930s, Winston Churchill desperately tried to persuade the English people and their government to see that Hitler meant to end their way of life. The British ignored Churchill, which gave Hitler nearly 10 years to build up his military forces. It wasn’t until Hitler actually drew blood that the British realized they had a war on their hands. It turned out to be a far longer and more destructive war than it needed to be had Churchill’s early warning been heeded.

In 1983, a brave French writer, Jean-Francois Revel, wrote a book called How Democracies Perish. In this remarkable volume, he described how communism’s aim is world conquest. For decades he had been trying to warn of communism’s very real threat. Yet in January 1982, a high State Department official said: “We Americans are not solving problems, we are the problem.” (Some things never change.) A good portion of the planet fell to communism, which brought misery and death to millions because we failed to recognize in time that others meant to harm us.

Heaven knows there was enough warning during the 1980s of the intention of part of the Islamic world to take yet another crack at world domination. Yet instead of seeing each deadly assault on our interests around the world as a test of our resolve, we ignored it. We failed the test and lost 3,000 Americans in two unforgettable hours.

I am not going to argue that what is happening now is on the same scale as the examples I cite above, but a serious war is being waged against a group of Americans. I am certain that if we lose this war, the consequences for American civilization will be dire.

Phase one of this war I describe is a propaganda blitzkrieg that is eerily reminiscent of how effectively the Goebbels propaganda machine softened up the German people for what was to come.

There is no better term than propaganda blitzkrieg to describe what has been unleashed against Christian conservatives recently.

Consider the long list of anti-Christian books that have been published in the past few years. Here are just a few samples of more than 50 similar titles, all from mainstream publishers:

American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America

The Baptizing of America: The Religious Right’s Plans for the Rest of Us

The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason

Piety & Politics: The Right-wing Assault on Religious Freedom

Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism

Thy Kingdom Come: How the Religious Right Distorts the Faith and Threatens America

Religion Gone Bad: The Hidden Dangers of the Christian Right

What is truly alarming is that there are more of these books for sale at your local large book store warning against the perils of fervent Christianity than those warning against the perils of fervent Islam. Does anyone seriously think America is more seriously jeopardized by Christian conservatives than by Islamic zealots? I fear that many Americans believe just that in the same way that many pre-World War II Western intellectuals considered Churchill a bigger threat to peace than Hitler.

Some may say that today’s proliferation of anti-Christian print propaganda is nothing to become worried about. To them I ask two questions:

First, would you be so sanguine if the target of this loathsome library were Blacks or Jews? Just try changing the titles in some of the books I mention above to reflect racism or anti-Semitism instead of rampant anti-Christianism and you’ll see what I mean.

Second, major movements that changed the way Americans felt and acted came about through books, often only one book. Think of Rachel Carson’s 1962 error-filled Silent Spring that resulted in the pointless banning of the insecticide DDT and many unnecessary deaths. Other books that caused upheavals in our nation were Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, many of Ayn Rand’s books and of course Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

No, I would advise you not to underestimate the power of books to alter the behavior of the American public, and I fear for an America that has been influenced to detest Christianity by this hate-filled catalog.

It is not just books but popular entertainment also that beams the most lurid anti-Christian propaganda into the hearts and minds of viewers. One need only think of who the real targets of the comedic movie Borat are. The brilliant Jewish moviemaker Sacha Baron Cohen, as his title character, using borderline dishonest wiles, lures some innocent but unsophisticated country folk, obviously Christians, to join him in his outrageously anti-Semitic antics.  Cohen then triumphantly claims to have exposed anti-Semitism. In fact, he has revealed nothing other than the latent anti-Christianism of America’s social, economic and academic secular elites.  Many other movies and television productions echo this shameless anti-Christian bigotry in the name of entertainment.  Interestingly enough, their courage attacking Christian beliefs is never displayed by similarly irreverent and insulting assaults on Islam.

Even the recent PBS documentary, “Anti-Semitism in the 21st Century: The Resurgence,” managed to do more attacking Christianity than defending Judaism.

