זק“א is the abbreviation for Zihuy Korbanot Ason. זיהוי קרבנות אסון, literally: “Disaster Victim Identification”
And I’m very tired and sad to hear it, yet again. For those that don’t know, ZAKA is a volunteer group that comes to the scene of a terrorist attack or a car crash or any such tragedy and gathers the body parts, pieces and blood of the Jewish victims so that they may be buried in accordance with Halakha, Jewish law. They also help with search and rescue, but I think they are best known for working with law enforcement and EMS (Emergency Medical Services) units to ensure that the necessary things are done. ZAKA volunteers prefer the work be called חסד של אמת – “Grace of truth” because the kindness they are showing the dead can not be returned by them. I would translate it as “kindness of truth” myself.
And ZAKA was on the scene in Pittsburgh.
ZAKA was on the scene because a Bucket of Chum entered the Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill on Saturday and opened fire during a Shabbat service. Eleven people lay dead. An elderly Holocaust survivor survived a maniac yelling all Jews must die by being late to the service.
‘It just never ends. It’s never completely safe for Jews. It’s in the DNA. Not just America’s DNA but the world’s.’
He’s right it doesn’t. And with that in mind, doing what we’ve been doing isn’t getting us anywhere.
I’m not really sure why anyone is surprised at the attack. The signs have been there for ages, I know TZP has certainly covered them. But there is a problem, it’s like taking your modern college snowflake leftist out to the woods and dropping them off in the middle of the woods with their $tarbuck$ double non-fat soy whatever and telling them there is a 300 pound grizzly bear in the woods, track it, or avoid it. Read the signs and you’ll be fine.
The snowflake doesn’t think it needs to read signs, it will be non-threatening to the grizzly and just drink it’s latte and it will all be fine. Yeah? Ignore some signs at your own peril. That’s not how life works, it can be how death works though.
Following the attacks what did we hear from the left, both Jewish and Goyim (the standard Hebrew biblical term for a nation)? Mostly what we heard was condemnation of President Trump, the anti-Semite, for the people on the right as “haters”, climate of hate, etc, etc.
I’m far from the only one who is appalled. Caroline Glick Left-Wing Jews Blaming Trump Are Dishonoring the Dead
Glick noted the prevalence of anti-Zionism on the left and within the Democrat Party. Marlow said, “[There is] a mainstreaming of anti-Zionism in the Democratic Party.”
“There is a huge problem with the empowerment of anti-Semites,” said Glick. “You have several Democratic nominees for Congress who are running on openly anti-Zionists platforms. Anti-Zionism is out-and-out anti-Semitism. It calls for the annihilation of the largest Jewish community on Earth, in Israel. … [Trump] is the most supportive president Israel has ever had, [and] they’re calling him an anti-Semite?”
Glick added, “There’s an insanity that’s infected the discourse inside of the Jewish community that doesn’t allow people to understand what the real threats are. Rather than deal with that, these radicals are making up stories. It does no service to the Jewish community in the United States to not pay attention [and] focus on actual anti-Semites who are actually involved in harming the position of Jews in American society, either politically or physically.”
Glick added, “A lot of people on the left in the Jewish community who are not seeing their interests because they’re blinded by ideology. Obviously, when you have congregants in a synagogue that are armed and capable of defending themselves and their fellow worshipers, you’re much safer than you would be with an alarm system or anything else in the face of somebody coming in and trying to massacre you.”
Glick observed, “People in general, in Israel, are better armed [than in America]. We have armed guards outside of every school. … It’s not considered to be a big deal. … This is just common sense.”
Glick concluded, “If you’re under threat, then you have to protect yourself. … It’s about life and death, and when you just concentrate on the fundamentals of the value of life and preserving the most precious thing in the world which is human life, then you come up with pragmatic ways of protecting it.”
Don’t Insult Me As a Rabbi by Blaming Your Political Enemies for Some Dirtbag Jew-Hater Rabbi Dov Fischer, you should really read the whole column.
