Yom Kippur False Alarm

So, a few years ago, Yom Kippur was coming up and I really needed to ask forgiveness of a Gentile friend who I had failed a couple times that year, and even though the friend hadn’t mentioned it, it had been eating at me.  This friend didn’t really know anything about Judaism.

So I contacted him, by email, (we were in different countries at this time) and I said “I know that I failed you with [thing], and I just want to say how sorry I am.  I will try to fix it in the future. If I have done anything else that may have harmed you at any time in the past, knowingly or unknowingly, I am truly sorry.  I ask that you will forgive me.  I hope that you will accept my apology. Please let me know before 3 days from now.”

My friend promptly responded with the following: “Are you dying????”

The Moral of the Story: explain what Yom Kippur is to your gentile friends.

It's almost Yom HaShoah

And I just want to remind everyone that it’s a day that antisemites will be coming out of the woodwork to harass us

Nazis will send us threats and abuse

Leftist goyim will remind everyone that we weren’t the ONLY ones killed

Goyim of color will call it a white peoples genocide

Black goyim will compare it to slavery

Everyone will agree that we bring it up too often, and everyone will find a reason to bring up Israel

These things happen all The time already, but you can bet it’s going to increase dramatically on Yom HaShoah. If you dont think you Can handle it, i highly recommend staying offline on the 15th

Take care!

Why Am I Angry?

Where do we even start, y’all?

(Disclosure: I am Jewish. I have read the blurb and first chapter of the book. I refuse to read any more because I can’t stomach it. I have read reviews of the book. Many of them. I also have absolutely no patience anymore for what is happening.)

As you may have heard, there was a book published and nominated for lots of awards. Said book is a “romance” between a Jewish girl and the head of a concentration camp.

And people are still confused why we’re upset?

I don’t…understand how y’all are still confused why we’re furious.

Let me help y’all understand.

(Here are some other links about what’s been happening.)

Now, let’s break this down.

Exactly what are the things we’re angry about?


What is considered a romance? A consensual relationship.

What’s not considered a romance? A non-consensual relationship.

The head of a concentration camp could have killed a Jew at any time. Ever. Because he could. Why? Why not? The heads of the camps were not ever known for being “nice”. Or “compassionate”. Or pick any word that would positively describe someone.

There are stories that when the higher ups came to visit the camps, they would gather a room full of the prettiest Jewish girls they could find. (And yes. Many were blonde haired and blue eyed) And they would shuttle all these girls into the gas chambers, and let the higher up turn it on and watch the girls die.

The heads of the concentration camps were the things nightmares were made of. The regular soldiers in the camps were awful enough. The heads? The heads were monsters.

No Jewish girl would have fallen in love with someone who was in charge of a killing factory of her own people.

None of them. Ever.

The head of a concentration camp and a Jew would not be consensual anything. It would be rape. It would maybe be Stockholm Syndrome. But it would in no way, shape, or form, be consensual.

Did things like this happen? Where SS soldiers would rape Jewish women?

Yes. Multiple times.

There are people alive today that are the result of SS soldiers raping Jewish women.

It was never consensual.

Do you want to write a book about the head of a concentration camp and a Jewish girl? I don’t suggest you do, but if for some reason you decide it’s a good idea, please remind yourself that any relationship they have is not a consensual one, thereby, not a romance.


Apparently, “Jew converts to Christianity” is a trope in inspirational romance.

Pardon me while I go and vomit.

For Jewish people, converting is a big no no.

A very, very, very big no no.

Also, just a few key words for you to remember. The Crusades. The Spanish Inquisition.


I didn’t know, until last night, that that was something that happened in IR. I don’t spend much time there.

But let’s be real clear, shall we?

You may not use tragedies that we have suffered through as a vehicle for your religious agenda.

I tweeted about this last night, and I’m going to say it again here.

Jesus would not have helped anyone in the Holocaust. The Nazis were meticulous in their Jew hunting. If you were even an eighth Jewish, meaning that ONE grandparent was Jewish, you were sent to the camps.

