A Preparation of Impromptu Remarks

I Don’t Blog Here Anymore
November 26, 2011, 1:37 am
Filed under: Personal

I’m a little embarrassed by some of my older posts on this blog… So I decided to create another source of embarrassment. Makes perfect sense to abandon one folly and embark upon another… right? (also, my subscription wore out and everything reverted back to ugliness) You can find me at jessturner.wordpress.com now.



Crazy Girl Throws Temper Tantrum in Public
November 7, 2010, 2:09 pm
Filed under: Israel, Personal

I had an emotional breakdown in public today. I don’t even have those in private. But first let me give this some context…

Last night I rented “The Pianist,” starring Adrien Brody. It was extremely difficult to watch. Draining. The attention to detail is superb, and it is perhaps one of the most historically and emotionally aware/accurate films I’ve ever seen. It is set in Warsaw during the invasion of Poland in 1939, and follows one man – Władysław Szpilman – throughout his experience inside and outside the ghetto walls.

While watching this film, I was thinking about the research paper I am in the process of writing. It addresses this question: “Could America/Great Britain have done more to save Jewish lives during the Holocaust?” The answer is most certainly YES; but that is not what I want to focus on. Rather, I want to know: 1) where was the outrage AND 2) Why aren’t more people concerned about dispelling the ignorant beliefs that foster anti-Semitic attitudes? Do people even know what needs to be dispelled?

As I was watching “The Pianist,” with other historical events in mind, my frustration grew. The compliance of the general populace with the atrocities being committed made me want to pull my hair out. However, I was even more on edge because of the large and looming anti-Israel bias that is prevalent today… even after all this history.

Are anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism the same thing? Many would say no. However, there is a very observable correlation that cannot be ignored. According to recent research – not to mention my personal, nonchalant observations – anti-Semitism is on the rise. In fact, more global anti-Semitic incidents were reported in 2009 than any year since WWII. Much of this growing anti-Semitism is fueled by increasing anti-Israel beliefs and attitudes. It’s a dangerous situation with ingredients just waiting to be stirred. Ironically, this week’s “What Would You Do?” episode featured anti-Semitism. The results, while somewhat encouraging, were also tainted by the fact that you don’t have to go far to find historically ignorant and hateful people.

This morning I decided to visit Michigan Avenue (Chicago, IL) and see which new books were out at Borders. I had no goal in mind, but ending up purchasing “The Case For Israel” by Alan Dershowitz. I’ve done my own in-depth personal studies on this matter, starting my freshman year in high school when I gained an interest in Israel’s modern history. However, Dershowitz presents the arguments in such a clean, convincing manner that I decided it would be a much-used, helpful reference. I walked out of Borders feeling very adamant, mulling over arguments I’ve had with former friends and acquaintances regarding Israel, and whether or not the Jewish people have the right to their own nation (which is, by the way, the size of New Jersey).

As I was contemplating these things, book in hand, I cut through the Water Tower plaza area. The crowd changed. I came to the realization that I was surrounded by a line of people, on either side of myself, holding up signs. Mildly confused for a moment, I soon realized what was going on. A pamphlet was shoved in my face: “End the Siege on Gaza. Stop Atrocious Israeli War Crimes.” Another one said something about one Jew’s life not being worth the Palestinian nation. There were pictures lined all along the plaza of bloody Palestinian children – apparently mutilated by malicious Israeli soldiers. A man started yelling “we just want Salaam!” Another picture was shoved in my face. I shoved it away with an angry, “NO.” I stopped and turned around, standing in the middle of the crowd, wanting to yell something. But I couldn’t. All I could say was, “Stupid.” I was so frustrated my eyes were welling up with tears and my face was already bright red. The protesters noticed. Three men stopped their conversations and turned toward me with curious expressions. I just turned around and walked away, tears in eyes. I’ve encountered anti-Israel protesters many times before, but this was different. I was unprepared and emotionally primed. The timing was too perfect. I thought of all the ignorant shoppers, and how easily they could be convinced by the out of context facts, figures and pictures. Propaganda that could be likened to Hitler’s clever campaign.

