I was born Jewish. That is to say my parents identified as Jewish and raised me that way for as long as I would follow along. Which is to say, not long. The deal my father made with me is that I had to tow the line, 100%, until I was 13. In Jewish religion, a boy becomes a man at that age, and he is his own man.
And so it was, that I followed, reluctantly, until that time. I respected my father and because of that, I thought it was respectful to follow his rules. It was his house. He supported me. He looked after me.
So, I did it.
But then, and since then, I don't consider myself Jewish. Not religious, in any way, that's for sure. My sister is the complete opposite. She went the other way, and got more religious as time went on. In fact, she follows strictly. Not to the point she is a religious nut, but she follows the letter of the law according to how you are supposed to if you are a true Jew.
Anyway, I don't. We get along just fine in spite of that. We don't bring our religious baggage to the table when we go out for dinner to eat. She eats her kosher food, I eat whatever I want. We find a way. We make it work.
Now, lets say that Donald Trump, or anyone like him, decides that no Jews are allowed in his country. Or need to be put on a list. As vile as that sounds, and as unconstitutional as it probably is, lets suppose its the law, and its not offensive enough morally that it is employed.
It has happened before, and with Muslims, it might happen again this time. Hard to believe, but it might.
Now, am I Jewish? I don't call myself Jewish. I don't follow or practice the religion. I understand it as a culture, and I don't participate. But I do at times go to weddings, Bar Mitzvah's, events, and there are religious parts to those. Again, I am respectful. Does that part bore me? Yes. Do I make a big deal about it or really care? Nope. But, I do go. Does that make me Jewish?
I say it doesn't. It makes me respectful and a good family person and friend. What if I go to a Muslim wedding or ceremony and watch them pray? Or pray myself. Does that make me Muslim?
What if they say I am Jewish, and I say I am not. Who proves what to who?
While I am not Jewish, I did learn the lessons that all Jews learn. And the history of many who have tried to exterminate them, unsuccessfully. Those are lessons that any people of any color, religion, gender or sexual orientation understand. Its all about fear, domination, and selfishness. Religion breeds that type of behavior. Its not a given that any religious person will believe and react on that level, but its a high possibility.
It's probably happening in this case.
Because of the holocaust, Jews identify with Muslims in this current kerfuffle. Hitler attempted to list, round up, incarcerate, and incinerate all Jews. That is what his plan was. And the German people bought into that. I'm sure they didn't realize what they were buying, but they owned it by the time it was too late to stop it, if it could have been stopped and they wanted to stop it. Once something like this gets rolling, its a runaway train that can't be stopped.
And yet, it didn't work. Jews survived, and set up a homeland in Isreal. I don't follow, but I'm very familiar with the term "never again" and you can be sure Jews will never be exterminated. They are on guard 24/7 for any sign of even a hint of that ball rolling again.
So, I get how Muslims feel excluded, singled out and grouped for the actions of a few radicals who have perverted a faith.
On the other hand, Jews, Isreal and worldwide, even if they don't follow or identify, are always fearful now of an attack. They are a target of those who see their way of life being stolen away from them by an entire segment. Like the Americans do now. I get that too.
Again, I don't follow the religion, or believe, but I understand persecution and fear of attack.
There are very few groups that can be in the position that anyone raised Jewish is in. They went from threat of extermination at the hands of a crazy dictator, to in the position of strength and power and in the position of being attacked at a moments notice.
Jews get all that.
And they understand why both sides are edgy and will divide more than come together to find a constructive solution to the problem.
And they also understand that making lists and excluding entire segments is not the answer. Being vigilent and smart about how you defend your land is the answer. When was the last time an Isreali airliner or airport was under attack? The answer is never. They have had the toughest security on those for my entire lifetime. They were ahead of the game. The Americans were lax, and now they see the holes they left open. The problem is they are trying to close them in ways that wont work, but will only make them worse.
You don't exclude the good people of any kind. You find out who the bad ones are with hard work and take them out. That is why the Jews persist and always will. Americans can learn a lesson from all that.
I didn't buy into the religion, but I never forgot the lessons of the culture.