(From here on, I am going to be REALLY glossing over things, being REALLY approximate, saying a lot of stuff that reasonable people could disagree with... don't be using any of this stuff as a reference to study for your history tests, okay?)
Jews in Germany and Austria in the 20s and 30s were totally part of the culture. Nothing particularly unusual about them. If they were religious at all, it was a practice of their religion which was very influenced outwardly by local Christian practices, and inwardly, based on humanist and universal principles. Reform Judaism was founded and developed in Germany, and one of its goals was to bring Jewish practice in line with the outside culture, to make sure that their practice could fit seamlessly into the larger culture. Because, fundamentally, there was nothing different between them and their neighbors.
By the 20s, it had been generations since there was any noticiable difference between the average German Jew and their non-Jewish neighbors.
And the Holocaust happened anyway.
The Holocaust changed a LOT of things in the United States. And one of them was a desire for ecumenicalism. There was a big movement to try to look for commonalities among religions rather than divisions. There began to be pushback against the Ku Klux Klan's anti-Catholicism. And people started to talk about the "Judeo-Christian tradition."
Now, let me bring up another concept -- the concept of "passing". If you have an axis of diffrence upon which you COULD be discriminated against, but you can PRETEND not to have the difference, you can "pass" for the majority.
In a sense, the term "Judeo-Christian tradition", and "Jesus was a Jew" are ways that Jews can "pass". We can minimize the apparent differences between ourselves and the majority culture, in an attempt to minimize the chances that our Judaism is an axis upon which we can be oppressed.
The BENEFIT, such as it is, of "Jews for Jesus" and "Messianic Jews" would be that they attempt to blur those lines between Judaism and Christianity, and you could argue, that helps the ability of Jews to pass, and blend into the larger society. And THAT is the reason that most Jews don't usually speak publicly as loudly and angrily against them as I did. There's a value in keeping our heads down, letting people make assumptions about us that we're more like them than we actually are, letting this all go by, to stay hidden and to assimilate.
It's a legitimate tactic to try to survive. If we CAN pass in a way that Black people, Korean people, Indian people, and other people whose difference is visually obvious CAN'T, then why wouldn't we take that opportunity to save ourselves and protect ourselves?
Or, even if we're going to be open, proud, and loud about our Judaism, can't we just focus on the similarities, and de-emphasize the differences?
Well, we've been doing that in the United States for going on three generations now.
And now I've gone and, in an angry rage, done the opposite. I've been posting about the ways in which we are DIFFERENT from Christians. I've been sticking my head up and yelling. And you could argue that I'm making myself a target -- which is my right -- but I'm also, by pointing all this stuff out, I'm making it harder for other Jews to keep their heads down if that's what they want to do.
So why would I do that?
Because the Pittsburgh proves that assimilation and hiding has gone as far as it can go. It's not working any more. It kept us safe-ish for nearly three generations, and that's good. But it's not going to work any more. The violent people have decided that they don't care how much we assimilate, how much we keep our heads down, just as in Germany, it worked for a couple generations, and then didn't work any more.
The Tree of Life martyrs show that it's time to change tactics. "Hide our differences" has gone as far as it can go. So it's now time to "reveal our differences, talk about them openly, have discussions, and work for true acceptence based on actual understanding, no matter how much harder it is."
Demystify. Sure, there are differences that you COULD oppress us on, but if I tell you about them openly, maybe there will be less reason for you to be scared of them, and less reason for you to worry about us, less reason to fear, less reason to oppress?
But, to be honest -- the primary tool I'm trying to use? The primary tactic I'm using in all this to try to fight antisemitism and reduce oppression of my people?
Posting terrible Dad jokes every night before I go to bed is a tactic I am using to try to humanize myself and, by extension, all Jews. I'm Jewish, and I have a cat who, the day he came home from the shelter, climbed up on my shoulder for a picture with me. And I know way to many stupid jokes. And I like Queen.
I want you to see me as a PERSON, so that you can see all Jews as people. I want you to like me, or dislike me, based on who I am, so that you can know that we're people who you can like or dislike based on who were are, rather than what we are. I want you to know that we DO have differences, that we DO believe differently than Christians, and that that's okay.
I want you to be able to meet a Jew who is an asshole, and immediately think, "Man, that guy's an asshole," rather than "Jews are assholes." Even if you think *I* am an asshole, I want you to think that my assholery is specific to me, and doesn't reflect on the rest of Am Yisrael.
And so I'll use the tools I have to attempt to do that -- writing essays, being honest and open, posting cat pictures, and telling dumb jokes. Because that's what I've got.
Posted at https://xiphias.dreamwidth.org/804444.html; you can comment there or here. There are comments over there.