THE STORY OF THE JEWISH DEFENSE LEAGUE Page 279
Chapter 8: Wherever There Is Jewish Pain
 
 
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Wherever There Is Jewish Pain 279

bIt was a thing of joy to find a big, strong Jewish youngster band train him to defend Jewish honor, bodies, and prop- berty. It was an even more satisfying thing to watch so many bof the Chayas go into battle with their yarmulkes on their bheads. Once Jews were ashamed of this skullcap; it called battention to their Jewishness and to their “difference,” bwhich they were attempting to escape. Now these proud byoung Jews went into battle with those yarmulkes and many bof the ones who wore them were not even observant! But the byarmulke had come to mean something special for them. It bshouted out: “I am a Jew and, Jew-hater, as you get beaten I bwant you to know that a Jew is doing it.” It was repayment bfor the cutting off of Jewish beards while Nazi soldiers blaughed.

bI also wonder whether the Orthodox Jewish Establish- bment who joined in the condemnation of the JDL had any bidea what it meant when so many religious, observant, Or- bthodox Jews joined the League, when the leader of the JDL bwas an Orthodox rabbi, when it was those people of all people bwho were leading the fight for Jewish rights and caring babout Jewish suffering. How often did the nonobservant bJew think of the Orthodox as a group that was narrow and bcared only for “its own kind” and its own special interests? bHow often did they think that Orthodox Jews looked down bon others? What a negative image the Orthodox Jew had bamong others!

bIn view of this, what a magnificent Kiddush Hashem, a bglorification and sanctification of Torah and observant bJudaism it was, when an Orthodox rabbi and so many Or- bthodox Jewish followers led the fight for Jews—all kinds of bJews, everywhere! This is a point that was so often misun- bderstood and overlooked by Jews who failed to realize the brevolution in the fact that the most famous Jewish group in bAmerica and the most written-about rabbi were to such a bgreat extent “old-fashioned,” traditional Jews.

bPerhaps one of the most celebrated physical confronta- btions with anti-Semites took place at Brooklyn College, bwhere a steady erosion of the merit system had created a bstudent body that was more than 20 percent Black and b 

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THE STORY OF THE JEWISH DEFENSE LEAGUE Page 279
Chapter 8: Wherever There Is Jewish Pain