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A most mournful gathering

Activism
on 31 Comments

At Seattle’s Temple de Hirsch Sinai, Sunday night there was a mournful gathering to respond to the election of Donald J. Trump as the next president of the United States.

The gathering was in the synagogue’s smaller chapel, in front of the big old-fashioned carved aron hakodesh, holy ark, from its old building. The Reform synagogue was founded in the heyday of Seattle’s emergence as a major city in 1889.

Women of the congregation soon began settlement work for the Eastern European Jews flooding America from east and west — many Seattle Jews came from Russia’s eastern port of Vladivostok, and via Shanghai — creating the ancestor of Seattle’s Jewish Family Service, an active social services institution for Seattle’s sick, elderly, needy, and newly arrived.

Led by Temple de Hirsch’s Rabbi Daniel Weiner, Sunday night’s post-election event was sponsored by Jewish Family Service of Seattle, and the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle.

The gathering was indistinguishable from a funeral in tone. Its format was inspirational readings including Langston Hughes and Martin Luther King, Torah, and leaders of the community sharing how shocked and troubled they and their families have felt since Tuesday night.

A representative from Mayor Ed Murray, and state legislators attending, vowed that Seattle and Washington State will remain supportive of immigrant communities, religious minorities, and the needy, despite whatever will be designed in Washington, DC.

What was remarkable was that there was no false optimism that this was not a cataclysm for the Jewish community. It was felt as one that something dreadful has happened to America. Speakers promised the organized Jewish institutions will be in solidarity with Seattle minorities and new immigrants, amid fears for us all.

It was too soon to discuss other things that will become apparent: the meaning of Trump’s alignment with occupation, settlements and a militant Israel, at the same time as his candidacy has manifestly poisoned the American compact that had left Jews if anything too complacent in their status as a “safe” minority.

It was a remarkable moment of communing amid shock, and determination. There was no question that — for those of Seattle’s organized Jewish community — something profoundly sick and destructive has happened that will change our lives.

My pride from the meeting is that the concern was not inward to the fate of Jews, but for the fate of all that compose our Seattle. Solidarity was explicit and matter-of-fact as the expectation going forward into our unknown.

About Abba Solomon

Abba A. Solomon is the author of “The Speech, and Its Context: Jacob Blaustein's Speech ‘The Meaning of Palestine Partition to American Jews.’” His website is abbasolomon.com

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31 Responses

  1. eljay
    eljay
    November 14, 2016, 11:39 am

    It makes sense for (Jewish) Americans to express solidarity with other Americans – incl. immigrants, religious communities and minorities – and not with an oppressive, colonialist, (war) criminal and religion-supremacist country in the Middle East.

    Hateful and immoral Zio-supremacists do American (and other) Jews no favours by conflating Israel with all Jews and all Jews with Israel.

    • eljay
      eljay
      November 14, 2016, 12:20 pm

      || eljay: It makes sense for (Jewish) Americans to express solidarity with other Americans … ||

      What would be really great to see is all people united in advocating, upholding and defending the universal and consistent application of justice, accountability and equality.

    • DaBakr
      DaBakr
      November 15, 2016, 8:54 pm

      @j

      Just conflate at least 80-85% of Jews worldwide with Zionism. No different then conflating Muslims who believe that Medina and Mecca are wholly Arab and Muslim holy cities with daesh-or- conflating the evil repression the Catholic church supports with Catholic support for the pope. Keep convincing yourself. American Jews don’t need your encouragement to relate to or support minority and underdog rights in US as they have been at it for over two centuries and probably longer then your people

      • eljay
        eljay
        November 16, 2016, 7:45 am

        || @aar: @j Just conflate at least 80-85% of Jews worldwide with Zionism. … ||

        Go right ahead. My point was the conflation of all Jews with (a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” of) Israel, not with Zionism.

        || … No different then conflating Muslims who believe that Medina and Mecca are wholly Arab and Muslim holy cities with daesh … ||

