The Jewish activists played an important role in the revolutionary movement, which originated in the Russian Empire at the turn of the XX century and eventually led to the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 and the establishment of the USSR. Some opposers of the revolution even labeled it the ‘Jewish’ one, due to a substantial number of Jewish people (Leon Trotsky being the best known example) behind the turnover. This period of Russian history was indicated by a massive rise of various movements. Workers, communists, anarchists, zionists, independence fighters were all starting their fight. Many of these were indeed lead by Jewish people or actually were Jewish movements (like zionism or BUND , Jewish Workers’ Union). Some memories have survived the massive repressions of the 1930s, which have demolished what was left of the revolutionary spirit. Some were completely forgotten. Aron Baron was probably one of the most rebellious and unchained leaders, causing unrest in any place he arrived to. But while many were fighting hard for the new government to take power, Baron’s life goal was to fight any form of government, power and order.
The biggest (and probably the most splendid as well) Jewish community center in the world was recently opened in Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine. The building, reminiscent both of an ultra modern tower complex and a pre-war constructivism dream, is called ‘Menorah’. Seven towers constituting the building indeed look like Menorah candles, especially at night, when each tower glows with a powerful illumination, looking somewhat like a spaceship landed on the banks of river Dnipro. In the daytime, the towers are shining with a precious Israeli marble. The immense 50,000 sqm construction, which encircles the old synagogue, hosts a luxurious hotel, a youth hostel, a restaurant, a concert hall, a museum dedicated to the story of Jewish life and the Holocaust in Ukraine, a tourism center, office premises and many more. This set is not random: the center is planned to be a ‘harmonious combination of spirituality, culture and business’ as well as to become an important landmark for the whole city and country population disregarding faith or background.
Picture by pravda.com.ua
A Ukrainian-born American actress Mila Kunis could have become a real pride of the country and join a beautiful company of other Hollywood beauties of Ukrainian heritages (listing her namesake Mila Jovovich, Bond girl Olga Kurylenko and many more). Instead, she unwittingly became a part of a nationalistic provocation.
It’s not that Ms Kunis is not talented enough to be an example of a Ukrainian success story in Hollywood. It’s just that some people strongly believe that a person can only be either Ukrainian or Jewish. Mila belongs to the second group; hence, it’s Jewish people who can be proud of her if they wish, but not Ukrainians.
I feel like a sinner confessing to a priest. I apologize for my blogging neglect; it has been nearly two months since my last update.
Previously I was discussing my plans for a move to Berlin. I have started and promptly ended a new entry about my stay in Germany a dozen times. The problem was not that I had nothing to say, but rather, was what I had to say particularly Jewish, or the same ramblings of any American 20-something doing the whole ‘globe-trotting’ thing? Was the star around my neck the driving force of my experiences or the Bruce Springsteen hoodie clinging to my body with pride?
Currently I am in the Netherlands, and with distance comes the possibility to unpack certain scenes that happened in Berlin that a non-Jewish American or other traveler would have experienced differently, or not at all:
* My first shower in Germany. I was seven when my mother tried to explain the horrors of the Holocaust. It was always her policy not to sugar-coat things in baby talk (but how can genocide be sugar-coated anyway?), and she said that the Nazis (or did she say Germans back then?) killed the Jews in showers of poison, instead of water. She probably explained the whole history leading up to that ending, but all I retained from her lesson was the poison water. The next time I turned the faucet on to take a shower, I stood there for minutes, staring at the water. How do you know if it’s poison or not? My mother screamed from outside the bathroom, “Do you think I own ComEd (the utility company)?” My mother’s disapproval was more real to me than evil ghost Nazis in our pipes, and I promptly jumped into the path of the water. Fast-forward nearly two decades: I stood outside a shower in a town called Neuenhagen, outside of Berlin. I knew the water wasn’t Zyklon B and that, regardless of the NPD story on the front page of the local newspaper I read that morning in the breakfast nook decorated with medieval-style woodcarvings of saints, no Nazis were operating the piping system. But it felt weird. Taking a shower in Germany. Normal events bringing up atrocities in my mind. I finished with the shower and brushed my teeth. It felt like brushing my teeth.