Richard Dawkins, an Oxford University professor, is one of the generals in the anti-Christian army of the secular left. American academia treats him with reverence and hangs on his every word when he insists that “religious myths ought not to be tolerated.”

For those with a slightly more tolerant outlook, he asks, “It’s one thing to say people should be free to believe whatever they like, but should they be free to impose their beliefs on their children?” He suggests that the state should intervene to protect children from their parents’ religious beliefs. Needless to say, he means Christian beliefs, of course. Muslim beliefs add to England’s charmingly diverse cultural landscape.

The war is against those who regard the Bible to be God’s revelation to humanity and the Ten Commandments to be His set of rules for all time. Phase one in this war is to make Christianity, well, sort of socially unacceptable. Something only foolish, poor and ugly people could turn to.

We have seen how a carefully constructed campaign pretty much made it socially unacceptable to drink and drive. For years, there had been stringent laws against drunk driving. They achieved little. In the end, the practice was all but eliminated by groups allied with Mothers Against Drunk Driving and their effective ways of changing the way Americans thought about it.

We have seen how a carefully constructed campaign has pretty much made it socially unacceptable to smoke. In the face of a relentless campaign (dare one call it propaganda?), Americans became docile and forfeited the right to make their own decisions. Nobody was willing to stand up to the no-smoking tyrants. Nobody even asked whether health was sufficient grounds for freedom to be reduced. Now, entire cities and even states have banned smoking, not only in public places but even in privately owned restaurants.

Tyranny comes when citizens are seduced into trading freedom for the promise of safety and security.

Considerably more intellectual energy is being pumped into the propaganda campaign against Christianity than was ever delivered to the anti-smoking or anti-drunk-driving campaigns. Fervent zealots of secularism are flinging themselves into this anti-Christian war with enormous fanaticism.

If they succeed, Christianity will be driven underground, and its benign influence on the character of America will be lost. In its place we shall see a sinister secularism that menaces Bible believers of all faiths. Once the voice of the Bible has been silenced, the war on Western Civilization can begin and we shall see a long night of barbarism descend on the West.

Without a vibrant and vital Christianity, America is doomed, and without America, the West is doomed.

Which is why I, an Orthodox Jewish rabbi, devoted to Jewish survival, the Torah and Israel am so terrified of American Christianity caving in.

Many of us Jews are ready to stand with you. But you must lead. You must replace your timidity with nerve and your diffidence with daring and determination. You are under attack. Now is the time to resist it.  Defense will be far harder down the road if we ignore the danger signals now.

If your heart leads you to support our work at the American Alliance of Jews and Christians, there are three more days left in 2017!  We feel that it is important to have prominent Jewish voices on the right side in the struggle for America’s future and your gift helps us recruit and train those voices.

Whatever support you can give to our work will be very much appreciated. American Alliance of Jews and Christians (AAJC) is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization (EIN 26-07642520). You can make your tax-deductible gift by clicking HERE, or by mailing in your gift to AAJC, P.O. Box 58, Mercer Island, WA 98040 or by calling (888) 722-2441 and saying that you want to support AAJC.

Donate to AAJC today!

We at AAJC are thankful for…you

November 21st, 2017 Posted by AAJC Happenings 8 comments

Dear Friend—

With our uniquely American celebration—Thanksgiving—fast approaching, I want to thank you for your consistent and generous support of my work here at the American Alliance of Jews and Christians.  This year we have been focusing our efforts on these four challenges:

  • Teaching Jews what Christians do for Israel and the fight against anti-Semitism.
  • Fighting anti-Bible bigotry in education, entertainment, and politics.
  • Defending the dignity and morality of the profession of business.
  • Building Jewish support for Christian leaders attacked by militant secularists.

We are grateful for the many successes we have enjoyed and thank you for your participation without which, little could have been accomplished.

It’s already a year since I last fulfilled one of my responsibilities as president of the American Alliance of Jews and Christians, namely reminding you of our need and asking for your support.  It’s time for me to do it again but first, just a few paragraphs on our history:

I first began building bridges between Jews and Christians twenty-six years ago.  I was still serving as a congregational rabbi in Los Angeles when I realized that Jews lived more benignly, more tranquilly and more prosperously today in the United States than anywhere else in the world during the past two thousand years.  It was clear to me that this was precisely because America is a Christian country.