        Mecca, Medina and Daesh aren’t religion-supremacist states. But Islam is a religion and Muslim is a religion-based identity – just like Judaism / Jewish. Thanks for pointing that out.

        || … -or- conflating the evil repression the Catholic church supports with Catholic support for the pope. … ||

        The Church and the pope aren’t countries. But Catholicism is a religion and Catholic is a religion-based identity – just like Judaism / Jewish. Thanks for pointing that out.

        || … Keep convincing yourself. … ||

        I don’t need to convince myself that Zio-supremacists conflate Israel with all Jews and all Jews with Israel – you guys keep doing it for me.

        || … American Jews don’t need your encouragement to relate to or support minority and underdog rights in US … ||

        No, but the Zio-supremacists among you need encouragement to stop hypocritically relating to and supporting one brand of supremacism and all of the injustices, immorality and (war) crimes that are part and parcel of it.

        || … as they have been at it for over two centuries and probably longer then your people ||

        “My people”? Who are they?

  2. sawah
    sawah
    November 14, 2016, 1:42 pm

    It is scary to see that those in control in the US can possibly become a beacon of hate for the people considered ‘other’ as one finds is the case in Israel.

    But maybe the vision of Israel as a beacon of light, will be exposed and help us prevent the shameful treatment of any minority from happening here.

    I am sorry people are in fear. Maybe the fear is one of not being in control of the dialogue. Let us hope opening up the dialogue might liberate us all. Thank you MW for your continuing efforts..

  3. wondering jew
    wondering jew
    November 14, 2016, 1:45 pm

    When my left wing cousin in israel refers to the trump phenomenon as a symptom of sickness, I concurred. When I erupted at my rosh hashana hosts and broke into hebrew and said trump is the most dangerous candidate of a major party in my lifetime, I do not question the emotion.
    What do we do now?
    (Some have taken to the streets and declared, he’s not my president. Americans know this rhetoric from secessionists in 1860, and so we can discern street rhetoric from reality. Big city dwellers in chicago nyc and LA, our vote doesn’t count as much as the farmer in Montana and resentment at the lack of one man one vote is natural. The odds against a constitutional amendment is long, but the people in the US should be reminded that they are undemocratic in the current constitution. )
    The dangers of trump domestically can be divided into 3: a. republican, b. Trump policies and c. Trump rhetoric (leadership )
    A Republican of any sort would cut taxes and rein in obamacare. Democrats would oppose such changes. That’s nothing new.
    The innovations in policy are primarily anti Mexican (south of the border) immigrants and anti muslim. Part of this is rhetoric and part is policy. Enforcing the law regarding illegal immigrants, particularly deporting illegals that have been convicted of a crime, is certainly within mainstream parameters. Building a fence or a wall, seems like a waste of energy and money. Immigration cops invading nyc and stopping all hispanics to check their papers isn’t going to happen, but everyone knows their own community and can imagine abuses by El federale or the cops, that seem like something to fear.
    The issue of Muslim immigrants is the biggest unknown. And face it: a San Bernardino is just a question of time and an incident would be the primary occasion for policy changes and rhetorical flourishes.
    Steve bannon, specifically the antisemitic tunes that he and his ilk have now brought into the white house will not be a major part of the story. This is most true regarding policy for there is no domestic Jewish or anti Jewish policy proposal that I have heard offered in earnest. There will be anti media and anti Hollywood rhetoric and if chuck schumer becomes minority leader there will be his ethnicity to hook onto, but in terms of policy I can’t think of anything that threatens.
    The nature of the man is authoritarian, with a willingness to rile up the crowds.

    • amigo
      amigo
      November 14, 2016, 2:41 pm

      “Immigration cops invading nyc and stopping all hispanics to check their papers isn’t going to happen ” YF

      You joke.NYC cops shoot Black people all the time.Why would stopping law abiding citizens to check for legal status be so unthinkable.It wont affect White Folks .How else is the Mayor of NYC going to justify the mega bucks spent on sending NYC,S finest to Israel for training.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      November 14, 2016, 2:44 pm

      “There will be anti media and anti Hollywood rhetoric and if chuck schumer becomes minority leader there will be his ethnicity to hook onto, but in terms of policy I can’t think of anything that threatens.”

