Loving Jews from Afar

Working on loving Jews that are different than you.

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Comments (37)

(34) Sheila, November 21, 2011 3:37 PM

Don't abandon the "Struggle" ...

The Torah is not "conditional" secular literature. It is the Word of G-D. We who worship the G-D of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are required to honor HIS Word. Do we get a "Pass" on the difficult issues? No! We obediently “struggle” with those issues until we get them right. Let us not abandon that “Struggle.”

(33) rivka, September 5, 2011 1:11 PM

not just ethiopians and russians

words can be wonderful! but actions speak louder. when the mainstream jewish community organizations start reflecting multi-ethnic jews in their publicity, on their boards, etc., then perhaps we will feel more accepted and included in the jewish story. trying loving us up close, we are not all immigrants and converts. some of us were born in canada and the united states and not converts (shocking).

(32) Pauline, August 28, 2011 8:56 PM

My father taught that charity begins at home.

He did this by word and deed. He said anyone can give to a stranger, it takes real character to be able to give to, say, your "dead beat brother in law" who's always been scum (my nicer word then his) to everyone. But, he said that family comes first, then next closest community (Jewish people), and then ever expanding. It is much harder, but more of a priority. Family should help family. Period. And, immediate family, extended family, all Jews, then all humanity, are family. I think there is something in Judaism about this too...no? My father, who was a very busy man, made time to practiced this. Always being generous with his time, money, and deeds to all, particularly family, even when many just came to expected/demand it and never so much as said thank you.

(31) Willy, August 26, 2011 5:34 AM


I use to work in an store. One day an man with autism came in to get an coke. He pulled out his EBT card and we were unable to use it due to machine being down. While he had the money in cash this was an hard choice for him to make. I turned around and seen the problem he was having seen the amount and paid for it myself. after we slowed down my coworker looked at me and asked why did you pay he had the money. I explained that the money was for his cigarettes and his EBT is for his food. This is how his world functions.So by paying for it myself it kept his world intact. This I know because I have an autistic son. there is no greater joy than helping people out. those who don't do this I feel sorry for. In the scriptures G-D asked Cain where is thy brother Abel. His reply" am I my brothers keeper" my answer to this is YES. I don't have much but I thank G-D when I am able to help no matter how small it may be. I only wish more people would realize this. Just think how much better the world would be. thanks

(30) Ann, August 15, 2011 3:33 PM

Patience and Tolerance

We need to think with our hearts and not our heads.We need to put ourselves in other peoples shoes and help one another. This is not only true of Russians but how about American Jews!! We need to stop and examine ourselves. Are we treaing each other as "One Jew"....

(29) Mr Akiva, August 14, 2011 4:52 AM

Easy for you to say

I agree with what you're saying Lori but it's easier for you to say this when you live thousands of miles away from Israel.

(28) Vadim, August 12, 2011 3:00 PM

@ etty

would be curious to know where is that school that has groups of russian jews acting differently? Jewish immigration from Russia to US/Canada dried up years ago. It is now the real russians who come over. also would be curious to know what are those American Jewry actions that they( if they are indeed jews) have to adapt to? Does voting for Obama et masse count? Intermarriage?

(27) Anonymous, August 12, 2011 10:47 AM

Foreign Jewish people

This was something my father observed after WW II when Jewish immigrants came to South Africa. The Jewish families who had been there for more than a generation wanted nothing to do with them. He explained to me that the establiched Jewish communities were afraid of a rise in anti-Semitism because the new-comers were firstly foreigners, and then Jewish. Does this make sense?

(26) Reuven Katz, August 12, 2011 6:20 AM

Loving jews from afar RE Mati's comments

Mati from what i do understand you are living in Israel,please adress your problem to the minister of interior affairs,you may be right in some way and wrong in other. As for Lori how a jew can be different than the other ? By not loving the other as he loves himself!!! Lori you bringing the most complicated issues and what hearts me that is all true.

