January 23, 2020 Israel-New York, USA
When I was young my father taught me what it meant to be a Jew. He taught me that we need to stand up for who we are, he showed me that we must live in the land of Israel, our land, despite the many challenges.
He told me of our forefather, Abraham, known to us as Avraham. He was called Avraham Ha Ivri, Abraham the Hebrew, or Avraham who comes from the other side. Ever in Hebrew means the other side. Ivri could mean he who stands on the other side.
My father taught me, our father Abraham stood on one side with his truth, and the entire world stood on the other side. He was a majority of one. Although he was the clear minority, he was the moral majority. He knew his truth and it mattered not at all if no one agreed with him. You might be the minority but you can still be a majority of one. Today most of the world accepts the teachings of Abraham, although the great hatred against the Jewish people continues, and thrives. In New York this hatred has resurfaced in an alarming way.
I have lived my life by these words. I do not blow to social trends and anyone who knows me knows that current fashion means nothing whatsoever to me.
As Jews we are a tiny minority. Many cannot handle this well and choose to assimilate into the larger population. Those of us who have remained Jewish over the past 3,500 years have gone through generations of being a persecuted minority all over the world. We have to live with being "different", we have learned to follow our own way without being too concerned with what others may think of us. We have learned to stand our ground.
In the Auschwitz death camp you can see the last belongings Jews brought with them; prayer shawls, holy books, religious items. They remained true to themselves until the very end. They retained their values and their heritage.
We are not the type to be concerned with trends or being popular. This is part of our character.
With our system of Krav Maga, IKI Krav Maga, I know we are in the minority. We advocate different concepts and strategies from other schools. We don't follow the dictates of all that is considered sacred and untouchable by other Krav Maga or self-defense associations. We don't do this to be different, we do this to be true. We don't mind being the less popular minority. We can be the majority of one. I am not intimidated by being "out of fashion".
Children, teenagers, want to fit in, they tend not to want to stand out and be different. However those who date to be different ultimately are those who lead the pack. We don't mind being called the Ugly Duckling, because we know we are a beautiful swan, the most beautiful bird of all.
Teaching at Baruch College, where I earned my MBA. The woman in the photo is a Black Jew, a Jew by choice as she describes it. She has chosen to be two minorities, and proud to be both.
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