Yet it was also clear to me that Bible-believing Christians in America are vilified, insulted, and denied respect by many in media, entertainment, education, and government.  I thought then, and I still do today, that it’s crazy that more Jews are not defending Christians who are being attacked for holding those very values that we all, Jew and Christian, share.  After all, these values were not only the values of the forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob but they were also the values of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America!   They need to be defended, not just by courageous Christians but also by Jews.

There are those in this country who try to discourage meaningful communication between Jews and Christians, because united we would present an almost irresistible force for spiritual renewal.  AAJC is determined to bring about communication and alliance.

I was blessed with some wonderful Jewish and Christian brothers and sisters who stood shoulder-to-shoulder with me as we began building the bridges that would one day become the American Alliance of Jews and Christians.

We felt bonded by the Bible.  We recognized that the central core of our culture was a majestic and mysterious book that has never been out of print since Johann Gutenberg invented the printing press in the middle of the 15th century.

Out of this came the American Alliance of Jews and Christians. 

I am asking for your help and support today.  I value your time and I appreciate you and the many other ways you help defend all that is good.  I know you support many worthy causes.

But if you’re still reading my words, you might like to know more about our work and perhaps help our work continue by means of an appropriate gesture of financial support.  Let me tell you a little more about the idea behind the AAJC and its goals and dreams.

The American Alliance of Jews and Christians grew from my deep conviction that despite theological differences, millions of Jews and Christians share a common vision of civilization and furthermore, definitely prefer civilization to its alternative—barbarism.

Civilization prefers tranquility to violence; it prefers men to treat women with respect and deference; it prefers freedom to centrally planned tyranny; it prefers people enjoying economic independence through their own efforts to socialism; it believes in charity by choice rather than in government redistribution by force; it believes that marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman devoted to one another and to their children, and it believes that both the beginning and end of life should be in God’s hands alone.  Civilization engenders friendship, beauty, compassion, and courtesy rather than brutishness, filth, and vulgarity.  Like the American Founders, we prefer a Biblically inspired culture to the sordid stain of secularism and the socialistic society it tends to inspire.

I believe that America’s great blessings as well as the tranquil haven of prosperity she has provided for members of so many religious groups and nations are a result of these Biblically-inspired principles.

The ideas and systematic spiritual strategies of ancient Jewish wisdom were well known to and appreciated by most Christian leaders of colonial America.

This is why Mayflower Pilgrim, William Bradford, wrote the first few pages of his book of the history of the Plymouth Plantation in the Hebrew language.  This is why great spiritual leaders like Ezra Styles, later to become president of Yale University and pastors like Cotton Mather all knew the Lord’s language, Hebrew.

One New England pastor, Abiel Abbot wrote in 1799 these words, “The people of the United States come nearer to a parallel with Ancient Israel, than any other nation upon the globe.”  By the way his parents named him Abiel because in Hebrew the name means God is my father.

The eminent 19th century Irish historian, William Lecky wrote:  Hebraic mortar cemented the foundations of American democracy.  Here at the American Alliance of Jews and Christians we work on supplying that mortar.

Just as ancient Israel arrived in the Promised Land with nothing but a set of Biblically-based ideas and proceeded to carve a civilization out of a wilderness, those great early Americans did the same thing.  They crossed an ocean bearing little more than those timeless truths of the Bible and they too carved a great civilization out of a great wilderness.

Now plucking a flower from its roots and bringing it indoors to enjoy might seem like a good idea but pretty soon we discover that anything severed from its roots dies mighty quickly.  Similarly, the great ideas of western civilization have roots too.  Those roots are enshrined in the page of Scripture. And trying to disconnect civilization from its roots assures it of a rapid demise.

Therein lays the sacred mission of the American Alliance of Jews and Christians.  Keeping civilization attached to its Judeo-Christian spiritual roots to maintain it as a fresh, strong, and influential force.

