The Ratio of Cows to Grandchildren

I’ve recently picked up the book “The Kiruv Files” by Dovid Kaplan and Elimelich Meisels (Targum Press 2003). It’s quite a good read with chapters on many issues faced by newly minted BTs. It’s also pretty funny. Here is a particularly interesting excerpt:

You may have heard of Yitz Greenbaum, one of the early Israeli Zionist leaders and a man notorious for his antipathy toward Torah and religious Jews. He is famed for his statement “One cow in Palestine is worth more than a million religious Jews in Europe.”

Well, bearing that in mind, read the following story told to me by a Rebbe of mine.

One afternoon my Rebbe was busy with various tasks, overseeing the sundry details of running a large yeshivah, when someone came running up to him and said, “Rebbe, you’ve got to come to the conference room right now. We’re interviewing a potential student for the yeshiva.”

My Rebbe, not grasping the uniqueness of this particular interview, said “Look, I’m kind of busy right now. Maybe someone else can do the interview.”

“But, Rebbe, you don’t understand. This is not just any student. This is Yitz Greenbaum’s grandson!”

“Really?” He exclaimed. “This I’ve got to see. Yitz Greenbaum’s grandson on his way to becoming a religious Jew! To witness how Hashem has brought it all full circle, that is truly a miracle!”. He immediately dropped what he was doing and went to meet the young man.

Another descendant of a distinguished politician of Greenbaum’s era also came to learn in a famous yeshiva in Eretz Yisrael. This boy’s grandfather was a brilliant Marxist theorist and revolutionary, one of the most powerful people in the world, a leader in a country devoted to eliminating religion completely. The country: Russia. The politician: Lev Davidovitch Bronstein, otherwise known as Leo Trotsky, confidant of Lenin and creator of the Russian Red Army.

Yitz Greenbaum and Leon Trotsky, two brilliant, rebellious Jews, each convinced he had discovered the real solution to the Jewish problem–the abandonment of Torah–in exchange for a utopian political system.

Now they and their movements have crumbled in the dust, while the Torah they tried to eradicate is not only relevant and flourishing, but has become the province of their very own [grand]children.

“Mah gadlu masecha Hashem –How great are Your works, Hashem.”

pp. 40-41

45 comments on “The Ratio of Cows to Grandchildren

  1. The NY Sun ran an amazing opinion piece yesterday by Hillel Halkin. Here’s the link:

    http://www.nysun.com/article/47629

    He manages to argue persuasively for the Jewish exclusivity of the Holocaust without resorting to religious/theological arguments. Perhaps the greatest disservice that Museums such as the Wiesenthal Center have done with their universalizing the Holocaust is to unintentionally aid and abet the deniers. Every Modeh b’Miktsas= one who partiallyadmits is, by definition, a kofer b’Miktzas a partial denier. Sadly, the difference between a Holocaust revisionist and a Holocaust denier is one of degree not of kind. This is true even about the most benign “interpretive” kind of revisionist who universalizes the Holocaust through the prism of distorted hashkafos/political-historical analysis.

    For those unable to access the link here’s the money quote from the piece:
    “Yet even if one sides with Holocaust denial laws on the grounds that denying the Holocaust is a form of hate speech that deserves to be outlawed, an affirmation of “Holocaust remembrance” accompanied by an overlooking of the Jewishness of most of the Holocaust’s victims is simply exchanging one form of Holocaust denial for another.
    The delegate from Indonesia was right. The Holocaust is not the world’s “only human tragedy,” and if we wish to turn it into a universal symbol of human tragedy, or of human evil, we are ignoring the most important thing about it, which is that it would never have taken place, or proceeded as far as it did, had not much of the world, though disliking the Nazis, thought that the people they sought to exterminate deserved it because they were Jews. If the world can’t remember that about itself, there’s not much point in remembering the Holocaust at all.”

