Monday, August 27, 2018

My Blog: 8 Years Later


I have been writing this blog for eight years. This is not a terribly long time in the life of an individual, and especially in these troubling times marked by a lack of a moral vision. Each year at this time I take stock of what I have accomplished and whether I ought to continue. Mayle, each year, like an old horse, I put one foot in front of another and move along the path. As long as I have my health and koach, I will continue to do so.

I have added a section on “The Holocaust,” an area of research and historiography that is important, one of the seminal events in modern history. As survivors die off and memories recede, we already see how facts become subverted, history is revised, and truth assaulted. In pursuit of justice, it is thus important to have the historical record, which includes the collection and dissemination of verifiable documents, voluminous reports and miles of film. Such is what these sites do, and quite admirably I might add.

There is also “Yiddish Poets & Writers,” who were also part of both the prewar period and the postwar period, straddling two worlds, so to speak. I have also added more to the section on “Yiddish Sites,” since Yiddish language and culture is another interest that I hold, again because I see it as an important link to the past, not only of my personal paternal family history (prewar Poland), but of the history of East European Jews.

I wish I could say that I am highly hopeful for the future, but too many signs squeeze that hope to a trickle. Even as this is true, the waterways of hope can always open more. We Yidn always have hope of a better future, having lived for a good part of our history in difficult times. Such is the way it is; such is our geshikhte (געשיכטע). Retaining hope is a forever good thing, which is the story of the Jewish People throughout our 4,000-year history, much of it in exile, or golus (גלות).

Yet, golus is not the end point, the final destination, since the deepest desire of the Jewish People throughout our history is the end of exile and the return home, to aundzer heym, not only a physical place but a spiritual one, as well. Such things are hard to understand with our minds, limited as they are by everyday concerns. Yet, we have our Torah, which tells us many things that instruct us. As one Hasidic publication, Chabad-Lubavitch, puts it:
But a fundamental principle of the Jewish faith is that exile will end and will be supplanted with a “true and complete redemption.” After thousands of years of living in a world that’s out of sync with our deepest selves, we will enter an era of eternal peace and tranquility, a world that is “wholly Shabbat and rest, for life everlasting.”
—p. 11; Exodus Magazine; September 2018
I believe this to be true, and this is evident in my many articles that I have written for this site over the years. I write this in the Jewish month of Elul, a time of introspection and personal examination, leading to the month of Tishrei, and the beginning of the High Holy Days or Holidays or Yamim Noraim (ימים נוראים; ‎ “Days of Awe” or “Days of Repentance”), starting with the Jewish New Year of 5779, Rosh HaShanah (ראש השנה) and culminating with Yom Kippur (יום כפור), the Day of Atonement.

This is followed by the joyous holidays of Sukkot, Shmini Atzeret and Simchat Torah. But more on these holidays laterIn closing, I thank you, dear readers, for reading, and if you are so inclined, drop me a line. I wish you good health and some measure of peace, or shalom.

Perry (Peretz) J. Greenbaum
16 Elul 5778