What Were They Thinking? Jewish Community Federation Publishes Pro-Christmas Article

JewishFedSF
Image by Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco

I consider it a key part of my job as a Jewish philanthropy blogger to promote the good work of Jewish organizations, but sometimes I come across decisions that I think are just plain wrong. Here is one of them that makes me ask, “What were they thinking?!?”

The Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, whose work I usually admire, released their December newsletter today. Its headlining article is titled, “How a Nice Jewish Girl Did Christmas– and Chanukah, Too!”

(Did you get that: Christmas– oh yeah, and also Chanukah.)

Okay, I thought. It’s a teaser. You used a provocative headline to get my attention, I’ll keep reading. But it got worse, much worse.

From the logo accompanying the article (see above) to the author’s questioning of Christmas’ place in her house:

But as December approached, I became more uncomfortable about having a tree in my home. It just didn’t feel right. A friend and colleague and observant Jew helped me sort it out.

“Did he go to services with you on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur?” she asked. Yes, he had – and with more interest, I might add, then my Jewish ex-husband. “Then you need to do Christmas with him,” was her advice.

The article ends: “Christmas, like Thanksgiving and Chanukah, became a day for us to gather together and simply enjoy the riches of our family and friendships.”

This is officially the worst call by a Jewish organization that I have seen all year. I have read articles of all variations struggling with intermarriage and assimilation, but to PROMOTE Christmas (that’s Christ + Mass, folks) as an American holiday that we should all be practicing…

If I were a potential or current donor, I would use my resources elsewhere. That discredits all the other work of the federation. How can I look at their annual campaigns and talk of anti-semitism and think of anything but this article as being the pillar of how the organization presents themselves on one of the most vital issues of American Jewish society.

If you ask me, an apology should be printed and somebody should be fired.

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21 Responses to What Were They Thinking? Jewish Community Federation Publishes Pro-Christmas Article

  1. thenewjew says:

    Here is the note that I wrote them.

    Dear Jewish Community Federation,

    I was absolutely appalled to read your headlining article, “How a Nice Jewish Girl Did Christmas– and Chanukah Too.” The style and tone of the article does nothing but promote Christmas and imply that it should be considered an American holiday along the lines of Thanksgiving.

    With all of the issues of assimilation and intermarriage that we are struggling with today in the American Jewish community, I thought this article was a terrible call. It didn’t give Jews any issues to talk about or ways to deal with conflict they might be feeling. It simply left them with the message that it is acceptable to celebrate Christmas as well as Chanukah, while at the same time managing to add in denigration for “my Jewish ex-husband.”

    While I until now been an admirer and supporter of the work you are doing, I have to say that this completely turns me off and undermines all previous respect that I had for your mission and objectives. I hope that you don’t simply take this note as an insult to your work, but rather as communication with one of your supporters who sincerely cares about your organization, but is confounded by this decision.

    Shabbat Shalom,

    Maya Norton
    mnorton@TheNewJew.org
    Israel

    The New Jew: Blogging Jewish Philanthropy
    http://TheNewJew.wordpress.com
    *****

  2. Edmund Case says:

    I completely disagree with your reaction and response to Suzan Berns’ article. The San Francisco federation by publishing this article is not promoting Christmas as a holiday that ALL Jews should be practicing. It is trying to raise the consciousness of Jews, including Jewish donors and leaders, that INTERMARRIED Jewish families can and do participate in Christmas celebrations without compromising the Jewish identity of their families and children. At InterfaithFamily.com we have conducted four consecutive annual surveys on the December holidays, the last one attracting over 850 respondents, and that is the message that we consistently get from interfaith families engaging in Jewish life. The San Francisco federation, like the Boston federation, is enlightened on the issue of welcoming interfaith families into the Jewish community, and should be applauded, not condemned, for doing so.

  3. Shai says:

    Edmund, out of curiousity – how does (if they do) the organization you referred to dissuade or discourge intermarriage, or said differently, do they see a reason to persuade and encourage marraige between Jews?

    Without criticizing the attempt to encourage those who already intermarried to stay involved somehow with a Jewish identity, and with a nod to the argument that intermarriages are a salad and not a melting pot, isn’t Maya’s response understandable, as someone who wants to see Jewish communities become stronger by winning the non-Jewish partners into our communities, and thereby retaining the Jewish partner? Does promoting Christmas really do that?