  2. Ron and Michoel, though you are challenging my point, and do raise good challenges, I think that your experiences validate the fact that children and grandchildren of survivors perceive the issue from a radically different point of view than those descended from families unscathed by The War. I wonder if anyone has ever done a demographic study showing how many BTs who returned over the last 20-30 years are 3rd generation+ Americans and how many descended from survivors.

    Though your evidence is anecdotal Ron, I speculate that a study of Jews inculcated with a distorted Judaism consistent of Holocaust Remembrance exclusively would yield statistics showing a high percentage of intermarriage and a low percentage of BTs.

  3. As a son of a survivor and a BT, I’d really like to weigh in on this conversation a little at length but I don’t know when I’ll have the time. Holocaust Education had a very negative effect on me as a non-Orthodox Child. As an adult who has, Baruch Hashem, choosen Orthodoxy, the more I study, the more my emunah is strenghtened. But today’s Orthodox youth have a lot of issues and are not, on average, very strong in emunah. We have become fairly spoiled as a people. We are not so able to deal with emotional and intellectual challenges and see them through to there proper conclusions. So I tend to think that Expanding Holocuast studies would have a negative effect on the majority of students, but it would certainly strenghten some.

  4. Still, do you think that, perhaps, Torah Jewry has allowed for important holes in our children’s education by eliminating or minimalizing Holocaust studies? Is it right that until about a decade ago the average Yeshiva or Bais Ya’akov student (not descended from survivor grandparents) was completely unfamiliar with some of the basic names, dates, facts and figures of the greatest calamity to befall us since the Churban Bayis Sheni?

    This is a wonder to me. My wife and I remark all the time that our kids in the right-wing cheder-type school in Passaic seem to be fed a steady diet of Holocaust stories. It is not part of the curriculum but it seems to be a constant flow, perhaps unintended, of oral history. The childrens’ books, too, are overwhelmingly about resistance, spiritual and otherwise, to the Holocaust.

    I myself am not the least bit interested in names, dates and places of mass murder, which tend actually toward the dehumanizing and, I think, despiritualizing of the phenomenon. I grew up on that, attending a camp that was so obsessed with it — the non-profit corporate owners of Camp Hemshekh were actually Survivors of Nazi Persecution, Inc. — that as a result of these descriptions my wife calls it “Holocaust Camp.” Most of the Holocaust experts I grew up with are intermarried.

    I just don’t think there’s any chance of our children not being profoundly aware of this. Maybe it’s because our extended family, merely a remnant of what was, is so small, and my generation is all named after martyrs, so we take it for granted.

    Or maybe it’s because I really can barely handle the topic myself with my children that I resist the suggestion that we need more. Once I had my own children I found this topic, which I once discussed and learned about with all the passion of a quasi-survivor-child’s obsession, almost unbearable to discuss in person.

  5. Chaim-the tours that I have mentioned are definitely getting people our age and older. R D S Z Leiman also conducts an annual tour of somewhere in Europe, Western or Eastern. R B Wein has also done much in providing a Torah based historical perspective that does not pass judgment.

    As far as the museums are concerned,your last point is exactly my point-the “Shoah business” has ignored spiritual resistance and Torah values to the point of perhaps allowing for a token display as in the case of Yad VaShem. That’s why Rabbanit Farbstein’s sefer/book should be read and IMO the building blocks of any discussion within our communities.

  6. Addendum to 36

    As we (the Torah Camp) have ceded Holocaust memory/study almost completely to the secular and/or non-Jews I am confronted with an educational dilemma. Until such time as a frum/Torah perspective Memorial/Museum/Literature comes into being I am left with no places to visit/ books to read save those created by non or even anti-Torah Jews. Until such time as we can get a Museum with a heimishe Hashgocha (don’t hold your breath) I for one plan on having my kids visit the existing ones when it becomes age-appropriate for them to do so. Better that than a vacuum.

