Teaching on the side

October 1, 2020  

One of the many negative stereotypes people have of the Jewish people is that we are all rich and all intuitively good at business. If only it were true. 

This reminds me of an old joke, from the mid 1930's, it takes place in Germany. The period of the Holocaust is beginning but many Jews are still out in the open. (like in our own days, pre Corona Times). 

A Jew is sitting in the park (which would soon be segregated and Jews would of course not be allowed in parks and not be allowed to sit on the same benches as Christians, or Gentiles). The Jew is reading a newspaper, Der Stürmer, a notorious anti Semitic rag. (The Striker, the Stormer, published by the notorious Nazi Julius Streicher). Another Jew spots him, Abe! Why are you reading that anti Jewish newspaper? 

The man responds, The Jewish newspapers speak of pogroms, anti Jewish violence, how poorly we are doing and how tragic our situation is. This newspaper is more upbeat, it writes of how we Jews control the world, own the banks, the media and the arts. I feel happier when I read this newspaper. 

The truth is that most Jews throughout the past 2,000 years have been poor. Our stories are all about poor Jews, our music is in minor keys, even the happy songs, and our style of speech contains an element of pain and sadness, there is always a little Kvetch (sound of complaining) in our voice, and Krechtz (Pain, a groan) in our heart. We have been a downtrodden and oppressed people for a very long time. But, there is also always a sense of humor and hopefulness in every story. 

If I were a rich man! What Jew has not sung this song at some time? In fact there were so few rich Jews that those Jews became legendary, such as the de Rothschild family. (meaning at the red shield, German). In fact in Hebrew the song "If I were a Rich Man" is sung as, "If I were Rothschild". 

So the joke is told, in my family as in many others, If I were Rothschild, I were be even Richer than Rothschild, Why? Because I would teach a little bit on the side. 

The point is, that no matter what one did for a living, one also taught a little bit of Hebrew, Bible lessons, on the side, for extra income. Thus, our mentality is to always do a little teaching on the side. The joke is, even if I were as rich as a Rothschild, I will still teach a little during my spare time, and therefore I would have more money than a Rothschild. Of course a true Rothschild would not need to, or even consider, teaching Hebrew school on the side, but most of us are not Rothschilds. 

And this brings us to the point of this long rambling story; we can all teach a little on the side. My teacher of Wing Chun Kung Fu worked at Pepsi Cola during the day, that is how he made his living. He taught a couple of nights per week and Sundays. There are very few full time martial arts instructors, it is not the easiest way to make a living. Most martial arts instructors do it part time, because they love it. 

We can all contribute to the world, and to ourselves, by teaching a little on the side. When we teach, we grow, we understand the techniques better. When we teach, we share, we help others grow. Teaching, as a way of life, or as a side job, you are making a difference. 

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