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  • Writer's pictureRabbi David Gerber

Down With the Sickness

Updated: Feb 26

In this issue:

You might have read the title and thought about the world's oldest hatred; the sickness of antisemitism. Or, if you're a fan of heavy metal, you might have thought of the band Disturbed. Either way, you'll be excited about this post.


Things You Should Read: How To Fight Antisemitism

The topic that has dominated many of my conversations both inside the Jewish community and outside is antisemitism. I highly recommend that everyone reads “How to Fight Antisemitism” by Bari Weiss. It is detailed in its history, balanced in its political themes, and an essential read for anyone who wants to learn about and combat the world’s oldest hatred. 


Zionist of the Week: David Draiman

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more inspiring Zionist than David Draiman. Draiman is the powerhouse vocalist of the heavy metal band Disturbed. When listening to one of their signature songs, such as “Down With The Sickness,” you may not get the sense that you’re listening to someone who went to Jewish Day School and trained to be a cantor. 

David Draiman has been on the front lines of the social media battlefield since (and before) October 7th. He shares the stories of survivors and family members of hostages. He calls out hypocrisy in the entertainment industry for holding Israel to a double standard. He is considered one of Rock Music’s 100 best voices of all time and he’s using that voice to help Israel and the Jewish people. 

Here is how to follow David Draiman on social media:


Things You Should Know: What Is UNRWA?

UNRWA is the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which has been set up specifically for the Palestinians. In the last couple of weeks, the United States and several major funders of UNRWA have pulled their support. 

Here are some quick facts about UNRWA:

  • UNRWA is separate and unique from the United Nation’s primary refugee agency. The Palestinians are the only people to have a dedicated agency. 

  • UNRWA is unique in that it allows refugee status to be inherited. There were 750,000 refugees when it started and over 5 million now. 

  • A disproportionate amount of resources go to UNRWA with little to no supervision or regulation. 

  • UNRWA is responsible for educating over 500,000 Palestinian youth.

For decades, UNRWA has been criticized by Israel and independent researchers for its role in cultivated hatred and violence against Jews in the Palestinian territories. Click here for a full report from UN Watch in 2019

Those of us who have been following this conflict across the decades know that a future two state solution involves de-radicalizing the Palestinians from their hatred of Jews. UNRWA has been fanning the flames of hatred and raising up a generation of antisemites. 

We know that UNRWA schools are used to store weapons for Hamas. We know that hundreds of UNRWA teachers espouse antisemitic rhetoric. And we learned that UNRWA employees supported and even took part in the terror attack on October 7th

UNRWA should be dissolved. It no longer serves the needs of the Palestinian people. In fact, its existence undermines the prospect for peace and a society that includes security and self-governance for the Palestinian people.

The United Nations can still get needed aid to the Palestinians through its standard refugee support organization, and perhaps without UNRWA in the way, the aid will actually get to the people, and not to Hamas. 


Most Disappointing News of the Week: Bernie Sanders' Comments

With antisemitism skyrocketing in our country, it is more disappointing than ever to witness Jews not standing with the Jewish people. Statements this week by Bernie Sanders have not only undermined the Jewish people, but have aligned with our ideological enemies. Sanders posted that he opposes funding for Netanyahu’s “Illegal, Immoral, Brutal, and Grossly Disproportionate War’ in Gaza.” 

It is sickening to suggest that this is a war that Netanyahu, or anyone in Israel, wanted. Israel is in this war because Hamas invaded, murdered, raped, and terrorized Israel. Hamas has a stated goal of genocide against the Jewish people. They have promised to repeat October 7th as often as they can. I challenge Sanders to define what a “proportionate” response should be. Or to find some sort of morality to Hamas’ techniques, rhetoric, and mission. 

Israel is fighting a war for its very survival. It is shameful for a Jew with so many followers and so much influence to peddle antisemitic talking points. 


What Gives Me Hope: Gaza Protests Against Hamas

Through social media and various news reports, I’ve been seeing a lot more protests in the Gaza strips against Hamas. These demonstrations are rare because Hamas responds violently to protests. But the fact that they are happening more and more means Hamas is getting weaker. Even better, it may pave a path for Palestinians to remove Hamas from power and start to rebuild in a way that brings them lasting peace. 


Watch This: The "Hamilton" History Of Israel

If you combined the musical “Hamilton” with the history of occupation of the land of Israel, you’d get the following video. It is the most concise and catchy history of our land that you’ll find: 


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Toby Guidry
Toby Guidry
2월 22일

David Draiman actually brought out his cantorial training in a Disturbed song. They have a song called Stupify, and there's a break in it where he's pseudo-chanting תְּפַחֵד (tefached).

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