Lesson 51

I have a theory.
Well, let’s be honest – I have lots of theories, which is why this blog came about in the first place…
But I have a new theory.
And it’s one I’m going to cling to for a while.

I like to see the positives in life.
I try to view things with a “glass half full” kind of perspective.
In the current political and social climate of the world, it can be difficult.
But I try to find a silver lining.
Somewhere.
And you know what?
I think I’ve found one.
And I feel like it’s come from the most unlikely of sources.
Donald Trump.

I feel like President Oompah Loompa may do me a favour.
Yes, me.
Personally.
Lots of you too.
And the best bit?
He’s going to do it unintentionally.

We all know about the Muslim Ban (or whatever we’re calling it).
We all know about the controversy surrounding its placement.
We all know about the amazing lawyers and translators and human rights activists who flocked to airports to help those stranded and trapped.
We all know about the regular people who rushed to airports to protest the ban.
And we’ve all seen this.
Well that image – that of the two fathers of two different faiths who both brought their children to see what humankind is capable of (both good and bad) – that is what my theory is based upon.

I think that Trump may be the best thing to happen for Jewish-Islamic relations in years.

Let’s put the Middle East to one side for a moment.
I’m not talking Israelis and Palestinians.
Let’s refine my theory by saying:
… the relations between non-extremist Jews and Muslims.
You know, the type of people that some right-wing politicians want to tell you don’t exist.
The kinds of Jews and Muslims most of us encounter every day.
The people just like you and me.
I’d call them “moderate” Jews or Muslims, but then there’s a whole discourse over who that term is aiding…

But you get my drift.
You know what I’m saying.
The relations between Jews like me and Muslims like me because there’s no difference!
And tell me I’m wrong.
You know, this kind of thing.

When the Women’s Marches happened around the world – on all seven continents – there were plenty of signs of unification of people.
But for me, it was Gloria Steinem’s words at the march in Washington that hit me.
Particularly:
“… If you force Muslims to register, we will all register as Muslims…”

There have been many times in history when Jews were forced to declare their faith.
And so this is something we understand the true subtext of.

Lesson 51

A little while ago, I told you about some genealogy I’d been doing.
It’s still going.
And it’s been tricky.
There are anomalies between census records, other bits of paperwork and family lore.
When trawling through all the evidence you can find, one has to consider the political and social landscape of the time and place these people were in…
For example, if one document claims your ancestors were born in Poland, whilst another claims Russia and a third somewhere else, you have to remember that borders weren’t as they are now.
And if your ancestors had thick accents and a sub-standard grasp of the English language, it’s likely that census officials didn’t care if they got the answers perfectly right.

But if I have descendants in time to come who are looking for information about my life or existence, then I have the confidence that they’ll be able to establish exactly why it was that I identified as Islamic on a census or two – despite having been as Jewish as my face would imply.
And if this one small act needs to happen, then it will happen.

This Rabbit does not agree with Rabbis who try to distinguish between our faith and the faith of others.
As long as people have faith, or take comfort in science (if they’re staunchly atheistic) or manage to live by some belief system that brings them happiness and inflicts no ill on others, then I am happy.
And I believe they have every right to do so.

So if Donald Trump wants to single people out – he’ll find the political and global equivalent of the final scene of my favourite film
We’ll all stand together.
O Religion, my Religion!

This week’s lesson:
Judaism and Islam are sibling religions.
They’re each Abrahamic faiths.
They stem from two different sons of Abraham – as we learnt.
Which means…
If you come for my family, you’ll have to deal with me too.

We stand together.

#yourewelcome

#ineverunderstoodjewsforjesusbutnowimstartingjewsformuslims
#presidentoompahloompamakeshimsoundlessdangeroussoishouldkeepworkshopping
#deadpoetssocietyisanamazingfilmandyoushouldwatchitifyouveneverseenit
#penguinswhoprotestareprobablymybiggestheroesofalltime
#imheadedtonycinseptemberandwilldisplaymyjewfaceforalltosee

DISCLAIMER:
I’m going to try not to make every lesson of the next four years (or fewer if #impreachmentgoals come true) be about this man, but I’m not promising that he’ll be the subject of none.

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