So I respond: Don’t you dare insult me as a rabbi by blaming your perceived political enemies for some dirtbag Jew-hater. This President could not be a better friend of Jewish concerns and causes. He supports Israel and moved America’s Israel embassy to Jerusalem. His daughter and son-in-law are Orthodox Jews, and he treats them lovingly and respectfully, as he does their Orthodox Jewish children, his grandchildren. He ended Obama’s vicious anti-Israel animus, and he has supported Israel strongly in the United Nations. No wonder that Jews throughout the world love him, support him. In Israel, among Israeli Jews, he is wildly popular with a 67% approval rating. They hated Obama — and for great reason.
Some have become so caught up in the media lies and propaganda they can no longer see the truth of who is their enemy and who is their friend. They call what is good bad, and what is bad, good. The left wing of Judaism appears to me, to be more concerned with the worship of liberalism than Torah. Well, what do you call it when Jews daven Kaddish for the arabs that tried to infiltrate Israel from Gaza with the openly expressed purpose of ripping Jewish hearts from their chests? When they burn the land and shoot rockets into schools and homes? When they openly state they want to kill the Jews, and Jews in the diaspora daven Kaddish.
Donald Trump is often blamed by the media as inspiring attacks and violence, but he is not anti-Semitic. The synagogue shooter shows what hate is.
Dr. Tsvi Sadan points out Pittsburgh Massacre is Splitting the Jewish World this is not a long column, and well worth reading.
Jewish lives need to matter to Jews everywhere. Moshe Feiglin did a column on the massacre in Squirrel Hill.
But there is something more, deeper than the economic factor, which makes us partially responsible for what happened in Pittsburgh. Jewish history is being written today in the Land of Israel. It is clear to all of us that anti-Israel sentiments are the new expression of Anti-Semitism. When Israel is sure of itself, strikes its enemies as it did in the Six Day War, eliminates the hijackers as in Entebbe – the level of anti-Semitism decreases!!! And when Israel displays lack of self-assurance, temporariness, moral flaccidity – a feeling that we are not really on the map, that we are nothing more than colonialists acting only for the sake of self-defense, begging the Hamas for a cease-fire – then our enemies feel that they are just and anti-Semitism flourishes.
At a political event in Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn asked for a moment of silence for the victims. That lasted a few seconds when leftists interrupted heckling the Representative. Wow.
The world is not worried about Jews being attacked, and the left is not our friend, and has not been for a long time. These are a couple of the observations that showed up on a Zehut list I’m fortunate enough to belong to.
Whatever happens to Israel happens to the rest of the world! A world that insists Israel not fight back, that insists Israel make peace with murderous infiltrators who came across our borders as economic immigrants who slaughter us at will at our Shabbat tables and our infants in our cribs. Who curse us with the worst kind of racist invective if we don’t allow violent, Jew hating infiltrators into our communities. What happens to us will happen to you– mida kneged mida. I’m not hating I’m explaining how justice works. This is not just aimed at Pennsylvania. This is aimed at the world. What happens here will happen there. Just ask Germany, France and the UK. Remember Genesis 12:3..Those who bless Israel are blessed, and those who curse Israel are cursed. If only you feared G*d you’d know it’s true.
My wife was pointing out how silent social media has been since yesterday’s attack. No viral hashtags of solidarity. No “je suis juif”. No black armbands worn by team athletes in national leagues (which they wear for the smallest of thing, find an excuse almost weekly). But spilled Jewish blood is not worthy of sympathy. It’s not notesworthy, and it’s to be expected. I’m sure there’s millions of people that, underneath their mask of politically correct niceties are pretty happy about this. What I keep wondering is: if I had lived in Austria in the early 30s, and had known what was coming, what kind of a life would I live? What choices would I make for myself and my family? This is a sobering moment. Jews have always been and will always be alone. We may buy our way to the top of the pyramid in gentile society (like Yosef also did) but sooner or later the weight of the entire pyramid is unleashed against us. Jews are the one single “other” capable to unite in hatred Islamic Jihadists, crazy SJWs and white supremacists.
The signs of danger are not what the media and those on the left say they are. The signs of growing anti-Semitism are the plethora of BDS and Free Falestine groups that abound on college campuses. They are professors refusing to write letters of recommendation for students that want to study in Israel, and they get by with it more than once. They are the embracing of Farafreak who compares Jews to termites with no denouncement. What? The View went full out nuts over that statement? No. They are the constant attacks on Israel in the U.N. The signs may be called “Anti-Zionism” or “Anti-Israel” as they call the only democratic state in the middle east an “apartheid” state, but it is anti-Semitism and that’s all it is. The same dirty thing recycled with a new brand label. It’s Jew hatred, period.
