When I was a teenager, my family knew a state labor inspector. My father sold eggs and butter for a living, so this labor inspector bought eggs directly from him instead going to the A&P or Waldbaum’s. He came over to our apartment in Brooklyn to dicker personally with my father over the price of a dozen eggs. For a half hour thereabouts he and my father would argue back and forth over a penny a dozen. We all called him “the inspector.”
One evening, the inspector came over and my father wasn’t home, just my mother and I. My mother, of course, offered him “a little something.” So, the inspector made himself at home in our kitchen. From the refrigerator he took out a five pound can of cottage cheese, helped himself to a liberal portion of it, spooning it all into a large mixing bowl. Into the same mixing bowl he poured a load of sour cream, and cut in a banana and some peaches. Then he asked my mother for some day old bread. To our horror and amazement, he finished the entire bowl of this concoction along with the day old bread.
While he was eating us out of house and home, he started to talk about himself. This man hadn’t always been a labor inspector for the state of New York. He talked about hauling ice up several flights of stairs to make a living and how he had once wanted to be a math professor at Brooklyn College. He said that at the time the city government of New York was anti-Semitic and would not hire Jews to be professors in its educational institutions.
He also talked about how he believed “the American Jewish experiment” was a failure. He asserted that if Jews in America hadn’t intermarried, there would be twenty million of them instead five million. My inability to understand him must have shown on my face because he proceeded to set up a mathematical experiment to explain what he was talking about. After he had gone on for about five minutes explaining demographics, replacement populations and how intermarriage would affect a group of one hundred young men and women over time, I remember saying to him that we didn’t have anti-Semitism in America like we did in the 1930′s.
The inspector shook his head sadly and said, “Young man, this is not about anti-Semitism at all.”
Fast forward fifteen years.
In 1980, my ex-wife and I were at services at this ritzy synagogue near the Mississippi River in Saint Paul. The young assistant rabbi talked about a class of Jewish teenagers he was teaching. In response to his question to the class, fully fifty per cent of the students said that they would consider marrying outside of the faith. Finally, the assertions of the inspector — spoken to a snotty fourteen year old who didn’t understand — began to have their impact on me.
The impact of what he told me grew and grew over time until – well it says “Ruvy in Jerusalem,” no?
Now I’m not going to rag on about intermarriage, even though it is killing the American Jewish community with far greater efficacy than any gas chamber could; because frankly, many of the non-Jews reading this won’t give a damn, and most of the North American Jews reading this will shut their minds in anger and denial. But I will say that the inspector was 100% right. The issue is not about lifting oneself out of poverty or about escaping Jew-hatred, which is what Jews generally did in immigrating to America. The issue is surviving as a viable, distinct community. This will not happen.
The American Jewish experiment is a failure. American Judaism will die off simply because American Jews have made their choice: they want to be Americans, not Jews. That is what the 50% intermarriage rate is all about: the unconscious desire to melt into America and lose the stigmata of being a Jew. In America, the final exit from the Pale of Settlement in Russia-Poland is exiting from Judaism itself and its basic loyalties.
The plot of the play “the Melting Pot,” written in 1900 by Israel Zangwill, foreshadows this eerily. In it, the protagonist, a Jewish immigrant, manages to “integrate” himself into American society by marrying his Christian social worker. His children, of course, would not be Jews. And their loyalties would be elsewhere. As if to prove my point, a great American Jewish institution has finally joined the ranks of traitors to the Jewish people. Another nail to seal the coffin shut.
On 8 May, FrontPage.com reported today that Brandeis University decided to bestow an honorary doctorate on playwright Tony Kushner, who helped write the screenplay for Steven Spielberg’s movie “Munich,” on 21 May. According to the article, Kushner thinks that Israel’s “founding was a ‘mistake.’” He excoriates Israel for “ethic cleansing” and declares that “the biggest supporters of Israel are the most repulsive members of the Jewish community and Israel itself has got this disgraceful record … Israel is a creation of the U.S., bought and paid for.”
He decries, according to FrontPage.com, “‘the deliberate destruction of Palestinian culture and a systematic attempt to destroy the identity of the Palestinian people’ – without mentioning that this ‘national identity’ was invented in the 1960′s in what turned about to be an extraordinarily successful ploy to adjust the paradigm of the Arab-Israeli conflict with the newly-minted Palestinians as the underdogs.”
If that weren’t enough, there is more. FrontPage.com reported that Brandeis’ Goldfarb Library featured a propagandistic exhibition of children’s paintings called “Voices from Palestine,” which included depictions of bloodied Palestinian children and a PLO flag in the shape of Israel, whish suggested that all of Israel belongs by right to the south Syrian Arabs.
According to FrontPage.com, adverse publicity compelled the Library to close the exhibit Wednesday, after four days of a scheduled two-week run. Yet the day after the Library closed the exhibit, Little Green Footballs reported that protestors came out at Brandeis; one carried a sign reading, “Shut Down the Israeli Apartheid Terror State/From the River to the Sea Palestine Will Be Free.”
Another read: “END Repression of Palestinian [sic] Children” – ironic considering the culture of honor killings and the culture of hate into which Arab children in our land are bathed in from toddlerhood by the PA, their clans and their parents.
And there is more. Brandeis has a Middle Eastern Studies Department with Khalil Shikaki as a senior fellow there. The university refused to consider, when it was presented to them, evidence linking Shikaki to the Islamic Jihad.
This is a university founded 58 years ago, sponsored by the American Jewish community “to embody its highest ethical and cultural values.” At least that is what its mission statement says. Louis Brandeis, an ardent supporter of the reestablishment of a Jewish state in Eretz Yisrael must be spinning in his grave.
Article author, Robert Spencer, who credits all this with the rise of the academic “new left,” goes on to criticize Brandeis for several more paragraphs, but the point here is clear. It is not the infantile “new left” that has dictated these choices at Brandeis. The University has a huge and influential alumni association that would never tolerate half of this garbage at a school that truly embodied the highest ethical and cultural values of the American Jewish community.
American Jews have changed. The highest ethical and cultural values of the American Jewish community have changed. American Jews, by and large, have turned away from their homeland to embrace a “Jerusalem in the New World” in place of the real Jerusalem, my home and theirs. Their best schools are cutting off their children from their roots. Without roots, no tree can live. And that is why the American Jewish experiment, represented by a population that declined from 5.8 million in 1990 to 5.2 million in 2000, aging, plagued by a fertility rate that will not replace its numbers, and a 50% (or greater) intermarriage rate that will thin out the commitment of those who do remain, is a failure, doomed to die.
The labor inspector who wanted to be a math professor, who used to dicker with my father over the price of a dozen eggs, was prescient enough to see this in 1965, over forty years ago. Most American Jews are too stupid to see this even now. Or, they don’t give a damn.
I’m so grateful to have gotten my family out and to have come home before it was too late.