    I’m really asking – not to be provocative, but to understand. I hope the question will be taken in that spirit.

  4. thenewjew says:

    Dear Edmund,

    I appreciate hearing your opinion and am glad you’ve commented. I really respect Interfaith Family and the work you do, but also completely differ with you on how we see this article.

    Absolutely intermarriage is a major issue in the international community and absolutely it needs to be dealt with respectfully and with an eye and a heart to how everyone can feel honored. However, this article does none of that. It does not deal with the issue of intermarriage or holidays at all. It simply states that the author was always jealous (is what it basically amounts to) of Christmas, and now has been given leave in whatever guise to practice it, and incorporate it into her holiday schedule.

    It is not a choice she makes so much out of love and respect for her spouse, but because she envies Christmas. No, the article isn’t saying that she went to church or that she integrated Jesus into her religious practice, but it takes the critical issue of Jewish assimilation and acculturation and instead of challenging us and making us think about what it means to be Jewish and what it means to live in a dual holiday home, the article simplistically equates Christmas not as a religious holiday, but an American tradition akin to Thanksgiving or the Fourth of July.

    We don’t see the author struggling with any of these ideas that it would behoove us to think about and deal with. Rather the article, as I said, the headlining article of the December issue for the Jewish Community Federation, reads as if it is celebrating Christmas’ integration and our acceptance of it as Jews.

    I think you misread my disapprobation for the article as being against intermarriage. In reality, I have said nothing against it (or for it). When I read Interfaith Family’s articles about “the December Dilemma” or “Ten Tips for the Holidays,” I have much more respect for those. These are articles that are acknowledging an issue that we face and giving us tools to think and deal with them. I want that. I’m asking our community for that.

    The Jewish Community Federation’s article does neither. Moreover it confounds your efforts by encouraging an “easy” rather than a thoughtful choice.

    Links:
    http://www.interfaithfamily.com/files/pdf/WhatWeLearnedfromthe2007DecemberHolidaysSurvey.pdf
    http://www.interfaithfamily.com/holidays/hanukkah_and_christmas/Handling_the_December_Holidays_Ten_Tips_from_InterfaithFamilycom.shtml

    Shabbat Shalom,

    Maya

  5. Christmas and Hanukkah are essentially the same Festival of Lights.

    You can read a very brief summary of my thoughts on the issue at:

    http://eaazi.blogspot.com/2007/12/boston-globe-islam-bashing-complain_21.html (newspaper style) or at

    http://eaazi.blogspot.com/2007/12/hanukkah-christmas-and-idu-l-adha.html (web style).

    To the first approximation, the modern American celebration of Christmas was created by Jewish department store and studio owners out of a mishmash of Jewish perceptions of Eastern European Christian celebrations of Christmas. Very little remains today of traditional Anglo-Saxon, German, or African American celebrations of Christmas.

    As far as I am concerned, modern American Christmas celebration should be considered Jewish, the hostile reaction to the article from the JCF of SF strikes me as at the very least as prejudiced and xenophobic — albeit not atypical for I remember that fellow students at Harvard and Yale would complain at Hillel sessions that they felt alienated from American Christmas celebrations.

    Best,
    Joachim

  6. Christopher Noxon deals with the Christmas issue in a recent Salon article.

    Please take a look at http://www.salon.com/mwt/feature/2007/12/22/irving_the_snowchicken/index.html?source=rss&aim=/mwt/feature .

  7. thenewjew says:

    Another article that might interest you: “The Tree in the Closet” (a Jewish family hides their Christmas tree in a closet).

    Link:
    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1196847390405&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

  8. Shai says:

    Joachim, Chanukka in the Jewish calendar is akin to St. Patrick’s day in the American calendar. It’s just not that significant (with apologies to the Irish), not even in Israel, and hardly ranks within our own Jewish calendar in any proportion close to what Christmas ranks in the Christian calendar.

    That Jews pretend sometimes this is not so, increasing the status of Hanukka in order to feel a part of the “Season”, in some ways reduces the significance of the rest of the Jewish calendar, giving a perception that all our holidays are vapid and commercialized, and that Jewishness is not in any way distinguishable from other religions or systems of belief. On the contrary – this does not weaken Christmas, it weakens Channuka and all the other Jewish holidays. In my view, we should reconsider the status American Jews give the day. Your comment that Channuka and Christmas are “essentially the same fesitval of lights” is just another manifestation of the same mistake.

