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Stay-at-Home Dad: Even Here, Anti-Semitism Is Alive and Well

An overheard comment leads to a history lesson for my boys.

The last fleeting moments of the school year are filled with half-days and the ever climactic, always magical, one-hour Friday. Before the kids head off to camp, these abbreviated days allow you to cross those last few items off their shopping list, and if they behave themselves, maybe lunching out might be in order.

My oldest son got to pick the restaurant this day, so we went to our favorite chicken wing and burger joint. The only thing wrong with this place, in my opinion, and especially on this day, is the fact that if there isn’t a ready table you may have to wait in the bar area. This particular Tuesday afternoon, the bar is petty full with fellows having their midday libation. 

On the silenced television, the one that wasn’t showing Sports Center, our local News 12 was airing the day's headlines. The lead story was about some new “groundbreaking” legislation declaring a minimum age for users of tanning salons and tattoo parlors. This story got some of the guys at the bar talking, albeit loudly, and one of them said that he couldn’t even remember when or where he got his first tattoo, and one of his friends quickly jabbed “didn’t you get it at Auschwitz?”

Three of the guys quickly started howling loudly, excluding the one that the joke was aimed at, but my sons and I all looked at each other in disbelief. How could that be funny? How could someone even cross the line in this day and age? At that precise moment we were escorted to a table outside and out of earshot.

Part of me wanted to approach the guys at the bar, but getting my ass kicked in front of my kids wasn’t on my agenda for the day. I also realized that trying to reason with a few guys drinking heavily in the middle of the afternoon probably wouldn’t work out too well either, so I turned my efforts to a more impressionable audience–my boys.

They were a little shell shocked by all this and I got them to talk about their feelings and more importantly what we could learn from this. I then told them about when I was in college and David Duke, the former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, was running for a house seat in the state of Louisiana. A lot of people from different walks of life got together to go out and campaign against Mr. Duke. All of us armed with our pamphlets, literature, and collegiate vocabularies hit the neighborhoods in his district.  

With all of our well-intentioned efforts, at the end of the day when all the votes were counted, Mr. Duke was victorious.  I guess that is when I learned that there are people in the world who have their own beliefs and wants, regardless of how different they may be from my own.

By the end of the meal,l my children and I had had a very meaningful conversation and they were definitely better educated about anti-Semitism, bigotry, hate, and how hurtful words (and actions) can be. In the back of my mind during the whole meal, I debated. Should I have confronted these guys or should we just have left the restaurant? And even worse, the thought of what would any one of my older family members who fled Europe have said to them or even done? So many questions and emotions swirled in my head, although none of them provided me the insight as to what was the right way to handle it.

As we left the restaurant we saw that our “friends” at the bar had left, but one of my sons asked a question that caught me by surprise. “What would Nana have done in our situation?” he asked. Clearly, he knew as well as I did that she would have confronted these men because after living a lifetime, she has seen firsthand what happens when you sit idly by and do nothing.