      Sure, “Yonah”! If race discrimination is encouraged by the Trump administration, how could that possibly hurt us Jews?

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        November 15, 2016, 10:34 am

        The threat to illegal immigrants a bit, but the threat to Muslim americans is a primary concern and though chuck schumer is a politician seeking the minority leader position, his backing of ellison is significant to give a public face to democrats as support solidarity with muslims. The ajc teaming up with some Muslim organization is further indication.

        The hate loosed in the land is mostly vocal cords and graffiti, not encouraging, scary, but panic is not called for.

        Some accuse Jewish support for civil rights from 45 til 68 of being selfish, breaking down barriers for blacks as a means of creating a more open society for jews, so the relationship of the civil rights of others to Jewish advancement and safety is clear. (The political battles between blacks and jews, is another part of the story, as are social and economic frictions.)
        Cooperation between American Muslims and American Jews in the face of trump’s ascendancy makes domestic sense, whereas from a foreign policy point of view it seems counter-intuitive.

    • Marnie
      Marnie
      November 15, 2016, 12:20 pm

      You “broke into” Hebrew? Wowzers. I thought Hebrew had better security.

    • DaBakr
      DaBakr
      November 15, 2016, 9:04 pm

      @y

      People protested in US streets circa 1960 that the “papist president elect is not our president”

      I remember when democrats, especially 70s-80s style progressives were scared to death of Reagan. He was’just an actor” , a fascist who teargassed students. An idiot. And maybe he was all of those but the US did not crumble to the ground and reagan is style idolized by many to this day.

      I make VERY little of the hysteria of the hard left now type that ‘angry white men’ got him elected with the help of 75% of millennials, blacks and I think Hispanic voters who couldn’t get off their asses to vote but can get up their hackles to protest or even riot in streets. What’s wrong with this picture?

      Even Obama chided black Americans b4 the election that he would take it as a”personal” insult to his legacy of blacks didn’t vote in numbers for Democrat hrc.

  4. Bandolero
    Bandolero
    November 14, 2016, 4:49 pm

    Abba

    So, readings included Langston Hughes and Martin Luther King, but they did not include Susan Abulhawa?

    If not I wonder what the “mournful gathering” was all about.

    • gamal
      gamal
      November 15, 2016, 6:07 am

      “but they did not include Susan Abulhawa?”

      Bandolero spot on nor anything modern or relevant, probably don’t want to mention Ghassan Kanafani

      “The Palestinian struggle is not a cause for Palestinians only, but a cause for every revolutionary, wherever they are, it is the cause of the exploited and oppressed masses in our era”

      because of (men in the) Sun worship concerns.

      “Solidarity was explicit” Abba will count me when I am killed, yay.

      “and matter-of-fact” their perfection is eternal, cool like the Fonz, just doing what comes naturally and all because Hillary lost.

      but damn

      “as the expectation going forward into our unknown”

      shit now we are going to have to decolonize the unknown, maukish portentious nonsense, an elegy to passitivity.

      privilege isn’t a good thing it robs you of everything of value, revolution is a vigorously libindenous activity its the most fun that can be had and not even readings from “we are not numbers” how tedious. Check us again when you have something to say.

      بالدم نكتب لفلسطين

      https://www.amazon.com/Men-Sun-Other-Palestinian-Stories/dp/0894108573

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        November 15, 2016, 10:13 am

        Gamal- trying to read the Arabic in your sign off , it seems to be bil’dam naktab el falestin. Which probably means in blood we will redeem falestin. Although I may be wrong but if I’m on the right track, still the verb between blood and falestin is foreign to me.