Below is a list of columns I’ve done for TZP and a general idea of what they dealt with.
Enough Only Mourning—The death of the most wonderful Ari Fuld
LETS GO FLY A KITE—blame Israel
BUT HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN—The history of gun control and Judaism
The Double Edged Standard Sword—hypocrisy, the BS- BDS
#Neve Tzuf Halamish— The slaughter of the Solomon family in their home as they celebrated Shabbat and a new baby.
Hate in America—the SPLC which spreads disinformation and lies.
The Disconnect—Disgraced Harvey Weinstein called on Jews to be disarmed for things like a Synagogue attack.
Tisha B’Av. From Within—Liberal vs Judaism
We’ve been showing the warning signs for what they are. As I said, I’m not really all that surprised. People may not think President Trump condemned it in a way to suit them, but radio host Mark Levin called it the strongest condemnation of anti-Semitism by any president, ever.
So, what’s the answer? Bear dealt with this beautifully. I want to go a little further down the trail though.
I have never made any secret of the fact I greatly admire Judah Maccabee, and from the book of The Maccabees
Ch. 2 ; Ver. 39-49 ^ First Book
Victory of Now when Mattathias and his friends understood hereof, they mourned for them right sore. And one Mattathias of them said to another, If we all do as our brethren have done, and fight not for our lives and laws against the heathen, they will now quickly root us out of the earth. At that time therefore they decreed, saying. Whosoever shall come to make battle with us on the sabbath day, we will fight against him ; neither will we die all, as our brethren lo that were murdered in the secret places.
Fight, on Shabbat. Neither will we die all.
10And it was from that day on, half of my youths did work and half of them held spears, shields, bows, and coats of mail, and the rulers were behind the entire House of Judah.
11The builders of the wall and the carriers of the loads were loading, with one hand doing the work and one holding the sword.
12And the builders, each one with his sword bound to his waist, and [they were] building, and the one who sounded the shofar was beside me.
There have absolutely been times in our history when our wise leaders knew we needed to be armed, ready and willing to defend our lives, even on Shabbat.
Robert Harris makes the point in his column Only fellow Jews can protect their brothers in shul
If G-d forbid there is more to come – that hired guard standing in front of shul will be the first victim of an anti-Semitic gunman, guaranteeing another synagogue massacre
If a taboo was broken on Saturday and American synagogues are going to become magnets for violent anti-Semites, then American Jews will have to protect themselves.
We saw in Pittsburgh that it is not possible to save Jewish lives by waiting for the police to come and do so. For within minutes on Saturday, 11 Jews had been shot down and killed by a single gunman.
As we have heard since the massacre, the response among many Jews will be to hire armed guards to stand in front of synagogue buildings.
However, if an anti-Semite plans an attack on a synagogue, the first bullet must be for that bored and surprised guard standing by the front door.
And that is exactly how it played out in the Kirkwood city hall massacre in 2008. The police were easily identified. The predator know they need to remove the sheepdog before they can kill the sheep. It is why concealed carry is effective. If you don’t know if people are armed, and you don’t know who is armed it sure changes the game.
A gunman went on a shooting rampage at a public meeting in the city hall, leaving six people dead and two others injured. Bucket O’Chum, 52, shot one police officer with a revolver across the side street from city hall and took the officer’s handgun before entering city hall. Bucket O’Chum reached council chambers with these two pistols shortly after the meeting began. There, he shot a police officer, the public works director, two council members, the mayor, and a reporter. In total, the gunman killed five and wounded two others; one of the two wounded victims, the mayor, later died. The gunman was then shot and killed by police
The answer is for us to be armed. If someone wants to walk into our Shul, and try to open up the response needs to be more like the bar scene from Code of Silence. Minus the language.
But I will leave you with thoughts from Rabbi Zev Weinberg. I’ve been fortunate enough to take a class from the Rabbi that I owe much to, and very much admire. There is much wisdom in what he has to share.