Are we really one?

For some reason, the current COVID-19 crisis and lockout Reminds me of a story I heard years ago: The story goes that 70 years ago, a US Secretary of State asked Ben Gurion: "How come you people consider yourself a Nation? Are Polish and Syrian Jews the same? After 2,000 years of Diaspora, Is it even possible for the Jews of Yemen, of Romania, of India, of Argentina to see themselves as one Nation? Very calm, Ben Gurion answered him: Listen, 200 years ago, the Mayflower left England carrying the first colonists who established themselves in what is now the United States. I dare you to ask ten American children the following questions: 1) What was the name of the Mayflower's captain?; 2) How long did the trip take?; 3) What did people eat during the trip?; and 4) How was the sea during the trip? I doubt you'll get an answer to any of them. It is, however, already 3,000 years since we Jews came out of Egypt. Please, in one of your trips around the world make a point of meeting with ten Jewish children from different countries. They will all know perfectly well the name of the capitan who took them out of Egypt, how long was the journey, what they ate during the trip and how the sea behaved"

Since the journey from Slavery to Freedom, we, as a Nation, supporting each other, survived one peril after another - the Pharaoh, Amalek, Babylonians, Assyrians, Greek, Romans, the Black Plague; we've been accused of everything from killing the Messiah to an ingrown toenail. We are now going through the same all over the world. The latest attack is a poster doing the rounds in the Internet and saying "If you have the bug, give a hug - spread the flu to every Jew"

We will survive the 11th plague as well. And we will again live up to the words of Mark Twain: ..."The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind. All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?" (From "Concerning the Jews" by Mark Twain)

Answering Mr Clemens, the secret lies in the words of Ben Gurion: We Remember, and we believe in family, in community, in supporting each other.

Coronavirus, too, shall pass. In the meantime, our Jewish Family Services continues to reach out to those in the community who need help - because we ARE one. And when we come out of the other side of the tunnel, we will greet each other with joy and this experience, too, will become part of who we are.

If you need help, or if you wish to help, contact Michael Strickland at or (706) 469-7977



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