    BTW I have visited the Wiesenthal Center in LA which is affiliated with Y.O.L.A. AKA Y.U.L.A. As a Museum it is a masterpiece, perhaps superior to the one in Washington. As a purveyor of Torah values however it is IMO a failure. It universalizes The Calamity way to much for either my tastes or my notions of Providence and the covenantal relationship with G-d unique to K’Lal Yisrael.

  7. SB-
    (In 37) True, but these are of fairly recent vintage. I think a whole generation “missed out” and there is still precious litle being done in boys Yeshiva’s.

    Michoel, thanks, I’m really way too thin skinned for blogging!

  8. Chaim G.
    I was not AT ALL implying any disrespect on your part. I have seen much disrespect directed toward Rabbanim that have expressed some of the opinions you quote.

  9. Chaim G-I agree in part and disagree,Yes, we owe a large degree of Hakaras Hatov to secular Zionism. Yet, to engage in exercises that whitewash its shortcomings does noone any benefit. I am glad that you agree that “there is no business like Shoah business.”

    I think that sefarim and lectures such as those by Rabbanit Farbstein are a model for examining the Holocaust in our communities. I don’t think that any inquiry, courses, books, etc that are predicated on passing judgment are worthwhile.After all, if R E Wasserman Hashem Yimkam Damo stayed in Europe and other Gdolim did not who became the post war Gdolim, then we have no business in even beginning to argue the rightness of any Gadol who left or stayed-regardless of what he may have said publicly. I also think that claim that the past generation’s ignorance is overblown.In BYQ, IIRC, students are assigned a project of talking to and interviewing a survivor in their immediate family or a neighbor. Many seminaries sponsor trips to Eastern Europe to visit Kivrei Tzadikim, cities that were the centers of Torah as well as the camps. These trips are led by none less than R P Krohn and R Z Leff as well as Rabanit Farbstein. I don’t believe that this is a unique assignment and therefore, I reject the claim that yeshiva and BY students are ignorant.

  10. Steve- I did not read the Ha’Aretz article and am in basic agreement with your point about the Ersatz Judaism of the Holocaust Industrialists (as Rav Dovid Cohen shlit”a once quipped “There’s no business like Shoah business”).

    Still, do you think that, perhaps, Torah Jewry has allowed for important holes in our children’s education by eliminating or minimalizing Holocaust studies? Is it right that until about a decade ago the average Yeshiva or Bais Ya’akov student (not descended from survivor grandparents) was completely unfamiliar with some of the basic names, dates, facts and figures of the greatest calamity to befall us since the Churban Bayis Sheni? I think that this is another example of frum overreaction to causes championed, albeit to the point of grotesque distortion, by the non-frum searching for surrogates for Torah.

    I for one believe that we are doing a great disservice to our children both here and in Eretz Yisrael by not educating them in the history of anti-Semitism and especially its genocidal excesses. The relative peace and prosperity we’ve enjoyed over the past 6 decades is a historical anomaly. Rachmana Litzlan=HaShem should save us and our children from further calamities and travails, but how will a “soft” generation with neither first hand exposure to “rough” anti-Semitism nor any education in it’s history deal with the inevitable (if Moshiach does not come soon C”V) next wave?

    Here I take issue with Michoel. True, many Gedolim have confronted the Theological and philosophical issues of The War, but in most Kehilos this has not filtered down to the rank and file and it is either totally ignored or very marginalized in our educational system. Maybe this Ostrich-with-it’s-head-in-the-sand approach works but I find it troubling.

    Do YOU agree with my point from comment #12?

  11. Michoel-

    Let me clarify. There were things that Einstein made as simple as possible. For non-physicist me they’d be simpler than possible. The greater the Genius the greater the capacity for nuance and clarity, for comparing and contrasting to the nth degree of subtlety. It in no way disrespects e.g. Rav Boruch Ber to say that even after poring for hours over his chidushim his meaning/explanations elude me.

