Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hate has No Place in Our World

This past weekend, I officiated at a service where we removed the covering of the permanent מצבה the marker that will forever reveal the final resting place of the body that my father used while in עולם הזה, in this life.

The below represents some of the words that I spoke at that service:

The Hebrew word מצבה has numerous translations in English. The meaning that I believe to be most appropriate today is PILLAR. For, above all things, my father was our pillar, and lean on him, we did. Like the old Toyota commercial, he asked for it, and he got it. Not only did he ask us to lean on him, he reveled in being there for us. Our father was truly an איש צדיק . A righteous man. A man, who had a righteousness about him that many are not yet aware.

Shortly, I will uncover the marker for us all to see, but before I do, I would like to address a few things about the stone.

The marker was ordered by my mother through the Veteran’s Administration. Initially, I believe that it was ordered to save a large expense, and for this, I am grateful, as are we all. I was, however, initially opposed to the requirement that his Rank and Service be noticed on the face of the stone, as he had always vehemently opposed recalling his time in the military. “It was the worst period of my life and I don’t want to talk about it”, he would say. Of course, he would occasionally come up with a funny story from back then in 1945-1947 in Germany, but he would always stop short of telling any really meaningful tale. His voice would trail off and he would, as soon as he could, change the subject.

Only very near the end of his life, would I learn why; The story was not told to me intentionally, rather, I overheard him tell his story in a place quite like the one where we now stand. At the gravesite of his parents on September 6, 2007.

I learned that in Late September, 1945, not two months after he turned eighteen years old, my father, a radio operator with the 104th Infantry Division of the United States Army “Timberwolf” entered The Dora-Mittelbau (also known as Dora-Nordhausen or Nordhausen) Concentration Camp located in central Germany north of the town of Nordhausen. His squadron replaced the unit that initially liberated the camp in April, 1945. Upon learning that he was inside a Concentration Camp, my father and a couple of his soldier friends (who were also Jewish) took from their backpacks Tefillin, placed them on their arms and foreheads and began to pray for strength to continue their work. The former prisoners of the camp practically stormed around the group of Jewish American soldiers to even get a glimpse of, let alone be able to wear the Tefillin; Items that they, I am certain, believed that they would never again see. I now believe that the מצבה that we are about to see is marked exactly as he would have wanted.

I also believe it fitting that this weekend, over and above all other weekends, this weekend we unveil his PILLAR. His מצבה. Tomorrow we recognize Martin Luther King Day, a day that represents our constant desire to end Hatred amongst all people.

As that Soldier in Germany in 1945 and as the man that we all loved, our father stood for our heritage our “Yiddishkeit” above everything else; He believed that hatred had no place in the world, and he did his part to battle hatred and bigotry by teaching my sisters and I that we are all children of G-d.

יהוה נתן ויהוה לקח. G-d has given and G-d has taken away. But, He has also left us with a wonderful legacy. One of which we can always be proud and one with which, should we choose to live, can only make us better people. A legacy of love of our G-d; Love of our People; and above all else, the knowledge that כל ישראל אברים זה בזה , All of B’nei Yisrael Stands together and takes care of each other.

Our father knew who he was, and now, every person who passes by this מצבה , who passes by this pillar, will know him as well.

Inasmuch as today, as Americans, we inaugurated our 44th President, we, as Americans, and especially as Jewish Americans must remember that the one thing that we are unable to tolerate, the one human emotion that has no place in our life, and should have no place in our world is hate.

Last week, I was introduced to an individual; I hesitate to say a “man”, but an individual whose very being; whose very existence is based on hate. And, not only on hate, the emotion, but utilizing the cowardice that places himself behind a wall of protection that he calls religion. And from behind it, he has the guts gall to cite Scripture to not only vilify others, but to attempt to destroy them personally, professionally and economically.

Please allow me to first clarify that my “introduction” to this individual was through a friend, and that this introduction was not an in-person introduction, rather, by way of reading a newsletter that he wrote and distributed. At first glance, the dribble coming to us from this David Caton appears to be just that: Dribble.

You see, according to his own website (
http://www.floridafamily.org/about_us.htm), David Caton founded the organization that is now called Florida Family Association in November 1987. David left a ten year accounting career as a corporate accounting controller in June of 1988 to become the executive director of Florida Family Association.

I think that what David really did was leave a ten year accounting career to become a celebrated bigot and heralded champion of the Neo-Nazi, KKK loving, Right Wing, Poly-Systemic purveyor of hate and destruction of all that is truly Judeo-Christian, all the while hiding behind Jesus.

Normally, I would just blow off this blow hard, but my friends have been attacked by him now, and I am not about to sit around, while I have the ability to voice my opinion. People, believe it or not, do read my ponderings once in a while, and while I admit to leaning mostly (and very strongly) in the direction of Observant Zionism, I do come up with something interesting to the rest of the world on occasion.

In this instance, Davey, as I will call him, if only because it reminds me of that goofy Claymation character of the 60’s (Let’s go DAVEY, uh uh uh), attacks an incredibly talented and dedicated television writer named Del Shores. Mr. Shores, by the way, has won numerous awards.
In case you are interested, guess what did Del Shores do to warrant this vile attack on not only himself, but his family? Here it comes, people… This is REALLY bad (tongue in cheek) – Del Shores is gay. OMG. I am appalled that a gay television writer is writing a gay themed show that airs on a gay television network, aren’t you?

Well, Ole Davey Boy sure is appalled. He is so appalled, that he calls for boycotts of Del Shores’ show, “Sordid Lives” which airs on LOGO (a gay themed network).

Not only does our Conquering “Christian” hero detest advertisers who sponsor Del Shores’ show, but he also time and again attacks organizations like St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and Children International.

Let’s dance the Davey Boy Caton Limbo Line. How LOW can you go, eh, Davey?
On this 20th day of January, 2009, one day after Martin Luther King Day; A day when we Americans finally inaugurate a Black American President , showing that skin color no longer matters, and that all men ARE created equal, this Observant Zionistic Jewish writer asks that you take a moment and look around. The world is changing and moving just as it should.
Of course, we would all be better if we could listen to more people like my father, and listen less to bigoted, ignorant people like David Caton.

--Alan Abrams