Killing was justified in Europe because people believed the Jews were the cause of their financial troubles, etc. Strong religious anti-Semitic beliefs also ran deep, and it did not take much to bring them to life. Today people see Israel as an annoyance. There have been scads of books and articles written on how the Holocaust needs to stop being used as an excuse for the Jewish nation, Israel.

This is deeply troubling. I’m not saying the glass is half-empty or anything, because that would imply a misguided psychological interpretation of the situation. I’m simply saying this is how it is. These are the facts. This is what is happening. It’s unacceptable. No matter how scarce or prevalent.

A blind boy feels a relief of a map of Israel.
Photo by David Rubinger, “Witness to An Era.”

“In This Twilight How Dare You Speak of Grace”
November 1, 2010, 10:32 pm
Filed under: Personal, Truth

I am in the process of finishing “East of Eden” by Steinbeck, and have been thinking about “timshel” (תמשול) lately. If you’re unfamiliar with the background, take a brief gander at this explanation and/or the excerpt from the book.

Very provocative story, inspired by Biblical themes. Read it.

Anyway, I attended a concert last night. I’m not big on the whole “fan-dome” thing, but I do admire Mumford & Sons at times. Mostly I respect them because of their brutally honest lyrics and passionate performances. They played their newest unreleased song, “Broken Crown,” and it floored me. I feel compelled to share the performance as it is quite relevant to “timshel” (among other things), and fills this concept with palpable emotion. Please pardon the minor use of expressive language.

Watch first, then read the rest:

…and to add even more background/food for thought to the topic at hand:

Yechezkel (Ezekiel) 28:13-18 [Click for Hebrew translation]

“In Eden, the garden of God you were; every precious stone was [set in] your covering; ruby, topaz, diamond, chrysolite, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, carbuncle, and crystal and gold; the work of your drums and your orifices is in you; on the day of your creation they were established. You were a cherub of great measure, that covers, and I gave that to you; you were on the mount of the sanctuary of God: you walked among stones of fire. You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created until wrongdoing was found in you. Because of the multitude of your commerce, they filled you with violence and you sinned, and I shall cast you as profane from the mountain of God, and I shall destroy you, O covering cherub, from among the stones of fire. Your heart became haughty because of your beauty; you destroyed your wisdom with your brightness; I have cast you upon the ground; I have set you before kings to gaze upon you. Because of the multitude of your iniquities, with the wrongdoing of your commerce, you profaned your sanctity, and I shall bring forth fire out of your midst-it will consume you, and I shall make you ashes on the ground before the eyes of all who see you. All who know you among the peoples will wonder over you; you shall be a terror, and you shall be no more, ever.”

Do our choices seal our fate? What are the implications of the cherub’s fall for mankind, and how does it relate to the serpent in Genesis 3:14-15 (think Eden)? What kind of commentary is “Broken Crown” making on such themes? These are questions to which the illuminations are woven throughout the Tanach. However, I believe it is vital to assess and trace this text for oneself for it to be truly impacting.

This deserves discussion and analysis. Thoughts? Observations?

Brief Thoughts on Sleep and the Interruption of It
August 28, 2010, 4:19 pm
Filed under: Personal

I’m back in my dorm, attempting to survive the last year-and-some of formal education left on my “life agenda.” Really, it’s not that bad. I only make it that way because I feel like I’ve “been there, done that,” and have no desire to re-live the bonding, peppy years of early college-hood. As a thrice-transfer student I’m just ready to be independent of the floor activities, schedules, dorm life and various social and financial obligations that I find to be pointless and irksome. I also don’t feel like pretending to get excited about annoying music and dance parties (one of which just sprung to life in the lounge at this very moment). Katy Perry? Someone put me out of my misery.

Maybe I’ve always been a stick in the mud, though. Yep. It’s probably true.

But that is beside the point, and is not what I want to talk about this lovely evening. I want to talk about sleep and the sacredness of it – and how mad I get when someone carelessly rips that sacred and basic human right from me.

It happened last night. Again.

