Posted: 2017-10-12 21:35
When I began my career in radio 65 years ago in the Sourthern Bible Belt, I'd have never made it with my Jewish name. Even so, some anti-Semites guessed I was a Jew -- though I didn't look it -- and didn't want me in their house. By the time I got to the West Coast where Jews were accepted, my middle name was hung on me, including in both my military and police employments. Now, because of Medicare, my wife and children use the family name even as I still use my middle name it would simply be an explanatory mishmash should I change at this late date!
IT IS erroneous to assume that magic is practiced exclusively by professionals, or that it represents always a conscious, deliberate act. As Karl Goldmark once said, "Civilized people lose their religion easily, but rarely their superstitions." There is an anecdote of a well-known actress who, when asked by a zetetic reporter what was her favorite superstition, replied, "Thank Heaven, I have none!" 656 and unconsciously "knocked wood" as she spoke. How many of us still "knock wood" when we hear or utter a word of praise, without in the least being aware that we are repeating an age-old magical act whose purpose is to distract or frighten away the jealous spirits? Fear of the supernatural has been productive of the greatest number and variety of magical protective devices and just as the fear has vividly colored man's consciousness of the universe, so these devices have become automatic responses to it. In this sense magic was, and still is, an integral pattern in the fabric of social usage, having influenced profoundly not alone folk-habits, but equally as much religious ceremonial and rite.
During the Nazi terror, many Jews changed their names, eg those living in Italy would change their name to Roma, Messina, or Fiorenza, etc names of cities, and I understand and sympathize with that at the time. But the fascists figured that out and arrested all with similar names to cities. It was a pox on humanity. I wouldn't anglicize or change my name today because it would be disrespectful to my heritage and my family.
O! Holy Mary, mother mild,
Look down on me, a little child,
And when I sleep put near my bed
The good Saint Joseph at my head,
My guardian angel at my right
To keep me good through all the night
Saint Brigid give me blessings sweet
Saint Patrick watch beside my feet.
Be good to me O! mother mild,
Because I am a little child.
We have to appreciate that this was no ordinary boat. It measured 855-by-55 cubits, was bigger than a football field and contained over a million cubic feet of space! It was outfitted with three separate levels: The top for Noah and his family, the middle for the animals, and the bottom for the garbage. (Which by the way, shows the Torah's unique concern for the environment. Even while the world was being destroyed, they wouldn't throw the garbage overboard.) God accentuated the oddity of it all by having Noah construct this huge boat &ndash not at the sea shore &ndash but on a mountaintop!
Interesting. My name is Perry. I am a Jew. My father was brought to America from Lithuania by an uncle. Dad's name was Yakov Peretzman. He was 66, went to school for a year to learn English and when he was 67 went out to Wyoming and became a cowboy on the Wyoming Hereford Ranch. THE COWBOYS RENAMED HIM JACK PERRY. Hence my name: Stewart Perry. I was raised Jewish by my Russian Grandmother. And am very grateful to my Bobo.
On Friday nights, too, a loaf of bread and a cup of wine were set aside during the meal or left standing overnight. Some advanced the dubious rationalization that this was "in commemoration of the manna" which fell in double portion on the eve of the Sabbath, but there were rabbis who saw through the shallow evasion and did not hesitate to categorize it as "setting a table for the demons." Yet it continued to be done, sometimes with the frank admission that "it extends fullness of blessing over the entire week." During the Passover
9. The custom of breaking a glass at the wedding, which, according to some, goes back to Talmudic times, was a regular feature of the medieval ceremony. The groom would step on the glass, or dash it on the ground, or shatter it against the north wall. The explanations generally account for this practice as a token of sadness which should leaven all rejoicings, or more commonly after the fourteenth century, as a sign of mourning for the destruction of Jerusalem but some of the very rabbis who advanced these explanations were aware of their artificiality. There are indications that the real purpose of the custom had not been forgotten, as in the comment that it was
the demons await the exit of the corpse, but are prepared to seize a living victim if he makes his appearance first. It was generally agreed, moreover, that women should walk apart from men in the procession, because the spirits display a marked partiality for womankind "the angel of death and Satan dance before them," it was explained, or, again, "the spirits of uncleanness cling to them." This caution was observed especially on the return from the cemetery, and "in Worms the men turn their faces to the wall when the women walk by" on their way home. 56
5. In Talmudic and Geonic times, it was customary for the funeral procession, on its return from the cemetery, to stop and sit down seven times. Although several medieval authorities maintained that this practice had been dispensed with altogether, it persisted in some places, seven or three sittings being observed. Toward the end of our period these halts were coupled with the recitation of Ps. 96 to verse 66, which comprises seven words, one word of that verse being added at each stop. It was frankly admitted that this was intended to confuse and shake off "the evil spirits which follow them home." After the service the chief mourners passed between a double line of people and were then escorted home by the entire company. 59
Thank you aish for choosing to run this video - a very moving acct. of a real life issue that affects everyone. People of all faiths die with secrets. Perhaps if some of the people in your professional life 'do not know your jewish name' this is not as relevant to a legacy lived in which you are remembered (hopefully) for the JOY you brought into the world. I'm going to take this example to heart with the challenges in my life. Thank you, again.