    Your portrayal that “Jews” has some special role in this is offensive, in addition to being untruthful and misleading. Put your views in some sort of historical perspective by trying to understand the forces swirling in society generally, while recognizing that nobody (least of all Jews as if they were some all-controlling monolith) can single-handedly sway generations of gentiles to change their ways of observance. Heck, Jews cant’ even influence generations of Jews to change. Something else is at work.

    In my opinion, the commericalization of these holidays is an outgrowth of the loss of “community” and the values communities ought to uphold. Here I’m referring to “good” values, those that form the context within which communities can worship freely without interference, and a polity that enables (though it may not establish) that worship and community identity.

    If Anglo Saxons and Germans and African Americans have lost their ability to celebrate Christmas properly, then notice as well that this has its parallel in a Jewish community. Why, if the Jews were as sinister as you suggest, would they allow this to happen? How do you explain that all modern socieities, even those in Europe with no Jewish mercantile influence, are suffering the same fate?

    The vital and constructive question we should ask is do we want to take back control of those societal forces that undermine community-based values (as Karl Mannheim proposed), blame others (which is what you’re doing – or so it seems to me), or accept them as inevitable – beyond anybody’s control (as Friedrich von Hayek and Jewish assimilationists posited)?

    I prefer Mannheim’s approach. I suggest you look into it – (Diagnosis of our Time – 1943).

  9. O.T. says:

    Joachim is a notorious anti-semite.

  10. O.T. says:

    His website is well known for anti-Jewish rhetoric, and genocidal Israel bashing.

  11. Torczyner says:

    An interesting article, and interesting responses. I see this as reflective of the greater problem of how to appropriately reach out to those we believe have broken the law – how supportive should we be?

    My own take is here.

  12. thenewjew says:

    Dear Mordechai (Torczyner),

    Thanks for your comment.

    I don’t see it so much as a matter of having broken the law– although isn’t this the exact meaning of our celebration of Chanukkah: that we remember and honor our tradition above all others (not because it is better, but because it is ours)?

    My primary issue here is the choice of the Federation’s choosing to promote an article that is about the absence of choice, essentially about one woman’s desire to practice Christmas and aggrandize the holiday because it appeals to her and minimalizing her own Jewish holidays.

    As we will read more about in some of the upcoming Bronfman Big Idea Series posts, one of the critical ideas we need to think about for Jewish continuity is why is this happening? How do we as Jews decide to choose Jewishness and Judaism and what is it that makes us want to “opt out” (if we can use such a light term).

    To my readers: Mordechai’s article that he has linked to above offers four options for dealing with religious practice in intermarriage:

    1. “Closing the door” and refusing to accept intermarriage or anything it implies
    2. “Taking the door off the hinges” and accepting all parts of intermarriage
    3. “The revolving door” openly and honestly accepting intermarriage (as he says the Federation here has done– which I don’t agree is the case in this instance)
    4. “Opening and closing the door at will” and opting for “respectful disagreement, delivered with open arms”

    Follow his link to take a look at this thoughtful post:
    http://rechovot.blogspot.com/2007/12/four-approaches-to-kiruv.html

    Maya

  13. Shai says:

    You forgot at least one other option.

    There’s also “redefine” and “move” the door and the whole argument about who defines (or should be allowed to define) “door”, “open”, who is standing on the right side of the door, where the door is and who gets to open and close it.

    Sometimes, that becomes kind of like “declaring victory and retreating”, similar to option 3, except maybe sometimes not “honest”. Sometimes it becomes an argument about the color of the handle on the door.

  14. Here are two articles of interest to a discussion of intermarriage.

    http://www.kevinmacdonald.net/blog-SY's.htm (Syrian Jewish view of intermarriage)

    http://www.forward.com/articles/11308/ (The Noah Feldman Case)

    Here is my response to R’ Lamm.

    Dear Rabbi Norman Lamm,

    Rosenblatt in Jewish Week understood Feldman’s anguish far more than you did. All during his education at Maimonides School in Brookline, Feldman’s teachers told him there was no contradiction between Orthodox Jewish values and American values. They lied in a way that teachers at a comparable Roman Catholic prep school would not have.

