Saturday, August 29, 2009


I'm sitting at the Sabbath table on Friday night. We're having our usual chaotic discussions which end up with people being very loud and yelling at each other, then erupting in terrible laughter (usually the kids) and me just wanting to walk away or wishing I was in New York or somewhere else far away.

This time I was commenting on the Jerusalem Post's article that 90% of Palestinians are believed by some to have been originally Jews, the ancient Jews of Israel, who were forced to convert to either Christiantity or Islam in later years. They're the ones who never left. So instead of having an intelligent conversation around the table like I imagine other families have, my 19 year-old daughter tells me:

"Arabs don't have souls"

I'm doing the dishes and I stop. I turn around. I usually don't and continue conversations while doing other things at once. I look at her.

"Where did you hear THAT?"

"From the rabbanit" (the "learned" woman she used to go to for religious lessons).

"That's bullshit. That is Total Bullshit", this time it's me yelling and not the kids. I'm staring into her eyes like someone who is trying to deprogram a cult member.

She explained - "when they die, they don't go to heaven or hell, they just don't go anywhere."

I was livid.

"You mean you believe that only Jewish people have souls?? Is that woman out of her fucking mind? I'm so happy you're not taking lessons from her any longer. I won't allow it. I'm thrilled you're not going there." There must be a religious teacher out there who doesn't talk trash like that about other peoples.

I can't imagine that people like my friend Ibrahim who invites every Tom, Dick and crazy nut into his home to stay however long they want, and if they can, to either donate what they wish, or if they can't, then he never asks them for money. Sometimes they stay for months on end. I can't believe he doesn't have a soul.

And my friend from Jenin who is struggling with Lymphoma and is fasting during Ramadan even though he doesn't have to, according to Islam, because like in Judaism, if you're sick, you should not fast. I can't believe he doesn't have a soul.

And my hosts who, this past week, laid out an Iftar feast for us after their daily fast and served us first, even though we told them we had eaten all day, so please start first - I can't believe they don't have souls. And when the mother smiled at us as she walked out to pray the 5th prayer of the day at the mosque, she could have passed for a Sephardic women on her way to synagogue, had she just tied her headscarf to the back instead of the front. I can't believe she has no soul.

I'm hoping that my daughter will one day want to connect with a more compassionate Jewish religious community, and take her lessons with them, and will realize that we all have souls that want to connect with God in our own way through our own religions.


RandomLondonMuslim said...


Is Jerusalem a nice holiday destination? Just thinking about where to go with my husband and baby.

jerusalemgypsy said...

Yeah, actually it is. In fact, it's one of the most beautiful cities in the world, I think.

lars said...

for you and daughter;

. It seems to me, therefore, that you may have been arguing at cross-purposes, and that perhaps the question related more to the fact that there are different levels and qualities of soul. Now if this was the point of contention, then it is true that the soul of the Gentile and the soul of the Jew differ in their nature, this being connected with one of the basic principles of the Torah – the fact that the Jews are a people chosen from among the nations of the world. This chosen-ness originates in the fact that when G-d was about to give the Torah at Mt. Sinai, He first offered it to all the other nations of the world, who refused to accept it. The Jewish people did accept it. Needless to add, this is in no way inconsistent with the statement of our Sages, to the effect that the righteous among the Gentiles have a special status and, according to the Rambam, also have a share in the World-to-Come.

jerusalemgypsy said...

Hi Lars,

Yes, it's ok to think the souls are different, but to say they have "no souls" is offensive - to me. What you learned here is a Chabad teaching. This is what I learned at Chabad too.

lars shalom said...

yes, miss, i read a little but I wasn't brought up jewish like, you I see Heaven, (other dimensions, i meet aliens, i see colours of souls, i hear voices...and I think if we wake up, we will all see it too) so I make my own oberservations, and I am also schooled, under Heaven, by regular ghost-visiters, but my education is missing here, because it's difficult to focus....I know that the story of Edom, (he is Adam, I guess)is kept away for older students, i know some numbers, but it's not me!! I think who you call Hashem!!! does all the thinking for me...yet often what I write is not what i want to express, because I a lower level...I love Luria...too, and sometimes I can see an arrangement of sephirot, and this is all going into my homework project!!

so back in three years, if i'm sucessful or in lousy

Anonymous said...

to say 'hear voices' is sukcy...that's doctor speak, are these doctors very ieving?? for exampe I had an interview to get me home, and spoke hebrew, aramaic hebrew in the air, and they were absolutely, defying Him, they were cold...??

jerusalemgypsy said...

Lars, you are one of my most interesting and unusual seem to get the mysterious mystical world that very few souls can understand. You express it well. Two - three years is a long time.