Watchdog July 07, 2012 at 05:42 PM
Good Denise or is it De-Nice. I have very little tolerance for VICTIMHOOD.
Watchdog July 07, 2012 at 05:55 PM
Denise, comparing men joking in a bar about a TATTOO to Hitler is really sick. You do not even knw these men and ave no evidence that it actually happened except for the word of an icessant blogger looking for material. Move on, these events transpired 80 years ago. Since then,many more millions have been killed in other holocost type events. In fact, it is still happening today.
Watchdog July 07, 2012 at 06:02 PM
Perhaps you keep getting picked on because of your intolerance for the views of others and it has nothing at all to do with your religion? Your failure to recognize the plight of Catholics is really the pits.
Miriam Edelstein July 07, 2012 at 09:46 PM
One last comment: WATCHDOG, YOU ARE BEYOND RIDICULOUS!!! To compare death from the potato famine to "the final solution" defies description. And Jews get picked on because they don't sympathize with Catholics' plight? You've got to be kidding!!!
Miriam Edelstein July 07, 2012 at 09:55 PM
One last comment: Watchdog, you are beyond ridiculous! To compare death from a potato famine to the "final solution" shows ...I'm speechless! And to say that Jews get picked on, because they don't understand Catholics' plight? What planet do you live on?
Watchdog July 08, 2012 at 04:04 PM
The Final Solution? You should be grateful that it failed. Do you think that death from starvation deserves less enmity than death by gas? That is a terrible thing to say! At least those people with the tattoos lived to tell the story unlike many of the Irish that died of starvation or the millions of Catholics killed in the holocaust.
Watchdog July 08, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Who is picking on Jews? I grew up with Jews, served in the U.S. Army with many Jews, after which I began my college education because of the encouragement of my Jewish army buddies. I worked in an industry that'd dealt with Jews all my adult life and in all those years never felt the amount of victimization I heard from this one unsubstantiated comment about a tattoo in a bar.
IW July 08, 2012 at 04:39 PM
I'll bet if someone made a joke about Watchdog's grandparents and the potato famine, he/she would be pretty upset. What's wrong with teaching some tolerance and sensitivity? I'm sure we can all use some, and learn from the experiences of others in addition to our own. As a Jew, I certainly sympathize with Catholics' offense at Piss Christ, and I don't need to compare it to the severity of the Holocaust. If we are all to live together we need to respect each others' sensibilities from their own frames of reference. That's where empathy and real tolerance come from.
Anonymous to Protect the Autistic July 08, 2012 at 07:10 PM
Miriam - there are some folk who carry their agenda to any article commentary they can no matter what subject it is, no matter which community, ruining any chance at a real conversation because they strive very hard to turn the attention away from the article and over to themselves. It makes many people refuse to participate which is also what they want.
Anonymous to Protect the Autistic July 08, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Watchdog - it is not sick - this is exactly the kind of stuff used by those Jews who were so assimilated in Germany they could not belive it had anything to do with anti-semitism - many of them converted to christianty anyway thinking they wouldn't be called jews - some where christins for generations. Fail. Words like paranoid or sick or psycho were used to describe people who warned others to get out of Germany. I don't think Denise is comparing literally the joke but the situation overall. Anti-defamation Leagues take these kind of scenarios seriously and check out whats happening now. It is not the stance of a victim its a stance of Never Again. We Jews ain't never gonna put up with crap again. We're not gonna be sitting ducks worrying if someone thinks we are paranoid or psycho no boy we aren't. No more meekness.
Watchdog July 08, 2012 at 08:56 PM
http://www.jewishworldreview.com/0999/virgin.dung.html
Watchdog July 08, 2012 at 09:07 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holocaust_victims Is this a surprise toyou Denise. Millions of Catholics killed. But we have moved on.
Watchdog July 08, 2012 at 09:11 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holocaust_victims
Watchdog July 08, 2012 at 09:13 PM
How about this then? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holocaust_victims Youdonot have a lock on the Holocaust
Watchdog July 09, 2012 at 02:43 AM
Denise, I gave you those links only in response to your saying that you knew nothing of an anti Catholic Agenda. I do not dwell on the Irish Famine or the fact that millions of catholics were killed in the Holocaust along with the Jews.
Miriam Edelstein July 09, 2012 at 04:05 AM
Watchdog, you KNOW NOTHING ABOUT HISTORY! You are only interested in your own little world. This conversation is getting tiresome. Close minded people will remain that way--as will bigots. All this exchange has accomplished is to show who those people are. Thanks for the warning
Anonymous to Protect the Autistic July 09, 2012 at 03:44 PM
http://www.kveller.com/preschooler/How_To_Talk_About/holocaust-talking-to-kids.shtml
Anonymous to Protect the Autistic July 09, 2012 at 03:47 PM
so go away Watchdog because you keep dwelling on it