(25) Anonymous, August 12, 2011 2:49 AM

A comment from a Russian Jew living in US

I am married with kids, and live in a religious Jewish community. Most of our friends are fellow Russian Jews who, just like us, became observant in the US. Half-jokingly, we often say to each other "our kids will probably end up marrying each other..." Sadly, I often feel that we are considered "type B" when it comes to social acceptance, etc, but suprisingly these prejudices make me even prouder of my our heritage. I teach my kids to say to their friends, "Who do you think re-build Judaism in America? R'Moshe, R'Yakov and R'Aharon - all of whom came from Russia!!"

(24) Ionah Estevez-Breton, August 12, 2011 1:17 AM


One of the evidences of how G-d works miracles in our Jewish Nation is the way in which so many diverse people can come together respectfuly to share one group of values ... one destiny. Eretz Israel can proudly show this to the world. WE MUST SUPPORT ALL OUR BROTHERS & SISTERS, NO MATTER WHAT DIFFICULTIES THEY ARE FACING. THIS IS WHAT G-D MAKES FOR US !!!!

(23) etty, August 12, 2011 12:51 AM


Lori is right, and I strongly agree. However, in the school where I work at, there are groups of Russian kids that just stand apart. By the way they talk, dress and act, they're almost screaming out: "We're different." I understand that it must be difficult for them to adapt, but we can't expect American Jewry as a whole to accept anyone who keeps to themselves and acts so different.

Sally, August 21, 2011 8:59 PM


I understand what you are saying, people that think, dress and act differently do stand out and apart. My question is, why can't American Jews accept anyone like that? Judaism is the common bond, What happened to getting to know people? Perhaps it is because kids, even if they are raised in a religious home, are afraid of anyone that is not exactly like them. It is sad to know that even our kids can be shallow

(22) Anonymous, August 11, 2011 8:56 PM

bad with the good?

Do we have to accept all who came here as Jews who might have been criminals in their home countries? I do not mean political crimes, but gangsters who continue to live that way here.These people while few in number get a ton of publicity and spoil the reputations of the decent majority. If the good people learn to live according to USA rules and denounce the villiams among them, More of us would accept them. We know that they may have needed to resort to criminal activities before, but they can live well here obeying our laws.

Carolyn K. Dinofsky, August 12, 2011 1:52 PM

As a Jew who had responded to the Soviet Jews plight and the Jews of Ethiopia, I am very disappointed that their integration and assimilation has been thwarted by the very people who at one time or another needed the same assistance!

I hope that next generation of Jews will be more accepting of each other! It is something for me to also think about and remember: JUSTICE! JUSTICE! JUSTICE! HILLEL

(21) Yitzi, August 11, 2011 5:59 PM

Same with the newly religious!

Its the same thing with the newly religious (Ba'aley Teshuva). There are tours, programs etc, to help non-religious Jews adopt a Torah lifestyle. But once they are 'Frum' -- do we marry their kids? Arrange tours to Israel for them to help them continue to grow? Allow them in our schools?

(20) Robert M. Miller, August 11, 2011 5:47 AM

You are right, and much work must be done to change this.

If we Jews can simply accept each other as neighbors, and marriage partners irrespective of cultural history, or racial differences then we will have done a lot for ourselves, and will have truly been a light unto the nations. We must organize to open our lives to all Jews. By formal organizations, and one on one we need to integrate all Jews and meld together all of our various cultures. and races. It will enrich and strengthen all of us thereby forming a larger and stronger Jewish family. Hazak, hazak, vnithazek.

(19) David S. Levine, August 11, 2011 3:19 AM

The "Others" I Know

Unlike the people Lori spoke about my contact with Russian Jews has been positive by a factor of 100%. All those I know are professionals or aspire to be. One I met is a soldier defending the United States in Iraq. All are people all would be proud to know.

(18) Anonymous, August 10, 2011 9:40 PM

I PERSONALLY THINK that it´s not fair to judge everyone the same way.I am aware that some jews that come from or are mixed with certain cultures can really have a hard time to change and adapt but there are also MANYother people who are as orthodox as any other jew. There are countless stories of people who were of color and over all worshiped idols that left everything behind to serve G-d. So who are we to judge someone, to say that they will never change or to make them feel as if they don´t belong. WE SHOULD ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT WE ARE THE EXAMPLE FOR THE REST OF THE NATIONS TO FOLLOW. WHAT MESSAGE WOULD WE BE SENDING ACTING UNFAIRLY WITH OTHERS ?

