Friday, September 17, 2010

Shalom Always Shalom: Below is a link to a BEAUTIFUL site which is the singing of "Kol Nidre" (All Vows) by Moishe Oysher of Vilna, Lituania gleaned from a 1939 film. It is extraordinary that it survived and it is poignant in its symbolism as the 1939 Holocaust had officially begun against the Jew and against the world. There were in the Vilna Ghetto, 40,000 Jews, collected and summarily executed by not only Nazis but by the police of Lithuania itself long known for its hatred of the Jew. Kol Nidre, for those who do not know, is one of the most beautiful cantorial Jewish chants. It is plaintive to its core as the Jewish people on this night plead to be inscribed in the Book of Life for yet another coming year. It is said on Rosh Hashannah (the New Year) it is written and ten days later on Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) it is sealed. God or fate determines how many shall be born, how many will live and how many will die. Kol Nidre declares ALL VOWS null and void so that we can begin fresh and renew our human spirit through forgiveness of immoral behavior and a promise to do better in the coming year.

One does not, I think, even have to believe to have its meaning pierce one's heart. This rendition is gorgeous. I cry EVERY time as its beauty goes to my very soul. I think about the six million ALWAYS, I think of my parents, I think about all those gone from my life and the ones who remain who are so precious to me.

I hope beyond hope for the world at this time to find the all too illusive peace. The most solemn of Jewish holidays, Yom Kippur, when Kol Nidre is sung reminds us of the fragility of life and the strength of the human spirit to always strive to do better. To my Christian and Muslim friends I say Shalom always Shalom!

MOSQUE MALEVOLENCE: Recently there has been a tremendous brouhaha over a teacher in an affluent suburb of Boston taking her students to a mosque. Some were seen horror of horrors even dare I say PRAYING! I sent a few thoughts to various media.

I am Jewish. As a child I used to attend my local church during Station to the Cross, during Midnight Mass, Easter and used to even go when I simply felt down and wanted something to comfort me. I am VERY culturally Jewish, adore my people AND I support Israel. I am VERY conscious of the vitriolic blather of the extreme left against Israel and I am ALWAYS cognizant of right wing anti-Semitic extremists’ words of hate against my people which has infinite history. I am immersed in the academic study of the Holocaust. MY POINT IS: Not one time, not one second, not one nanosecond did I EVER regret having gone to Catholic churches near me. To the contrary I LOVE some of the churches as they are OFTEN gorgeous, the music a wonder to hear and EVEN the Latin Mass intrigues as I was a student of Latin. It has HISTORY!!

Likewise, I admire the edifices i.e. the buildings of many mosques. The architecture is a wondrous thing as the domes and the tiles are a thing to behold. I LOVE learning about the etiology of religion, about nascent Judaism which took SOME beliefs from pagan rituals before it morphed over time AND I most especially love the development of Christianity THROUGH Judaism. I watched every possibly documentary AND even film on the life of Jesus. Now Islamic history is beginning to interest me; ALL OF THIS FROM AN ACADEMIC VIEW. This view of belief only ENHANCES my perspective. I love it.

I am STILL the same person; nothing ever made me turn away from my people. Many decades have elapsed since then AND I STILL LOVE the sights and sounds of Judaism. I love the Shofar on Rosh Hashannah, I love the sad gorgeous plaintive song of Kol Nidre on Yom Kippur and NOTHING not going to a Catholic church, not going to many many Protestant churches and not visiting a mosque EVER would change that EVEN IF I prayed!

Why? My parents most especially my father gave me a LOVE of my Jewish tradition as I sat in shul (temple) with him and felt the softness of his prayer shawl (talis). NOTHING hurt me by being exposed to other faiths. What DOES hurt though is the violent opposition one believer has to another. IT IS A BELIEF and it is individual and it is unique.

Parents owe their children an understanding of history which includes the propagation of various faiths. It is only THEN that we can make swords into plowshares. MIGHT I REMIND YOU WHO ARE IMMOVABLE, MALEVOLENT, MEAN, AND ANGRY OF THE QUOTE FROM ISAIAH 2:4 'He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.' It would serve you whose mind is shut tight, and woefully ignorant to reflect on the KINDER elements of your faith. Violence can be found in the Hebrew Bible, it can be found in the New Testament and it can be found in the Koran. I FIRMLY belief it is up to us to teach our children CAREFULLY and know what you reap so shall you sow: 'Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.' (Galatians 6:7 KJV)