Bein Adam Lchavero

Bein Adam Lchavairo is a blog dealing with interpersonal relations within the Jewish community and the interactions of the Jewish and Gentile worlds. We're new. Be gentle.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

It Can Happen Here

Sorry for the long break everyone. Life has been a bit hectic. I've been dealing with family matters, work, and a slew of computer issues that threaten to drive me to drink.

In light of Oose's joyous announcement, I was going to write a post about parenting. However, before I share my own personal anecdotal experiences, I want to bring this to people's attention:

Long story short, a Jewish Family in Delaware is essentially being run out of town. Some quotes.

A large Delaware school district promoted Christianity so aggressively that a Jewish family felt it necessary to move to Wilmington, two hours away, because they feared retaliation for filing a lawsuit�..

Among numerous specific examples in the complaint was what happened at plaintiff Samantha Dobrich's graduation in 2004 from the district's high school. She was the only Jewish student in her graduating class. The complaint relates that local pastor, Jerry Fike, in his invocation, followed requests for "our heavenly Father's" guidance for the graduates with:

I also pray for one specific student, that You be with her and guide her in the path that You have for her. And we ask all these things in Jesus' name�..

A former board member suggested that Mona Dobrich might "disappear" like Madalyn Murray O'Hair, the atheist whose Supreme Court case resulted in ending organized school prayer. She disappeared in 1995 and her dismembered body was found six years later�.

Read the whole article- it gets pretty ugly.

However, I ask you to do more than just read it. Do more than just post it on your "J blog". Talk about it. Especially with your non-Jewish friends and co-workers. Make this issue public.

I, personally, posted it to the forum I spend most of my online time at. The board is populated by a wide variety of people, all of them appalled by the article.

I'd like to share two particular responses with you.

The first is from a former US Army officer. After a lot of "that's horrid" responses, he took it a step further:

I tell you what. I guess I have a case of the [swearword] this morning. As soon as I read the linked story, I went to the Indian River School District site, and called them to complain about this. I was polite, but I sure as hell gave the Superintendent a piece of my mind regarding this. He was polite as well, but said that he couldn't really comment on it due to the current litigation.

I encourage everyone to call or e-mail to complain about the treatment of the Dobrich family.

When I thanked him, he added this:

It was my job when I was in the Army to help ensure that people of other religions were able to practice their faith. Even some of the Protestant Chaplains that I worked with/for were less than tolerant of other faiths. I guess I miss trying to help people in that area.

It REALLY [upsets me] when I hear about an oppressive power forcing prayer on students. And especially allowing some [derogatory term] to single out one Jewish student during his speech at HER graduation and telling her that she's wrong and needs to follow his path.

The next response came from the woman who I wrote about on June 6th in the post entitled "why I'm still on the internet". Rather than contact the school district, she contacted Jews on First.

Dear Staff at Jews on First,

I understand how important it is that these folks' email remain unpublished---they have received enough abuse---but perhaps your staff could set up a temporary email via hotmail or something, that you *could* publish, and then have a staff member or community volunteer go through and weed out the bad ones, and then forward the rest? And, to avoid their home emails clogging up, the two families might start new email accounts just for "moral support" emails, that your member or volunteer forwards them *to*?

In the meantime, I want to applaud these wonderful people to standing up to the abuse and discrimination they have suffered. Bless them. I am Pagan (and we too are not unfamiliar with religious abuse), and one of my best friends is Orthodox Jewish. He is one of the most wonderful, tolerant people I know, despite the discrimination he and *his* family have encountered at times, from the ignorant and hateful.

I just wanted these two fantastic families to know that they are not only standing up for themselves, they are doing so for everyone who has encountered religious persecution. You folks are GOOD people. When you receive hate from your opponents, remember the source, and the hypocrisy they are showing---because the founder of their faith preached compassion and love.

You have my utmost sympathy for the nastiness you've encountered. It's bad enough when YOU get it---it's worse when your CHILDREN get it. I hope and pray that your G-d will grant you strength and a feeling of love and peace, in your pursuit of what is right. I hope many communities come together to help support you in every way, and lend you their strength and encouragement.

My Orthodox friend passed your story on to us: a mixed bag of people from around the world. I plan to pass it on to others I know. There is strength in numbers, and we will do our best to get the word out, and rally even more support from people who believe in religious freedom, and who oppose abuse and discrimination.

You folks hang in there. Blessings to all of you---you're good people, doing the right thing by yourselves, your children, and others like you. It's people like you who make the world a better place.

[name removed]

First of all, ignore the bit about the wonderful, tolerant person. Why? Because after I first read that article, I was feeling less than tolerant.

That said, the reason I posted those responses was to show something: Yes there are people out there like the ones in the article � people who feel that if we are not saved by the blood of their savior we must be drowned in our own. However, there are also good, righteous gentiles like these two examples. People who will fight alongside us when they see injustice. Although it often feels like they're the exception some days, it's true.

Fun Fact: Dr. King's March on Washington D.C. was originally scheduled for Saturday, but moved to a weekday so that Jews could participate.

So talk about this. Make the public aware of what's going on in Delaware. Let them know that yes, this can happen in the United States.

But remember that there are gentiles on our side too.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Sorry for my lack of posts. I just had a son.