Friday, August 28, 2009

Another casualty in the Jewish Civil War.

After the events of WWII, many people do not have documents proving their mother was Jewish. In Europe, especially, many families falsified their religion or their identity to try and hide from persecution and execution. Others were secular Jews who didn't keep documents showing their family was Jewish, because it never occurred to them that their children or grandchildren might not appreciate being cut off from the Jewish people. Many people who never intended to lose their Jewish identity nonetheless have no documentary evidence, due to the closing or destruction of countless shuls of all branches of Judaism over the last century.

As the article says:

Of course, it it impossible to know for certain whether [any existing record] is reliable, because during the Nazi period many Jews concealed their identities."

The Chereidi are capitalizing on this fact to de-legitimize other sects of Judaism and to profit from making people get "conversions" who already know they are Jewish. Not to be outdone, other groups are catching on to this disgusting practice, and using this tactic to get rid of opponents and rivals and to seize control of assets and funds and the governance of various communities.

The civil war rages on. The man in this article may be no angel, but the behavior of the rival faction is an abhorrent act of social terrorism.

Ha'aretz Online
All in the family - or not
By Ze'ev Avrahami

BERLIN - Andreas Wankum, who served as the chairman of Hamburg's Jewish community from 2003 to 2007, was expelled from it this spring. "In a letter he received from current community leaders, shortly before the start of the Sabbath, Wankum was told that the reason for his expulsion was that no evidence had been found that he was Jewish," the Hamburg-based weekly magazine Der Spiegel reported on April 9.

Wankum, born in 1955, says he only learned he was Jewish at the age of 13...

...While Wankum was busy with the stadium, he received the tempting offer to become head of Keren Hayesod in Germany; however, he was told he had to be a member of the Jewish community first. Hamburg Rabbi Dov-Levy Barsilay came to his assistance: Citing the testimony of four individuals, he declared Wankum was a Jew according to halakha (religious law). Two of them were Wankum's relatives: his brother and his mother's aunt.

..."When I took over the leadership of the community, it was in bad financial shape," says Wankum. "There were no activities in Hamburg, no Jewish life. There was no unified concept, there was no vision and there were no sponsors. There were lots of good intentions, but little money. The people who ran the community before me, as well as those who came after me, were romantics.

"After everything I have done here, it is a despicable lie to say that I am using the community as a refuge. My daughter was a volunteer on a kibbutz, converted and is living a traditional Jewish life in Israel. Exactly what proof do I need? When Herzberg needed money, wasn't I Jewish enough for him?"

When he is reminded that a member of the community board has suggested removing his mother's body from the Jewish cemetery, Wankum loses control: "Herzberg is a pathological liar," he storms. "All he wants is to clear the board of the people who were there before him. The worst thing is that they are waging their argument in a manner reminiscent of the Nazis, who demanded that people produce documents so they could check whether they were Jewish. There are few families that can present such documents.

"There are five ways in which someone can be removed from the community: conversion to another faith, death, voluntary resignation, treachery or departure for another locality. I do not fall into any of these categories. It all springs from the inferiority complexes of idle people. Their hatred is a psychological problem. He is a meshugeneh. Jews don't behave like this toward each other, certainly not in Germany...

...It is a war over Jewish identity. Today, the community is controlled by people who do not understand why they should not go on trips on Tisha B'Av."

..."What Herzberg and his friends are doing is desecration of the name of God," says Stephan Kramer, secretary general of the Central Council of Jews in Germany. "But I believe these are third-league people, trying to play in the top league. When people attack others personally, it means they lack perspective. To me, there are more important things in Judaism than whether your mother is Jewish. If you donate money to Jewish causes and if you brought up a daughter who converted and who lives a traditional Jewish life in Israel, then I believe you are much more Jewish than people who threaten to take your mother out of her grave. Herzberg is a Jew only because he was born one. But running to the media, telling the goyim, shows that he lacks Jewish sekhel [sense]." Kramer says he's sure the decision to expel Wankum sprang from people's desire to harm him personally and politically: "We are in an election year, and I am sure that the liberals want to harm Wankum, who is closer to the conservatives. This does not make any difference to me, unless you collaborate with almost anti-Semitic arguments. To say he is exploiting his Jewishness is to return to the stereotype of the Jew as being fraudulent and deceitful.

"Usually the Jewish Council does not intervene in the internal affairs of the various communities. In this case, we felt that airing the dirty laundry in public harmed Jewish interests. We made it clear to Herzberg that he is behaving in an un-Jewish way, but he persisted.

"What they are doing," Kramer sums up, "is not very different from what Goebbels used to do. After all, there were a lot of Jewish families who hid in the 1940s. Now they are being asked for documents to prove that they are Jewish."

Likely, such documents will never be found. So this man and his family will now be cut off from the Jewish people, since now the only "valid" conversions are Chereidi conversions, per the Israeli Chief Rabbinate. And few educated, intelligent people are going to be willing to pretend they are living in the middle ages and accept all of the obviously backwards, misogynist, racist, unhygienic, and factually incorrect teachings that go along with Chereidi and UO sects of Judaism.

The most telling part of the story is this quote:

"It is a war over Jewish identity. Today, the community is controlled by people who do not understand why they should not go on trips on Tisha B'Av."

It simply makes no sense to many people who want to have their status cleared up that BTs or "converts" should be held to a higher standard than those whose status is not in doubt. It is a fundamental unfairness - a purposeful oppression, in fact - to forever peer over the shoulders of BTs and "converts" and threaten them with expulsion for the slightest infraction when those whose status APPEARS to be firm have no such fears.

I say *appears* because there is no one on this planet who can prove they don't have a female ancestor who was not "converted" properly at some point in history. The smuggest jerk casting slander on people without documents can in all reality be less of a Jew than the person he is casting aspersion upon - that's a fact. And yet this power-mongering and financial politicking continues unabated.

The end result is that people are driven away from Judaism - people who are sincere, and whose forebears were Jewish, but who intend to live a modern life and earn a respectable living instead of becoming part of the Chereidi/UO ignorant ghettoized and impoverished culture. To be frank, the opinion of most educated, intelligent people is that if this is what Judaism really is, class, they can have it.

And that's just fine with Chereidi, who are too ignorant to understand the damage they are doing to themselves and the wider community of Judaism.

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