"Brit-Am Now"-92

Date:  Thu Sep 12, 2002  2:36 am
1. Ori Golan: Gentiles appreciate Jewish Culture?
2.Robert H. Graves: Good Year Wishes
3. DnCMidd: The Return and Re-Unification with Judah
4. Steven Collins: King Solomon in North America.

1. Gentiles appreciate Jewish Culture?
From: RFermenich
Subject: Fwd: [BushBusters] Vultures of Jewish Culture
I thought you might be interested in this also.

Vultures of Jewish culture
Ori Golan
Sep. 5, 2002
Side by side with an increase in anti-Semitism, Europe is witnessing a
growth in interest of all things Jewish - even when there are no Jews around
During the recent Edinburgh Book Festival, crowds thronged to hear Amos Oz
talk about his latest novel, Another Sea. "How do you pronounce this Jewish
man's name?" asked one woman, "is it Eymos, or is it Ahmos?"
A play in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Les Juifs de Salonique, with a
distinct Jewish theme and Sephardi music, attracted big crowds, while the
musical Fiddler on the Roof was sold out days before it made its
appearance. In July, the Klezfest in London, a celebration of klezmer
music, attracted scores of revelers who danced and jived to Jewish music.
There is no doubt that Jewish culture is on the rise.
In her book Virtually Jewish, Reinventing Jewish Culture in Europe, Ruth
Ellen Gruber charts the resurgence in Jewish culture across Europe. In
cities, villages and towns across Europe, she notes, local Jewish history
is being reclaimed, recognized, exhibited and exploited as part of local
heritage. Books, films, and music pertaining to Jewish life in Europe are
proliferating; Jewish museums have opened by the dozens; synagogues are
being renovated; ruined Jewish cemeteries are being rehabilitated; and
Jewish quarters are being restored. And the most striking aspect of this
revival of Jewish culture is that it is also sprouting in places where
there are few, or no, Jews.
In Prague's old Jewish quarter local vendors peddle Hassidic dolls and
Golem statuettes. In Cracow, southern Poland, you can find a selection of
Jewish restaurants owned and run by non-Jews. From Milan to Munich, Cracow
to Cluj, Boskovice to Treb'c, Jewish festivals, conferences and seminars
are attracting wide audiences.
Why this renewed interest in Jewish history, culture and tradition?
Gruber says that there are a number of contributing factors to what she
terms "the Jewish phenomenon" - the fascination with Judaism, Jews, the
Holocaust and Israel: a general sense of vacuum created by the demise of
Communism; the change in world order; and the temporal distance that
separates the events of the Holocaust and the present. "For many
individuals it is a physical as well as an intellectual and emotional
confrontation with history."
Today, she asserts, non-Jews are more curious and able to come to terms
with their dark past. They are prepared - even eager - to learn about
Jewish culture and their common history with the Jews.
"Gelt [money] for guilt" is how one klezmer artist summed it up: Europeans
are now clamoring to hear the music their grandparents tried to destroy.
They are purging themselves of guilt by embracing the culture which their
grandparents attempted to eradicate.
Claudia Roden, whose cookbook The Book of Jewish Food was an instant
best-seller and translated into numerous languages, concurs. "Shortly after
the book came out in the Netherlands, I went to Amsterdam to give a talk
about the book. I couldn't believe how much interest the subject generated
in the Dutch media, and among non-Jewish Dutch people. It intrigued me.
After my talk, a number of Dutch people came up to me and said: 'We have
been guilty for so long. If we had helped the Jews, there would be more
Jews today.'
"But it's not just guilt," continues Roden. "Jewish culture captures the
imagination. Jewish food tells the story of an uprooted, migrating people
and their vanished worlds. Even when they stopped being religious, when
they dropped their customs, the Jewish cuisine remained the same; it is a
tradition. Throughout history, the Jews adapted and adopted, but never lost
their cultural identity. In many places Jewish recipes were kept secret.
The women were very proud of their cooking. In Egypt, for example, they
would never give a full recipe; they would always omit a crucial ingredient."
The upsurge of interest in Jewish culture is a trend which lives alongside
the recrudescence of anti-Semitic incidents. The number of desecrated
Jewish cemeteries and synagogues across Europe has soared in the last two
