Dear Friends,  

“Vicious and obnoxious:” My reaction to a cartoon which appeared this week in a widely circulated German newspaper. The so-called cartoon depicted Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg as an octopus with a hook nose delivering the world’s technology.

“The cartoon is starkly reminiscent of a 1938 Nazi cartoon depicting Winston Churchill as a Jewish octopus encircling the globe,” said Efraim Zuroff, of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. “And if anyone has any doubts about the anti-Semitic dimension of the cartoon, we can point to Mark Zuckerberg’s very prominent nose, which is not the case in real life. Absolutely disgusting!”

Yes, we know about the significant increase in anti-Semitism in Europe. And we know that there is a fine or ambiguous line between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism.

But what about our own country and the relative security that we are inclined to feel? We know only too well that anti-Semitism is out there, and that it continues to be perpetrated not only by hate-groups and those who identify with neo-Nazism. Our teenagers often hear the derogatory comments in our schools, and we know that anti-Semitic sentiments will always have a place in a society where Jews are a minority, and all the more so in a society where Jews are perceived as successful and influential. Yes, I believe that living in Northern Westchester, that we are inclined to have a false sense of the reality of our larger country. For sure, we are among the more secure Jewish communities. But the reality is that approximately twelve percent of Americans hold deeply entrenched anti-Semitic views, according to Anti-Defamation league polling. Yes, it could be a lot worse, and there are many places in our world where it is a lot worse.

The age-old question: “What can we Jews do to temper anti-Semitism?” I would welcome any of your thoughts. But I believe that own security is very6 much tied to the security of any and all minority groups, whether in America or any place in the world. We “fight” anti-Semitism when we stand up for justice for all people: when we stand up for human dignity and equality. We challenge the anti- Semites of our world when we stand tall and proud of our heritage and strive to cause our human values and ideals to prevails.

                 Shabbat Shalom    

 

              Rabbi David Greenberg