You will doubtless be surprised and perhaps annoyed to receive this letter from a Jew, but I felt that you need to know a lot more about us Jews, and why, instead of hating and envying us, we deserve to be admired, appreciated and honored for all the goodness, progress and light that we have brought and achieved in the world in spite of the sustained effort over the centuries to rid the world of us.
In fact, it amazes me and my fellow Jews how it is that we have managed to survive so many cruel attacks on our very existence, culminating just eight decades ago in the horror of the Holocaust that took the lives of six million innocent Jews.
And it is surely no less than miraculous to be able to reveal to you and the rest of the world that today, seven decades later, we Jews have a powerful and wonderful state of our own, the State of Israel established in 1948, which is contributing so much in so many spheres to the welfare and well-being of humanity as a whole. And this despite the fact that the Jews in Israel number 7 million, whereas the number of Jews in the whole world, believe it or not, barely tops 15 million.
So why then, this undying curse of antisemitism, of Jew-hatred, of envy and intolerance, that has not only not disappeared with the tragedy of the Holocaust and the appearance of the State of Israel but would seem today, in this modern world, to even be expanding and infecting more and more ordinary people like yourself?
Interestingly enough, we Jews in today’s world do not harbor feelings of hatred or revenge against those who in the course of history perpetrated terrible acts of cruel and unforgivable injustice against the Jews, like the mass-expulsion of the Jews from England in the 13th century, the mass-expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492, and the mass slaughter of Jews by the Nazis.
Strangely enough, despite all attempts to wipe us out, we Jews have also remained in the forefront of human progress in the fields of science, culture, medicine and other major spheres of human activity, as evidenced by the number of Jewish winners of the Nobel Prize: since the turn of the century, Jews have been awarded 24% of all Nobel Prizes. But I am not here to boast about our Jewish achievements, but rather to explain the reasons.
What are the reasons?
It is no secret that many people dislike and despise us because we tend to keep to ourselves, not to mix with the multitude, believing that we do so because we feel superior and look down on our fellow man. However, the true reason is that there are articles of the Jewish faith that constrain us to remain separate. Chief among these is marrying within the faith, both man and wife of unblemished Jewish stock, to maintain the purity of our people.
Among the major articles of our faith are keeping the laws of Kashrut, our dietary laws; male circumcision eight days after birth; praying three times a day; attending synagogue; and observing the Sabbath and the Jewish festivals. Judaism then is a way of life which has been preserved and has preserved our faith in God, come what may, over the centuries.
But under no circumstances are we to read into this faith-followed separateness a feeling of superiority toward our fellow man of whatever religion, faith or color. In fact, the Ten Commandments, which Jews must follow and which are written explicitly in the Torah, the Jewish Bible, are widely applicable to all human beings.
Many Jews in our day still engage for considerable amounts of time in the study of the Torah and the Prophets, and such important books as the Talmud, and such study requires proficiency in the reading and understanding of the Hebrew tongue, the original language of the Jews that today is the living language of the State of Israel.
I am also well aware of the crude age-old antisemitic jibe that depicts us Jews all with hook noses and various other distortions that have no basis in reality. There is the curious antisemitic accusation that all Jews are made of money and that we are, without exception, millionaires. This may be true in a few cases, but I can assure you that I, like many Jews today, are far from being wealthy and struggle daily to make a living.
Last, but definitely not least, is the undisputed fact that Jews worship an unseen God in Heaven who controls our fate and guides our steps often through His messengers such as Moses.
And it seems to me that the Almighty has put us Jews on Earth for good and to do good!
So now I hope that you will better understand why I consider myself proud, blessed and lucky to belong to this much-maligned, much-mistreated and much-misunderstood Jewish branch of humanity.
So there you have it, several good reasons why you can and should revise your attitude towards us Jews, from hating and envying us to admiring, befriending and even loving us, as I hope you will do so after carefully considering my letter to you. Looking forward to your response.
Your Jewish friend-to-be,
David Herman ■