Thursday, April 19, 2007
I guess someone does want me to post about the history of the Jews and Judiasm, for I haven't sold anything in a bit and the freelance/columnist jobs haven't panned out. (I know -- pity party for rraven!)
I'm not Jewish (not that I know of, anyway)and I do not profess to be any sort of expert. But I can't help but notice that the history of the Jewish people is one of the grimmest stories out there. I'm hard pressed to say that they've been blessed. Pograms, concentration camps, Krystal nacht, the whole "didn't they kill Jesus?" bugaboo, Woody Allen...definately not any stories you'd like to tuck your kids in at night with. And yet, after all the thousands of years of Gentiles determined to wipe out the Jews in the name of God or country or whatever, they're still here. In fact, most of the peoples and kingdoms who bullied them are now dust. We haven't heard a lot from the Babylonians or the Chaldeans, huh? Heck, Jews were around long before AND AFTER the Roman Empire, and we still haven't completely gotten over that.
Personally, I think it's for 3 reasons:
1) They arguably were the first peoples to REALLY develop a sense of humor. hat gets you through quite a lot. It has been reported (I don't know how true it is) that Jews in Auschwitz wrote and told each other jokes. Now that is one hard room, let me tell you.
2) Someone has always kept the myths, traditions and little rituals going. This gave a sense of comfort, continuity and inner strength, even whe exiled (helLO, Tibetans!).
3) In one way, I do believe that they are a chosen people. What they've been chosen for, I do not envy. But they have continually shown triumph over adversity, grace under pressure and thrived. No matter what your religion or nationality, there's a lot to learn from sturdying the history of the Jews.