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I lived in a Jewish neighborhood in Chicago until first grade.  We were the only goy family there.  We were nominally Catholic but just at Christmas and Easter.  All my playmates were Jewish.  The "difference"was on the order of the fact that my mom's parents were Lithuanian immigrant illiterate peasants and my dad's came earlier from Bohemia.  Who cares?  Evidently some folk do.  Chicago was very segregated.  Ethnic ghettos were the norm.  I never understood why we we were segregated.  It seemed like that is how life is to a kid growing up.  Then, of course, there were two groups that my family expressed overt predjudice against.  The " colored" and the "hill billys".  The latter group were anyone with a light complexion who spoke with a Southern accent.  But back to Chanuka.  My experience with Jewish culture did not end there.  Nor did my acceptance of all cultures end there. Read on below to learn more.

Flash forward to my days in graduate school in physiology at the University of Chicago.  Need I explain to anyone the connection between the University of Chicago and modern scholarship by people who happened to be Jewish?  If so I will do so.  Suffice it to say that in the lab I worked to get my PhD were two people who I interacted with every day and we set up a study group in math and did our research as a team.  One was Howie Nash who went on to become a member of the National Academy of Science and the other was Dan Agin who is now a well known author and blogger on the Huffington site.  It was Dan who convinced me to do my post doctoral training with Kedem and Katchalsky in Israel.

So I packed up my family and we went to live in Israel in 1963.  We spent two years there  only to cut a three year Fellowship short to come home to work against the war in Vietnam.

My kids were 2 and 5 when we arrived in Israel and they were in the preschool that was everywhere in Israel at that time.  The government was socialist and I fell in love with socialism.  My kids were involved in every holiday and we were too.  It was delightful.  

I really do not tolerate "religion" well any more.  The evils the "Christians" have spawned make me see them as a negative force in our human family.  Yet out of all my experiences I only remember good from my encounters with the Jewish culture.  

Today I am revulsed by Israel and its adoption of fascism.  Yet the Jewish culture I remember is wonderful!  Why have they destroyed it?

Poll

How do we turn this years's Chanukah into a festival of peace?

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| 17 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    isabelle hayes, Diane Gee

    An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

    by don mikulecky on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 03:29:22 PM PST

  •  How can Israel have "destroyed" Jewish Culture? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bevenro

    When most jews do not live in Israel.  And it does not appear that a majority of israelis support their country's policies?

    Agnostic Jew here.  If the culture has been destroyed I guess that makes me no jew at all....?

    •  I really don't understand your comment (0+ / 0-)

      Maybe you don't see fascism and Jewish culture as opposites as I do?

      An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

      by don mikulecky on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 03:52:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  one has zero to do with the other. (leaving aside (0+ / 0-)

        for the moment, that 'fascism' is a completely random term thrown in here that has nothing to do with Israeli policies either...)

      •  How (0+ / 0-)

        is Israel fascist, Don?  I can see hyper-nationalistic, militarized, and in thrall to extremists, but I don't see an inter-weaving of corporations with the government.

        There's no cure for stupid, and won't be if you keep cutting the funding for the research.

        by Ref on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 06:08:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Try looking deeper. The US supplies that. (0+ / 0-)

          The global world is a plutocracy and see the role Israel plays in our oil interest.  It seems pretty clear from that perspective.

          An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

          by don mikulecky on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 07:06:31 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Huh? Role Israel plays in our oil (0+ / 0-)

            interest? WTF does that mean.

            I see a lot of fear on Israel's part. But you don't look to see. You have prejudged.

            I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

            by samddobermann on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 04:38:05 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  If your fond memories of Jews and Jewishness have (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Istillhope, don mikulecky

    been 'destroyed' by some right-wing politicians and military leaders, I don't think you learned as much about the religion and culture as you thought you did.

    •  also---you really should try not to let fond (0+ / 0-)

      memories of religion in general--Christianity too--be corrupted by right-wing psychopaths and vocal fundamentalists.

      The fact that people like Michelle Bachmann, Pat Robertson, Ralph Reed and Rick Santorum have so deeply influenced animosity towards religion is sad.  

      •  My book explains why religion has been a part (0+ / 0-)

        of the downward spiral that is destroying the planet.  The real issue is the effect.  The effect is devastating.

        An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

        by don mikulecky on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 04:53:50 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  On the contrary. I have roots in a faction (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      isabelle hayes

      that has love and peace as its theme.  My mentors in Israel were pacifists.  They taught me to reject the kind of stuff that we now have to watch as the Palestinians face extermination.

      An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

      by don mikulecky on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 04:51:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  that's fine. But it still doesn't account for you (0+ / 0-)

        r last line:

        'Yet the Jewish culture I remember is wonderful!  Why have they destroyed it?'

        Your implication is that because of right-wing policies of some in Israel, Jewish culture has been weakened.  This is simply not the case.  

        •  ah...you are extrapolating from the present (0+ / 0-)

          to all time?  The culture I love has been destroyed by the right wing in Israel.  How could they possibly destroy the rest?

          An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

          by don mikulecky on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 05:43:58 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  no--actually I'm citing what you wrote. Nothing (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Istillhope, mahakali overdrive, JLan

            about 'all time'.

            You think current Jewish culture has been destroyed by the Israeli right.  No, it hasn't.  It is very much thriving.  Some members of the Jewish community are right-wing, some are left-wing--some are secular, some are religious.  There are Haredi, there are messianic Zionists, there are secular liberals, there are modern Orthodox liberals.  Kind of a wide ranging spectrum of people living there to declare that Judaism has been stamped out by some wackos on the right.  Has Santorum destroyed Christianity in this country?  He has vocally tried to co-opt it.  But that's about it.  Cultural and ethnic identity is not determined by political leadership.