You could have been the Christianest Christian, but if there was any Jewish blood in you, they didn’t care.

So don’t tell me Jesus would have saved me in the Holocaust. Jesus would have been in the concentration camp, too.

He was Middle Eastern and Jewish. He wouldn’t have lived.


There were uprisings in the concentration camps that nobody talks about. In Sobibor, they had a successful uprising, and many of the people in the camps were able to escape. Many lived.

But people don’t talk about uprisings. They don’t talk about the Jews who hid in forests the entire war, killing any Nazi they could.

Because it’s so much easier to look at Jews as helpless and useless. It makes us less human and more lambs to the slaughter.

And yes, there were people who went like lambs to the slaughter. They didn’t know. And yes, I’m sure it was, in some ways, easier for them, not knowing what was going to happen.

But most people knew exactly what was happening.

After living in ghettos.

After being crammed into train cars and watching the person next to you die.

After working in the concentration camp every day, and not know if you were going to live to see tomorrow.

But painting Jewish people like they were innocent little children dehumanizes them. 

They were rabbis and artists and farmers and carpenters and scientists and doctors and butchers and bankers and tailors and musicians.

They were not helpless little children who were suffering without Jesus before the Holocaust. Please stop painting them as such.


You know, until last night, I was willing to give KB the benefit of the doubt. Maybe she was just a terribly, terribly misguided evangelical Christian. (That wouldn’t have made things better at all. It just would have maybe explained how she was okay writing a book like this.)

But no.

When you use the gates of Auschwitz as promotional material, you go from being ‘perhaps misguided’ to blatantly anti-Semitic.

Filed under things I never in my wildest nightmares thought I would have to say: “Don’t use the gates of Auschwitz to promote your awful, non-consensual ‘romance novel’.”

And yet.

This is basically the definition of not okay.

1.1 MILLION Jews were killed in Auschwitz. 1 out of 6 Jews that died in the Holocaust were killed there.

It is a place where unspeakable horrors happened.

The name alone is triggering to many Jewish people.

She used the gates of Auschwitz.

“Arbeit macht frei”

Work will make you free.

Work did not make anyone in that concentration camp free.

She apparently also used Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, as promotion.

Quoted from her blog: “I’m happy to report a wonderful response to my recent newsletter book giveaway in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day.” 


You don’t use genocide as a way to promote your anti-Semitic book.



Let’s start by saying, um, Kate. What version of the Book of Esther have you read? Is there another version I have never read or learned?

(Yes, there is. I have never read the Christian version of the Book of Esther. Was I wrong to assume it was basically the same? It seems so.)

I have learned the Book of Esther in depth. Many times. And so, when someone tries to claim that they wrote a ‘retelling’ of Esther when it is CLEARLY not, I feel the need to prove them wrong.

A few points:

*According to absolutely nobody did Esther ever ‘fall in love’ with Achashverosh. According to many people, she was married to Mordechai. So. Just FYI. (Oh, and? She never wanted to become Achashverosh’s wife.)

*Esther did not love Haman. Really, y’all. This did not need to be spelled out.

*Esther did not lose her Judaism when she was Queen. If anything, her Judaism strengthened.

*When Haman was killed, the Jews didn’t lean back and say, “Okay, we’re good now.” The decree to kill every Jew hadn’t been revoked, so there was a decree sent out that the Jews were able to fight back. (Esther 8:11)

*When the day came in Adar, the Jews fought back, and after the first day, Esther asked Achashverosh if the Jews in Shushan (the capital city) could have another day. (Esther 9:13) But they didn’t touch the spoils, as mentioned each time.

*The Jews of Shushan killed 500 “important people” the first day, and 300 the second day. The rest of the Jews in Achashverosh’s rule killed 75,000 people. They did not sit back and forgive the people who were still going to try to kill them. 

*Do you know why Jews dress up on Purim? One reason is because that day in Adar, when the Jews fought back, many people dressed up as Jewish people in order not to be killed.


You know what my favorite Holocaust-Purim story is?

In Esther (9:7-10), the ten sons of Haman are listed as being hung. And for some reason, the formatting of those specific sentences are very different than the rest of that of the Book of Esther.