    Similarly (or, I believe even more so,) when the Satmar Rebbe opines that the Holocaust was the wages of the sin of Zionism, when the Gerrer Rebbe says that the Holocaust was the wages of bochurisha aveiros, when Rav A. Miller says that the Holocaust was the wages of the sin of general interbellum weakening of observance, when certain Chardal theoreticians intimate (if I’ve heard correctly) that the Holocaust was the wages of the sin of too LITTLE Zionism, when Rav Hutner writes about the unity of Eisov and Yishmael as a balloon payment on the Tochacha, in short when there are such wildly divergent opinions AMONG Gedolei Yisrael with no extant mechanism for resolution what’s a simple Jew to do to try to wrap his/her mind/heart around this question of questions??? I did not mean any disrespect. (which it sounds like you were accusing me of). I meant to say that for me and my puny mind and heart few if any of these approaches resonate let alone provide full and satisfying explanation. What may have been clear and simple to a great mind and soul is “simpler than possible” to my own. Far from a bizayon= humiliation IMO this is an expression of Kavod=respect affirming their exalted position over my own. In fact part of what keeps me going as a frum post-Holocaust Jew is an emunas Chachomim in those much greater than me who somehow made sense out of it or decided to carry on without being able to. This is especially true of both Gedolim and rank-and-file Jews who lived through the Nazi Hell and came out of it with their faith intact or enhanced.

    Full disclosure: I am neither a Gerrer, Satmarer, Chardal et al Chasid nor Talmid and find this an example of “These and those are the words of the living G-d” which BTW is, to me, another of the conundrums completely beyond my ken.

  12. Chaim G, I was just expoundin on your point that some stuff are not understood and can’t be explained like destiny and free will …… I was just givin you examples( ók maybe a bit on the lateral end of literal)of how complicated concepts like free will and destiny really are.

  13. Chaim G, perfectly profound ponderings on stuff.Especially the destiny versus free will fantasy.Aside from the brain being sort of pre programmed just think of pharmacology and all the medications out there fixing levels and balancing out excess ènergy … Your basically fixing free will ànd tweaking stuff to the personal advantage of the end users brain.And subsequently removing the free will component and everything is just picture perfect and no impulsive ènergy and sin in sight.

  14. A Jewish generation that can identify the names of the death camps R”L but draws a blank at the names of Chamishei Chumshei Torah, Shisha Sidrei Mishnah and is utterly ignorant as to basic Jewish holidays and concepts is Jewishly illiterate
    Well, your real point is, isn’t Steve, that it’s far worse than Jewishly illiterate.

  15. Chaim G-WADR, I stand by my posts on this issue. There is a world of difference between engaging in theodicy of any kind and discussing whether the historiographical basis and biases of Yad VaShem and Yom HaShoah vHaGvurah are inclusive of the Charedi world or present an adequate, no less a positive, basis for exploring one’s Jewish identity.

  16. Chaim G.,
    I agree with you, especailly your good point about the “vestige”. That being said, while we cannot answer the profound and painful “kashe” of the Holocaust, I think we are obligated to state with convidence “me’es H’ haisa zos”. And in that, I think the Charedi world has done an incredible job of confronting (or dealing) with the Holocaust in a way that is a collosal Kiddush Shem Shamayim. The very act of getting up and continuing to build despite the questions. And I think that is something that confounds and frustrates and maybe even angers folks like Haaretz.

    A further point: There were and are those G’dolim that gave straight forward explanations for the Holocaust. Our own conundrum cannot lead us to be m’vazeh those that don’t share our confusion.

  17. IMHuO (Hu here stands for hubris not humble!) No one, either secular or religious, has “dealt” with the Holocaust. The issues raised by it are imponderable conundrums right up there with predestination vs. free will and general theodicy.

