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OP-ED


Home > OP-ED > Be a "Jew for a Day"



Title: Be a "Jew for a Day"
by Emanuel A. Winston, Middle East Analyst & Commentator

On Saturday December 16th the CHICAGO TRIBUNE printed an extensive number of letters from students of Loyola University trying to make sense of their fellow students chanting: "You killed Jesus" at Jewish basketball players from New Trier High School. While on one hand, they apologized for these students, on the other hand, they trivialized their behavior by saying they were merely kids doing a dumb thing. They spoke about their personal lack of anti-Semitism and defended the Catholic Church in terms of how the Church taught brotherhood.

I believe their sincerity but, clearly, they have no grasp of the other side - the Jewish side.

I grew up on Chicagoís West Side which had a proportionately large number of Jews. I recall quite vividly the epithets of "Dirty Jew, Kike, Sheeney", etc. There were fights with the Poles, Irish and Italians who live across Douglas Park. We didnít go there to fight; they came to us because we were Jews and to them, of course, Christ killers. They did not have a clue that Jesus was a practicing Jew and remained one until his death. The Church taught that we Jews had killed a Jew that they had selected or believed was the son of G-d. Jews donít believe that the son of man could be a son of G-d and so we didnít join the new religion. For this we were hated as deniers of G-dís son and an impediment to the evolving new religion of Christianity.

From that time on we became fair game as ĎChrist-killersí to be hunted, murdered, our children taken away for conversion, our property confiscated. We Jews have been ejected from countries where we lived sometimes long before those who forced us to flee. As a Jew, I feel that nothing much has changed. In the Middle East, Islam is on a rampage declaring that we Jews do not belong to the land which the Bible tells us in many chapters that G-d gave to the Jews to care for. Many of the Europeans have joined with the Arabs to condemn Israel for daring to win six wars intended to extinguish the Jewish light once and for all. Therefore, it is not surprising to hear that old battle cry: "You killed Jesus!" from young Christian Americans - despite Papal declarations of exoneration or even superb education by the Archdiocese of Chicago.

The simple fact is that education by the book cannot break an unbroken stream of thought and practice that continued for thousands of years. Sometimes it goes underground or surfaces as locker room bigotry. Sometimes it breaks out virulently as it appears to be in the Middle East - or on a high school basketball court.

If the Church really wants to break this insidious crime against man and G-d, they must reach deeper. Let classes be taught where half the class adopts the persona of a Jew. Let those students wear arm bands signifying their Jewishness while they walk the halls of their school, through their neighborhoods and into their homes. Let them face, for a time, the education and feelings of being a Jew and feel the wave of hatred and suspicion (real or imagined).

Let the Gentile half of the class ask them questions about their Jewishness. Let the Jewish half defend their new identification as Jews. After a time, let them switch identities and reverse the procedures. This would be a reality that touches the senses, perhaps even the heart.

I recall a white journalist who blackened his face and went south to experience the hatred or contempt for the Black. As a white man in black-face, he finally absorbed the message of hate and disdain.

Let a Gentile become a Jew for a day or a week and begin to understand the suspicions and fears the Jew has for his Gentile neighbor when he hears: "You killed Jesus - Jew bastard - Kike - Sheeney", etc. If the Church Fathers really wish to break this ugly and deadly mind set, they might adopt a teaching method of reality and not merely saying words which change nothing.

Be a Jew for Day - a Week - to touch reality.













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