The letters taf, shin, and zayin are smaller than the rest of letters. Any Hebrew copy of the Book of Esther is like that. It’s not an error.

In Hebrew, letters are all used as numbers.

Taf, shin, and zayin added together equal to 707.

When writing the Hebrew date, we don’t write the “5”, the first number. So this Hebrew year, 5775, is written in Hebrew as taf shin ayin hey.

The year 5707 was 1946.

What happened in the year 1946?

The Nuremberg Trials.

Ten people were killed. (Goerig had committed suicide while in prison.)

One of the people who were hanged was Julius Streicher, the publisher of the anti-Semitic newspaper, Der Sturmer, and noted Nazi.

When he was brought to be hung, at one point, he yelled the words “Purimfest 1946!”

But it wasn’t Purim time. It was October.

October 16th, which was Hoshanah Raba, the day in which God seals the verdicts of Rosh Hashanah for the following year.

Haman was a direct descendant of Amalek.

There are those who say that the Nazis were descendants of Amalek as well.

There are no coincidences in Judaism. 


 Please see point #2.


It was a top pick by RT Book Reviews. It got a star from the Library Journal. It was a finalist in the inspirational category at RWA, but it was also nominated for Best First Book.

As mentioned before.

A non-consensual romance is not, in fact, a romance.

Thereby ineligible to be part of the RITAs.

RWA released a statement, which was literal bullshit.

I rewrote it for them HERE.

Dear Kate Breslin,

What books did you read to do research for your book? Did you read Mein Kapf? The Protocols of the Elders of Zion? Every copy of Der Sturmer you could find? 

What books did you read?

You obviously never read The Diary of Anne Frank. Go, My Son. Tell The World. Maus. Night. Boy 30529. The Endless Steppe. Man’s Search For Meaning. Inside The Gas Chambers. Triumph of Hope. They Called Him Mike. 

You have obviously never visited any Holocaust Museum. 

Never heard the shaking voices giving testimony of the horrors they lived through.

Never saw the pictures the Nazis took. Pictures the American soldiers took. 

Never saw the bunk beds. The shoes. The piles of glasses. The faded yellow stars. The pictures of synagogues, burned. The crumpled baby clothing. 

You have never seen the numbers on faded arms.

You have never heard an eighty seven year old woman screaming in Yiddish for her mother not to die when you go visit a nursing home.

You have never seen the friends of this woman, who cry with her while she remembers.

You have never been told in a shaky voice, “Shaifalah, you look just like my sister did.”

You have never visited the nursing home week after week with your friends in elementary school. You have never seen the comfort of Holocaust survivors when you sit for hours and listen to them tell you stories about their lives before Hitler ripped it all away.

You have never had old women think you were their sister and cry to you, asking what they would do now that Mama and Papa were dead. You have never had to run your shaking eleven year old hand up and down their back, and tell them they were going to be okay, they would live, they would be okay, don’t cry, don’t cry as they leaned on you like you were the only anchor in a world gone to hell.

You have never had old men cry as you sat with them, remembering their wives being shot before them.

You have never been begged to not forget what happened to your people, to not let Hitler win, don’t let him don’t let him don’t let him win, honey. You keep living and you keep going and you remember what he did to me and what he did to your people remember remember remember over and over like a chant you can not stop singing, like a beat you can not stop marching to this is the life we live.

You have never sat sobbing after leaving a museum. You have never felt the bile rise in your mouth when you see a picture of the skeletal, naked bodies of your people. You have never felt punched in the face when you saw video footage of Nazi rallies. You have never experienced the terror in your heart from watching a video of Hitler.

You have never looked up the town your family is from, only to see a note saying that the entire town was destroyed by the Nazi, and hardly any Jews survived.

You have never had people throw the word “Auschwitz” at you like a joke and then ask why you weren’t laughing.

You have never seen the words “Heil Hitler” in your grandma’s yearbook and thought you were going to cry. You have never asked your grandmother, who was born in 1945 and converted to Judaism at 19, why people wrote that in her yearbook. You have never had to hear your grandmother say that in 1961, people thought writing “Heil Hitler” was FUNNY.

