The Boere Jode – Afrikaner Jews

Boere Jode are Jews who immigrated to South Africa and settled in Afrikaans speaking areas. At the beginning of the 19th century, small numbers of European (Ashkenazi) Jews arrived in South Africa from Europe. They founded the first Hebrew congregation in 1841. Between 1900 and 1930, Jews began to arrive in large numbers from Lithuania and Latvia (via Britain). Many of them arrived with nothing more than experience and seykhl (brains – “kh” pronounced like the guttural “ch”).

Most of the Jewish immigrants knew no English. Many were to learn Afrikaans before they learnt English. Others learnt Afrikaans only. The latter became known as the Boere Jode (Afrikaner Jews). Yiddish remained the language of the home. In my family, English was the children’s first language, and my parents second language. Yiddish was the language my mother and father spoke to each other. They spoke to us in broken English; or was it broken Yiddish? Izzy also knew some Russian but there were no other (Bela)Russians in the house to verify how much Russian he knew.

Yiddish is a complete language and one of a family of Western Germanic languages such as English, Dutch, and Afrikaans. Yiddish is closer to Afrikaans than English, and so, Jewish immigrants to Afrikaner regions of South Africa felt an affinity to Afrikaans and so learned the new language quickly.

The term “Yiddish” derives from the German word for Jewish” jüdisch. Yiddish was the mame loshn (mother tongue) of most Jews in Eastern and Central Europe. (The Yiddish word loshn is derived from the Hebrew lashon “tongue”). Mame loshn is not to be confused with my favourite: mama’s lokshin (noodles).

Yiddish began to come into its own around the 12th century after French and Italian Jews migrated to the Rhine valley. With the migration of Jews from Slavic countries in the Middle Ages, Slavic elements were added to the mix of Hebrew, Jewish French, Jewish Italian and a variety of German dialects. Yiddish reached a peak of 11 million speakers by World War I. After WWI, it began to decline. Then came the Holocaust of WWII and the disappearance of a vast swathe of Yiddish speakers. Today, about one million Jews across the world speak Yiddish.

There are modest attempts to revive Yiddish; for example, in America. Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, has been more successful in the Yiddish revival. Ultra-orthodox Jews in Israel use Yiddish, not Hebrew, as their language of communication. They reserve Hebrew for worship and religious studies. The ultra-orthodox Jew considers Modern Hebrew to be a corruption of the pure language of the Bible. Not only does the ultra-orthodox Jew refuse to speak Modern Hebrew, he regards those who do speak it as apostates. Israelis, in contrast, regard Yiddish as primitive; but then most modern Israelis regard much of the Torah in the same light.

The ultra-orthodox Jews are anti-Zionists. They’re not opposed to living in Israel – otherwise they wouldn’t be living there. What they do object to is Jewish political control of Israel, or Jewish control over any nation. They base this belief on the Bible, which teaches that only when the Messiah comes will the land of Israel come once again under Jewish control.

Most of the Russian Jewish immigrants to Israel – more than a million in the last decade – learn Hebrew and then English as their third language. The vast majority of these Russians are secular Jews who have no background in Judaism and thus know no Yiddish. The ultra-orthodox Russian immigrants, of course, already know Yiddish before they emigrate to Israel.

The basic grammar of Yiddish is Middle High German. The vocabulary is a mixture of Hebrew, German and Slavic elements. Yiddish vocabulary and idiom varied across classes where the more educated classes used more High German words than the original Middle-German of the Middle Ages.

Yiddish is written in the Hebrew alphabet. Hebrew words are pronounced as in Biblical Hebrew, and not as in Modern Hebrew. For example, Modern Hebrew talit (prayer shawl) is pronounced talis in Yiddish, which is the ancient (biblical) Hebrew pronunciation. Unlike the modern Jew, a Yiddish speaker uses the original pronunciation of the Hebrew Bible. Here is another example: a modern Jew says “Yisrael” (Israel), while a Yiddish Jew says “Yisroel”.

The oldest known printed Yiddish sentence is a blessing found in a prayer book in Worms, Germany in 1272 , which, like all Yiddish was written in the Hebrew alphabet:

gut tak im betag wer dis makhazor in bes hakneses trag
“(may) a good day come to him who carries this prayer book into the synagogue.”

Here is the literal English translation: (may) good day to him come who this prayer book into the synagogue carries.”

