A friend of mine (who is not Jewish) called me today to ask me, â€œWhat do Jews do on Christmas?â€ I asked him if he wanted the stereotype or the truth. He asked for the stereotype first. I told him that, â€œWe eat Chinese food and play cards.â€ He laughed and said he had just seen that in a cartoon. We started talking about it and I told him the origins of Jews congregating on Christmas comes from Europe and the pogroms/blood libels, when it was not safe for Jews to go out in public on Christmas or Easter, so we would get together and make sure everyone was safe. Today in America we are safe, but we still get together on Christmas since most everyone is off work, and since Chinese restaurants are usually the only ones open we go there. As far as cards, well I just love a good poker game as much as anyone else.
It got me thinking; my parents and grandparents used to tell me about the pogroms of Europe, in fact Rosenzweig is a German last name, but my grandfatherâ€™s family (a few generations back) had to flee Germany to Poland because of a blood libel.
Do other people know about blood libels, or pogroms? I hate the anti-semitic fear/â€œeveryone hates usâ€ whining and the Seinfeld-esque BS about anti-dentites. But think about it, does the average American Jew know about this? Does the average American in general know about such things?
I get a lot of my general information from Wikipedia and I looked around to see what it says. If you know about Chmelnytsky (one of many spellings) and his revolution in Ukraine (17th century), you know that they practiced killing Jews, yet on Wikipedia they diminish the deaths to a few, and lump it in with the priests and churches that were burned. Also they label the article about blood libels as â€œ accuracy disputableâ€ and thatâ€™s one that’s fairly accurate.
This is wrong. I think awareness of our history starts with us. Our history as Jews is not only death and hatred. There are many wonderful things in our culture. The death that we experienced was not only the Holocaust; we have a long history in Europe. If any of you reading this are authorized Wikipedia contributors then please make a change in the article. Educate your friends. For yourselves, your parents and grandparents. This is important.
Please post your thoughts and opinions on this. I am truly interested in hearing what you have to say.