      • gamal
        gamal
        November 15, 2016, 10:26 am

        yes very good Yonah you are on the write track, no redeeming, i am not in to that, its a kanafani quote.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        November 15, 2016, 11:10 am

        Katab is the root word of write in hebrew as well. I Googled kanafani and found “we write with the blood of Palestine “.

  5. Keith
    Keith
    November 14, 2016, 7:55 pm

    ABBA SOLOMON- “What was remarkable was that there was no false optimism that this was not a cataclysm for the Jewish community.”

    A cataclysm for the Jewish community? Paranoia strikes deep, into your heart it will creep.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      November 14, 2016, 8:14 pm

      “Paranoia strikes deep….”

      It’s only the Judeo-Bolshevik Commissariat which is in any danger. Ordinary, frum outwardly Zionist and Orthodox Jews should have no trouble. And I don’t think it’s too much to ask of the Orthodox and Zionist brothers that they protect the tiny fraction of secular, liberal and progressive Jews in the US.
      Isn’t lucky there was never a schism over Zionism in the US Jewish community? If there had been, they might remove their protection of us.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        November 19, 2016, 11:20 am

        I passed your comment to Ivanka.

  6. RoHa
    RoHa
    November 14, 2016, 8:27 pm

    “the concern was not inward to the fate of Jews, but for the fate of all that compose our Seattle.”

    Trump is going to ban Starbucks?

    • Keith
      Keith
      November 15, 2016, 1:17 am

      ROHA- “Trump is going to ban Starbucks?”

      Why wasn’t I informed?

      As for “the fate of all that compose our Seattle,” organized American Jewry has always been handicapped by their intense philo-Gentilism. They are just too good and it is their undoing.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      November 15, 2016, 10:59 am

      “Trump is going to ban Starbucks?”

      See? There’s a silver lining to every dark cloud. Finally a good idea from the man.

  7. Mooser
    Mooser
    November 15, 2016, 11:04 am

    I can see it clearly!- a time is coming when it won’t be safe for Jews to go out in the street if they are not wearing traditional dress.

  8. Citizen
    Citizen
    November 19, 2016, 12:01 pm

    I can’t think of any country other than the USA where the leading candidates have machatunim — except Israel. Can U?

  9. echinococcus
    echinococcus
    November 19, 2016, 2:23 pm

    Summary: a bunch of people, presumably including a majority of Zionists, presumably more than a few irreligious people in the crowd, held a wake because they considered a personal catastrophe an event concerning the US presidency, the effects of which on solidarity with Palestinian resistance are most unclear.

    Shows a high degree of Democrat tribalism, even stronger than religious belief and attitude in front of the Zionist crime.

  10. Maghlawatan
    Maghlawatan
    November 19, 2016, 3:14 pm

    The US is a pretty young country. The Constitution is worshipped but it is mortal. They also worship the flag.

    And the second amendment. Because in 1770 a well regulated milita would do the job. But it didn’t stop Trump, did it? Guns are useless against psy ops. So checks and balances are a thin reed against which to lean.

    Arguably the Constitition had 2 historic existential challenges. The Civil war and Civil rights about a century later. Both were resolved but unsatisfactorily. The same evangelical rednecks voted for an autocrat this time around. Civilisation is a thin veneer as well.

    This is the third existential challenge. We just don’t know how it will play out.

    There is no gap between Israel and the US yada yada but Israel has to stay out of this. This is fundamental stuff. How to regulate relations between the rednecks/evangelicals and the others 3.0. Israel is a luxury.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      November 19, 2016, 4:33 pm

      . “Both were resolved but unsatisfactorily.”

      I wonder how many of today’s “alt-right” and “movement conservatives”( and a whole lot of televangelistic eschatology, too) know or remember that passing the Civil Rights legislation was the ‘blow against freedom’ and the ‘threat to liberty’ their movement is based on?

      From that point on,(according to ‘conservatives’) the US was deemed a failure and worthy only of being broken up or stolen from.

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