    The reason lies in the Zionist orientation of Maimonides School and of Rabbi Soloveitchik, who founded it. Boston Zionists are some of the most exteme in asserting the equivalence of American values and Zionist values. It ain’t true. And not all American values are Jewish values or even Catholic values. The Brothers and Nuns at a Catholic prep school would have been honest, but Boston Jewish leaders are afraid that honesty would make it possible for the larger public to open a discussion whether American and Israeli interests are identical.

    I have to assume R’ Lamm is just being purposefully obtuse about the issue of treating non-Jews on Sabbath, for Feldman’s point was crystal clear. If he had wanted to bring scorn on Jewish people, there are far nastier issues in Jewish law. Feldman was pointing out that the Rabbis found reasoning to permit such treatment. Similarly today, modern Orthodox leaders could find logic to avoid such total rejection of Feldman and his family.

    And Feldman is completely right. I have studied Geniza texts. In the twelveth and thirteenth century in Egypt, people like Feldman were not excluded from the Jewish community. But those were Jews, who were Arabs and not Eastern Europeans, and that fact is a problem because the essentialist and primordialist myths of modern Jews are crafted to support the idea that a single unchanging Jewish people has existed for three thousand years so that today’s Jews can believe that they committed ethnic cleansing and stole Palestine from the native population with perfect justice.

    Guess what. This perverted train of thought turns Judaism into a fossil and justifies all the nasty things Toynbee ever said about Jews.

    Best,

    Joachim Martillo

    To find out more about Noah Feldman and read some of the original articles, use the following URL:

    http://eaazi.blogspot.com/search?q=%22Noah+Feldman%22 .

    http://eaazi.blogspot.com is my blog for Ethnic Ashkenazim Against Zionist Israel.

    MacDonald’s article above deals only with prescriptive issues of intermarriage.

    I have noticed disjunction between Syrian Jewish prescription and practice with regard to conversion and intermarriage.

    When I was researching the origins of the 1967 war, I discovered an interesting case of a marriage between a Syrian Jewish rabbi (Hakham — I guess) trained in Lakewood and a young Egyptian woman of crypto-Jewish background. Just as money whitens in Brazil, wealth seems to correct questionable lineages among Syrian Jews.

  15. The blog software apparently does not deal with apostrophes in URLs.

    To read

    http://www.kevinmacdonald.net/blog-SY's.htm

    you may have to add ‘s.htm in the URL window at the top of your browser.

    As for Shai’s comments.

    Tthe importance of Hanukkah and Christmas have waxed and waned over history. Saadyah Gaon considered Hanukkah as particularly important almost treated Megillat Antiokhos as part of the ktuvim.

    From the standpoint of the most evolved form of the sacred king myths, it really does not make much difference whether the sacred king is Jesus, who harrows hell and frees mankind from death by dying on the cross, or Judah Maccabee, who dies in battle against unsurmountable odds in order to liberate Judea and to put his brother (tanist) on the throne.

    While there was already an independent tendency to secularize Christmas from the 19th through the early 20th century (e.g., A Christmas Carol and The Gift of the Magi), the commercialization and merchandizing of American Christmas is unprecedented in comparison with the UK, France and Germany.

    To deny that American Jews have a special role in the development of American Christmas celebration is like denying that Jews have a role in the development of Hollywood. Both histories are well-documented and interconnected.

    We can also compare the American history of Christmas celebration with the sovietization of New Year’s after establishment of the Soviet Union.

    If there is anything sinister in discussing the history of the evolution of the winter holidays, it is the attempt to conceal the role of Jews (or more correctly secular ethnic Ashkenazim) in these historical developments.

  16. Shai says:

    Joachim

    Your ideas regarding “sacred king” myths is, I can fairly presume, from an Ashkenazi Jew by the name of Claude Levi Strauss (1955 – The Structural Study of Myth). Since you can’t stand “secular ethnic Ashkenazi Jews” (of whom Struass is one), and find them completely without credibility in any other aspect of their existence, perhaps the ethical thing to do would be to stop using their work or work based on their discoveries and ideas.