* Finding this book in my host family’s bookshelf:
One fascinating reason to be proud of in the Jewish world these days, is the fact that still the vast majority, nearly ¾ of American Jews declare in surveys that they will vote for Obama.
The rightwing media has tried everything to prevent that. Endless articles were written about Barack HUSSEIN Obama, being a secret muslim and enemy of the Jewish state. You have to imagine that, in many countries antisemitism still leads people to call their political enemies „secret Jews“, and the fortunately small rightwing fraction in the Jewish world, and the unfortunately large rightwing fraction among Israeli Jews have nothing better to do than using the methods of „antisemitism“ themselves as soon as they get the chance to. Obama has some kind of Muslim connection, so the haters think he must have double loyality, he is fooling America, it is all written in the Protocols of the Elders of Mecca.
And why? Because he showed respect to the Muslim world in his Cairo speech and he didn´t declare openly that he wants to start Armageddon by attacking Iran immediately. What these people forget is the following:
(Numbers and stats from http://www.njdc.org)
Obama provided Israel with the largest amount of American military aid in U.S. history, including:
Last week the worlds biggest Jewish Community Center “Menorah” was opened in Dnipropetrovsk (Ukraine).
A lot of people are wondering why Dnipropetrovsk and not such famous jewish cities as Odessa, Uman or Kiev?
Most of the jewish and non jewish people don’t know that the jewish history in this city has started long before this city
was founded and thats why it has always been one of the most jewish cities of the eastern Europe.
Person of Interest Aryeh Deri of Shas is Prison Break – making a comeback to the political party he led thirteen years ago after a long stint in prison for financial corruption. But first he has to push current leader Eli Yishai aside.
Yishai, a hardliner on asylum seekers, refugees, and anybody else who is not ultra-Orthodox Jewish, will say and do anything to keep his position, so he’s Lie To Me.
Together, Deri and Yishai are Supernatural; just like the party they’re in.
Olmert, convicted on charges of corruption, is the Sopranos.
Many in the legal and academic institutions in Israel see the return of Deri and Olmert as the season of Criminal Minds.
Current Kadima chief and Leader of the Opposition Shaul Mofaz is Walking Dead, because Kadima is not expected to survive the coming elections. READ MORE
I have not contributed a new post in awhile for a couple reasons. First, I’m less than two weeks from my move to Berlin, which is taking up a lot of time and stress. Secondly, the tone of the blog has changed due to the circumcision issues and the attack on the Berlin rabbi, and as an American Jew not living in Europe yet, I didn’t know quite what I could bring to the discussion.
The circumcision thing baffles me, because that’s something that would never pass in America. A greater percentage of American men, Jewish and non-Jewish alike, have the procedure when they’re born. It would be hard to determine the legality of something so much of the population has experienced without harmful effects. And, most importantly, laws that forbid parents to do something that has not been deemed medically-harmful by almost all respected medical professionals, would be seen as government-sponsored anti-religious incitement. At the very least, it’s the definition of the term “Nanny State,” which we Americans hate so much. However, in Europe, it seems laws like these are becoming more acceptable — my cousin lives in The Netherlands, where a bill criminalizing kosher/halal slaughter was just abandoned, but the fact it made it all the way to the legislature for a decision boggles my American mind. READ MORE
Dear Sinai Crew worlwide,
in the great times of the 1990s many of my generation were kids who felt they should have been born in the 1960s/1970s, those exciting times when „everything changed“. As it is with Utopias, a magic shell from a fairy tale with which one can communicate over long distances is more romantic than a mobile phone, and to dream yourself into the musical „Hair“ is more romantic than holding a sign at an „Occupy Whatever“ demonstration.
The securities of the 1990s are gone. In Israel the question is not whether the next country with which it will make peace will be Syria, but whether the next world war could possibly evolve from there. In Europe the question is not which countries should join in the fun next, but which ones should stay. And how is it in Berlin? Hmmm….right now you have the choice to ask yourself whether you´re more pissed off by the Circumcision verdict or by the fact that you cannot wear a Kipa as freely as in NY. READ MORE