    Einstein advised that “Things should always be made as simple as possible…but never simpler”. Personally I find all Holocaust “explanations” and “Theologies” simpler than possible. I am a believing imperfectly Torah Observant Jew. As such I try to live a
    Torah observant life in spite of serious irresolvable questions (e.g. predestination vs. free will). The Talmud at times concludes a Halakhic query with the intellectual stalemate conclusion “Teku” i.e. no answer for now, the resolution of this question will have to wait for Elijah/the Messianic era.

    So many of us were first turned on to Yiddishkeit by dynamic Rebeim/ presenters/ authors who made the Torah system rationally satisfying (Permission to Believe…Failsafe et al). A vestige of these blissful days of our personal spiritual development is to constantly attempt to rationalize EVERYTHING, to make everything “fit”. IMO a healthy self-assessment of our human limitations demands that we resist this temptation especially vis a vis the Holocaust lest we malign and libel either G-d or the martyrs on a path paved with good intentions.

  18. IMO,it is important to realize that Yad VaShem and its allies, the proponents of Yom HaShoah vHaGvurah, have attempted to create an ersatz Judaism known as “Holocaust studies.” WADR for the generation of the survivors, as R E Buchwald has stated, a Jewish identity built solely or even primarily upon knowledge of the Holocaust era is depressing and cannot serve as a positive means of inculcating Jewish identity and continuity. A Jewish generation that can identify the names of the death camps R”L but draws a blank at the names of Chamishei Chumshei Torah, Shisha Sidrei Mishnah and is utterly ignorant as to basic Jewish holidays and concepts is Jewishly illiterate.

  19. What Haaretz means is that since any sentient being will of course consider the Holocaust to be an open contradiction to traditional Jewish belief, by definition, the Charedim are not “dealing” with it. In fact, it is the secular Jewish world that has yet to “deal” with the Holocaust.

  20. PJS’ introduction into this thread was based upon his disapproval of the quoting of Greenbaum as saying “One cow in Palestine is worth more than a million religious Jews in Europe.” I believe that his intention was good, if not brusquely and broadly stated. I actually regret quoting that section of the book since, as PJS points out, there is not a proper source for it. Had I known that in advance, I would have left out that portion of the text.

    That being said, I can’t fathom why PJS is seeking to re-direct this discussion citing to something he calls “Of direct relevance” that really is completely tangential and, at least as spurious as he claims the attribution of the “cow” quote to be. In addition to Steve Brizel’s points made about the author of the Haaretz piece’s seeming ignorance of Reb. Farbstein and her experience, it is equally troubling how that author can quote a statement about “Haredi society’s reluctance to confront the most difficult questions arising from the period. Questions like “Where was God in the Holocaust?,…” Surely, someone of PJS’ intellect and experience is aware that this topic has been grappled with on a broad scale even during the Shoah.

  21. If you read the Haaretz article carefully, you will see that it is nothing more than what Haaretz specializes-belitlling anything that emanates from the Charedi world. More significantly, it demeaned the efforts of Rabbanit Farbstein, whose pioneering 500 plus page book in Hebrew on religious life and leadership that was published by none other than Mossad HaRav Kook ( hardly a Charedi press) and favorably reviewed by Haaretz back in 2002! IMO, the article displays a lack of knowledge of Rabbanit Farbstein’s book , which is being translated into English. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in a thoroough, non judgmental and non-hagiographic treatment of these issues. There is simply no other book that approaches its thoroughness and refusal to cast judgment, as one sees far too often in books on this era, regardless of their POV.

  22. Chaim G-I don’t disagree with the need for hakaras hatov. While I am against historical revisionism in any fashion, the simple facts and historical record are that the secular labor Zionist establishment has sought to construct a state,history and historiography that really excluded any thinking over its pre war perspectives, tactics and strategy and which went out of its way to deny the role of spiritual resistance.

