Opinion

My Family Perished in the Assimilation Shoah, According to Israel's Education Minister

Rafi Peretz speaks at a campaign rally, Kfar HaMaccabiah, June 29, 2019.
\ Ilan Assayag

According to Education Minister Rafi Peretz, I belong to the first generation of the assimilation Holocaust of American Jews. My uncle on my father’s side married a goy and had two non-Jewish sons with her. My cousins have skin the color of piglets, and Norwegian blood runs through their veins. They are dead to me, of course. Perished in the Holocaust. As far as I’m concerned, they were incinerated in the gas chambers. For many years the younger of the two had a girlfriend who was of Native American descent. She died recently, still young, a heartbreaking, tragic death, after a freak accident at home. I did not offer condolences to my cousin. I viewed her death as punishment exacted on him by the Holy One, blessed be He.

Anyway, according to the book “Torat Hamelekh” (“The King’s Torah,” by Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira), with which Peretz performed an awe-inspiring pas de deux on Purim in 2016, when he was the chief military rabbi, I believe that I have a right – perhaps even a duty – to simply murder my cousin. It must be said, however, that as a point of Jewish religious law I wrestle with the logic of killing a person who is already considered dead, having perished in the Shoah of assimilation. It’s a fascinating and complex halakhic issue that absorbs much of my time.

My brother also married a goy, with whom he lives in the killing fields of the U.S. Holocaust. They have two sons. Every day I spend hours erasing their faces from photos on the family WhatsApp group. Each time I meet them I rend my shirt, fast and wear sackcloth and ashes. For some reason, my applications to commemorate them in Yad Vashem’s Hall of Names keep getting refused. I seek recognition of the fact that they perished in the Holocaust. Why do I face discrimination at the hand of Israel’s state institutions? In what way is the Shoah of Europe’s Jews in World War II more exalted than my Shoah? Why is there no Holocaust museum to sanctify their memory, together with their 5,999,998 siblings who died in the Shoah of American Jewry? Why are they not mentioned on Holocaust Remembrance Day?

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For that matter, why did the cabinet mark the Shoah of U.S. Jews without doing something about it? Doesn’t the prime minister constantly promise that there will never be another Holocaust, and that Israel will not stand idly by? Why isn’t the army called in to protect America’s remaining Jews, who every day face the danger of assimilation and annihilation in this Shoah? For what purpose was the State of Israel and the Israel Defense Forces founded, if not to guarantee that not one more Jew will ever be lost in a Holocaust in the Diaspora? Why aren’t U.S. Jews being airlifted to Israel, or guided by Mossad agents in the Mexican desert?

As long as we’re on the subject, why in hell aren’t I eligible for reparations? Am I not a victim? Why doesn’t the Israeli government demand compensation for survivors of the U.S. Shoah from the American government? I am a smoking ember, rescued from the flames! Had my mother and father not had the foresight to flee from the U.S. by the skin of their teeth in the early 1960s, influenced by the Eichmann trial, likely as not my children, too, would have perished in the Holocaust of assimilation.

I say this because I had another cousin – this one Jewish according to religious law, but a kind of kapo, a collaborator. Some years my senior, he exhorted and importuned me, with febrile vigor, to engage in sexual relations with gentile women while denigrating their mastery of the arts of seduction and lovemaking, in particular those of the Italian Catholics from Staten Island. I am suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and I deserve to be compensated. I want to rehabilitate myself.