Abraham protested God's seeming indifference to the destruction of innocents in Sodom and Gomorrah. Moses protested the Pharaoh's treatment of Jews, unleashed Ten Plagues on Egypt, and led the Jews to the Promised Land. Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and other of the prophets protested the backsliding of kings and fellow Jews, railed at their failures to properly honor Yahweh, and demanded that Jews dedicate themselves to righteousness and justice. Educators4Excellence and Evan Stone turn their backs on these values.
I'm probably going to catch a lot of flak for the title of this posting as well as its content. But, what the heck. I don't care. I speak my mind, call it as I see it, and need to be true to myself. But I truly do think that Evan Stone of Educators4Excellenceis is lacking, or has forgotten his spirituality.
Now part of it I can understand. Unlike my Jewish peers (whom I work with, socialize with, and grew up with), Evan is several generations removed from when Jews were immigrants to this country, thought of as second class citizens, in the US and the world, and at no time ever heard of having to pick yourself up by your bootstraps.
All four of my grandparents were immigrants. My maternal grandmother lost family in the Łódź ghetto in 1941. My maternal grandfather was a sign painter, my paternal grandfather was at best a fanagler who in his spare time made slivowitz in my great grandfather's bathtub.
Both my parents were first generation Americans. They lived and grew up in the South Bronx. They never were poor, but they were never rich. They were taken care of, my mother went to Taft High School, my father went to DeWitt Clinton High School. They both graduated from the Jewish Harvard, City College. Eventually they met, married, and moved to the suburbs.
But, they never forgot their roots. They never forgot from whence they came. My father's father not only was he a fanagler, but was quite involved with the remnants of Tammany Hall. He was a precinct captain for the Democrats in the Bronx, and every day worked hard for his family. So did my mother's father. He had his own sign painting business as well as being an artist and musician. Both men do what it meant to struggle, to not know where the next check was coming, to roll up the sleeves and to work hard.
Unfortunately, this has been lost on Evan. Yes, Evan can deny it all it wants, but he was raised and still is a child of privilege. I will bet anything that there is not a spec of callous on Evan's hands, that his hands are as soft as a baby's bottom. Hey, this is not Evan's fault. He was raised, that the little man, the working man means nothing. That his lot stands with the big money, that he should hitch his ride to the corporatists of this country. That the corporations are the ones who produce the wealth, but not the backs of the men and women in this country who toil for these corporatists.
Sadder still is the grand history in this country of Jews leading the labor movement in this country. When we look back one hundred years ago and see not only the Jewish women who were sacrificed at at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, but all the Jewish labor leaders of the early 20th century. Baruch Charney Vladeck, Harry Simms, Samuel Gompers, Rose Schneiderman, Clara Lemlich, Morris Hillquist among dozens. Let us not forget, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman who lost their lives in 1964 so others can vote. This is what being a Jew is about. This is what being a Jew is slowly being forgotten.
Evan, in my opinion, sees his Judaism in his rear view mirror. Close enough to be seen, but far enough away to not let it affect his so called values that he has now.
This is why the E4E meeting the other night was a shanda. Evan, what God sees as right, is not happening with E4E. Your path is away from God, away from the teachings of the Talmud. Think Evan. Is God happy with the path you have chosen? Is what you're doing the Jewish way? But it is not too late Evan.
There is still time for you to turn it around, to embrace God, to re-establish your relationship with God. How? Well, that is up to Evan. My father at one time implored me to go live on a kibbutz. Perhaps this will be Evan's path. But that might be a little to radical.
Get in touch with your roots Evan, embrace your roots, take pride in your roots. Start by going to the Israel Day parade tomorrow. Go to shul, wear a tallis, wear the tefillin.
You are too mixed up with the money grabbers and power brokers. You, as a Jew are better than this. You as a Jew should know more than these people. You as a Jew should not be controlled, nor manipulated by anyone. Take the disaster of Thursday night, look within and outside yourself. What is missing? Your relationship with God, and your relationship with your people.
לעמוד עם אלוהים והוא לעולם לא אעזוב אותך