    Yom HaShoah VHaGvurah is a very clear exhibit. It is designed to commemorate the Holocaust and physical resistance. In fact, the enabling legislation for Yad VaShem explicitly states that Yad VaShem is solely interested in these fields, as opposed to what one can argue is the equally important role of spiritual resistance. While IMO both spiritual and physical resistance should be given equal play in this regard, one can Yad VaShem which views the Holocaust as a prelude to the establishment of the State and which has at best a token relgious component and/or the Tank Museum at Latrun, which again seems like a display of “kochi votzem yadi.” For those who want a dissent from the secular Labor Zionist narrative, I highly suggest the Begin Museum.

  23. PJS (#19)–There are a lot of things wrong with that article. FYI, Haaretz is definitely not the best source for objective (or even remotely accurate) information on the Hareidi world.

  24. Nachum,
    I am missing your point about “they”. Who is “they”? I have read Perfidy. That someone has read it doesn’t mean that they hate Israel but it does mean that they probably have a more balanced sense of historical context to understand current tensions in Israeli society than someone that has only read rah rah Pro-Zionism propaganda. And to intimate about the author of Perfidy that he hated Israel is a rather severe motzi shem ra about the deceased.

  25. Actually, one of Trotsky’s descendants is a leading Kahanist.

    Oh, they bring up Perfidy. They always bring up Perfidy. I wonder if they’ve ever read it. As an NCSY adviser said to me about Perfidy, “You have to love Israel before you can hate it.” It seems like most posters here never covered the first step.

  26. Regarding the current health of the Zionist State : Check out these coverages of the appointment of the first Arab/Muslim Cabinet Minister and the reaction of Yisrael Betenu MK Esterina Tartman
    http://www.nysun.com/article/47539

    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/816015.html

    http://card.wordpress.com/2007/01/21/arab-cabinet-pick-stirs-%e2%80%98zionism-racism%e2%80%99-debate/

    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1167467781933&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

  27. Instead of trying to brush off the secondary source materials cited above, PJS could personally do a little digging and find original source material about Yitzhak Gruenbaum (or leads to such material) at Agudath Israel of America and elsewhere. Footnotes in the secondary sources could also lead PJS to the materials sought.

  28. I just read a magazine article, can’t remember where, that cited wild statistics about the descendents of Nazis living in Israel, many of them as Orthodox converts. Anyone else see it?

  29. P.S.

    If we want our condemnations of Holocaust deniers and those who aid and abett them to carry some moral weight then we ought not to indulge OURSELVES in the self-congratulatory luxury of ANY type of historical revisionism.

  30. I second Charnie but would expand it as follows: The Zionist Enterprise/undertaking AKA the State of Israel, is alive. The Soviet Union is not. Whether or not it is “well” is a debatable point as is the numbers of Zionists of Mr. Gruenbauams stripe in this “post-Zionist” era of Israeli History and developement.

    One thing that IMO is not debateable is that the secular Zionists of both the right and the left were the instruments through which the Hashgacha worked the founding and the maintainance of the State. The significance of that historical fact as well as the metaphysical contributions of the anti, non and religious Zionist Torah Observant Jews I leave to the Theologians to thrash out.

    But to write “Now they and their movements have crumbled in the dust, ” i.e. to equate the movements of Trotsky and Gruenbaum in terms of their historical staying power is Historical revisionism at best and triumphalist Satmar-infused wishful thinking at worst.

    IMO it also reveals and unbecoming ingratitude very prevalent in Torah circles today to wit; that we owe nothing, absolutely nothing, to secular Zionists past and present despite having reaped, and continuing to reap the benefits of their vision movement and sacrifices. Many of these people that we routinely dismiss paid the final full measure of devotion for all Jews to be able to live in Eretz Yisroel. Don’t we owe them some small measure of Hakoras HaTov instead of prematurely and almost gleefully reporting their demise?

  31. PJS-read The Seventh Million and The First israelis. The quoted remarks from Greenbaum can be easily accessed there.

  32. I have read and seen statements by the late Yitxchak Greenbaum in this genre, albeit in Charedi works that accuse the secular Zionist movements of doing nothing for European Jewry. IIRC, one can find such statements in Tom Segev’s “The Seventh Million” and possibly even in Hanna Arendt’s book “Eichman in Jerusalem”.

