In the words of the late rock musician, David Bowie: “This is not America.”
On August 12. white supremacists, Ku Klux Klan members, and neo-Nazis marched in Charlottesville, Virginia.
They said they were there to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee.
But, they were really there to march against blacks and Jews. Three people were killed: Heather Heuer, the victim of a car driven into the crowd; and two policemen who were killed in a helicopter crash – as well as a black man who was seriously beaten.
The thugs were dressed in army fatigues. They carried semi-automatic weapons. They yelled: “There’s the synagogue!” Nazi websites had called for the burning of the building. The worshippers were so terrified, that the synagogue leaders removed the Torah scrolls, and told the congregants to leave by the back door.
The scum marched by torchlight. They were imitating the Nazi rallies in the 1930s, and the Klan rallies of the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.
What happened in Charlottesville did not stay in Charlottesville.
In the days and weeks after Charlottesville…
- Vandals shattered windows at the Holocaust memorial in Boston.
- Vandals shattered windows at a synagogue in Queens.
- Vandals painted swastikas on a synagogue in Alameda, California.
- And on a high school on Long Island.
- And on a high school in Stamford, Connecticut.
- And on a church in New York City that has shared its space with a synagogue.
This is not America.
- This is not the America that our parents and grandparents fought for in World War Two.
- This is not the America that offered refuge to Holocaust survivors.
- This is not the America that we want our children to love.
But, what I cannot get out of my mind is what the thugs were screaming in Charlottesville: “Jews will not replace us!”
We have never wanted to replace anyone.
Quite the opposite.
The history of Western civilization is the history of the attempt to replace Judaism – and it has not worked
Christianity tried to replace Judaism. There is a reason why Jews don’t like the term “Old Testament.” It is a Christian term. It implies that Judaism is like your one year old IPhone – or like your operating system, which waiting for you to download as your special Rosh Ha Shanah gift to yourself.
Judaism needed an upgrade – or, so Christian theology thought.
The apostle Paul said: The mitzvot are gone. All you have to do is to believe in the risen Christ, who died for your sins.
The Church believed that…