THE PAIN THAT MUST BE UNDERSTOOD

In his important book, Rabbi Lerner teaches us :      

        JEWISH TRAUMA MUST BE UNDERSTOOD

  “The impact of the genocide perpetrated by the Nazi remains a major factor in Jewish consciousness in the twenty-first century.  The humiliation of being treated like vermin who ought to be exterminated; the murder of one out of every three Jews alive at the time; the fear facing all Jews on the planet as they contemplated their fate should Hitler win, coupled with the subsequent lies by people who had collaborated; the denial of what had happened; the failure of the world to allow Jews to find refuge from Nazism; and the failure of the world to come to grips with what had produced this tragedy and what could be done to prevent future recurrences-all these combined to create an ongoing trauma for the Jewish people.  This trauma has never healed; it must be central to any attempt at understanding the current realities of the Middle East.

             The political impact of the Holocaust on Jewish consciousness went in two opposite political directions.  For some, the horror of racism and genocide led to a deep commitment to never again allow anyone else in the world to face this kind of horrible reality.

             … Many–perhaps most–other Jews, however, drew a quite opposite set of conclusions.  They thought: “We Jews cared about everyone else, but no one cared about us, no one protected us, and no one ever will.  When we sought refuge, the countries of the world closed their borders to us and few did anything to assist us in escaping the Nazi genocide.  We are alone in the world and we can’t count on anyone but ourselves, so we need to focus all our energies on protecting ourselves to ensure that it will never happen again.”

 Learner, Rabi, Michael.  Embracing Israel/Palestine. Tikkun Books. 2012. 104-105.

   


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