  33. JT,

    I would agree that this syoty doesn’t prove anything, I’m not a big “proofs” guy anyway (and I’m not talking 40% proof either) Nonetheless, I found it an interesting, relevant BT story (“Yitz” references aside).

  34. David linn, loove the title. The actual story though is basically a newly discoverd absolut flavor on that “the grass is always greener …” slogan.Maybe he just drank too much Absolut cherry pits which is the sort of existence that would make any grandchild whether he is from brilliant Marxist theorists stock or Rabbi Yisroel Salanter stock switch muddy pastures for Israeli yeshiva ones.this doesn’t really prove anything the same way an individual with direct ties to brisk or any famous rebbi or rabbi or whatever decides to join a radical hippie group does this mean that the radical hippie group is the truth just çuz the newly refurbished hippie comes from brilliant king Solomon stock. It just means he’s having a midlife crisis and radical hippie head guy gave him comfort structure warmth and meaning and definitely purpose at the right time.

    PJS , interesting correlation on that Yitz thing. For a second my brain registered that Yitz name under the figuretive image of some well known kiruv guy.But then I re read it. not sure if that’s what your talkin about or if that was intentional but the power of subliminal message is really awesome whether intentional or not or whatever.

  35. PJS,
    See the footnotes in Perfidy by Ben Hecht. (not the text which you may argue is biased but the footnotes which quote at lenght directly from the court records of the Kastner trail)

  36. Charnie,

    Just for clarification, I didn’t experience or write this story. With the exception of the title (glad you like it :) and the intro paragraph, this is all a direct quote from the book cited.

    Apparently, there are a few (great)grandchildren of former high ranking nazis that were megeyer (converted), that is an incredible story.

    Greenbaum’s own son was a notorious anti-religious kapo. I’m not sure if the boy in the story is his son or his nephew but it makes the transformation even more incredible.

  37. David, I beg to differ on whether or not both movements are dead. Communist Russia, gone. But anti-religious Zionism (aka, non-datti), still around. But that’s not the point of your story (love the title of your article), and perhaps you should have also included the gere who is a descendent of someone who was a powerful Nazi during WWII (I don’t remember the details, but I’ve heard the story several times).

  38. PJS

    I’m not sure where you are going with the whole “Yitz” vs “Yitzchak” thing. That was a direct quote and whatever your misgivings about the attribution of the other substantive quote and your concerns about motzei shem ra, I think the whole “Yitz” thing is a bit of a stretch.

    As to the actual quote being sourced, while it is widely believed and often recorded by others that Yitz(chak) Greenbaum said this, I believe you are correct that there is no direct source.

    As to your lionization of Yitz(chak) Greenbaum for his role during the Holocaust, that is much more troublesome than calling Mr. Greenbaum, Yitz. Greenbaum repeatedly failed to put effort and funding (although it was at his disposal) into the rescue of European Jewry. There are adequate reliable sources to document this allegation not the least of which is Greenbaum’s own “In Days of Holocaust and Destruction”.

  39. PJS has a homework assignment, too, to find out from Agudath Israel of America exactly what Yitzhak Gruenbaum (note spelling) did or did not do regarding non-Zionist religious Jews trying to flee from Europe before and during WW2. I’m sure they have more than adequate files to document their case.

  40. I do not believe that Yitzhak Greenbaum has ever been referred to as “Yitz”, which I think is a subconscious(? deliberate) effort to associate him and the allegations you are making with another, more contemporary personality. For the record, Yitzhak Greenbaum was responsible, directly and indirectly, for the rescue of thousands of Jews from Europe.
    Can you sunstantiate / authenticate that (in)famous quote? (And I mean REALLY authenticate it, not quote from another hearsay source.)Isn’t it ‘motzi shem ra’ to repeat this slander? Isn’t that a really serious issur? ?

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