Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Hits Home

Reading The Moderate Voice, playing catch-up, I see he has a post on Disturbing anti-Semitic happenings in Russia. I, too, have a personal interest in this story. One set of my grandparents emigrated from Bialarus, or "White Russia", and the other set was a Lithuanian/Ukrainian combo. Persecution because of religion is the number one reason they left their homeland.
From TMV:
There are a couple of disturbing trends:
  • The infamous "blood ritual" which accuses Jews of murdering Christians for ritual purposes has made a high-profile comeback in a major Russian newspaper. It came in the form of an anti-Semitic letter signed by 500 prominent people, including journalists and politicians.

  • The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has demanded Russian authorities to investigate the brutal anti-Semitic attack on a rabbi near the Maryina Roscha Chabad community center on January 14.

This stuff chills me to the bone. I know who I am, and I know what Judaism's about. I do. I was taught by my family, I studied in college, I spent 7 months in Israel. I might be taking too much credit by saying that I know what it's about, of course there are aspects of religion and spiritualism that people study for entire lifetimes and only scratch the surface, but I'm trying to make a point, here. I may not know everything about Judaism, but I certainly know that it's not about killing Christian children to use their blood to make matzoh. It's not about "provoking ethnic strife". It's about following rules, and treating your fellow man with respect. Yes, there are wing-nut factions that are violent, but hell, even the most of the wing-nut factions are about separatism. You don't see hassidic guys out there trying to chat up non-believers and bring them into the fold. These guys don't have training camps where they plot the downfall of the non-believers. They just huddle in their small, dark communities, wearing their heavy coats and silly large hats.

I've strayed from the part that bothers me most, though - the blood libel story. Where does this come from, in this day and age? Aren't Matzoh factories out in the open for everybody to see? Can't people go see for themselves that it's pretty much just tasteless crackers? Don't they start to wonder why there aren't bunches of children missing every spring if it's true? How can people *think* that?

I'm nowhere near it, but I'm, well... afraid.

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