I said earlier that Jewish immigrants didn’t find Afrikaans difficult. One of the reasons for this was because the word order and much of the vocabulary are similar in Yiddish and Afrikaans. The above 12th century Yiddish sentence illustrates this point well. Here is the literal English translation of the Yiddish sentence above followed by the Afrikaans translation in italics:

“(may) a good day to him come

(mag ‘n) gooie dag aan hom kom

who this prayer book into the synagogue brings.

Wie die gebedeboek in die synagoge bring.

See the story of Colonel (Res) David Teperson, one of South Africa’s more lustrous Boere Jode.

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The Holocaust in Latvia

In the Moral Dust,  there was a photo of rabbis who had died in the Holocaust.  Many books have been written about the Holocaust. Some try to explain why it occurred, others say  there is no way to explain it. In this section, I provide some details about the events themselves, as they occurred in Latvia.

In the early 1920s, the German National Socialist Party planned to expel all Jews from Germany and to destroy European Jewry. The Nazis considered Jews to be barbarians, democrats,  liberals, capitalists AND  communists – qualities considered alien to the Aryan ideal of a salubrious Ger­many and Europe

On March 1941 Hitler – preparing to attack the USSR – appointed Heinrich Himmler, Reichsführer (Chief) of the SS, and Rein­hard Heydrich, head of the German Security Service, to organise the total and swift annihilation of  Jews living  in the Ger­man-occupied territory of the USSR. By July, 1941, the whole of Latvia was under German occupation. Of the 90 000 Latvian Jews, only about 15 000 managed to escape to unoccupied Russia – where they were not treated much better.

The Nazis appointed local anti-Semites in the in­vaded territories to assist in the annihilation. The Latvian Holocaust began on June 23, 1941. Jews were killed in different towns such as Durbe, Priekule, Jelgava and Zemgale. The main synagogue of Jelgava was burnt down.

The Latvians were generally pro-German:  they had had close ties with Germany for many centuries. As I mentioned earlier, the names of the streets and other places had German names. For example, in Libau,  the Latvian army was stationed at  “Kreigshafen”. Kornstrasse and Grosse Strasse were among the main streets, with the many smart shops and cafes, which were very much like Allenby street and Dizengoff street in Tel Aviv. (As of this date, Sept 2009, my brother Joe lives in Dizengoff Street).

In the capital, Riga, Viktors Arājs, a student, aged 31, was in charge of the mayhem. He is described as an “eternal student supported by his wife, a rich shop owner, who was ten years older than him. Arājs had worked in the police for a certain period of time. He stood out with his power-hungry and extreme thinking. The man was well fed, well dressed, and with his student’s hat proudly cocked on one ear.”

Under Viktors Arājs, the Riga Jews were arrested, beaten,  robbed, their synagogues were burnt down, and thousands  were killed. Individual Latvian self-defense units were also involved in the exter­mination of Jews. All killings were supervised by German officers.  In July 1941, about 4000 Riga Jews were transported to the Biķernieku Forest, where they were shot and buried in mass graves.

In the Dvinsk area (today’s Daugavpils) – where Mendel Gilinsky and his family lived until they moved to Libau, where Fanny was born) – about 15000 Jews were moved to the Grīva ghetto. Most of them were transported to surrounding fields and shot and buried in mass graves the size of houses. One German commandant of the Daugavpils Ghetto, Zaube, took offenders – espe­cially those who had smuggled in food to the inner square of the ghetto  – and shot them in front of the other inmates. Here is a photo of inmates of the Dvinsk ghetto awaiting transport to take them to the killing fields.

libau ghetto

The situation was similar in all the ghettos of Latvia. The Riga ghetto was set up in the  Latgale Suburbs, which was mainly a poor area inhabited by Jews, Rus­sians and Belarussians – all enemies of the Germans.  About 23,000 Riga Jews were moved to the ghetto, which already had 6000 inmates, and heavily overcrowded

Zaube, the German commandant of the Daugavpils Ghetto, stood out for his extreme cruelty. He killed offenders –  espe­cially those who had brought in food. They would be executed on the inner square of the ghetto in front of all inmates to frighten and to humiliate them. It was in Dau­gavpils that the liquidation of ghetto inmates started. On November 810, 1941, 3000 people were killed in Mežciems. The operation was headed by Obersturmbannführer (Lieutenant-Colonel) Günter Tabbert, who was then 25.

