Archive for the ‘Essays (Ellen Sue Says)’ Category

International Holocaust Memorial Day: Wed., Jan. 27th

Wednesday, January 27th, 2021
Below is information from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and below that is my essay. This is a solemn day, not only for Jews, but for all of us who decry antisemitism. es

https://www.ushmm.org/remember

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

January 27

The United Nations General Assembly designated January 27—the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau—as International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

On this annual day of commemoration, the UN urges every member state to honor the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust and millions of other victims of Nazism and to develop educational programs to help prevent future genocides.

How to Remember

International Holocaust Remembrance Day Commemoration

Wednesday, January 27, 1 p.m. ET

During this ceremony, leaders from the United States and Europe will join Holocaust survivors in conveying the urgent responsibility we all share to protect the lessons and legacy of Holocaust history and to defend the truth—now more than ever.

Join the Conversation. Share your reflections about International Holocaust Remembrance Day on social media using #WeRemember.

 

The two concentration camps liberated on January 27th, 1945

 

 

African-American & Jewish-American Citizens: Both Enslaved

by Ellen Sue Jacobson

The Jewish people were slaves in Egypt when pharoahs ruled, so we don’t have the immediacy that some African Americans have, that is, parents or grandparents who were slaves. And because Jews are not considered people of color, unless they are descended from native Africans as in Ethiopia, Jewish people can “pass” and avoid discrimination.

As for people who look Jewish, I believe that is a mistaken concept, since most of the original immigrants were probably from Eastern Europe and had the features that many consider looking Jewish (curly hair, large noses, etc.). However, because of the Diaspora, there are Jewish people who are blondes and redheads without prominent noses or curly hair, because their family migrated and intermarried in countries where their looks were not “typically” Jewish.

Also, in America, many people changed their names, such as Finklestein became Fink,  and Greenberg became Greene, and Cohen became Collins. The discrimination of Jews who came to America led to people changing their original name to one less obviously Jewish-sounding, unlike African Americans, who could not change the color of their skin.

The Holocaust in mid-20th century was probably the most horrendous event of that century, with COVID-19 being even more deadly than Pearl Harbor or 911 in the 21st century. Here’s a direct quote from the Internet:

The Holocaust was the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of six million Jewish men, women and children by the Nazi regime and its collaborators. The Nazis, who came to power in Germany in January 1933, believed that Germans were “racially superior” and they wanted to create a “racially pure” state. Jews, deemed “inferior,” were considered an alien threat to the so-called German racial community….. Other groups were persecuted on political, ideological, and behavioral grounds, among them Communists, Socialists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and homosexuals. Because the Nazis advocated killing children of “unwanted” groups, children—particularly Jewish and Romani children—were especially vulnerable in the era of the Holocaust. (www.encyclopedia.ushmm.org)

And this Washington Post quote tells us even higher numbers:

11 million, not 6 million, died in the Holocaust

Actually, about 6 million Jews and about 5 million non-Jews were murdered by the Nazis. The others included Roma, Jehovah’s Witnesses, gay men, et al. Writing “11 million Jews and others” would more accurately describe the extent of the killing.

Whether we are talking about people of color, people with different religious beliefs, or people who have been scapegoated for whatever reason, making them slaves or putting them in crematoria, or bullying them in school are all injustices they don’t deserve. It is like eliminating people with blue eyes because someone made up a theory that blue-eyed people are weaker than brown-eyed people. To me, the differences between people are what make us all interesting. We are not carbon copies of one another.

I believe that King abhorred antisemitism or any “anti” that denigrated human beings  because of the color of their skin or their religious beliefs or cultural differences. When we celebrated Martin Luther King Day and now International Holocaust Memorial Day this month, let us look inside ourselves to see if we are biased against people who look or believe differently from us. (This does not include people who are terrorists, no matter what their skin color or religious beliefs are.) The Golden Rule still holds up: “Don’t do to others that which you would not do to yourself.”

Let’s all work for peace and cooperation among all peoples from all walks of the planet.

P.S. Here is a quote from Rabbi Michael Lerner in Tikuun Magazine www.tikkun.org

“So this is my message: if you want to honor MLK Jr. then Be MLK Jr. Embody his message and embrace his honoring of the other, nonviolent, love-oriented discourse and you will see how miracles start to happen.”

