The Fire of Justice becomes the Firing Squad
And at the beginning, even anti-Communist Orthodox Jews were sympathetic to their Communist brothers and sisters.
Because the discrimination against and the persecution of Jews (plus the poor treatment of working class & peasant non-Jews) was very real.
Laws, regulations, and hateful attitudes limited where Jews could live, what occupations they could engage in, how much they needed to pay in taxes, how much protection they deserved, and so on.
Pogroms and other horrific treatment also plagued the Jews of Eastern Europe.
My own family (the Russian side) decided to immigrate to America when, after their business caught (or was set) on fire, they alerted the fire department—who then proceeded to burn the rest of it down.
Oh, those wacky Moldavian firemen!
But it was a blessing in disguise because it meant they arrived in the USA at the turn of the 20th Century and avoided facing both World Wars on European soil.
Anyway, the point is that whether you are a Communist or not, it’s easy to understand why a global call for equality and the elimination of poverty was so appealing. Early accounts of Orthodox Jews’ attitudes toward their Communist fellows read somewhat like how Orthodox Jews today feel toward their Liberal family and friends:
“They’re basically decent people who just don’t know any better. They’re good people who mean well, but they just don’t understand.”
“Hence, she came to us without a recommendation; but Mother pitied her and hired her nonetheless.”
Presumably, the Ledermans forbade Rachelka from influencing their son because he never knew then that she was a Communist. And regarding his Orthodox mother’s attitude toward Communism, he stated:
“…being deeply religious, she rejected Communism with its material-atheistic notions of Utopia.”
But at the same time, he explains that the unjust treatment of the working class upset his mother. In order to make just enough to live on, the working class was forced to toil for long hours in unhealthy and sometimes dangerous environments for low pay.
“She even sympathized with the fiery proclamations about the need for change…” he writes of his mother.
Mrs. Lederman sounds like a lot of us, right? There are a lot of extremely likeable Jews with anti-Torah attitudes and non-Jewish partners. And we do like them. (As we should.)
Mrs. Lederman also helped Rachelka send her boyfriend food and books in prison, and helped Rachelka herself flee the Polish police, which paid off later when Rachelka and Ochab (now a married couple) became successful Communists of wealth and power, who used their high position to help Mrs. Lederman make aliyah after the Shoah.
(And no matter how high he rose—and he rose pretty high, Ochab also never tolerated discrimination against Jews—perhaps also because of Mrs. Lederman’s early kindnesses.)
As Lederman writes of the time his mother approached the Ochabs to ask for their help in joining her children in Eretz Yisrael after the Shoah: “Rachelka welcomed mother warmly, murmuring apologies for living in posh surroundings which did not exactly bespeak the ‘equality of men on earth,’ which she had preached with all the idealistic heat of her youth.”
Interestingly, Mrs. Lederman had to tell the Ochabs they might as well put her in front of a firing squad if she could not join her two children in Eretz Yisrael before they agreed to wield all the necessary influence on behalf of Mrs. Lederman. As Rachelka herself explained, “It would be dangerous even for someone in our position to do more than we have already done.”
Yet Mrs. Lederman’s assistance toward them during a time of anti-Communist persecution—hiring a Communist, providing for an imprisoned Communist, and helping a Communist escape—surely must have been dangerous for Mrs. Lederman. Yet she did all that, apparently without anyone needing to make such dramatic proclamations as she needed to make to the Ochabs.
(Highly recommended, this book describes the Nazi invasion of Poland, the Ledermans experience as a family—sans the father—in a Siberian labor camp, Mrs. Lederman’s incredible activities in rescuing Jewish Holocaust orphans from non-Jewish institutions and guardians, and the Ledermans’ post-war aliyah to Eretz Yisrael. The section describing in compelling detail how Mrs. Lederman rescued these orphans is particularly captivating.)
Eventually, the heinous Yevsektsiya formed, a Jewish arm of the Communists which hunted and persecuted Orthodox Jews for being religious and, well, not Communist.
Their stated goal emphasized the "destruction of traditional Jewish life, the Zionist movement, and Hebrew culture"
In a book of fascinating stories called Harav Schach: Conversations - Stories to Inspire the Yeshiva World compiled by Rav Asher Bergman, Rav Schach recalls his time in Slutzk:
“In those days, the Communist movement attracted many Jews to their ranks because of their supposed love of equality for all people of all races.”
But then he describes the vicious turn life took as Jews shed their Judaism and Torah values in favor of Communism, emphasizing their hatred for anyone who studied Torah:
“The persecution was so great that my uncle Rav Isser Zalman Meltzer and I were forced to go into hiding in the ezras nashim [women's section] of the shul, and there we learned with the greatest caution and readiness, because if those Communist Jews would suddenly come in, we would have to close our Gemaras and flee…one day, they…discovered our hiding place. At that point, Rav Isser Zalman and I jumped right out of the window onto the street, fled, and slipped over the border, away from Russia.” (pg. 40-41)
Additionally, Rachelka and Ochab’s original sincerity and idealism mirror that of Liberal/Leftist Jews—along with their eventual immersion into materialism and power.
Notice, too, how Rachelka and Ochab—despite their power—lived in fear of their own party. This is true today, when Liberals who don’t chant the party line down to the last detail will be taken down by their own supporters. (For example, Hillary Clinton's history shows her to be a war-monger, but she talks like a peacenik to her constituents, except for the times she slips.)
As indicated in Part I, Leftist Jews haven’t yet reached the point in which frum Jews in America must learn Torah in secret and jump out of windows upon discovery, but it is close to that point regarding Leftist Jews’ attitudes toward pro-Israel Jews.
(And Leftists in Israel have done some pretty nasty things to Torah Jews in the recent past.)
Leftist Jews—mostly irreligious and Jewishly ignorant—attend or even organize fiery rallies against Eretz Yisrael and her most loyal inhabitants.
They’re also deeply ashamed of your average IDF soldier and actively side with the worst of the Sharia-zombies to persecute the loyal Jews in Eretz Yisrael.
Again, it's important to note that early Communists, whether Jewish or not and whether Eastern European or Chinese, were sparked by the very real injustices they saw around them and comprised many very earnest and self-sacrificing people. Initially, many were driven by genuine compassion.
But then everything took a horrific turn.
If you look at the history of Communism from its beginning until its evolution into a terror-inducing bear, you can see where American Leftists are holding now on that timeline.
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