Let’s now go East to Libau (Liepaja circled in red on the map of Latvia below); my mother’s birth place.

libau map

Libau was invaded by the Germans  in June 29, 1941. I was born on 7 June of the same year very far from the Holocaust – in Cape Town, South Africa. The Jewish population of Libau counted 9,000, and straight away the systematic extermination started.

The first victims were 33 Jewish workers. Then all Jewish males between 16-65 had to come every morning to the “Hauptwachplatz”, where they were escorted to work in various work stations, accompanied by beatings. Many did not return home at night. They were ordered to dismantle the Great Synagogue,  the “Chor-Schul”, brick by brick,  and to destroy the Torah scrolls.Here is a picture of the Great Synagogue of Libau.

After the destruction of the Great Synagogue, the Latvian Press stated that the Synagogue cellars contained hidden weapons and stolen Latvian property.

In these first weeks about 2000 Jews were killed. On the 24 July, 3000 more Jewish men were assembled on the “Hauptwachplatz”. After they had been relieved of their papers and valuables,  they were taken to a lighthouse near a small fishing port where they were killed on the spot. Most of the smaller villages suffered a similar end. The executioners got a big kick out of killing 50 old men and women on Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, which is the most solemn day of the Jewish calendar. When Latvians living in the vicinity of the Lighthouse complained about the noise, the killings were suspended.

Not long after, Jews were ordered to remain at home on the 15 and 16 December. Their non-Jewish Latvian compatriots told them to dress warmly because they were to be sent to work far from home. They did not go far, a mere seven kilometers, to Shkeden, where 3000 were killed on the beach. Some of the killers were so overwhelmed by their own evil that they went insane. The German Commissar, Laze, complained to the German High Command that he needed the Jews for his labour force, and the killings were upsetting his plans. Berlin’s pithy reply: “Economic considerations are not to be taken into account in solving that problem.”

After several more exterminations, until January 1942, the Ghetto of Libau was established. In early July there were 816 people including 175 males in the Ghetto. There was a small synagogue, a library and a small mobile clinic. Life was relatively good in the Ghetto. The German Commander, Kretscher, a rare exception, treated the Jews humanely. After 18 months, on 18 October 1943, all  the Ghetto inmates were jam-packed into railway cattle cars and taken to the “Kaiserwald” Camp near Riga; 360 of these were sent to the Auschwitz Crematorium, and many were sent to other camps around Riga. As the Russians approached Riga, most of the Jews in Libau were railed to Germany through Danzig and Stutthof, and were dispersed into camps in Germany. Non-Jewish Latvians – many of them with Jewish blood on their hands – also beat a hasty retreat into Germany to avoid falling into Russian hands.

When Libau was liberated, 40 living Jews were found out of the 9000 who had lived there until 1941. If my family had remained in Libau, I  would have been  three weeks old. My family and I would have been killed very soon after.

By October 1941, about 35,000 Latvian Jews had been killed.  The Jews that survived a while longer were put under house arrest and could only leave the homes for brief periods of the day. Besides having to wear the predictable yellow star, they got lower food rations, and only at special shops. They couldn’t attend any public places such as cinemas parks, libraries, museums, bath-houses. They also had to hand in their radios and  bicycles, jewelery and any other precious items. They were then moved to ghettos were they could be organized as a source of cheap labour.

Here is an account, among many, from by Jack Glocer, an Auschwitz survivor, who says: “‘I had a cousin who had a 3-month-old daughter on the train we took to Auschwitz,’ Glocer remembers ‘When we arrived at Auschwitz the child was grabbed by a Nazi soldier and thrown on top of a pile of burning babies.'”

Besides the killings there were the cursings and  brutal beatings. The worst for the majority of the inmates of the camps was not the ovens, for by the time they were thrown into the ovens, they were already dead;  it was the appalling suffering in the camps. And most terrible of all, the final never-ending moments in the gas chambers.

Here’s the irony: the Jews of Latvia were very proud of their German culture; German culture had become the greatest culture in Europe. Who was there to compare with Hegel, Goethe, Schiller, Beethoven, and Mozart? The irony is that at the time that Hitler began his assault and extermination of the Jews in Europe, the greatest honour for a Jew was to be a German Jew; Polish Jews were at the bottom of the pecking order. In many cases, it was difficult to state whether a German Jew was more proud of being German or of being Jewish.  This was particularly so for “progressive” Jews, where progress meant shucking off the shackles of religious “superstition”. We might say the same for many modern Jews. What if we asked Steven Spielberg, or many of the other Jews of New York (over two million) – the proudest, because the most successful, group on the planet – what  they were more proud of: being American or Jewish? And they had to choose.

