Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Happy Hanukkah

Here is my contribution on this, the seventh night of Hanukkah. Eleven months ago, a YouTube viewer made some very disparaging comments on an existent video about famous Jews in Hollywood. His handle was very telling in and of itself. His litany of names seems somewhat diverse and disjointed, chosen only because they were not (verifiably) Jewish. I quote:

11 months ago
"jews have nobody within even a 1000 miles of Pasteur, Goethe, Shakespeare, Bacon, Tennyson, Dickens, Gogol, Chaucer, Hawthorne, Twain, Leibniz, Newton, Darwin, Hutton, Galileo, Copernicus, Hawking, Edison, Hubble, Tesla, DaVinci, Michelangelo, VanGogh, Rembrandt, Bosch, Vermeer, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Bach, Wagner, Voltaire, Schopenhauer, Socrates, Aristotle, Plato,Hippocrates, Sophocles, Hobbes, Locke, Hume, Adam Smith, Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, Ingersoll, Emerson, Paine, Jefferson, Franklin"
(Taken from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBBDdsrJC3s&feature=fvw)

First of all, a good number of these folks are obviously pre-Christian, so their presence on this list serves no purpose other than to collect a variety of non-Jewish names and artificially align them against Judaism. If this individual is trying to claim these thinkers for his or her own “race” – be that “Aryan” or “Anglo” or Christian, many of these just fall short of any set of unifying criteria.

Still, in taking his claim seriously (which I really should not), allow me to enumerate a goodly number of people of Jewish ancestry or identity who do indeed come within “1000 miles” of the good folk this buffoon has taken captive for his soulless argument.

There’s Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, King David, King Solomon, and every writer of every text of the Old Testament – all Jews. And every author of every text of the New Testament was arguably a Jew, too. There’s Philo of Alexandria, Flavius Josephus, Rabbi Hillel, Rabbi Akiva, Judah ha Nasi, Shimon bar Yochai, Isaac Luria (and a great number of other early and medieval rabbis whose names I won’t assume the common reader would recognize), Moses Maimonides, Baruch Spinoza, Abraham Abulafia, Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, Levi Strauss, Claude Levi-Strauss, Benjamin Disraeli, Boris Pasternak, Saul Bellow, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Harold Pinter, and a whole host of Nobel Laureates in the arts and literature, Hans Adolf Krebs, Albert Einstein, Niels Bohr, Richard Feynman, J. Robert Oppenheimer and many others among the Manhattan Project, as well as a whole host of Nobel laureates in the physical sciences and mathmatics, Elie Wiesel, George and Ira Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copeland, Philip Glass, Stephen Sondheim, Eric Zeisl, Louis B. Mayer, Samuel Goldwyn, Woody Allen, Jerry Seinfeld, Larry David, along with most of the best and brightest of the global entertainment industry. All of these folks I have chosen for their seminal contributions to high literature, art, and lasting classics of Western civilization, along with science, mathematics and government.

But lastly, we have one more: Jesus of Nazareth. He was a Jew. He never renounced his Judaism, according to any verifiable source; he remained the scion of a Jewish reform movement and died under Roman law, being mockingly labeled “King of the Jews” on account of his affiliation. Without him, a Jew, there would be no Christianity, no Western Civilization. Without him, Europe would have remained a great wasteland of warring ethnicities, united only by their hatred for each other.

And by the way, I wouldn’t be surprised if more than one of those whom the commenter listed above co-opted for his litany of non-Jewish names had a Jew or two in the woodpile. Afterall, cream does rise to the top.

Happy Hanukkah!