Sooooo, this morning I woke up tagged in a #tiktok video by my friend @rabbisandra . She tagged myself and other rabbis (thank you, btw!) to respond to a horrendous video by a young woman who was comparing abortion to the Holocaust (see below). So, how about a #thread on this?
So first, looking at who this woman was, it was not difficult to understand where she got this overly simplistic and incorrect comparison. Looking at her profile, and viewing some other videos of hers, we see that she is a #maga Trump supporter with right-wing views /2
I'll say also that when I pushed back that perhaps she had just heard this idea from her pastor she wrote back, "my pastor is JEWISH LMAO," which again is helpful to know that she is also messianic or part of a messianic congregation as Jews don't have "pastors." /3
So, yes, obviously this is a horrible and dangerous comparison, one which I will explain down the line, but my real question was, where was this woman radicalized? Who is the pastor who put this idea into her head, or at least the seeds of this idea that led her to make this?/4
It is painful to see that ideas like this (or seeds of them) are being imprinted onto people so young, as they have little to no historical merit or accuracy, but are presented as a "headline," to parrot back on social media platforms. It is troubling. /5
So, let us first address the irony of the fact that the Jewish people, who were the primary victims of the Shoah, actually allow abortion in some (or many) cases, even on the Orthodox side. As a Reform Jew, I can say that our movement has gone on record as early as 1967.../6 America affirming the right of a woman or individual family to terminate a pregnancy. Why is this the understanding almost across the board? It comes from the rabbinic understanding of Exodus 21:22, the only place in the entire Hebrew Bible to mention anything even.../7
remotely close to abortion (it mentions miscarriage), stating the following (see below image). The individual responsible for the miscarriage was fined, but was not tried for murder, therefore it is concluded that a fetus is not equal to a person, otherwise "life for life,".../8
...would have been invoked. This reasoning is confirmed in commentaries and codes, including: Yad Hil. Hovel Umazik 4.1; Shulhan Arukh Hoshen Mishpat 423.1; sekr Meirat Enayim Hoshen Mishpat 425.8. However, even earlier than these codes is the understanding from the Mishnah../9
...our 2nd century commentary, which states, rather graphically "If a woman is having trouble giving birth, they cut up the child in her womb and brings it forth limb by limb, because her life comes before the life of [the child]."(M.Oholot 7.6)/10
This understanding comes from the idea of the fetus possibly being a "rodef" a pursuer, thus endangering the life of the mother. This is where the denominations schism a bit as what constitutes "danger" to the life of the mother. In the Reform responsa this can include.../11
not only physical harm, but mental or emotional harm, thus permitting abortion in those cases. In sum, comparing abortion to the Shoah which decimated a people who are, overwhelmingly, in support of abortion (at the very least in some cases) exceeds irony. /12
Now, why else would this comparison, besides the irony, be extremely problematic? Well, we can begin by reminding the OP of the video that the Holocaust (despite her lack of education) was not simply murder, nor was it in any way attached to a medical treatment. /13
The Shoah was a build-up of 2,000 years of antisemitism (see my #thread on the direct line from the Gospels to the Gas Chambers - ). While the Nazi's transformed the religious persecution of the Jews to that of "race," the idea of the "final solution" /14
To the "Jewish problem," was in no way related or equal to medical procedures that may, in many cases, save a life, as abortion may, in many cases, save the life of the mother. Moreover, fetuses were not and are not falsely accused of causing social, economic and political /15
...problems, as far as I'm aware, nor are fetuses aborted due to anger over the loss of wars and ensuing economic and political crises. The abortion issue does not involve pogroms such as Kristallnacht, physical displacement, interment, theft, plunder, or forced labor. /16
While the OP believes she can equate the mass murder of Jews and other minorities to abortion (with most likely a simplistic understanding that "abortion is murder" and so a great deal of abortion is "mass murder"), this is a flawed and problematic comparison, not just.../17
...for the reasons stated above, but also because the Holocaust did not feature only death by gas chambers in systematic efficiency, though this is what is often highlighted. A large percentage of Jews were murdered in the ghettos and concentration camps.../18
...which are different from death camps, or were killed by starvation, disease, mass shootings (which occurred in broad daylight), or gas vans (portable gas chambers). Moreover, lining up men, women, and children in line to be shot or marched into gas chambers.../19
...due to an underlying idea of sub-species or racists rhetoric and misplaced anger, is in no way comparable to the medical procedure of abortion, and is insulting to both the victims of the Holocaust, and the women who go through the legal procedure of abortion./20
What we saw this morning, again many thanks to Rabbi Sandra for pointing it out, is seen far too much these days, which is a simplistic historically inaccurate take to grab likes and views, matched with a profound lack of empathy towards human beings. /21
Not only did the OP show no empathy towards the victims of the Shoah, but she showed zero empathy to the women who have to make difficult decisions regarding abortions, sometimes in the moments of labor, or beforehand, which take severe emotional and mental tolls... /22
...and can be devastating to the mother or family as a choice forced to make for medical, economic, abusive, or mental-health centered reasons.
While most of this seems like common sense to many of us, and while most of us would be just as disgusted with a comparison.../23
...of voting pro-choice for the woman's right to choose and that of the systematic genocide of the Jewish people, the fact that this #tiktok poster posted it, has thousands of followers, and that her video got many likes, shows us that this was and is a conversation to be had./24
For more on this topic, please see my article on @TimesofIsrael (…).
Keep educating, keep learning. Show empathy. Think critically.

