אני אוהב את היהודים
Some history of my infatuation.
Can Jews be thought the smartest ?
Support for my love to them
Us and Them
Where is Jewish Mafia in Australia
Their Sense of Humour and Their Dress
My Jewish Heroes
My Jewish Hero Number One
First I have to apologize for my sort of English. It is obviously not my mother tongue, so please be lenient if I don’t sound like a native speaker of English. However I hope to get across my message, which is “I love Jews” and explain my reasons behind it.
Another apology is due for liking someone or something whom you might think as being “The Establishment”. It is similar to saying that you love the World Champion, or Microsoft, or rich people. Your fascination might appear a bit nauseating to others. My justification would be explaining that I loved and saw the potential of the current World Champion when he/she was still a fat, pimply, awkward kid whom everybody was poking and despising.
It all has started when I was still at school. Then there was the World Chess Crown tournament between Robert Fischer and Boris Spassky going on in Reykjavík, Iceland. I was very much “behind” Fisher since, in my view, he was a representative of the free world – an American. I wanted the free world to beat the artificial and anti-democratic regime, which I thought the Soviet Union then represented. So, for me it was the match between the USA and the USSR. Then one of my friends told me that Fisher was a Jew and so was Spassky1; and so were nearly half the great chess masters. It was the first time I started to think that the Jews must be different from – well – everybody else.
I expressed my opinion to my peers as some sort of a discovery. “Guys!” – I was excited with my new realization – “guys, the Jews must be the smartest people on Earth if the majority of the chess players are Jewish!” I was naively thinking that nobody could see but exactly the same as me, that there couldn’t have been two opinions regarding something that obvious. Not so. I realized that “the Jews are the smartest” simply cannot be said; that no matter what the evidence, one simply can’t say that “us” were not as smart/good/funny whatever as “them”. Needless to say, that my finding didn’t go down well with my peers at all.
I wanted to learn what the Jews represented. My Mother told me that the cobbler that she usually goes to was Jewish and that when he fixed a shoe – it properly stayed fixed. I knew a glass cutter who to me looked Jewish, and he was also an honest and good master of his trade. I noticed simple Jewish people who were doing what they were supposed to do. At my first job there was a Jewish girl – a computer programmer. First, she was very good as a programmer, but more importantly she had a mind of her own on every matter, and you could tell that she was not afraid to differ.
I started simply loving Jews in general, as the nation. I kept finding support for my love. The Jews were very much in science and technology, in Mathematics, in Philosophy. They were iconoclasts and outcasts and pariahs and trailblazers and drivers of change in many a field. I started learning English when I was 25. One of the first books that I read and really loved was J. D. Salinger’s “Nine Stories”. No need to tell – Salinger’s father was Jewish. Salinger was my great discovery, I hadn’t heard of him before and probably for that matter I loved him even more so. My love for Jews however was not truly established before I realized that Jews help each other as brothers. Or rather, as brothers help each other s h o u l d.
My Grandma told me a story of olden times. At some market – so the story goes – someone stole money from a Jewish trader. And then what happened? Hadn’t the trader been Jewish, that would have been most probably the end of the story. It may have had some extension if the thief had been caught. If not – end of story. Since the trader was Jewish, the tale had a very neat and otherwise improbable ending: all the Jewish traders put some money together and compensated the aggrieved merchant for the theft. I really liked the story. My Grandma was a devout Catholic, but she noted that “us” should follow “their” example on that account.
Someone might say, Yes Jews help each other like brothers, but what about others, why don’t they help others? Now, we should ask ourselves, what we would do if we had, say, a billion buckareenos? Most probably we would have some fun ourselves or leave them to our children. If not, maybe we would donate them for some worthy cause. We would want the money to make some difference going to someone who deserves it, according to some criteria or rules of our own. In this respect the Jews are no different – they tend to help people who follow some rules: Who are diligent and tenacious, who value brain over brawn, who will help you when you are in need, who believe in what you believe, who would not freaking h o l o c a u s t you when in power, or – in other words – who are Jewish. There may be, of course, black sheep among Jews as in any other group of people; what counts, however, in my view, is a strong tendency among them to stick to some sort of code of conduct, which has made them, arguably, the most influential people on this planet.
When I was a recent migrant in Australia in the middle of the 1990s, I asked a fellow Jewish migrant from the former Soviet Union, with whom we were working together, as to where the Jewish power lies. I was telling him, that in my view it was Jews supporting other Jews which accounted for this phenomenal Jewish success. He told me, that he wished it had been so, but as for an appreciative help there was none that he had experienced in Australia or anywhere else apparently. In his opinion, Jews succeed because they are strangers everywhere and they can’t afford to take it easy, they are under constant pressure to perform. “Just like us”, he meant the two of us, “as immigrants we are very active, we look for jobs, we have to perform, and for us to get jobs is not enough to be as good as the Australians, we have to go one better than them.”
Jews have a great sense of humour. They before all people are most likely to make fun of themselves. I also love how Jewish Orthodox men dress and look: flocks of thin bespectacled, behatted, narrow faced men in black appear to me like some strayed group of time travelers going to a Saint Convention.
Here is the list of my Jewish heroes in no particular order. I give names of people that I like personally. It means I’ve read, seen or listened to something created by them or “on” them. And I give the titles only of something that I absolutely loved.
Franz Kafka. Author. “The Trial”, “The Castle”.
Arkady Raikin. Comedian. “People and Mannequins”, “Magic Power of Art”.
My most beloved Jewish person would be Richard Phillips Feynman – a maverick physicist, a Nobel Prize laureate, an artist – check out his amazing drawings! – and a great teacher with a wonderful sense of humour. I read his “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!” and am currently reading “Lumière et matière” (in French). I would love Jews if only for this great man’s sake.
1 According to Wikipedia, Spassky is a Russian.