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It takes incredible ignorance to reduce the Jewish People to a mere “religion”. Mr. Seth Rogen just doesn’t “get it.”

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Outrageous comments by actor Seth Rogen during a July podcast sparked a backlash after saying that he was "fed lies" about Israel | Photo: Serikat/Net

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The weeks leading up to Rosh Hashanah – The Jewish New Year, concluding with Yom Kippur, are a time for reflections and atonement.  Among the many human sins, which I have committed, one particular sin seems to stand out more and requires more penitence: as embarrassing as this may sound, until the morning that my brother sent me a message with a link to Seth Rogen’s appearance on Marc Maron’s show, I had honestly never heard of Seth Rogen!

 Seth Rogen, who is Jewish by birth, was born on April 15, 1982, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

His father, Mark Rogen, worked as an assistant director of the Workmen’s Circle Jewish fraternal organization. His parents met on kibbutz Beit Alfa in Israel. He had a Bar Mitzvah and attended Jewish summer camps.   

So what went wrong? Why would Seth Rogen say he was fed lies about Israel and question why Israel should even exist? 

The Herut movement, which I have been blessed to establish and build, boasts branches in both Canada and in the United States (among many other countries). It never ceases to baffle me when I encounter North American Jews who are oblivious to the rise in Antisemitism and Anti-Israelism in their communities.

I remember speaking to a Canadian colleague from another Zionist movement about the rampant Antisemitism that our Herut Canada leadership was dealing with on their campuses, and the bewildered look on his face when he replied that he wasn’t aware of anything out of the ordinary happening. During this period, Lauren Isaacs, the National Director of Herut Canada, was on the front lines of Canadian campus activism because of the daily aggressive acts towards Jews and Zionists in Canada, especially on university campuses. 

This state of oblivion is problematic on more than one level.  

One would expect Jewish Zionist leaders to be hyper-aware of what is happening to Jews around the world. Then they need to get actively involved in rectifying this situation. Ignoring the problems will only allow them to fester and grow. Unfortunately, this seems to be the case in many Jewish organizations.

In addition to these indifferent organizations, we must not forget the unaffiliated Jews and the self-hating ones. I have had my fill of self-hating Jews, antisemites, antiZionists (same, same) and other lovely creatures, but Seth Rogen is seriously in a category all of his own.

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It took me a few short minutes to get the gist of what the hour-plus rant was about, as Marc and Seth man-splained, their Jewish “problem.”​Many of my Facebook friends were far more gracious than I and tried to find the good in the few “so- called” positive things that Seth sees in Judaism (like sitting shiva — insert face-palming emoji here!).​ At first I was really angry … like really really angry. After that, all I could feel for him was a lot of pity.​

I honestly feel sorry for a guy who is so ashamed of his “near 100% Jewish DNA”. That calls religion “silly”. By the way, it takes incredible ignorance to reduce the Jewish People to a mere “religion”.

And, as much as I hate it when my mother says that I just don’t “get it”… Mr. Seth Rogen just doesn’t “get it.” ​Rogen’s self-hatred has made him oblivious to basic facts. Including: if Israel had been established before the Holocaust, Jews could have come home and escaped sure death. He is ashamed of “tough Jews” – because clearly pasty, frightened Jews are much more likable and have a much higher survival rate. Needless to say, his podcast must have given much pleasure to our enemies! 

But, here is the reality, Seth Rogen, that you need to understand; you may identify as a “Jewish” Canadian, but you should be identifying as a Canadian Jew.  You have become so disconnected from being a Jew, like most secular Jews in North America, that you have failed to appreciate that your lineage has many incredibly strong and proud people, and that you are a direct descendant of a people indigenous to Israel.

Executive Director of Herut, Karma Feinstein-Cohen, says Seth Rogan’s twisted views prove “we simply must do more to help these young Jews choose Israel and choose Zionism.” | Photo supplied

In the aftermath of L’affaire Rogen, one Jerusalem Post writer opined: “Seth Rogen is not alone. There is a clear, present and potentially irreversible inter-generational divide within Diaspora Jewry’s largest community residing in North America – and particularly in the United States – in relation to Israel. Young secular, liberal Jews, especially in the USA, have become increasingly vociferous in their criticism of Israel’s actions and, at times, in opposition to its very existence.” 

Regardless of what was said, as an American Jew, who was privileged enough to make aliyah (move to Israel) and to serve for three years in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), I am here for you and all other

Jews living in the diaspora, no matter how delusional you may or how disconnected you are from our people and our Land. Despite this disconnection from the Land of Israel, you need to know, we’re here, even if you’re absolutely certain that you cannot get along with us. And we will take you in because you, (yes, you) are part of the nation, which is indigenous to the Land of Israel, and you, (whether you like it or not), are a member of the tribe.

AND … Israel is your homeland no matter how you feel about it.

“For better or worse, simple or difficult, cheap or dear, this is my Land,” said Zionism’s great pre-World War Two leader Ze’ev Jabotinsky. Truer words have rarely been spoken. 

 As a Zionist education activist, who has spoken before groups of young Jews throughout the U.S.  everywhere from Manhattan to Boca Raton and from Kokomo, Indiana to Blue Bell, Pennsylvania in the last year– there is much to be concerned about with “young, secular, liberal Jews” but it is not as much that critics of Israel are winning the hearts and minds of younger generations. The real problem is that lovers of Israel have largely failed to double-down on behalf of Zionism.

 In my view, it’s not a choice, it’s a lack of options: we simply must do more to help these young Jews choose Israel and choose Zionism. Zionism is action! 

As Jewish leaders, we’ve failed to educate them about our history and our Torah so that they will want to love and support Israel. This is a systemic educational failure that we must fix, and we can fix it. It is far from too late.

On behalf of World Herut, Karma Feinstein-Cohen brings the message of Zionist ideals to groups across the globe | Photo supplied

We spend much too much time trying to justify Zionism and defending Israel. We need to start taking a positive approach and teach all Jews why Zionism is not only beautiful, but something to embrace and fight for because it is our civil rights struggle for our people. Israel is not just the safe haven that Seth Rogen referred to when he spoke of a place of “preservation of the Jewish people”. Yes, Israel does play that important role, but the Land of Israel is so much more than just a safe haven. It is an undeniable fact that it has taken over 2,000 years of praying and dreaming for Israel to become an independent Jewish state. Most North American Jews, especially the ones born after 1948, take Israel for granted, but the reality is, Israel is a miracle.

Therefore, in this new year of 5781, as Zionist educators, it is our task to remind and educate our sisters and brothers as to why the dream of Zion mattered to our people for thousands of years. And it is our obligation to show them, as Jews, why even though this dream of having an independent state of Israel has been fulfilled, this connection to Israel should matter to them today. Then, and only then, Jews like

Seth Rogen will have a chance of “getting it”.

Karma Feinstein-Cohen is the Executive Director of World Herut, which she founded in 1999.

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Happy reading!

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

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