As a result of the holocaust, the faith of many Jews flickered, and  died. My days vanish like smoke; my bones burn like glowing embers. My heart is blighted and withered like grass; I forget to eat my food. Because of my loud groaning I am reduced to skin and bones. All day long my enemies taunt me; those who rail against me use my name as a curse. For I eat ashes as my food and mingle my drink with tears because of your great wrath, for you have taken me up and thrown me aside. My days are like the evening shadow; I wither away like grass (Psalm 102).

But for others, the flames and the ashes and the smoke may temporarily blot out faith, only to flicker into life again. BUT you, O LORD, sit enthroned forever; your renown endures through all generations (end of Psalm 102).

How could anyone praise God after that. That is the mystery of Israel. And the mystery of all humanity, and most of all the secret of God. No Jewish biography can ignore it, because every Jew, even those Jews who despise or are indifferent to Biblical Judaism – the Jewish majority – cannot tear up the covenant that God made with His people.

Let me say something more about the word “Holocaust”, and see how this relates to the desire to “go up to” the Land of Israel. Holocaust comes from Greek holokauston (“that which is completely burnt”), which was a translation of Hebrew ‘hola (literally “that which goes up,” in this case, in smoke). In Hebrew, an immigrant  is “Oleh (someone who goes up) Chadash (new). In the holocaust, an ‘olah’ goes up in smoke. Both ‘olah’ and ‘oleh’ are from the same verb root ‘to ascend’. The State of Israel is determined that the olah will never ever happen again.

One of the ways to strengthen this resolve is through immigration (aliyah – same Hebrew verb root as olah and oleh ‘to go up’).  The Bible – Newer Testament as well as the Older Testament  – prophesies much worse things to come, where many of the  immigrants (olim – plural of ‘oleh’) and/or their descendants will also experience an olah, a going up in smoke, which will be far more devastating than the Nazi Holocaust.

The Bible teaches that only a remnant of Jews will remain when the Messiah comes – for the first time, according to Orthodox Judaism; for the second time, according to orthodox Christianity. So, Jews who are presently preparing to go to Israel are oblivious that they are leaping into the heart of the flames. It reminds me of the abortion clinic. The womb used to be the safest place for a baby; today it is the most treacherous. There is coming a time when Jews, like the unborn baby, will be screaming again to escape the fire and the smoke: “Never Again?” The Bible says, yes, again, and much worse.

Although, the Jews were the main group of victims of the Holocaust – about 6 000 000 across Europe – there were many other victims of the Nazi genocide: one-half million Gypsies, about 250,000 mentally or physically disabled, and more than three million Soviet prisoners of  war. Other victims were Christians, Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals, social democrats, communists, partisans, trade unionists, Polish intelligentsia and other undesirables. Here are three names of the hundreds of thousands of Jewish children killed by the Nazis. These three, from the same family, are from Osvei (Osveya), Belarus, My father, Izzy’s birth place:

Naum Gutkin 15  1942

Roza Gutkin 13 1942

Leib Gutkin 17 1942

In the Northern Libau port district of Karosta stands  the stunningly beautiful Babylonian-style Cathedral of St Nicholas.

One would not normally associate such grandiose imperial architecture with a synagogue. The contrast between the Great Synagogue of Libau and St Nicholas Cathedral is evident. Yet one does find synagogues that try to emulate the Russian Othodox Church; for example,  the very Babylonian-looking synagogue below. It’s not in Latvia, or anywhere in the Russian Empire, or anywhere in Europe. It’s in South Africa, in Pretoria. It, of course, is little competition for St Nicholas Cathedral. The Pretoria synagogue was inaugurated in 1898. De Vries, a Lithuanian Jew, who was the first Jewish settler in Pretoria and a prominent figure in South African life, was involved in the establishment of the synagogue.