Our weekly Thought Tools as well as the books and audio CDs we help make available, our daily TV show on TCT Television Network, and our podcast are part of how we provide the intellectual ammunition for good men and women all over the world to deploy in the struggle to defend civilization and protect all we hold dear.

Today, steadfast vision and calm courage is needed to defend that civilization, the culmination of two millennia of Judeo-Christian achievement.  Helping it remain attached to its roots, able to draw nourishment and endurance from those roots is our task.

Your generosity has enabled the AAJC to bring the tools and the inspiration to millions of people via radio, television, personal appearances, and our books and audio CDs that today are found on every continent.  You enabled us to bring aboard the well-known Rabbi Yaakov Rosenblatt of Dallas as director and you helped make it possible for me to address audiences in over forty synagogues, churches, and business organizations during 2017. 

This coming year, 2018, we hope to do even more.  We would like to expand the scope of AAJC’s activities reaching many more.  We hope to increase the opportunities for injecting the civilization-protecting principles into all corners of the culture.

With your help this can be done.  I am not going to suggest how much you should or can give. This is an intensely personal decision; however I will tell you that for our programmed activities in 2018, we have planned a program requiring a budget of $1,400,000.

This is a lot of money but I have prayed about this and know that with our large body of active supporters it can happen.  It is up to you and up to me.  If you give us the tools, I can assure you that we will do the job.

Whatever support you can give to our work will be very much appreciated. American Alliance of Jews and Christians (AAJC) is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization (EIN 26-07642520). You can make your tax-deductible gift by clicking HERE, or by mailing in your gift to AAJC, P.O. Box 58, Mercer Island, WA 98040 or by calling (888) 722-2441 and saying that you want to support AAJC.

May God bless you and protect you and may we all be privileged to do our part in protecting the legacy He entrusted to humanity on Mount Sinai over three thousand years ago.

Rabbi Daniel Lapin

President

American Alliance of Jews and Christians

 

Donate to AAJC Today!

What Happened In Vegas Did Not Stay in Vegas

October 4th, 2017 Posted by AAJC Happenings, On Our Mind 13 comments

What happened in Vegas didn’t stay in Vegas. Its pulsating shock waves raced out across the country, whiplashing into every American heart. The very thought of that merciless rain of hot lead thudding into the flesh of unknowing innocents just elicits sad gasps of incredulous agony.

It only took a few hours for the predictable flood of media and political responses. Many were the standard clichés mentioning prayers, thoughts, shock and horror. Others sought explanations for this massacre or explored the means to prevent similar events from ever happening again.

We human beings are created with both head and heart. This means we should always respond to circumstances both intellectually and emotionally, but never both at the same time and never confusing head and heart.

(more…)

June 4th, 2017 Posted by AAJC Happenings No Comment yet

Anti-Semitism That Worries Me

May 1st, 2017 Posted by AAJC Happenings 17 comments

Over the last months, there has been a spike in Anti-Semitic activity. Graffiti has been sprayed on Jewish Community Centers, bomb threats have been called into synagogues, and cemeteries have been vandalized.  Pundits on the Left lay blame to this development, strangely, not on a metastasizing of Anti–Israel sentiment cultivated by President Obama, but on the rise of the blue-collar voter, given voice and vitality by the Trump administration.   While I disagree with their assessment, talk of blue-collar Anti-Semitism brings back memories of a day some 30 years ago when I was almost beaten up by blue-collar teens in a small town in New Jersey.

For most of high school I attended a yeshiva in Edison, New Jersey.  The neighborhood the yeshiva called home was white, working class; small homes on small lots, dignified by well-cared lawns and well-kept cars.

The locals were proud, patriotic Americans.  Every Memorial Day and July Fourth, large flags fluttered throughout the neighborhood. I distinctly remember a tremendous outpouring of support for the troops during Persian Gulf War I, in 1990.

