I remember as a child hearing my mother blurting out anti Semitic remarks. At first I thought that I had not heard her correctly. But soon I realized that she had some problems with certain traits of other Jews. Funny thing was that I saw these same traits in my parents and other relatives.
As I got older, I thought it might be a similar thing to blacks calling each other bad names; but they laughed about it. Their relationships seemed solid, and I never doubted that they would defend one another right to the end. Not so with my mother. She really disliked certain things about my people. She was also ultra liberal in her political views.
Mom was brought up in a totally secular environment. She had no idea about the history of the Jewish people and the suffering and persecution. She had never read the Old Testament. I’m not sure if she even believed in God.
My dad, on the other hand, was brought up in an orthodox home. He attended Hebrew high school. He went to synagogue every week and studied the Torah. When he met my mother at the Jewish Community Center in D.C. during WWII, they fell madly in love and soon married.
Orthodox and Secular Jews
In the case of my parents, we became a mostly secular family. I guess dad didn’t want to rock the boat with my mom, and introduce her to the many things she would need to learn to keep a kosher home.
I never remember dad saying things against our own people. He loved Israel and supported the nation with yearly contributions. I watched him closely when I was a little girl, and the love for Israel came into my heart as well. I was the only daughter whom was sent to the synagogue for Jewish instruction.
I have been pondering self-hating Jews for a long time. I try to find a common thread between them. Obviously, I can’t know each person’s life experiences; but I do believe there has to be some commonality in their upbringing.
This is a Jewish (not Messianic) website. The reader must keep this in mind:
“Ignorance and Certainty”
The appalling truth about most Jews, both in Israel and in the Diaspora, is that they are complete ignoramuses about their Jewishness, Judaism and their understanding of self. The hoped-for generation of knowledgeable non-believers that the early Jewish secularists strove to create has instead turned into a generation of Jews completely ignorant as to the values, traditions and beliefs of Judaism and the Jewish past. Most of the “People of the Book” are unaware of what book is being spoken about.
My experience, anecdotal as it is, is that the average secular Israeli who never attends a synagogue service or has no real background in some sort of Torah education has absolutely no concept as to the core beliefs of Judaism or the purpose of the Jewish people’s survival in the global scheme of things. In the Diaspora the situation is even more dismal. Ignorance breeds disattachment from the Jewish community and the State of Israel. It inevitably leads to intermarriage and eventual departure from the Jewish community itself. Why be Jewish when one knows nothing about Judaism and its traditions, destiny and purpose?
Jews who know more about Amos Oz and Woody Allen than about Maimonides are at risk of eventually being completely severed from Jewish life and beliefs – as do their children. Jews who are ignorant of Judaism believe it to be a form of Christianity without Jesus or of social action and welfarism without Marx. If this be the case then truly why should one want to identify with the Jewish people? The world is one big happy family – I am ok and you are ok – so let us just join it and have a good time.
I notice that even those Jews who renounce Jewish tradition in spite of having been raised and educated in a religious environment do so, in the main, out of personal hurt, not out of true knowledge of what is now being rejected. The fundamental error of Jewish ignorance is the confusion in the mind of the beholder of behavior and attitudes of religious Jews with the core beliefs of Judaism itself.
Judaism does not guarantee perfect people. Ramban (Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman, thirteenth century Spain and Israel) ruefully admits that one may easily be an awful person “within the confines of Torah observance.” But that awful person is not Judaism, though he or she may be very visibly Jewish in rote behavior and costume. The ignorant will identify that person with Judaism itself, simply not knowing the true values and teachings of Judaism. The current spate of books and movies by bitter and frustrated, and to a certain extent self-hating Jews – who have left their religious upbringing and come from dysfunctional family situations – is an example of this insidious form of ignorance.
Not liking one’s father’s eating habits or behavior towards his wife does not justify blaspheming God, Judaism and Jewish tradition. There was a time when Jewish values – values, not merely knowledge – were part of Jewish society. Kindness, charity, the centrality of the Land of Israel, the holiness of Torah, all were natural byproducts of living in a Jewish milieu. Not so today, where ignorance of those values and confusion with non-Jewish apparent look-alikes reigns in a Jewish world of ignorance and lost pride and identity.
One obvious answer to Jewish ignorance is Jewish education. Even if a child does not attend a Jewish religious school, somehow some sort of Jewish education must be delivered. Otherwise that child and its descendants will be lost to the Jewish people. The traditional schoolroom is failing at its task, as the current educational crisis here in Israel and in the Diaspora testifies. Education today is television, DVD’s, books, concerts, movies etc. (Emphasis mine)
It is almost heretical for me to write this but I feel that teaching core Jewish values – again, our history, the place of Torah in Jewish life, the importance of the Land of Israel, kindness and concern towards others, tolerance of differing viewpoints, the truly apolitical nature of Judaism – will help achieve a modicum of self-worth and Jewish pride within Jews of all ages and stations. This will suceed in a way that facts, textbooks, homework assignments and strict demands about behavior will not.
And our professors and archeologists whose weird and unscientific attitudes to debunk the Bible and the Jewish past should be ignored to the extent possible. They, who are also so boastfully educated, are truly victims of their own ignorance of Judaism and its values. In New York there is a famous store that advertises: “An educated consumer is our best customer.” A Jew educated in Jewish values and traditions and way of life is our best Jew.
Berel Wein – source
I bless the day that dad decided that I should attend synagogue and learn about the traditions, history and beliefs of our people. I also read and learned from the Old Testament. I think that this laid the foundation which resulted in me searching for Yeshua.
I’m sure there are many other reasons that Jews become Jew and Israel haters. Perhaps some have read about the generations of persecution and slaughter of my people; and now they see the entire world turning on Israel. I’ve read about women in abusive relationships and how they stay, because somehow they feel that they deserve the mistreatment. Could it be that some secular Jews have the same psychological issues? Could it be that their rationale is “Since so many people hate the Jews, then perhaps they deserve it – perhaps they have done something that has brought this on themselves.”
Whatever the reason for the self hatred, it is so incredibly sad to me. I want my people to know that Yeshua is their Messiah. But if they have never studied the Torah, then they would not even be looking for a Messiah! Did you know that only 10% of Israel is Orthodox? Many are secular Jews. Tel Aviv is like the San Francisco of Israel!
Some examples of self-hating Jews:
Debbie Wasserman Schultz
John Stewart (The Daily Show)
And the list goes on…………..
I am beginning to see more clearly how Israel will be deceived by the Antichrist. I’m so glad that God is in control. That thought is what keeps me sane.