De Vries became the state prosecutor, a member of the Volksraad and a pioneer of the Afrikaans language. His English was probably very poor, as was the case with many immigrant Jews who settled in Afrikaans communities in South Africa. “De Vries” is now a common Afrikaans name in South Africa.  Many of the Jewish settlers in the Wellington-Malmesbury area spoke with a a “brei” (the french gargly “r” ). I went to boarding school in Wellington, but more of that later. What happened to the Old Synagogue in Pretoria? How does it relate to the final end of the Libau Synagogue.  The Pretoria  Synagogue became the new Supreme Court and was used for security-related cases such as the treason trial in 1962 of Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and 26 others . The inquest into the death of Steve Biko was also held in the Old Synagogue.

Pretoria synagogue

What, or who, is that staring at me through the the entrance of the shul. I see, good grief, the visage  – prominent forehead, deep set eyes and whimsical little smile – of a Russian Orthodox saint! St Nicholas?

The Jewish Community of Dvinsk (Daugavpils)

Below is a map of Latvia. Riga, the capital, was the main port of the Baltic States (Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia) and was the main port of embarcation for transmigrants from the Russian Empire (which comprised the Baltic States, Russia, and Belarus – Izzy’s country of origin. Mendel Gilinsky was born in Dvinsk, now called Daugavpils (bottom left corner of the map). It is the second largest city in Latvia.

dvinsk

Jews occupied Dvinsk (now Daugavpils, Latvia) since at least the 17th century. It became one of the foremost Jewish cities of the Russian Empire and a centre of Jewish culture and commercial activity. It was part of the Russian region of Vitebsk Gubernia. Osvei, (now in Belorus), Izzy Gamaroff’s (born Gamerov) birthplace, was also situated in Vitebsk Gubernia. In the 18th and first half of the 19th  centuries, the countries of Latvia and Belarus did not exist. There was only Russia (the “Russsian Empire”).

In 1910, Dvinsk  numbered 111,000 of which 50,000 were Jews. It was within the Pale of Settlement. It derived its influence more from Russian, Lithuanian and Polish influence than from German influence as was  the case of Libau (my mother’s birth place). Libau was German in character as a result of nearly 700 years of domination by the Baltic Germans. That is why Libau had German street and landmark names.

Commerce and manufacturing in Dvinsk were largely in Jewish hands. The most important Jewish trades were tailoring (1,210) and shoemaking(Mendel Gilinsky, my mother’s father). There were button and match factories, and a tannery, and so forth under jewish ownership. Dvinsk was one of the chief artillery depots of the Russian Empire and large garrisons of troops were stationed there.

There were many poor Jews in Dvinsk who had to rely on state aid. There were also Jewish charitable institutions that provided soup kitchens, a dining hall, a “bikkur holim” (visiting the sick), a dispensary and a hospital.  All these were organised and run by the Jewish community.

Dvinsk was a key centre of Jewish thought and culture and produced a number of rabbis respected throughout the Jewish world, for example,  Chief Rabbi Kuk [Kook] (1865 – 1935), the first “Ashkenazi” chief Rabbi of the British Mandate of Palestine. “Ashkenazi” refers to Yiddish speakers, who were European Jews. Sarah Feige Foner who lived in Dvinsk as a young girl gives an evocative account of Dvinsk Jewish life in the early 20th century.

19th Century Dvinsk

19th Century Libau, my mother’s birth place

The Cape Jewish Orphanage (1)

 

Origin of the Cape Jewish Orphanage

 

I spent my very early years at the Cape Jewish Orphanage (three to nine years of age; 1944 to 1949). In 1994, I visited the Kaplan Jewish Archives at the University of Cape Town, where there are dozens of boxes of files on the Cape Jewish Orphanage. The Orphanage was situated in Montrose Avenue, Oranjezicht.

Events often appear to happen by chance. The origin of the Cape Jewish Orphanage was one of these seemingly chance events. The need for such an institution had been suggested in 1907. What got things moving in 1909 was the plight of three Jewish orphans who were living in squalor in the small village of Piketberg. They were found working at the back of an hotel. The Jewish community realised  that there were probably other neglected Jewish orphans in South Africa, and therefore decided that a home was need to house them. Three people who played a prominent role in the planning were Joseph Kadish (in English, Joseph Holy), Reverend  A.P. Bender and Isaac Ochberg. Ochberg, at the age of 15, came from Kiev  in the Ukraine,  which at that time was the heart of the Russian Empire. He prospered as a timber merchant, and took a great interest in helping the underprivileged.

