Rabbi Ken Chasen has a new article on The Forward you don’t want to miss:
“12 years ago, I met with a young German Christian woman who sought my assistance in converting to Judaism.
As I listened to her reasons for wishing to be Jewish — her marriage to a Jewish man, her partnership in raising a Jewish daughter, her affection for the customs and traditions of Judaism — I could see tears welling in her eyes.
When I inquired about those tears, the dam burst, and she began to weep openly.
“My marriage and family are inspiring me to convert,” she told me, “but my history stands in my way. How can I ever become a Jew, after the horrors my people brought upon the Jews? How can I be welcomed? How can I ever be forgiven? I can’t even forgive myself.”
“But you weren’t even born until two decades after World War II had ended. You hold no guilt for the Nazi atrocities,” I countered. …
How might America meet its own moment of moral challenge today if our nation were to engage habitually and forthrightly in acts of collective responsibility for our past, as Germany does?
How might our national soul be impacted if our country’s brutal dispossession of Native Americans was regularly owned and solemnly commemorated?
How might our treatment of endangered immigrant populations be altered if we were consistently reminded of the moral degradation of the Japanese-American internment camps in World War II?
How might the plight of African-Americans on our streets and in our courts be aided by a sincere acknowledgment of accountability for the slave ships that brought the ancestors of many millions of our modern-day citizens to the United States in chains?
The still-piercing shame from the Holocaust felt by many in Germany today should be seen neither as heartbreaking nor puzzling.
Rather, it is a badge of enduring conscience that just may save today’s German Jews from the same hatred that engulfed the Jews eighty years ago. Might we, as Americans, similarly learn from our shared history how to steer clear of repeating our collective past sins?
The great Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel famously taught: “Some are guilty. All are responsible.”
There is nothing wrong with feeling the weight of responsibility bequeathed to us from our national past.
Indeed, it is noble and just to feel responsible.
A nation demonstrates its character not by declaring its exceptionalism but by striving for it. It is past time for America and Americans to do so.”
Where do you think this plague of White guilt comes from?
I have no idea. I’m sure it has nothing to do with this group of people though who rose into the American elite in the mid-20th century. I’m sure their collective weight in every elite culture forming institution in the United States has had no negative impact on our culture at all!