You may remember when, a few months back, Nazi-turned-poet laureate Günter Grass decided to become the world’s conscience, and warn us all (through poetry) how a nuclear-armed State of Israel, with their stated goal of continuing to exist, is clearly at least as big a threat to world peace as a nuclear-armed Iran, whose stated goal is the annihilation of Israel. Back then, this editor said: “If you were a Nazi Stormtrooper, you don’t get to be taken seriously for anything you write or say involving Jews. Ever.” I think we can apply that same principle here.
It shouldn’t be terribly shocking that the country that once made it a crime, punishable by death, to be a Jew, should one day make illegal the very act by which newborn boys are counted among the Jewish people. And so, if we may say one thing to our brothers and sisters in and around the City of Cologne, it is this: Resist! Fight this with every fiber of your being!
By Torah law, every Jew is obligated to be a good and loyal citizen or subject of the nation in which we find ourselves. This isn’t limited to open, democratic regimes, but it does refer to relatively benevolent societies – those in which our ability to practice our faith unmolested is, at the very least, tolerated. When the Seleucid Greeks conquered Judea, they banned three things (there were others, but these were the “last straws,” so to speak): Shabbat observance, Rosh Chodesh (the New Moon), and Brit Milah (circumcision). The Jews, pushed too far, finally pushed back, in what we now know as the Maccabean Revolt, which we recall as part of the Festival of Chanukah.
If you’re not from Germany, and you’re having a son, go visit beautiful Cologne to celebrate his brit milah. This is a matter of principle, and we must present a united front. The line must be drawn here. On this, we cannot compromise. It is our duty as Jews to fight this at all costs, sacrificing our very lives if, chas v’shalom, it ever came to that.
The Third Reich is dead and gone. Men and women of conscience must stand together now, that we may never know a fourth.