    Regarding Sadya Gaon, he lived 1000 years after the events of Chanuka and 500 years after the redaction of the Gemara. The canon was fixed well before he was born. Therefore, it wouldn’t have made a difference then what he thought about Migilat Antiocus (which by the way, he dated to prior to the destruction of the Temple – incorrectly), the fact is as I stated, Chanuka is and always was a minor holiday – oddly enough, celibrated in great pomp today by many Jews who are the ideological descendants of the Hellenists, whose defeat by the ultra-Orthodox of the day forms the basis for a Chanuka celebration. Chanuka is not about freedom of belief, it’s about freedom to believe the “correct” belief (orthodoxy), and that there IS a “correct” belief rather than one that adjusts for each era and civilization. Not quite as sexy that way as an American Jewish holiday, but that’s what’s been made of it. And you know what? It’s OK by me. The idea of freedom of belief is, I think, a good one.

    Regarding what you claim as an “attempt to conceal the role of Jews” in making Christmas what it was, your claim is tendentious, as I said previously. You make no such similar claim about the likes of Walt Disney, Charlie Chaplin, or other non-Jews who were just as involved in advancing the melting-pot assimilationist approach that caused Hanuka and Christmas to merge into an “American” seasonal holiday period, where the message of both holidays has been lost. Why focus only on Jews?

    I said before in a previous comment that you would do well to analyze the surrounding cultural milieu within which this assimilation occurred – it was not sinister, and certainly did not have Jews playing an overarching role that, without their participation, would have changed anything. The melting pot idea was an attempt to make one country of a myriad of immigrant groups of which Jews were only one part. The idea had its origin well before the immigration of Jews to America (late 1700’s). It wasn’t a bad idea (well I don’t think so anyway). Heck, it even gave your own family a safe haven, if your last name is to be a measure. I bet there weren’t any Martillo’s on the Mayflower, Joachim.

    Look – fair people can argue about whether the melting pot idea is the best one. But it was a good idea for its time, and aside from helping American citizens of different backgrounds to join hands and bring America to victory in WWII, it literally saved the lives of millions of Jews escaping for their lives from Europe. Same is true for Irish, Italian, German and Mexican Americans. Jews feel “hakarat hatov” (recognition of the good) for America and for the chance it gave them to live free, safe lives – they want to be part of it in every respect, as Americans, to feel fully a part of it without having their loyalty questioned any more than a person of Italian or Mexican or Irish descent when they are involved. I think that should be respected.

  17. This discussion has gotten fairly low-down on this blog while Phil Weiss has a discussion “I’m dreaming of a Jewish Christmas” on his blog http://www.philipweiss.org .

    I am going to put my response there in http://www.philipweiss.org/mondoweiss/2007/12/im-dreaming-of.html .

  18. I ran into problems with Phil’s spam filters and moved the discussion instead to my blog called Ethnic Ashkenazim Against Zionist Israel (http://eaazi.blogspot.com )because relates to some of the issues that I discuss on my blog and does not seem so relevant to Jewish philanthropies.

    The refusal of Shai to pay any attention to what I am saying about Hasmonean and Herodian period celebrations of Hanukkah and use of ipse dixit arguments in citing irrelevant materials of of the late 2nd through 7th centuries is rather similar to the refusal of the organized Jewish community to pay attention to Walt & Mearsheimer as well as to the analysis of Finkelstein, Masaad, Kovel, Karmi, Abu el-Haj, Rabkin. It is not possible to have a discussion if only one side is listening.

    Anyway, the article URL is http://eaazi.blogspot.com/2007/12/new-jew-mundoweiss-jewish-christmas.html .

    I don’t use spam filters and usually pass all comments through as long as there is not an inordinate amount of foul language.

  19. thenewjew says:

    Hi Joachim,

    I got your e-mail, thanks.

    I don’t see evidence that Shai is ignoring you and I definitely wouldn’t go so far as to say that he is ‘refusing to pay attention.’ This post has been up more than a week and he may not have seen your response. You leave your comment to state your own opinion– other users have no obligation to conversation. It’s completely a choice.

    By the way, I also ran into problems with Phil’s filter. I did respond to you twice over there, but my comments never showed up.

    I agree with you that it is not possible to have a discussion if only one side is listening.

    Since you feel so strongly about this issue, I am interested in your background. From where does your passion source and what inspires you to connect to these issues?

