The current turmoil in Crimea offers an opportunity to learn something about Jewish history, and particularly the history of Zionism, which began by proposing a Jewish homeland that eventually became modern Israel.
Tablet Magazine offers this intriguing piece that explains how Crimea once was proposed as a Jewish homeland.
I had long been aware that at one point Nazi officials thought about making Madagascar a Jewish homeland as a way of ridding Europe of Jewry.
But I didn't know much, if anything, about the idea of Crimea being a possible fulfillment of the Zionist dream. And who had proposed Crimea as a Jewish home? Leaders inside the Kremlin itself, it turns out.
The history of Jews in Crimea is long -- and representative of the various ways in which Judaism has been divided into sects. As the Tablet piece notes:
"Jews have been living in the peninsula since ancient times, largely divided into two communities: the Krymchaks, who followed rabbinical Judaism, and the Karaites, who rejected the Oral Torah."
As an aside, it makes me wonder whether there ever has been a religion followed by more than two people that did not, at some point, split into different camps over something. I know of no such uniform religion.
At any rate, the Tablet piece is well worth a read because it offers some historical perspective for what's going on today.
(And here's a link to my recent blog entry about Zionism.)
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AND AS FOR THE CURRENT HOMELAND. . .
Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas' Revolutionary Council has endorsed his refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. I have Jewish friends who aren't sure why such a recognition is necessary as long as Israel's right to exist is recognized. Hmmmm.
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