Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

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Ronald S. Lauder

From my heart...

I stand with our African-American brothers and sister. Diversity is what makes the United States great! Please let's end racism and anti-Semitism once and for all!

No longer divide us...

This is a message from RONALD S. LAUDER, that appeared very recently in the World Jewish Congress (WJC) digest:

"In frightening and uncertain times, like those we are facing now with the coronavirus, some people all too often and dangerously look for and unjustly blame scapegoats.

There is an open effort on the part of some fear mongers, some little more than troublemakers but many in positions of leadership or influence, to dub COVID-19 something other than what it is: a disease caused by a virus that knows no political or social boundaries.

Holding Asian-Americans responsible for the coronavirus merely because it originated in China is deeply offensive and a genuine threat to them. Such scapegoating is terrifyingly familiar to my community, the Jewish people. And we are also being targeted now.

(I agree. Anti-Semitism is again on the rise here in the U.S. and around the world.)

Back to Ronald Lauder...

"In the 21st century, anti-Semitism wears chinos and carries Tiki torches, but like any social ill, it has always been adaptable, attaching itself to whatever its proponents found most threatening.

When the bubonic plague swept through 14th century Europe, Jews were held responsible, as rumors spread that our forefathers had poisoned community wells. Political and religious leaders declared the plague was punishment for having allowed Jews to live in Christians' midst."

(I am just learning about this but it doesn't surprise me... not after the childhood that I suffered because of being Jewish.)

Back again to Ronald Lauder...

"Despite the utter madness of all of this, untold thousands of innocent men, women and children were viciously slaughtered and entire Jewish communities were wiped out as if they'd never existed. Needless to say, all that Jewish blood did nothing to stop the plague.

Following the end of World War 1, Adolf Hitler and other extreme German nationalists blamed German Jews, who had fought valiantly in the Kaiser's army, for their country's defeat. Hitler went on to blame Jews for all the ills that beset German society, with catastrophic results culminating in the Holocaust that saw the mass murder of 6 million Jews.

We have seen those old tropes employed again, whether in the darkest corners of the internet or on Twitter feeds.

It's all frighteningly familiar, in the United States and around the world, grotesque caricatures of hook-nosed Jews, and messages and images implying that Jews are exploiting positions of power in politics, finance and health care to spread the virus have emerged. Malicious, ugly jokes are being made about ridding the world of its Jewish problem by letting us die.

Blaming Jews for the coronavirus has become a guiding force for anti-Semites worldwide. The extreme right-wing and notoriously anti-Semitic Greek newspaper Eleftheri Ora wrote: 'The coronavirus pandemic and the disastrous path of contemporary public life at the level of religion and politics is an intensive work of the anti-Christ Zionist powers.'

The Jerusalem Post reported that Faith Erbakan, the head of the Refah Party in Turkey and the son of a former prime minister, reportedly said back in March, 'Though we do not have certain evidence, this virus serves Zionism's goals of decreasing the number of people and preventing it from increasing.' He then added ominously 'Zionism is a 5,000 year-old bacteria that has caused the suffering of people.'

And the Algerian news outlet Al-Mosdar published a conspiracy theory under the headline:' A Zionist organization is behind the coronavirus and the Zionist entity (Israel) claims to have found the vaccine.'

As unequivocally as I stand against this latest evolution of hate directed against my people, it is vital that the Jewish people and all Americans take an unyielding stand against any and all efforts to vilify any individual, community, people or nation for the crisis unfolding around us.

This is a moment for coming together in a globally shared experience as we recognize what we have in common, not for driving wedges or parroting falsehoods that only add to the anxiety in our midst.

One thing that has become excruciatingly clear over the last several weeks is that we are all, very literally in this together.

Simply put, we will need each other on the other side of this. If we've spent these dark days demonizing and blaming each other, it will be much harder to heal not just from the disease itself, but also from the as yet untold social and economic repercussions.

And it will not be enough to simply refrain from using hate-filled language. We must also speak out against it to refuse it any quarter. Anyone using such phrases must be called to account, and individuals repeating what they've heard from influential figures must be corrected. There is no time to waste as the virus spreads and as we work to protect ourselves, our families and our communities.

We have no way of knowing what COVID-19 will yet take from us, but we can decide right now that we will not allow it to rob us of our civility, our pride in our nation's diversity, and our ability to build a more perfect union across the many communities that call America home."

(I must say that I agree with everything Lauder said!)

The Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando...

You can binge-watch your Federation Favorites even if you missed one of the virtual events because the Federation has you covered!

The Jewish Federation archives some of their virtual programs on their website, where you can find the best of everything.

Shout-Out...

One of the nicest, sweetest, kindest, good-hearted and good-looking people I know

(and I've known her for many, many, years) is IVY PINES WOLFE.

She is a devoted wife, mother, daughter and friend.

I've started to write about her many times in the many years of doing my column,

But always thought she might resent it. Even now, I hope she's not upset with me for writing about her. She is a private person who gives her all to folks in need. She should be applauded for all she does...and so I applaud her now!

One for the road...

Sadie and Rose were sitting under hair dryers at the hairdresser having a chat.

Sadie says, "So nu, Rose, how's that daughter of yours?"

Ivy Pines Wolfe with daughter, Alanna.

Rose replied, "She's OK, thanks. She married a fantastic man. He's got such a good job in the city that she gave up her secretary's job. She stays at home but never needs to cook because he always takes her out, or clean the house because he got her a maid, or worry about my 2 lovely grandchildren because he got her a live-in nanny."

Sadie then asks, "And how's your son?"

Rose replies, "His life is awful. He married a bitch from hell. She never cooks anything and makes him take her out to dinner every night. God forbid she should vacuum a carpet, so she made him get a maid. He has to work like a dog because she refuses to get a job and she never takes care of my grandson because she made him get her a nanny."

 

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