Many years ago I decided to attend a “Preparedness Show” put on at a metropolitan convention center. It was an eclectic mix of presentations by, and vendors of, survival, armed self-defense, politics, home medicine, alternate currency, and literature. I had been there several hours, watched a few presentations and, circumnavigated the hall maybe three times.
Working my way towards the exit, a reporter buttonholed me; attracted, it turns out, by my beard and kippah. Why, he needed to know, would “I” want to attend such an event? Didn’t I know that the local head of the ADL – B’nai B’rith had roundly condemned it as den of NeoNazi’s and other social deviants? Especially since the “Turner Diaries”, he said, was on sale there?
Now, this was not long after the tragic travails of the Weaver family, and the mass murders at Waco, Texas. An Ozark Mafia bag man was POTUS and Janet “Recreational Vehicle” Reno was the A.G. (yeah… given the Patriot Act, Barack Hussein Ebola, etc., I’m a bit wistful now, too.) The future was looking a bit dim for liberty-minded folks. But, after my afternoon in the convention hall, the only person who had given my “antennae” the slightest quiver was this reporter and, by implication, the baleboss at the ADL. Everyone else had been very nice to me. Everyone.
I started to laugh. At him. At his question. At the ADL. At the whole crazy thing. Yes, I had noticed “The Turner Diaries” in one of my circuits through the vendor tables. Woweeee. One solitary copy, on one table, in the whole huge room. Nothing of the same nature anywhere else.
I responded,” Well, since the ADL is one of the most anti-semitic organizations I know of, I really cannot put much stock in their concerns.” He was taken aback. I pressed the point, saying:
“ADL – B’nai B’rith, like many major Jewish organizations, unabashedly advocates public policies that facilitate genocide. The ADL advocates gun control. Given that Jews always seem to be on the ‘short list’ in such times I consider that far more serious than being denied a country club membership or being treated badly by a Jew -hating merchant. What could be more anti-Semitic than being subjected to enslavement or murder?”
Over the years one holdout in this masochistic pathology has been the “Orthodox” Jewish world in America. Especially in the urban areas of the Eastern Seaboard and Upper Midwest, Jews are subject to absorbing secular liberal cant and labeling it “Jewish”. The legal constraints of possession and carry by mere peasants in their cities and states have masked the issue. But, the past few years have brought significant reversals in the law. Opportunities for firearms possession in one’s home and concealed carry on one’s person expand with every case and every legislative session. Not everyone is pleased with this. But, by and large, the orthodox community has kept out of the lime-light.
So, with great frustration and sadness I noted that this past summer the Rabbinical Council of America / Orthodox Union passed and publicized a resolution on victim disarmament. It is titled “2014 Resolution: Gun Violence in America”. Described as having been obtained by a “direct vote of the RCA membership,” (over one thousand RCA members), conducted by an e-mail inquiry, it appears only ninety voted for it, sixty-two voted against. Nearly ninety percent of their members did not vote at all.
The Resolution, rife with platitudes, distortions and half-truths (directed to the ignorant), was blind to the import of the policy positions taken. The obsequious undertone (directed to their political masters) can be likened to the pleadings of an African American servant ‘with porch privileges’ declaring his loyalty to the plantation owner.
Great. Where is this heading? A plea to “Give (them) our children”? Is this “King Chaim” whispering in their ear?
Thankfully, last month, there arose a loud, clear response by ten prominent congregational Rabbis and a large, multi-state gun club. In an open letter to the RCA / OU these community leaders proceeded to make a concise, compassionate, and no-nonsense case in direct opposition to the RCA / OU “Resolution”. Their letter concluded:
“Like the RCA, we look forward to a day of universal peace, when “the law will go forth from Zion, and the word of the L-rd from Jerusalem,” when G-d “will judge between the nations,” and weapons will no longer be required to defend ourselves against our enemies. But we pray for such a future with open eyes, conscious of centuries of Jewish helplessness and of the growing number of attacks on Jews today. The assumption that an era of peace and brotherhood will dawn if we disarm ourselves, limit our access to firearms, or vitiate our right of self-defense, has no support in Jewish history, the teachings of the Torah, or present reality. www.gunssavelives.net Plowshares and pruning hooks will not defend Jews against enemies equipped with swords, spears, and deadlier weapons. Pretending otherwise will only undermine the preservation of the Jewish people – and the security of all Americans.”
This letter was signed by Rabbi Sol Appleman (Syosset, NY), Rabbi David Bendory (Livingston, NJ) Rabbi Mordechai Cohen (Milwaukee, WI), Rabbi Dov Fischer (Irvine, CA), Rabbi Philip Lefkowitz (Chicago, IL) Rabbi Reuven Mann (Phoenix, AZ), Rabbi Gary Moskowitz (Queens, NY), Rabbi Steven Pruzansky (Teaneck, NJ), Rabbi Mordechai Scher (Santa Fe, NM), Rabbi Jay Shoulson (Long Island City, NY), Rabbi Ephraim Simon (Teaneck, NJ), Rabbi Ephraim Slepoy (Passaic, NJ), and by The Golani Rifle & Pistol Club (NJ & PA).
In subsequent interviews the authors noted that, in contrast to the RCA/OU “Resolution”, outside of their small group, no effort was made to garner signatures from the RCA/OU general membership. Furthermore, although they only claim to speak for themselves, their numbers include RCA/OU members, a Young Israel rabbi, and even a Chabad Lubovitch (chasidic) shaliach.
Baruch Hashem that ‘some’ Jewish community leaders see the dangers to human life and liberty in victim disarmament, for their fellow Jews and for all of G-d’s children, and are willing to speak up. Standing on the firm foundation of authentic Torah principles, leading by example, bringing light where there is darkness. May these leaders go ‘from Strength to Strength’ !