A few days ago, a George Washington University African history professor confessed that she had pretended for many years to be of Afro-Latina descent, when in fact she was white and Jewish. As part of her identity, she even spoke against the state of Israel and police brutality, and, according to JTA, “delivered testimony virtually in a New York City Council meeting in which she criticized the New York Police Department as being trained by the Israeli army.”
The confession left everyone in shock, and she, herself, apparently, is in a deep state of remorse. “I should absolutely be cancelled,” she wrote. “You should absolutely cancel me, and I absolutely cancel myself,” she continued. Toward the end, she wrote, “I have to figure out how to be a person that I don’t believe should exist.”
Yet, Jessica Krug is not an exception. She is an eccentric expression of a problem from which the majority of Jews suffer, and of which US Jewry is the most prominent example. The problem I am talking about is denial of the essence and purpose of Judaism.
We’d like to think that we can be like everyone else, but we’re not. The world knows it and treats us differently, and it’s time we started doing likewise. The world blames us for its wars and its problems, and it won’t help us to say “It’s not our fault”; they won’t believe us.
We have to understand that our “fault,” as I have written in The Jewish Choice: Unity or Anti-Semitism, is that we’re not bringing unity to the world, so the nations hate us for causing them to hate one another. I reiterate: The world feels that we are causing them to hate each other, and this is why they hate us.
Of course we’re not trying to make people hate each other, but we’re also not trying to unite among ourselves. And because everyone is closely monitoring our every step, we serve as a constant example of hatred, disunity, and ill-will through our relationships with one another. By doing so, we install an atmosphere of belligerence and hatred among the nations, and they, who sense that the hatred originates with us, blame us for causing their wars with each other.
Being “a light unto nations” is not a metaphorical, obsolete slogan. We became a nation precisely for that purpose, and not in order to be Americans, Germans, or Chinese. It’s no coincidence that we came up with the impossibly altruistic motto, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” This is where our uniqueness lies—in attempting to live by that motto. Even if we fail, by simply trying we will become an example that the world will admire and would try to emulate.
But we are unaware of it so, just as Jessica Krug believes, we don’t believe we should exist. In that belief, she is not the exception; she is the norm among us! I, who have been taught by my teachers that Jews must unite above their differences and serve as a role model of unity to the nations, and that this is our vocation as a nation, I am the exception.
Still, it is my prayer that soon more Jews will hear me out so that my warnings will not go unnoticed as were the warnings of Baal HaSulam, my teacher’s father, in Poland in the 1930s.