REMEMBER, IT'S PASSOVER
© 2004 Jordan Margolis
It is Passover. Jews throughout the world read from the Haggadah about the exodus from slavery in Pharaoh's Egypt. Rabbinical commentators urge us to feel that WE took part in that exodus. WE were there when our people walked across the desert to Israel. Such a mystical vision is hard to imagine. So the Haggadah also cautions us to heed the lessons of history. "In every generation they rise up against us, to destroy us." "They" are the enemies of Israel; those who, for whatever reason, will not let Jews live, unmolested, as Jews. The perpetual persecution of the Jew is unparalleled in history. And today, the Jew is truly an endangered species. For only the Ibo of Africa and the Jewish People are fewer in number today than they were before World War II.
Many of you Jewish readers call yourselves Americans, as if no further sub-categorization is necessary. You consider yourselves humanitarians. To distinguish yourselves as Jews would be to set up prejudicial barriers. After all, people are people.
That's true - people are people - and that's why Jews have always been in the forefront of humanitarian campaigns. Unfortunately, the Jew has never been treated just like everybody else. Hitler's crematoria were filled with Jews who prided themselves on being good Germans.
The Romans raked the flesh of Jews with steel combs, but they would not renounce their Judaism. The Crusaders paved their way to the Holy Land raping, pillaging, and slaughtering any Jews caught in their path. The Spanish Inquisitors burned Jews at the stake, but still they would not accept Christ. All across Europe, Easter sparked the initiation of savage pogroms and hundreds of thousands cf Jews perished at the hands of their neighboring villagers. During the Holocaust, six million Jews were tortured, butchered, starved, gassed, experimented on and transformed into lampshades and soap. And Israel has already fought four wars to prevent the Arabs from accomplishing their promise to push the Jews into the sea.
Today it is not only oppression which threatens the survival of the Jewish
People. It is also the loss of identity. Too many of you young Jews no longer feel a tie to other Jews, or to the Jewish homeland, Israel. You have become members of the Disco Generation. Your credo is chat nothing is as important as your personal happiness.
Well, life just ain't that easy, especially for Jews. You may not want
to face this reality, but too bad. The world did not start turning at our births. We carry an obligation to all the Jewish martyrs who were killed for refusing to renounce Judaism. We bear a responsibility to preserve a haven where Judaism can flourish, in peace. We have the place, Israel. We do not yet have the peace.
Israel needs Jews in America. She needs our money, our political vitality,
and our spiritual support. Our parents can no longer carry our share of the burden. If we do not pick up the torch, Israel is doomed.
If you do not feel this inherent duty, it is because you really don't care whether Judaism endures. But you can hide from your responsibilities for only so long. The lesson of the Haggadah is clear. If you don't feel that you were a part of the exodus, you will ultimately be shocked into the realization of your Jewish identity. For in every generation they rise up against us, to destroy us.
It is Passover. Remember who you are. Before it's too late - Remember.
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