            I spent half a year in Israel in the mid-90s...that's what I saw--and I imagine I would see that today.

      •  hyperbole. Palestinians don't face anhilalation (0+ / 0-)

        in fact Hamas is prospering and has no interest in uniting with the PA and make any move to a one state solution.

        Abbas needs to call an election soon. But then Hamas has super control over Gaza. They forcibly broke up all the demonstrations re unity that occurred summer a year ago.

        I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

        by samddobermann on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 04:44:41 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Maybe you did not mean this literally? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    don mikulecky

    "Yet the Jewish culture I remember is wonderful!  Why have they destroyed it?"

    The actions of Natenyahu's very right wing administration are tragic. But how does that reflect on the current status of Jewish culture in general?

    Did the Bush administration destroy American culture or Christian culture?

    I would even argue that "Jewish Culture" is one of the few things that have kept Natenyahu somewhat in check.

    •  That is the conflict I have this year. (0+ / 0-)

      How does the great legacy of Judaism erase the ethnic cleansing?  Can you give me an answer?  I am hungry for one.

      An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

      by don mikulecky on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 04:55:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  jesus crist, There has been no ethnic cleansing (0+ / 0-)

        What are you talking about?

        You mean because fewer Jews die from the Hamas and Hezbollah attacks? That is because Israel has laws that require easily accessible bomb shelters in every residence or non residential building. They even have them built into playgrounds.

        The Palestinian leaders glorify and show off every death including those they cause if they can blame it on Israel.

        The PA has finally gotten down to the business of creating an actual government but Hamas is quite happy with its warlord status.

        I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

        by samddobermann on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 04:54:16 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  The Bush administration was a poor choice (0+ / 0-)

      They indeed destroyed a good bit of the American culture.  however American culture and Jewish culture can not be compared in this way.

      The real issue to me is the question of how this time the Jewish culture I love can be destroyed by people in the State of Israel when the State was formed to preserve that culture?

      An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

      by don mikulecky on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 05:47:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  then what you loved was a (0+ / 0-)

        phantom created in your mind and you demand it remain inviolate and to conform to your very poor understanding of the situation over there.

        I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

        by samddobermann on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 05:00:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The progressive movement (2+ / 0-)

    owes a lot to "jewish culture" which is alive and thriving, even among those of us who have long forsaken the religion.

  •  It's not destroyed everywhere (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    don mikulecky

    In this country, it's still as robust as it ever has been, and the only reason that's not evident is because of the fact we're not forced into neighborhoods the way the immigrant generation was.

    Also, you wrote

    We were the only goy family there.
    This should read
    We were the only goyische family there.
    Noun - adjective.

    -7.75, -8.10; All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

    by Dave in Northridge on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 04:07:41 PM PST

  •  Chanukah is not a festival of peace (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    don mikulecky, Neon Mama

    and was never intended to be.  It is about being willing to fight for religious freedom.  To me that also includes the right to be from religion and tyranny.  Hopefully that fight never has to include actual violence, but it will alwasy require vigilance.  

    yes you have identified the tragic irony that is Israel today, but the end of your diary went very wrong

  •  Why would you title this Happy Chanukah? (0+ / 0-)

    and then insult your fellow Kossaks by telling us we no longer have any culture?

    It is beyond the pale when people are called "antisemitic"  for criticizing the right wing Israel government, since one can certainly have a problem with that government and still respect most Jews.  

    In fact ,the Likud gets a lot more support from evangelicals and  the American government than it does from American Jews. Yet for some reason all you see is "Jewish."?
     

  •  "Destroyed" (0+ / 0-)

    I do not think that word means what you think it means.

    Anyway, Happy Chanukah, may there be a day when all nations are free from religious tyranny.

    •  i'm giving up---diarist really isn't making a lick (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Istillhope

      of sense.  I know what he WANTS to say--which is he is saddened that the practical/political/military administration of Israel is at odds with his romanticized understanding of what Judaism as a religion/culture/ethnicity is....

      But he doesn't seem to understand the difference between Judaism and secular/national government.

  •  Tiresome. (0+ / 0-)

    I'm sure I'm not the only one who is sick of hearing about your disillusionment;  that bizarrely always seem to focus on Israel and "Jewish culture".  

    Your glitch can be your superpower (Sarah Silverman, Brand X)

    by sofia on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 04:54:53 PM PST

  •  Don have you tried to get in touch with your (0+ / 0-)

    old friends in Israel and ask them about what is going on? Ask then about how the Jewish culture was killed off. Oh and ask them about the "ethnic cleansing" and all you other, uhmmm, ideas.

    That might help you out since you are not willing to engage with any of us.

    You know, you are stereotyping and lumping together all Jews and their culture to boot which is exactly what anti-semitism is. Your position smells of pre-judice and bigotry.  (as well as a good dollop of ignorance.)

    I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

    by samddobermann on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 05:15:44 AM PST

    •  your idea not mine (0+ / 0-)
      you are stereotyping and lumping together all Jews
      since I clearly made the the distinctions you referred to

      My mentor, Aaron (Katzir) Katchalsky was murdered by terrorists at the airport in 1972.  He was very much a pacifist.  I also worked with his brother Ephriam who later became president.  I am not that naive about the other side within Israel.

      An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

      by don mikulecky on Wed Dec 12, 2012 at 07:37:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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