(17) Lloyd A. Oestreicher, August 10, 2011 6:50 PM



(16) Sarah, August 10, 2011 4:40 PM

On Mati's comments

I just read Mati's comments regarding the Russian immigrants to Israel. Immigrants must work to belong and to become a part of their new country. I am in the US and my grandparents instilled in their children that first they were Jews, but second, and very important, they were Americans. They learned the language and tried to emulate the ways of Americans. They did not stay apart. The Russians must become Israelis in as many ways as possible to feel as if they belong. Maybe then they would be accepted and "belong".

(15) Ruth, August 10, 2011 2:23 PM

Shame on us. They have a right to be here. We of all people should embrace our differences.

(14) Anonymous, August 10, 2011 2:22 PM

This is a sad situation, but I am not surprised at the reaction of people toward people of different customs and language etc....I believe like Bob Mark that the ultra-orthodox establi- shment has been very divisive for Klal Israel, and the changes should start there. When they start accepting all jews as part of the jewish people, like Chabad does, then, Israelis will be more inclusive and an atmosphere of love and acceptance will prevail among all jews. Let us pray for that.

(13) Adam, August 10, 2011 2:21 PM

Ahavat hinam

Our teachers have told us that the Second Temple was destroyed due to sinat hinam- baseless hatred. The Lubovitcher Rebbe taught that the Third Temple should be built- speedily, in our days- due to ahavat hinam- baseless love. Unfortunately, as Lori so accurately observes, it's sometimes easier to love someone in the abstract, when you don't know them. But that doesn't matter in this case- we're all part of k'lal Yisrael, and we'd better remember that and start acting like it. -Z

(12) Mati, August 10, 2011 2:07 PM

This is not the problem, Lorie.

All though your message is true, many of the Russians are not Jews by halacha. While Israel and the world uses the Nazi definition of Jew to bring them here to Israel, they come here with their pork, xmas trees, atheism and nonobservance, bring their mafias, refuse to learn Hebrew, and paint shwastickas on graveyards....yes, bring their neo-nazism. True there are many very good Russian religious real Jews. Those, I do not speak of. But you can't blame us for our attitude in general about Russian "Jews" who are not Jews in spirit nor Jews by halacha and demand to have their every little way rather put into Israel what we offered them....freedom from oppression. Many have even used Israel as a stepping stone to go to other countries after leeching benefits here. I don't have the best attitude toward Russians who think Israel is Russian country.

(11) Dorothy Klein, August 10, 2011 2:02 PM

One of my daughters adopted two terrific boys now age 5 and 3. Rueben is black and Sammy is white. At first everyone in our shule was whispering and commenting on Rueben, but on every possible occasion we brought him. Soon, if he was not with us, people wanted to know where was that adorable baby. Today , he is loved in our Jewish community. If each of us took one step to befriend a child or family that was difereknt, we could make a hkuge difference. How about encouraging families to adopt these children instead of searching for the perfect white baby?

dee, August 10, 2011 10:55 PM

I agree

I agree with you Dorothy Klein, especially since there are NO perfect white babies as there are NO perfect people! Thank you for sharing!

(10) Bob Mark, August 10, 2011 1:06 PM

lack of consistency is prevalent amongst Orthodox Jews

Lori: Your sad tale is ever so true. However, i call to your attention another problem. The "frum" community is so fearful of any connection to the non-frum Jews that they are dividing am yisroel. Recently, a frum religious school director wanted to send his daughter on a March of the Living Trip. The trip was jointly with a group that was not necessarily all frum. The principal of the daughter's school told him that if he sent his daughter on that particular trip he would prevent her from graduating. Rather incensed, the father asked the principal. Do you not trust your own schools and influence. My daughter has been raised in a shomer shabbat home, attended frum schools since pre-K and is now graduating HS. If you cannot trust her now, how can we trust our kids when they go off to college. Shame on you. My point is shame on the frum community for being so afraid to mix and be mekarev Jews on a daily basis. Instead, they contribute to the few groups that do it and to Chabad which is great in that regard. Such negligence needs to be pointed out. It is a major cause for Jews turning away from yiddishkeit because they feel the effects of the super snobbery of the so called FFB not only to those not frum, but at times even to the FBC (frum by choice). You are doing good work, I love your little chats. Keep them up. Rabbi Bob Mark New Milford Jewish Center New Milford NJ