years. But, stresses Roden, the two can occur simultaneously. "When I
visited Egypt I came across anti-Semitism, but at the same time, there is
still an enormous interest in Jewish cooking.
"There is a fascination not only in Jewish food, but with everything
Jewish. Jews are admired; their image is of something that is successful.
Jewish food gets more respect than others. It is more unusual, more
secretive. Many restaurants call themselves Jewish restaurants and have
Jewish-sounding names, but actually serve non-Jewish dishes. I once went to
a 'Jewish restaurant' in Turkey where they were serving sushi! Of course
sushi isn't Jewish food but just the sign 'Jewish Cuisine' has a huge 'pull
factor.' This is true everywhere, even in China."
Spiro Ark is a London-based charitable organization which organizes Jewish
cultural events and courses in Jewish history, culture and languages. Its
director, Nitza Spiro, says that they, too, have seen an increase in the
number of non-Jewish students enrolling on their courses. They take up
Hebrew, Bible, Jewish history or Yiddish courses. "I would say about 10
percent of our students are non-Jewish. They come to study here because
either they want to get closer to the common roots between Judaism and
Christianity, or as an act of solidarity with Israel and with the Jewish
According to Spiro, the non-Jewish students demonstrate an eagerness to
learn which far exceeds that shown by the majority of Jewish students. "Our
non-Jewish students progress in the most rapid way imaginable. They squeeze
the teacher to the last drop; always keen to learn more. Sometimes, when
the mood of the Jewish students is melancholic [because of events in
Israel] it is the non-Jewish students who offer support and encouragement.
Many of them are rallying to Israel in its time of need."
Spiro also concedes that for some non-Jewish students in her establishment
their studies are an exercise in exorcising their past; a means of
understanding their own history and finding a common ground with Judaism.
"We have Dutch people studying Yiddish; a German student taking Hebrew
lessons and a number of non-Jewish British students studying Jewish history."
The revival of Jewish culture has also been recognized by the European
Association for Jewish Culture (EAJC), based in London and Paris. "Our
mission is to enhance Jewish life by supporting artistic creativity and to
create the conditions in which Jewish culture in Europe can thrive. We
offer grants to promote new work in the performing and visual arts,
documentary filmmakers as well as a number of periodicals devoted to Jewish
culture," says Lena Stanley-Clamp, the association's director.
This year, the EAJC has awarded 33 grants to artists from 12 European
countries, including Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. Supported by the EAJC,
last March the Opera House in Sofia, premiered Ghetto, a full-length ballet
staged by the Bulgarian National Ballet, to a packed house; in February, a
choreography Jingele o Maidele, describing the struggle over territory,
toured five Danish cities and performed at the international event at Dance
Marathon in Copenhagen; and last April the Golem came to life at the
Budapest Operetta House and performed to capacity audiences. Stanley-Clamp
says, "The fact that artists emerged from a broad range of countries is a
clear indication that throughout Europe people are choosing to give
expression to Jewish identity through the creative process."
Another Jewish phenomenon to take Europe by storm is klezmer music.
Originating in the shtetls of Eastern Europe, it is today the most
widespread and popular ethnic music. There are klezmer bands in Germany,
Austria, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Scandinavia, Belgium, Britain and
France. These countries host klezmer festivals which attract thousands of
fans. In the US, klezmania has reached fever pitch and is a thriving industry.
"I don't know if anyone can explain why klezmer in particular had a
revival," says Alex Kontorovich, clarinetist and musical director of the
Klez Dispensers, a New York-based klezmer band who played last year in the
Klezfest in London. "After the end of World War II and the formation of the
State of Israel, the Hassidim, who used to be some of klezmer's best
customers, stopped listening to klezmer. Some argue they wanted to forget
their pre-Holocaust lives and that listening to klezmer reminded them of
the great pain they endured. Still today klezmer is not very popular in
Israel, with the small exception of the festival in Safed.