The yeshiva was in the neighborhood but not of the neighborhood. It had bought an old City Hall building and then an old public school across the street. Most of the teens were from Brooklyn, and we were a foreign entity in the area. Many of the locals wished we hadn’t come. The neighborhood was generally safe, but there was a steady, low-level stream of anti-Semitism. It usually happened on Friday nights, when the riff-raff was on the way to or from the pub.  I remember pick-up trucks driving by, their occupants throwing pennies at us and yelling “Jew bagel.”  Every now and then a window would be broken. There was one fist fight behind the gym that ended poorly for both parties.

But the date that comes to mind was a Sunday in the Spring of 1987.  What had been a weekly Sunday afternoon pickup softball game quickly developed into a “yeshiva boys vs. local teens” rivalry.  That particular day it seemed as if every girlfriend and cousin had come to watch.  Loud music and the smell of alcohol pervaded the park.

The locals had a lead on us most of the game. They were up by two in the bottom of the ninth and we were having our last.  We had runners on first and third with two outs. A tall, strong yeshiva boy named Reuven Stengel came up to bat.  He took his time, waited for his pitch and barreled the ball deep into left field, over the road that ran through the outfield, into the cemetery behind it. The locals went stark-crazy.  As the tying run crossed third base, the teen taking third knocked him down.  Reuven, in a world of his own, ran right by both of them and scored.  The yeshiva boy on third got back up and scored after Reuven. The locals said we lost because our runners scored in the wrong order. We said we won because their man had knocked our man down.

It was chaotic and time to leave. We started walking towards yeshiva when one of the locals began to yell, “They stole my glove; the Jews stole my glove!”  I was walking with my friend Uriel Gleiberman and he was holding two gloves. I asked him who owned the second glove; he said it belonged to a friend who asked him to bring it back to school. The locals began searching us. If Uriel had picked up the wrong glove we were in for a beating. The locals searched Uriel and let him go. He didn’t have their glove.

The way I remember it, that Sunday was our last baseball game.  The rabbis at yeshiva found out what had happened and put an end to the games.

This past February, some thirty years later, I flew from Dallas to New Jersey to attend the rededication of the yeshiva building.  After the scheduled program, I drove around the neighborhood to take in the old sights.  The houses around the school were much the same, small houses on small lots, with well-manicured lawns and nice cars up front. Occasionally, I would see a new brick facade or fence added.  I sensed a definitive acceptance of the yeshiva by the locals. The school is now there for over three decades, and it is there to stay.

I drove back to the baseball field and parked the car. It was a cold day, but I stepped outside, closed my eyes and relived that Sunday afternoon in May, 1987.

I thought about primitive, blue collar anti-Semitism. And I was at ease. It was not and is not a serious deal. The primitive offering of the lower class, it is entirely insignificant.  It begins and ends with the bottom rungs of society.  The best and the brightest of the bunch, individuals who move from the lower class to the middle class, leave it behind. What I do fear, however, is Leftist Anti-Semitism.  It begins at the very top, championed by professors, academics and writers; people of influence.  It is they who have know-how and political acumen, it is they who have morphed Anti-Semitism into its newest, politically acceptable version of “Anti-Israelism.”  It is they who have forged common cause with radical Muslim groups. The combination of secular intellect and Muslim wealth and numbers is indeed a formidable threat.

That alliance will hurt us much more than teens in pickup trucks calling us names, largely because, in the sum of things, our lawns weren’t as neat as theirs, and our cars weren’t as polished.

I’d bet that most of the locals voted for President Trump.  I did too.  I am ever so glad that their patriotism blossomed, that they feel empowered to push for a stronger America.  I was an original supporter of Senator Cruz, but have come to realize that this country has moved too far from dignity and discipline to expect a majority to vote for conservative principals.  At this point, only raw, blue-collar nationalism can garner a majority to turn the tide back, and thankfully it did in the last election.

I look back at the locals in Edison, NJ and respect them. They are hard-working folk. It is they, fired up by patriotism, who will bring this country back from the brink, away from divisions of class and race, away from victimhood and dependency, motivated by a mission to Make America Great Again.

I believe that greatness is its Judeo-Christian value system.  They believe its greatness is its tenacity.   One thing I know for certain is that I want to play ball with them once again.  And this time, it will be with them, not against them.

