More than 2 decades ago, someone close to me did something that I viewed as a betrayal. That action left an indelible mark that has yet to heal. Actually, being honest, I don’t think it ever will and I’m not sure I want it to. It has become a companion to me, a force on its own.
I have no stomach for dishonesty, unethical behavior, and hypocrisy. A man didn’t like something I wrote about the industry in which he worked – and decided to demand that I resign from the Board of the synagogue. There was no connection – just a disgusting power play on his part and the hypocrisy of the Board that feared his power. Did I mention I hate silence in the face of injustice as well?
Two former employees went off to form their own company – in part by breaking agreements and taking at least one of my clients and in part by deleting 80-90 GB of client files on my computers. Did I mention that I hate dishonesty and unethical behavior?
We are, ultimately, a product of our experiences in life and I carry these with me – struggling not to let the anger win. Usually, it doesn’t. The synagogue where I once went has lost many valuable people – all those who see what has been done and refuse to be a part of it. That isn’t what worship is about. One of those employees developed some serious illnesses and has been living with pain almost from the time she left my employ.
And on it goes. In my personal life and in my “public” life here, I do not stomach hypocrisy. This morning, there was a quote from someone who called him/herself “Norway” – and I choked on the anger as I responded. Norway is the farthest thing from the caring, egalitarian society it wants you to believe it is. Sure, they sent some money to Haiti – better than most countries – but it was OUR team that got there and saved lives, OUR doctors, OUR rescue workers who risked their lives.
For the earthquake in Turkey, the tsunami in the Far East – it was our PEOPLE while it was your MONEY, Norway. And while this person dares to question Israel – once again throwing around the much abused and inaccurate term “apartheid” – it is simple to prove Norway wrong. We have sent the children of immigrants to Eurovision (as if that is some intelligent way to measure the worth of a country, for God’s sake???) – from Yemen, Morocco, the United States. From Russia, Spain, and Libya and Tunisia. On and on, the list of the countries from which our contestants have come is so long and Norway dares to take pride because ONE of their contestants came from Morocco?
Norway – a heck of a place. As far back as in the year 1000, the Norwegian king, Olav den Hellige, forbade everyone who was not Christian to live in Norway. In 1814, Norway acquired its first constitution. This document stated that the official state religion was Lutheran Protestantism and that Jews and Jesuits were forbidden from entering the kingdom. It took them over 50 years to manage to get that clause out and another 40+ before Jews actually established a community.
In 1940, the Germans occupied Norway. Norwegian newspapers and media were full of anti-Semitic propaganda and the Norwegian government was taken over by Nazis. In 1942, 750 Jews were deported to Auschwitz (of a population of approximately 2,000 Jews). Of these, only 25 survived. The rest of Norway’s Jews managed to escape to Sweden, where they lived as refugees until the end of the war. Norway remains a bastion of anti-Semitism and worst of all, it does so with a pride and arrogance that devastates anyone willing to hope for anything better. Hypocrites, I want to cry out.
And then there is Syria – daily, people are dying there, being murdered by their government – but the UN takes the time to warn Israel, to express its concern – while Assad is butchering his own people in the lovely tradition of his father.
And while I’m in complaining mode – did you notice that the new Flame virus that has hit Iran’s computer systems is getting more attention than Iran’s threat to wipe Israel off the face of the earth? Have you noticed that the UN issued a warning against the virus – within a day of its being announced…and yet still has not done much to stop Iran’s mad dash for nukes?
And on and on…I’m trying to find my balance today, trying to stop the outside from reaching so deeply into the inside. The owner of my office building FINALLY cleaned the windows – after our requesting this for more than 3 years (the windows don’t open or we would have done it ourselves) – and so my office now has beautiful views again – the colors are just so amazing. The sun is so bright; the tree below my window so green. The building across the street is golden; the field beyond it full of swaying growth.
I’m trying to remember that hypocrisy has always existed and always will and nothing they say or do can change who I am, where I choose to live my life. Things won’t really change – with the next natural disaster, Israel will send people to help and Norway will continue to sit back and preach about how good their society is…unless, of course, you happen to be a Jew in Norway. But as there are only about 1,200 Jews living in Norway as of 2010 (0.05% of the population), I guess we Jews are pretty smart after all.