There have been times I can recall when I’ve wished for an aviation headset to wear to bed. Really. I have actually desperately longed for this “conventional” item in the early AM hours. Rescue. Something to put me out of my misery. I would do almost anything to have that clunky thing getting in the way of a truly comfortable sleep just to rest in blissful silence. I wished for this again briefly last night when the piercing, echo-locative shrieks of girls getting back from wherever-they-were ripped me from the reverie I had FINALLY drifted into. However, that longing quickly transformed into a more ragged emotion. Rage. When the shrill noises and carelessly loud conversation reached my eardrums, it didn’t take long. I became a roused mother bear who, in her delirium, just realized some stupid campers were ogling her baby cub. It didn’t matter that the campers meant my cub no harm. The point IS it’s NOT their cub. It’s mine. And I’m going to kill you. I mean, just let me sleep, darn it, or I will rip you in two.

That is a brief, tamed summary of what goes through my head at 2 AM, and the ensuing hours, when I am unable to fall back asleep. I know I’m not the only one who has such violent urges and thoughts. Don’t even try lying to yourself. I might be a jerk, but I do know when I’m mildly justified in my irritation.

Oy. Vey.
February 14, 2010, 12:49 pm
Filed under: Israel

I saw Avatar in 3d with my family over winter break. Loved the imagery and other-world concept – very cool. However, the not-so-subliminal stereotypical, moral message was a tad annoying. “Overkill” and “ridiculous” are the words that come to mind. The bad guys are really bad, and don’t blink an eye when it comes to plowing over the indigenous peoples (or, “Na’vi) for oil… I mean, natural resources. Pretty original, right?

Bil’in, a Palestinian village, decided to reenact Avatar on Friday in attempt to symbolize their “united resistance to imperialism of all kinds.” The outcome, like the movie, is predictable. The Bil’in demonstrators march up to the security wall, accompanied by cameramen (ready for the show?!) already wearing gas masks, and proceed to capitalize on the drama that is created. What ensues is choppy footage of Israelis throwing teargas at the innocent “Na’vi”-Palestinians.

Like I asked James Cameron after watching Avatar: “Really?”

The Art of Accuracy
February 10, 2010, 10:56 pm
Filed under: Israel, War

According to Col. Desmond Chambers, main military analyst for the Goldstone “report,” Hamas only fired two rockets into Israel the month prior to Operation Cast Lead. Hmmm… that’s interesting. Especially when one takes a look at the statistics. This particular graph was put together by The Israel Project via the IDF. However, I urge any readers to check out additional sources of even somewhat reputable credentials. You’ll find they report similar, if not the same, findings.

November = one hundred and thirty rockets fired into Israel (one month prior to OCL). Or… according to Chambers, two. So there was one month when only two rockets were fired? Does that justify anything? I guess Israel totally pulled the wool over the world’s eyes with the hundred-and-some other rockets. Real easy to do, right? That disqualifies a huge number of witness accounts and official records. Chamber’s ridiculously far-out claim is but one drop in the sea of extreme fabrication and anti-Semitism under the “guise” of anti-Zionism.

That is all I have to say about that.

Independent Thinker… Or Not
January 16, 2010, 9:59 pm
Filed under: Personal, Quote(s)

Now that I’m back in Chicago and mobile again (a benefit of city life), I have been able to indulge myself by visiting various used/new bookstores and purchasing the occasional book. It’s been quite a while since I’ve read for pleasure. A book I’ve been meaning to read (but never got around to checking out) is Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. Just cracked it open today… already hooked.

Here’s a quote that I thoroughly enjoyed:

“Oblonsky subscribed to and read a liberal newspaper, not extremist, but the one most people went by. In spite of his having no particular interest in science, or art, or politics, he was firmly guided in all these subjects by the views that most people and the newspaper held; he only changed them whenever most people did, or rather, he did not change them – they imperceptibly changed within him of their own accord.

Oblonsky never selected either his opinions or his point of view; opinions and points of view slipped into him automatically, just as he did not choose the fashion of his hats or coats but took whatever was being worn. Since he lived in a certain society and had a desire for some intellectual activity, such as usually develops with maturity, it was just as vital for him to have opinions as to have a hat.”

Sound anything like the majority of people today? Myself, even? Scary.