(9) Anonymous, August 10, 2011 12:37 PM


this is the reailty of living with PEOPLE and not ideals - the preservation of the Jewish people is a great IDEAL the reality of living with OTHER people - Jewish or not - is another story entirely because they stop being a cause and become another PERSON that is different from YOU - please remember Cain and Abel were family too

(8) Jonah Sinowitz, August 10, 2011 4:30 AM

excellent point!

Very very well put and timely.

(7) Anonymous, August 9, 2011 2:22 PM

how true...

how true... amazing... all jews need to forget there differences but think about who they are, and that they are reaching the same goal.

(6) Andrea, August 8, 2011 4:24 PM

Right on Point

Thank you Lori!! As a Jew of Color, I witness so much love from a far pertaining to Jews who are different. We a people, tribe, community, etc. All the differences add flavor and color to the Jewish world. I lembrace and love the differences this life offers. HaShem is the ultimate artist!!!!

(5) Tammy, August 7, 2011 3:00 PM

Love them


(4) Anonymous, August 7, 2011 1:52 PM

Especially Because of Xenophobia Outside of the Jewish People

For Ashkenazi Jews who brought over great food like the pickle, even our food was at one point demonised as "un-American". (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/04/opinion/immigrant-identities-preserved-in-vinegar.html) Imagine chiding someone putting a pickle on their hamburger today for being un-American!! American society, indeed human nature, is wary of "foreigners". They are new, different - how can they be American? So too with the Jewish people. They are dark-skinned and do not eat what we eat -- how can they be Jewish? But the Torah says that a Jew is one who has a Jewish mother or has a halakhic conversion. That's all that matters. For the sake of our people's survival, we must embrace and love all of Israel unconditionally - this is a mitzvah. So much more we should love the convert, as the Gemara says one who hurts the converts feelings has violated 36 commandments. What do you think people will do if they do not feel accepted as Jews? Assimilate and lose their Jewish identity. No matter if they're a convert (halakhically, this doesn't matter - THEY ARE JEWISH) or a born Jew, this is a tragedy for our survival. Being loving and kind to all Jews -- it isn't just a nice thing to do. It's a commandment from the Almighty, and it is paramount to our survival.

(3) Vadim, August 7, 2011 12:12 PM

It is mostly jealousy

A neighbour once asked a friend of mine "you just came here a few years ago, how come you already got the same things that I got?"

(2) mochajuden, August 7, 2011 11:45 AM

10 Tips Toward Racial & Cultural Sensitivity in the Jewish Community

1 ~ Reach out to other Jews across difference because you will find our commonalities exceed our differences by far. 2 ~ Do not assume that Jewish history and the current Jewish population is comprised most significantly of Jews of European culture ancestry. 3 ~ Consider that within the customs and traditions of the Jewish people, there is a great diversity of language, culture, custom and color. Be willing to reach for and stay connected to the diversity of the Jewish people. 4 ~ Do not assume that because a person has dark skin that they must be a convert. This is not necessarily true or fair to individuals that have been Jewish all of their lives. 5 ~ Learn to value the “inner” Jew in yourself so that you can better appreciate it in others. to continue: : http://mochajuden.com/?p=1576 May All of Us Be Listened To & Embraced & Welcomed & Supported.

(1) peter kraynik, August 7, 2011 8:39 AM

upside down

Imagin one flavor of ice cream. One color, one sound, one taste. The only one that is one is G-d. He created the differences for our benefit. To teach our hearts to love all people because HE created us that way. To see good in all things. Even satan was created so we can over come it to better ourselves. To be more G-d like. Imagin you going to their country. We are all G-ds children.


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