Anonymous to Protect the Autistic July 09, 2012 at 03:52 PM
Were you there Blackluke8? The author was concentrating on explaining anti-semitic remarks in general to his children. Why are guys always in there with G*d we are a nation of pansies. What do you mean PANSIES? I keep seeing people with answers like yours macho macho so tough so cool. All trying to be the alpha male? Fail. Calling the author a twerp must make you feel all manly. You guys have some issues.
Watchdog July 09, 2012 at 03:54 PM
MIRIAM, when you have nothing to contribute, you start with the name calling which is against the rules of order. This was a joke about a Tattoo, nothing more. Trying to silence dialogue with claims of bigotry is tactic of the liberal left and will not work. In fact it is disgraceful.
Watchdog July 09, 2012 at 03:55 PM
Exactly.
Watchdog July 09, 2012 at 04:04 PM
I am glad that I was able to educate you that the Holocaust was not just about the Jews by I have a hard time believing that you, Denise from Scarsdale, are a better source for historical information than Wikipedia. BTW ths was a joe about a Tattoo and a mans age but you and your friends never miss an opportunity to discuss you VICTIMHOOD. Move on, the Holocaust was 80 years ago.
Anonymous to Protect the Autistic July 09, 2012 at 04:08 PM
You are right Miriam and he keeps answering to cover up the fact he doesn't know much about history. He thinks Jews are going to sit and talk about the holocaust with a Christian at work? That would be a big NO. I looked up anti-Catholic agenda on Google and there is a lot of stuff that is really more generallike anti christin but to make it all look like picking on catholics they say its just anticatholic. Not denying catholics are picked on but to say Occupy Now is socialist and therefore is part of some anti-Catholic agenda - huh? something being called socialist is only an antiCatholic remark? Wow go figure. If a lady has a front yard with statues of Jesus and Mary and a big cross and St. whoever then someone comes along and trashes it, now that I would say isspecifically antiCatholic loud and clear. But most of everythign I read was more general and not directed at Catholics. Many Catholics I guess are anti Catholic cuz they don't follow the rules and those rebellious nuns are trying to make Catholicism relevant to their people they say but they are against the teachings of the Catholic church. Soon we will hear something about Jews getting them on TV I suppose. The usual way media is blamed.
Lisa Gentes-Hunt (Editor) July 09, 2012 at 04:52 PM
Please remember: Acceptable Use Policy Communities thrive when people care about each other, and as such, Patch expects all of its users to be respectful of others. If you notice any violation of this Acceptable Use Policy or other unacceptable behavior by any user, please report it to support@patch.com. You are solely responsible for the Content that you post on the Service or transmit to other users. By using the Service, you agree that you will not hold Patch responsible or liable for any Content from other users that you access on the Service. While we encourage people to be honest and post what’s on their mind, there are some types of Content that we simply can’t allow on Patch. We’ll go over some of the prohibited items below, but these are merely examples and the list is not intended to be exhaustive.
Lisa Gentes-Hunt (Editor) July 09, 2012 at 04:54 PM
Instead of trying to memorize all that, you might boil it down to three main Patch User policies: “Keep it clean,” “Don’t try to trick people,” and “Treat others as you’d like to be treated.”
Lisa Gentes-Hunt (Editor) July 09, 2012 at 04:56 PM
Please refer to the user agreement: No personal attacks, in appropriate language, etc. Read on for details which you agreed to when creating your Patch account: http://scarsdale.patch.com/terms
MitchP July 09, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Editor - how about you just close the comments section on this...unless the community feels the matter will be solved and agreed upon in another 500 comments?
Anonymous to Protect the Autistic July 09, 2012 at 05:25 PM
Watchdog you have called people names whiners, pansies and other things. That is against the rules. And to ask a Holocaust survivor Have you seen a doctor about..... is nasty nasty nasty and weren't you using that to silence dialog? Your use of liberal left is pejorative you aren't tricking anybody. You didn't teach me anything about antiCatholic, I had to look it up because you gave a link to an article about something that happened 15 years ago. It is DISGRACEFUL you try to reduce this article to a joke about a tattoo. It is about how to explain something horrific to your children and people may say ugly things to them in future and how to deal with it. It is much more than your belittling summary. It is DISGRACEFUL to label someone liberal left as if to reduce the importance of what they say and how do you know who is left or right? You don't and you won't and you are sad.
Miriam Edelstein July 09, 2012 at 07:27 PM
What makes you so sure? I realize this is what you'd like it to be, but you judgement is not based on any facts.
Kevin Zawacki (Editor) July 09, 2012 at 08:02 PM
Hi all, Many thanks for reading, and adding discussion. Unfortunately, several of the comments we're receiving violate our Terms of Use. As a result, the ability to comment will be shut off.

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