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More from @RabbiHarvey

11 Jan
With my most recent viral Twitter thread (thanks to all who spread the word), I began to wonder about why certain individuals in our culture wait until a loved one becomes ill before they get vaccinated. I realized that this was part of a larger issue. Let's explore. #thread:
In regards to the "me me me" attitude we see all too often in America, whether that be regarding vaccinations, gun rights, or other freedoms, I began to think back to when a rabbinical colleague of mine said something that I wasn't able to shake. /2
He said that when we decide on these kinds of guidelines and/or regulations, we will most likely see a struggle or tension. He defined that struggle as “the tension between the American values of individualism and liberty, and the Jewish values of communal responsibility.”/3
Read 26 tweets
9 Jan
I've held my tongue a lot when it comes to #COVID19 and the emotional strain it puts on staff, but I feel like tonight is a good night to speak on it. For those who don't know, I work as a resident chaplain at IU Health and my unit is currently the Medical ICU. #Thread
With my unit as the Medical ICU, as well as the step-down unit to it (the MPCU), I can tell you that most of the patients I see on the MICU side are COVID-19 positive. Yes there are other units that hold COVID patients that are less severe symptoms.../2
which is mainly vaccinated patients with strong working immune systems. However, my unit is where the sickest of the sick come in the state. Our ICU houses COVID patients (among others) that other hospitals can't handle, so when it's a last ditch effort, they send them to us./3
Read 20 tweets
6 Jan
A #Thread on #January6th , a day that will live in infamy in America. #threads #threadstory
January 6th was not spontaneous. It was planned. We know this not only because of the t-shirts that were made in advance, we know this not only because of the tours people were given of the white house, we know this not only because of how the terrorists knew where to go.../2
But as more and more evidence comes out, we know that there were those that planned, funded, traveled this terrorist attack, weeks in advance.
January 6th was the volcanic eruption of white rage, conspiracy theories, the Big Lie, and of course, the emulation by cult members /3
Read 25 tweets
4 Jan
Part 2 of "From the Gospels to the Gas Chambers."
Come with us as we continue to see the trends from the anti-Judaism in the Gospels to Jewish genocide and antisemitism.
In 1096, sponsored and supported by the Catholic church, Crusaders ran through the Jewish Rhineland massacring Jews. Listen to why. "Now let us avenge the blood of the hanged one." Oh yes, the charge of deicide, 1,000 years later. /2
There were plenty examples of Blood Libel, but where does it come from? It comes from John 8:37-47, calling Jews liars, murderers, sons of Satan, and for this they were burned many times over, including here: /3
Read 16 tweets
3 Jan
There is a direct line from the Gospels to the Gas Chambers. This #thread will be Part 1 in a series to show the dangers of the anti-Jewish rhetoric, dangers of theory put into practice, and why Jews have such PTSD when confronted with proselytizing and antisemitism. #Threads
What are the most damaging anti-Jewish aspects of the Gospels? They are the "Christ Killer" epithets that have haunted Jews for 2,000 years. /2
The Passion Narrative is inherently ahistorical and anti-Jewish. Any Christian who takes this as literal history inherits anti-Judaism and antisemitism. /3
Read 23 tweets
2 Dec 21
Goooooood afternoon everyone! Who wants a text that shows that poor Miriam (and her awesome song) were BUMPED for Moses to sing it? Patriarchy strikes again! Come and learn! #thread #threadstorytime #threadstory
Most Jews know the poem within Exodus 15 that is called "The Song of the Sea" (Shirat hayam), which features the famous words of our liturgy "Mi Chamocha Ba'Elim Adonai?" (who is like you among the Gods, Adonai?). But not enough focus is given to the surrounding verses. /2
Yes, the song of the sea begins on Exodus 15:1, BUT the real song of the sea, the inset poetry that was inserted later, begins at Exodus 15:2 (actually 1/2 of Exodus 15:1). This poem is one of the oldest bits of Hebrew in the Torah. It most likely predates a great deal! /3
Read 16 tweets

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