Popular Articles

Jews should be asking themselves when they will speak up if they don’t speak up and act now

Click an icon above to share, email, or save this article

Courage Is Calling, a Stoic book on the value, importance, and nature of courage, also applies to the issue of Jewish ethics and the existential threats to our survival. (Photo: chapters.indiogo.ca)

Click an icon above to share, email, or save this article

And there it was – in the middle of the 2021 Stoic book, Courage is Calling by Ryan Holiday. 

There were the words that I had heard so often – words repeated by Jews in their prayers, but generally ignored by them. Perek 1 Mishnah 14 of Pirkei Avoth in the Talmud says “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?

I have taken a class on the historic period when these words were said and the reasons for Hillel saying them. I have also led a class of ten people on where these words could apply in the day-to-day life of my fellow synagogue members.

Members of the class brought up situations where they could have spoken out or acted differently, but failed to do so. We then discussed what other class members would or had done in similar situations and how successful their behavior had been. Needless to say they were interesting classes where we all learned about ourselves and were more prepared for challenging situations. 

As far as I know the excellent questions posed by Hillel are given serious thought by only a few Jews and mostly in terms of ordinary actions among friends, in peaceful Canada. 

But here, in a Stoic book on the value, importance, and nature of courage, I was startled to find my Judaism facing me in a different context and supporting another 2000 year old philosophy. 

Here it was talking about quitting a well-paying secure job on a moral issue, or taking up a life of service like Florence Nightingale, or going into a battle to the death, like Leonidas, the leader of the Stoics, at the battle of Thermopylae – a battle to the death in order to save their city, Sparta, and the Greek civilization.  

It discussed Hillel’s phrase in terms of duty to your state as a soldier, as a husband and father, and as a man responsible for his fellow men, for his friends, and for his family – all in the context of life and death situations and choices.

Get thej.ca a Pro Israel Voice by Email. Never miss a top story that effects you, your family & your community

Why then does this reference to Pirke Avoth surprise me and urge me to write? 

  1. The world does not know that this is Jewish ethics and that much of Western ethics, including the Ten Commandments, stems directly from Judaism.
  2. Jews don’t take the ethics of Pirke Avoth seriously.
  3. The question of “if not now”, was answered by Israel in 1948 at a cost of 1% of its population and continues to be a vital question relating to the defence of Israel.
  4. As antisemitism and anti-Israel propaganda increases in the diaspora, Jews should be asking themselves when they will speak up if they don’t speak up and act now. Many Jewish organizations are beginning to challenge antisemitism wherever they find it, which is often in our schools, from kindergarten to graduate schools, and in the media.
  5. Despite the support of Israel, most Jewish individuals and our rabbis and synagogues remain relatively silent. They remember the Holocaust but forget the Jewish silence that  preceded it.

There is no reason for Canadian and American Jews to remain silent. It is time we became courageous and spoke out directly against those who lie and criticize Israel and the Jewish Diaspora.  

Jonathan Usher was born in Montreal. He graduated from Queen’s Law School in 1963 and moved to Toronto where he has lived since. In the past 20 years of retirement he has become a very prolific and published letter-to-the-editor writer and conservative, social iconoclast.

Click an icon above to share, email, or save this article

Click an icon above to share, email, or save this article

Read More

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!

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!

cOMING SOON…….

Breaking News

Recent

Features

News

Current Events

Opinions

Politics

Religion

Culture

Memoriam and Obituaries

PodcastS

Terms and Conditions

Privacy Policy

About Us

Advertise with us

contact 

Subscribe Now

Receive the latest in community & international Jewish news direct to your inbox

© 2020 THEJ.CA, All Rights Reserved

Terms and Conditions

Privacy Policy

About Us

Advertise with us

contact 

Subscribe Now

Receive the latest in community & international Jewish news direct to your inbox

© 2020 THEJ.CA, All Rights Reserved

Subscribe Now

Receive the latest in community & international Jewish news direct to your inbox

Terms and Conditions

Privacy Policy

About Us

Advertise with us

contact 

© 2020 THEJ.CA, All Rights Reserved