    Maya

  20. miriamdraiman says:

    Say NO to Jewish intermarriage and assimilation
    It is intermarriage and assimilation that brought about the demise of over 6 million Jews during World War II.
    I hope people will realize that it is imperative that the Jewish people will maintain their Jewish identity and denounce assimilation.
    The Jewish tradition has survived for thousands of years due to our non-assimilation. Let us keep it that way, or else we are on our way to extinction.
    The World today has basically abandoned family values and morality. The institution of Marriage is minimized, while manners and respect is being ignored.
    Marrying outside the faith. “But spiritually it’s a tragedy. It’s all about keeping our Jewish lineage, bringing up Jewish children. And you just can’t do that by marrying out.”
    The silent holocaust is a phrase that is used to describe – Certain Jewish communal and religious leaders have used this term when they describe the assimilation and intermarriage of Jews with gentiles.

    PS
    For Jews, “marrying within the faith” isn’t a cultural preference or prejudice. Rather, it is one the commandments G-d gave us at Mount Sinai. A Jew who marries a non-Jew transgresses a Torah prohibition.
    The practice of not “intermarrying” is in fact one of the oldest features of Judaism. It dates back to Abraham telling Eliezer, his servant, not to find a wife for his son from the Canaanites. It continues with Isaac’s command to his son Jacob not to marry the “daughters of the land.” The practice is mentioned in the Bible as a legal prohibition, and is also part of the covenant that Ezra the scribe had the Jews make when they rebuilt the Temple after the Babylonian Exile.
    In all the above cases the underlying idea of the prohibition seems to be ideological. As Jews, we have a unique identity that is connected to our purpose in the world. We are the “chosen people.” We were chosen to propagate the ethical monotheism of Judaism.
    In the words of Leo Tolstoy:
    “The Jew is that sacred being who has brought down from heaven the everlasting fire, and has illumined with it the entire world. He is the religious source, spring, and fountain out of which all the rest of the peoples have drawn their beliefs and their religious. The Jew is the pioneer of liberty. The Jew is the pioneer of civilization. The Jew is the emblem of eternity.”
    We were chosen as a permanent protest group against idolatry and immorality. Intermarriage is therefore antithetical to the Jewish purpose and to the Jewish identity.
    Being Jewish isn’t a cultural affiliation or a tradition. It’s being part of the Chosen People. That means a commitment to the responsibility given to us by G-d at Sinai. Someone who understands this will obviously choose a partner who is likewise committed. Otherwise, it’s entering a relay race, but choosing a partner who’s running towards a different finish line.
    Whom you marry affects every single aspect of your life. It affects your community. It affects your children. It affects all future generations. The Jewish home is the single most important establishment in Jewish life. It outweighs any synagogue or temple, even the Holy Temple built by King Solomon. By marrying a non-Jew one thereby ends over 3,000 years of Jewish continuity, effectively cutting oneself and one’s offspring off from what it means to be Jewish.
    There have been many other arguments offered against intermarriage. Below is a summary of some of the most famous.
    1. Six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust, 12 million were left afterwards. Today there are only 13 million Jews in the world. Where are the rest that by natural increase should number close to 20 million? The answer is that the silent holocaust of assimilation has caused them to disappear as Jews.
    2. Intermarriages are twice as likely to end in divorce as same-faith marriages (75% divorce rate!). Some reasons for this are the different identities of the spouses and the differences in culture and family. For example a Jew will naturally turn his head at the mention of “Israel” and “Jew.” A gentile who converts in a superficial and insincere conversion only for the sake of marriage does not create a new identity that is now Jewish.
    3. One is granting a victory to anti-Semites who seek to destroy the Jewish people. Think of what has been sacrificed in the past by our own ancestors to keep their Judaism. And think of the heritage that is being sacrificed for the sake of personal reasons.
    Ultimately, however, all Jews must have a sense of pride in their own identity. We cannot define ourselves by foreign ideologies, nationalities or religions. As a great author once wrote:
    “Pride is faith in the idea that G-d had when He made us. A proud man is conscious of the idea, and aspires to realize it. He does not strive towards a happiness, or comfort, which may be irrelevant to G-d’s idea of him. His success is the idea of G-d, successfully carried through, and he is in love with his destiny People who have no pride are not aware of any idea of G-d in the making of them, and sometimes they make you doubt that there has ever been much of an idea, or else it has been lost, and who shall find it again? They have got to accept as success what others warrant to be so, and to take their happiness, and even their own selves, at the quotation of the day. They tremble with reason before their fate.”
    Let us not live by the “quotation of the day” but rather by our own heritage, the Torah. When Jews study Torah, and identify as Jews they are really just returning to their true selves.

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