Letter, June 2018 | Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle

Letter, June 2018

To the editor:

Bart Ehrman, author of “The Triumph of Christianity” was interviewed today on NPR. That prompted a Google search of his work, which turned up, among others, a New York Times article reviewing “Triumph.” The article states that in 60 A.D. there were roughly 1,000 Christians. By 300 A.D. there were 2.5 million. This exponential growth continued, obviously.

Ehrman is clear that there was no secret police forcing pagans to convert to Christianity in those years; that there was no one moment when the western world stopped being pagan to become Christian; it happened gradually, then suddenly, in the manner of Hemingway’s theory of bankruptcy.

Ernest Hemingway’s 1926 novel “The Sun Also Rises,” includes the following snippet of dialogue:

“How did you go bankrupt?” Bill asked.

“Two ways,” Mike said. “Gradually and then suddenly.”

Where am I going with this? In my almost 70 years I have witnessed and experienced my share of anti-Jewish sentiments and outright insults, and prejudice. None of it surprising, although most of it was impotent raging. But lately, I see it from all quarters, not just from traditional sources anymore, but from those that Jews have considered friends and allies. My son who teaches in North Carolina public schools reports shocking levels of anti-Jewish thought and speech in 4th graders; it’s not just from the fringes of the progressive left, anti-Jewish animus permeates culture and politics – a D.C. city official just the other day ranted that Rothschilds control the weather. He offered a predictably insincere apology. I doubt he has actually rethought his belief in Jewish weather control.

So the end doesn’t have a date. No “use by” for Jews. But it’s coming gradually, and then suddenly. I offer no solution, because I don’t see anyone asking for one. And I don’t know of one. I do think that Jews have to think long and hard of what is in their best self-interest for survival. In America. Before night comes…

Lew A. Wasserman

Whitefish Bay