So, is Jewish culture adopted and then adapted by the gentiles for
commercial purposes? Does it not end up merely a simplified and simplistic
version of its authentic roots? Many of the most popular klezmer groups are
proudly non-Jewish, sporting names like Gojim and Klezgoyim. Coffee houses
across Europe trading under Jewish names and symbols unashamedly sell pork
sandwiches. In the restored Izaak Synagogue in Cracow there are life-size
cutout figures of prewar Orthodox Jews. Is this a metaphor for the new
brand of Jewish culture?
Gruber is "profoundly uneasy" by the intensity of this new-age Judeophilia.
"Sometimes I detect a creepy touch of necrophilia," she says, highlighting
the "crass exploitation and commercialism" of this trend.

Original Article in full can be read at

2.Robert H. Graves: Good Year Wishes
From: "Robert H. Graves" <rhg2@e...>
Subject: Jenn Woodward - Brit Am 88
Shalom Yair,
Thank you for publishing those words of wisdom sent you by Jenn Woodward.
They were, to me, a reminder during these Days of Awe of our need to
reflect upon our lives and repent of our sins of commission and omission we
may have committed against our brothers and thus, against Adonai.
They have helped me see the need to focus on what is common among us and
not on our differences. We all serve the same Mighty One of Israel and He
would have us love each other as deeply and unconditionally as He does so
that can focus our efforts on this work He has commissioned Brit-Am do do.
Yair, for submitting to His will "Leshannah tovah tikatevu".
Robert H. Graves
Fort Worth, TX

3. DnCMidd: The Return and Re-Unification with Judah

From: DnCMidd
Subject: Re: "Brit-Am Now"-88

-Radak is quoted in the
artscroll machzor(i believe if memory serves) as saying that the 10 lost
tribes will be joyous in returning "after their long and agonizing
exile"---now one could understand this in historical light if say we were
talking about a people like the american indian or another persecuted
minority--but how are we to understand this in light of lost tribes being
associated with Lands and countries of their own, with enormous wealth and
prosperity and power
I am an American and a Christian. I do indeed love my country. However I
can't imagine anything more precious to Christian than to find out that he
or she is an Israelite. There are many Christian who love Jews and Israel
and have felt these feeling before becoming Christians. The love is so deep
that . yes in spite of the blessing we have a citizens of such great
nations - our hearts long for Israel, a nation rocked with terrorism and
death, and for our brothers who have done nothing but suffer since our
separation. It is not a logical decision. It is not a choice. You don't
sit down and ask yourself to compare nations and what each one has to
offer. It is a spiritual thing. I believe it is a love that G-d has put in
our hearts and in our souls. To return one day as unit ( All lost tribes)
to our brothers Judah, with all doubt and suspicion removed, would indeed be
a joyous occasion. The return the Bible speaks of indicates it will be no
small event. It will not be a few people who decide they want to live in
Israel as strangers or as Christians. The return indicates we will have gone
through something that has made us see each other for who we are. The return
will be so great that the bible says " They shall no more say, The LORD
liveth who brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt: But the LORD
liveth, Which brought up and which lead the seed of the house of Israel out
of the north country, and from all the countries whither I had driven them.
and they shall dwell in their own land"
Jeremiah 23:7-8

4. Steven Collins: King Solomon in North America.
Subject: Re: NA Stone To: Yair Davidiy <britam@n...>
Shalom Yair,
Regarding Hal Armes' comment on the North American stone with the ten
commandments on it, I can offer some specifics. It is a rather large
inscription on a very large stone slab in the desert near Los Lunas, New
Mexico. I've been to the site, and it has been the subject of various
articles and commentaries by persons in the National Epigraphic Society,
founded by the late Dr. Barry Fell.
The inscription is in the ancient Paleo-Hebrew characters so it dates
generally within the time frame of 1200-600 BC. There are about a dozen
other Hebrew inscriptions in the area, and the President of the New Mexico
Epigraphic Society took me to see another inscription many miles from the
Los Lunas site. That inscription was a short one which most likely
translated to "Tribe of Asher," according to that individual.
Since the makers of the inscription spoke and wrote Hebrew and were
adherents of the Ten Commandments, the time of Solomon seems to be the most
likely dating for the inscription. The Bible relates that Solomon had
fleets which were gone three years and then returned with the flora and
fauna of other continents. Later kings were not followers of God and their
sailors were not likely to proclaim a fealty for the Ten Commandments.
Steve Collins
Al McCarn
Alexandria, VA