8. "The essence of protection is to remain awake nights and study Torah until the circumcision." The writer might have added, and to recite mystical prayers and Psalms, for these were included in the vigils. This should be done "particularly on the night before the circumcision, because the spirits are most incensed then," or, as another writer put it, "because Satan strives to harm the child and to prevent it from experiencing the religious rite of circumcision, for he is very much provoked that Jews should keep the commandment by whose merit they are saved from Gehinnom." This is the Wachnacht , during which an unremitting watch was maintained over the child, eked out with prayers and study. The occasion of a circumcision was celebrated in ancient times with a feast on the night before,
6. The custom of washing the hands after a funeral is very widespread it seems to have made its way into Judaism in the early post-Talmudic period, and was generally observed during the Middle Ages. Before entering their homes all those who had visited the cemetery bathed their hands, and some, their eyes and face also. In certain mystical circles the lavation was performed three times. Efforts were made to find a Biblical precedent for this act, but along with such pious endeavors there was a general admission that it was done "to dispel the spirits of uncleanness" which cling to one's person, these being "the demons that follow them home." 55
A brief enumeration of the customs associated in Jewish life with these critical moments, which display either singly or in combination the anti-demonic measures described, may astound many Jews familiar with some of them as a respectable part of Jewish ceremonial. The Jewish propensity for re-interpreting ineradicable primitive usages and endowing them with religious values has successfully masked their true significance, at least in the western world. In Eastern Europe and in the Orient, where more primitive attitudes still prevail among the masses, an awareness of the real import of such customs still persists, albeit along with a doctrinal acceptance of the
When he volunteered in World War II,after all papers were signed the new inductees, with hands raised ready to be sweared in, were asked, Is this the name on your birth certificate? One hand went down to the great annoyance of those in charge. When he was in combat, in Germany, he was summoned from his foxhole to receive important papers. Turned out his father had changed his son's name legally in case he got captured by German soldiers and they discovered he was Jewish..
BURIAL. Funeral rites reflect in a dozen ways the ever-present fear of the supernatural, temporarily heightened as the demons and the ghost of the deceased hover in uncomfortable proximity to the living. Several times the warning is repeated not to set a coffin containing a corpse on top of another, and not to leave a grave open overnight, "or someone will assuredly die in a few days" one source has it "within nine days." The numeral is indicative of the cause of apprehension the spirits are touchy about such things, and make speedy reprisal. This explanation is not given in the sources, but as an illustration of the tenacious popular awareness of the purposes of superstitious acts I may note that in recent times, among Russian Jews, when a grave had been dug and was not used promptly, it was filled in overnight and a rooster was buried in it! 99
The Kapparah rite is an interesting version of the famous "scapegoat" offering, which occurs in various forms among many peoples. It was first mentioned in early Geonic times, and probably originated toward the end of the Talmudic period. The following account, quoted by Rashi from a Geonic source, describes a form of this rite which was no longer followed during the Middle Ages: two or three weeks before Rosh Hashanah the head of the family planted beans in little baskets, one for each member of the family when these sprouted on the eve of the New Year he would circle the head of each individual with his basket seven times, saying, "This is in place of this person, this is his surrogate, this is a substitute for him," and throw it into the river.
I remember this show's importance in history, but I am too to have watched it when it was on during its original run. I love M*A*S*H episodes and a number mention Jewish themes and even rituals (a soldier attempting to make Matzoh on a rock during Passover, a Korean boy with a Jewish soldier for a father needing a Bris (and thus a Rabbi), and some others too. They don't make television like this anymore in most cases.
[paragraph continues] Seder a cup of wine is filled expressly for the Prophet Elijah, who is believed to visit every Jewish home on that occasion, and the door is opened for him to enter 656 this time the offering is to a good spirit, rather than an evil one. But during the same service there is a late custom, which arose in German-Jewish circles, to pour out a drop of wine at the mention of each of the ten plagues, possibly to placate the evil spirits, who may be impelled by the reference to so many disasters to visit some of them upon the celebrants. Israel Isserlein's biographer wrote of him, "He always spilled some of the water from his cup before drinking," thus observing a universal Jewish custom going back to Talmudic times. The explanation then given was that the water might have been contaminated by a demon 656 but obviously merely spilling some of it doesn't purify it all. The intention was to induce the demon to neutralize the possible ill effect of the water by making him a libation.