 

 

 

I’m Dancing as Fast as I Can!

Wednesday, October 28th, 2020

Here is my friend Jackie’s backyard, with the remaining forest from her development behind the bush. They came first and now have less land on which to graze. The movie’s message is to regain our biodiversity before all wildlife has no place to live.

I’m Dancing as Fast as I Can

(Fear of Climate Crisis’ Impact on Earth’s Survival)

On Sunday I watched “Life on Planet Earth,” the latest and perhaps best of all the documentaries I have seen with David Attenborough as the narrator. Only this film is as a “witness” to what he has seen since the 1950s, when he started traveling the world to visit, explore, and report on wild places. This documentary eclipses all his previous excellent documentaries in that he shows us, through photos and comments, that we are headed toward the sixth extinction on the planet after the long, successful period of the Holocene Epoch: (Direct quote from https://www.livescience.com/28219-holocene-epoch.html.)

The Holocene Epoch is the current period of geologic time. Another term that is sometimes used is the Anthropocene Epoch, because its primary characteristic is the global changes caused by human activity. This term can be misleading, though; modern humans were already well established long before the epoch began. The Holocene Epoch began 12,000 to 11,500 years ago at the close of the Paleolithic Ice Age and continues through today.

Pressure from the human population has had far-reaching effects on the biodiversity of the planet. Earth has undergone at least five major mass extinction events (times when at least 60 percent of extant genera became extinct within a span of no more than a few hundred thousand years.)

What scares me about all of this is that major corporations who are big polluters are not slowing down their production, especially those that depend on fossil fuels, which are not finite. I also want to emphasize that the documentary talked about biodiversity in the diminishing wild areas, such as the Brazilian Rainforest. We need to restore the balance of people to places and stop killing off entire species. As David Attenborough stated, we are using up or destroying many of the resources on our planet and once they are gone, they may not be replaceable. (For example, killing of specific species of whales for oil until none of that species is left—extinction!)

My anxiety about COVID is superseded by my fear that our grandchildren and perhaps even our children will be part of the end of the planet as we know it, and beyond that, the possibility of extinction of the human race is possible.The examples that David Attenborough introduces as positive steps for the environment indicate that we have the capacity to turn things around. Yet, the greed of big companies to be richer and richer at the expense of the planet seems unconscionable. (Example, Exxon stated in Oct. 6th in the Philadelphia Inquirer that the company plans to continue producing an additional one million barrels of oil per day, with those emissions increasing Exxon’s gas emissions, rather than decreasing them because of their detrimental effects on the environment.)

I cannot stand by to watch this happen, so I am forming (another) green team to take steps to do more than eliminate plastic bottles and household items that pollute the environment. In the book, Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway, the author suggests taking smaller steps at first and then increasing your ability to go further into the fear until you’ve conquered it. That’s my plan!

I think the only way to conquer this fear is to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem. If you are interested in being on this green team to send emails to your congressmen and women, sign petitions, make changes in your living habits, and stay informed, please email me* and I will add you to the team list. I plan to post much of this on my website, www.menupause.info, so subscribing would be helpful. There is no fee.

While my fear is the driving force for this effort, I also see a glimmer of hope as more and more people watch the documentary and realize that in 10 years, we won’t be able to make these changes quickly enough to save humanity; thus we still have a small window of time. As the documentary showed, trees and animals returned to a town that was evacuated because of Chernobyl. The abandoned buildings are falling apart, but the forest and wildlife have returned. We can restore biodiversity, but it must be an all-planet project. Everyone needs to do his or her share. Will you help?

*Contact me at: menupause.info@gmail.com

 

P.S. The Wilderness Society’s Summer 2020 newsletter is linked to the documentary in that their new vision is: Uniting people to protect America’s wild places. Collaborating with other organizations, local and national, they want to achieve the following by 2030, which is when the tipping point is supposed to happen if we do nothing to change our lifestyles and overuse of resources:

  1. 30% of US lands and waters protected.
  2. Net zero fossil fuel emissions from federal public lands.
  3. A critical mass of people reflecting America’s diversity taking action to protect wilderness and public lands.
  4. All people in the US benefit equitably from public lands.
  5. Full funding for the conservation, restoration and protection of public lands at all levels.www.wilderness.org