The Orphanage committee rented a cottage in Mill street, Cape Town at £4 rent a month. By 1914, the house became too small to accommodate the demand. In that ominous year, before the outbreak of war, it was decided to expand. A new site was bought in Montrose Avenue, Oranjezicht for £1,125.  In 1915, the foundation stone was laid – by  the Governor General of the Union of South Africa, Lord Buxton. In 1918, the end of the WWI was overshadowed by the outbreak of Spanish Flu. which claimed more victims that the 1914-1918 slaughter. In “Black October”, Cape Town lost 10% of its inhabitants. There were also a few deaths at the Cape Jewish Orphanage. The death toll for the Union of South Africa was over 120 000.

In the early 1920s, the Jews in Ukraine were suffering terrible pogroms. “Pogrom” is the Russian word for “destruction” derived from the Russian verb “to destroy, wreak havoc, demolish violently.” Uri Avnery defines pogroms as “riots by an armed mob intoxicated with hatred against helpless people, while the police and the army look on. The Pogromchiks destroy, injure and kill.” The irony is that Avnery, a Jew, is writing about “fascist” Settlers who “riot in Palestinian villages whose lands they covet, or for revenge.” In January, 2009, the Israeli army was at war with Hamas in the Gaza strip. Three years earlier, Israel forcibly removed the Jewish settlers from Gaza.  Israel’s reason for the January 2009 bombing and invasion of Gaza was the incessant firing of rockets  by Hamas into Israel. Hamas responded that they were justified in their actions as long as Israel continued to blockade Gaza and occupy the West Bank. It is highly unlikely that there can ever be peace between Ishmael and Isaac. The Bible speaks of a perpetual enmity between the half-brothers.

To return to the history of the Orphanage, Jews were caught in the middle of devastating forces that were rocking the Russian Empire. After the Czarist system collapsed in 1917, culminating in the murder of Czar Nicholas II and his family, opposing armies, –  the Reds and the Whites – were fighting each other for control. As a result, the already very opppresive condition of the Jews  became far worse. Out of the famines and typhoid epidemics,  anti-Semitism became more virulent than in past centuries.

The Ukrainian and Polish peasants joined forces with the Red Army to massacre Jews wherever they were to be found. Pogroms were reported every day. Although details of the scale of the destruction remain unknown, it is known that between 1919 and 1921, 70 000 Jews were murdered and a similar number wounded in 1400 pogroms under the Ukrainian leader Simon Petlura. One of the reasons given by supporters of the Pogroms is that the Jew’s love of money destroyed his humanity.

On 12 January 2009, I watched a documentary on the “Ochberg Orphans”. In the 1920s  Isaac Ochberg brought out hundreds of Jewish orphans from Eastern Europe during the Jewish persecutions. Many of  these orphans were housed at the Cape Jewish Orphanage in Cape Town. In the documentary, one Polish Jew explained: “The Jew is eager to lend you money. He lends you 100 slotis and writes down 300. Then he hounds you until you pay up.”  If only it had stopped at the Jewish monopoly of money lending. One of the anti-Jews in the documentary trotted out the medieval legend of the “matzo of blood” that Jews prepare from the blood of Gentile children. He said that the Jews put gentile children into a drum spiked with nails, drain the blood and use it to prepare the matzoth. The Nazis had a similar view. here is a piece from Der Stürmer, May, 1934, originally published in German: ”They (the Jews) are charged with enticing Gentile children and Gentile adults, butchering them, and draining their blood,” which is a bizarre twist to the medieval practice of thrusting a frail naked Jew in a nail-spiked barrel and rolling it down a hill while fellow Jews were forced to watch. On the other hand, the Jewish Talmud does say awful things about the Gentiles. The Talmud is a written record of the so-called Jewish oral tradition: “ each journey through it can have a different final meaning and significance for individual readers” (Jonathan Grall). I wonder how many different final meanings can be culled from the following Talmudic quotation: “Every Jew, who spills the blood of the godless (non-Jews) is doing the same as making a sacrifice to God.” (Talmud: Bammidber raba c 21 & Jalkut 772). The Nazis quote many such passages from the Talmud. Sadly, much of the Talmud is a blight on the Torah and a swallowing of camels and a straining at gnats – and where did Mohammed pick up much his knowledge of “Torah”? From Jews who thought more – and arguably knew more – of the Talmud than the Torah:

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You pay tithes of mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier things of the law: judgment and mercy and fidelity. (But) these you should have done, without neglecting the others. Blind guides, who strain out the gnat and swallow the camel! Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrite” (Matthew,23:23-25).