 

The author of two books, Rabbi Yaakov Rosenblatt serves as the Director of the American Alliance of Jews and Christians (AAJC)

This article first appeared on World Net Daily

Immigration and the Protesting Rabbis

February 27th, 2017 Posted by AAJC Happenings 2 comments

On Monday, February 6, some 200 rabbis and rabbinical students protested outside Trump International Hotel in Manhattan.   19 of them blocked traffic and were arrested for disorderly conduct.  The group was protesting President Trump’s executive order placing a 90-day hold on immigration from seven countries which lack adequate security programs to vet the peaceful nature of visa holders: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen.

Rabbi Jill Jacobs, executive director of Teru’ah, the left-wing rabbinical group that organized the protest, said it was meant to show that many Jews oppose the ban.

“We remember our history, and we remember that the border of this country closed to us in 1924, with very catastrophic consequences during the Holocaust.  We know that some of the language that’s being used now to stop the Muslims from coming is the same language that was used to stop Jewish refugees from coming“, she said. 

As the great-grandson of a rabbi who immigrated to the United States in 1924 because of religious persecution, these words caught my attention.

My Zaida, Rabbi Jacob A. Dubrow, was a rabbi in the Vinnitsa region of Ukraine.  During the Russian Civil War, he was marked for death by Ukrainian Whites.  Fleeing to a large city he survived the threat, but was at risk for deportation to Siberia when the Reds were victorious.  He escaped Ukraine and acquired a hard-to-get visa to the United States.  His wife and daughters followed and arrived in New York in 1926.

I wonder what Zaida would have said about the travel ban.

Zaida was a Lubavitcher chasid, an Orthodox Jew.  He passed away decades before I was born; even my father knew him only as a child.  Nonetheless, having followed in his path as an Orthodox rabbi, and having close friends within the Lubavitch movement, I am confident I know what he would have said.

Zaida was a quiet man, a scholar.  He was thoughtful, benevolent, but firm.

Undoubtedly, he would have been against a blanket ban on immigration from war torn countries. He would have advocated that America accept peaceful refugees of war seeking a better life for their families.  He would have supported families being allowed to reunite; without that, my grandmother and her sisters would have never been allowed to join him in the United States.

Yet, he was a wise man.  He would not have supported, for example, the immigration of the Ukrainian Cossacks who tried to kill him.  His passion for justice would have led him to do all he could to stop barbarous murderers from entering this country.  Being benevolent does not mean being a fool.

Zaida would not have relied on a letter from Cossack leader Admiral Alexander Kolchak, certifying that a potential immigrant was upstanding.  He would have advocated a vetting system to make sure people from cultures that embrace murder and mayhem, were indeed peaceful and of law abiding.

A rabbi who escaped death by telling his neighbors he was traveling north and instead travelled south, would have never accepted the liberal concept that all people are inherently good, that all humanity would be sweet as apple pie if only we welcome them into our homes.  Zaida saw human beings at their worst, and he would have passionately advocated keeping those who embraced evil away from these hallowed shores.

The very notion that the United States should rely on Iran – a country that threatens to destroy Israel and America – to vet visa holders to make sure they don’t want to destroy America, is madness.  The idea that Syria, Sudan and Somalia have the will and ability to separate 100 Muhammad Attas from 1000 of his peaceful coreligionists is absurd.

Ignoring evil is not a Jewish concept.  It is a liberal concept.  Liberal rabbis protesting in support of unchecked immigration from countries where large swaths of the population seek to destroy the West are sorely misguided. To be Jewish is to be benevolent.  But to be Jewish is to recognize the reality of good and evil.  Judaism values doing good, selfless and endless good – within the context of supporting good and destroying evil.  Sadly, those who don’t recognize the reality of evil are least prepared to stand against it.

I pray that God give President Trump the strength and fortitude to protect the citizens of this great country, and that America continues, for centuries to come, to accept millions of peaceful immigrants, whatever their religion or lack thereof, who embrace the Judeo-Christian values that have made this country great.

This article appeared first in The Jewish Press.

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