You have never grown up singing songs about the Holocaust. You have never lived as a Jewish child after the Holocaust.

What research did you do, Kate Breslin? What did you read that gave you permission to write something like this?


Why are we still angry?

Why are we still angry?


Why are you giving us reasons to still be angry?

Why are you telling us that it’s not that big a deal?

That we’re too “WHITE” to have ever been persecuted?

That we don’t have what to complain about?

When have you lived the life of a Jew in 2015? 

Have you realized yet that anti-semitism has never left? That it is more subtle now, that it’s ‘calm down, it wasn’t such a big deal’?

Why are we still angry?


We have never stopped being angry.

We will never stop being angry.

Selected News Stories About Antisemitism and Antisemitic Violence from the Past Year:

Information and Opinions on Yom HaShoah:

Information about the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising (the date of Yom HaShoah was chosen for its proximity to the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising):

Last Year’s Post on Yom HaShoah

May the memories of all we have lost be for a blessing.

A Medieval Gay Brawl in the Synagogue On Yom Kippur

Sometimes the finds of the Genizah are so incredible that you have difficulty believing that it’s really there, that you are really peering through this window into the lives of medieval Jews around the Mediterranean. This story caught my attention in a footnote of Goitein’s and I thought I would post it for Yom Kippur… It’s not really magic-related, except that I think there’s a certain magic in recovering and reclaiming the past.

The fragment shown here, T-S 8J22.25 in Cambridge, is a letter from a Jewish pilgrim named Hasan ben Mu’ammal, who had gone on pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the High Holidays, Tishrei 4813 = September 1052 CE. He reports that a certain Daniel had wished to see him but he was unable to, because of “the altercation” that had happened in synagogue. Apparently, on Yom Kippur, many pilgrims had gathered from around the Mediterranean, and “a man from Tiberias and a man from [Tyre] became involved in love, and the Tiberian began fondling [?] the Tyrian in the sight of everyone… and the people from Tiberias and those from Tyre began to fight with one another and went out to […] and they brought the chief of the police to the synagogue and […] until the people calmed down.” Hasan goes on to report that Daniel had told him that “such is the behaviour of these people every day,” and concludes the letter with best wishes to the recipients (his brother Abu Nasr and family). A wild ride from start to finish. Goitein drily observes that the letter indicates that homosexuality was regarded as a “vice rather than a deadly crime… [and] it did not form the object of great social concern.” 

Shana tova — welcome to 5777! May all who are fasting have a meaningful, enriching, and affirming day… and hopefully a peaceful one too!

Yearly reminder for those fasting tomorrow:

If you are fasting tomorrow and you feel yourself getting sick, eat something.

If you are fasting tomorrow and you are so light-headed you can’t stand up: drink some water.

If you are fasting tomorrow and you take meds regularly, take them and the water you need to wash them down.

Yom Kippur is about reflection, atoning, and becoming a better person. Fasting is meant to take away distractions from that, and to keep us mindful for the rest of the year. It’s not meant for you to get to the point where you can’t make it through the day.

Like a lot of mizvot, fasting isn’t the destination — it’s the guide rail. Repentance is the observance of the day, not fasting. And to keep yourself healthy and alive and functional is the most important commandment, taking precedence over any other. There are many ways to reflect, to stay mindful, to atone, to filter the past year and approach the next; if you aren’t able to do it with your body, you can still do so with your heart.

Shana tova, all. May you be inscribed in the Book of Life.

I lost my last name to hatred

In the years after the holocaust, my grandfather, a russian jew, wanted to go to medical school, but they refused to admit most jewish applicants. But he was determined to go, so he sumbitted two identical applications to the same school- one with his jewish last name, one with a bastardized, americanized version that completely non-jewish. The first was rejected but the second was accepted. My grandfather went on to become a doctor and helped so many people, but I will never forgive the antisemites who stole my last name.

Today, on Yom Hashoah, my last name is Balinski. I remember.