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Having lived in Israel for the past nineteen years, memories of winter in Monsey, New York have faded from my memory. That is not all that has faded from my memory but that is a different matter for a different discussion. Finding myself in Monsey at this time of the year, I have been experiencing weather that has been cold and very snowy.

It is mid-winter here in the northeastern part of the United States and this is pretty much the reason why many millions of Americans leave this part of the country and migrate west and south to warmer climes and sunnier skies. I think that the horrid winter weather of Sweden is partially responsible for the wondrously idiotic statements of its current Foreign minister about Israel.
Obviously she is depressed by the Swedish winter and focuses her frustrations and melancholy on poor little Israel. In fact, Israel has become the punching-bag for most of the nations of the world. The UN’s Secretary General can’t do much about North Korea, central Africa, ISIS, the Zika virus, the European migrant crisis, the Syrian civil war and the nasty winter weather of New York City where the UN is located, so he “oon-shooms” it about Israel.
The Jewish people have been the world’s scapegoat for all of its own self-contrived ills for millennia.  Now that unexpectedly and against all wisdom and odds there is one Jewish state that has the temerity to exist in this world, it now has received its place of honor in the eyes of the world’s nations and most of its media, to be constantly criticized, pilloried and threatened. Israel is truly the world’s seeming cause of its winter of discontent.
The bad weather of winter can be overcome in different ways. One need not abandon the warmth of home and hearth to venture out into the cold and snow. And if one must leave the house then there are coats, gloves, scarves and boots that can ameliorate the effects of the difficult weather.
Many of today’s automobiles have the means to be driven safely, even on snowy streets and highways. Human beings are extremely adaptable creatures, able to live and survive everywhere on this planet, from Arctic cold to equatorial and/or desert heat. And in our temperate zone of the globe there always is the vision that spring is not too distant in the future. So, we are able to hunker down even in the depth of winter and bear it stoically.  And if we are young enough, even to enjoy what winter has to offer.
My old Monsey winter coat is still serviceable, if no longer chic and stylish, and somehow I am able to attend synagogue services, run errands and waste the time of numerous doctor friends of mine who are determined to discover the secret of my longevity. Winter can therefore be tolerated if not necessarily appreciated. And if properly viewed, winter itself becomes the harbinger of spring and of better, warmer and sunnier times.
Well, perhaps this is true regarding the world’s winter with Israel. In spite of all the criticism and unfairness directed towards it, there is always a begrudging note of admiration and wonder present in the world’s attitude towards the State of Israel. Firstly, Jews are not supposed to have physical prowess. We are not supposed to have a most successful army, navy and air force. In addition, Jews are not supposed to have independent diplomatic and military policies. In short, the situation regarding Jewry has been turned on its head after millennia. And this takes quite an adjustment.
It is going to be a long winter and maybe even a freezing one. And, it will require patience on our part. We will have to put on our coats and gloves and bundle up against the cold. Eventually things will change…though gradually. There will truly be an “Arab Spring” and Europe’s fixation with Israel will diminish in the face of all of its own problems and troubles.
The Jewish people, on the whole, are better off than what our situation was a century ago. We have passed through a very frigid winter and it still lingers with very little warmth towards us from the world’s officialdom and media. But they will eventually adjust to the new Jewish reality, just as Jewry itself will also have to make its own adjustment to the realities that exist before us. In spite of occasional severely cold days, the Land of Israel experiences fairly mild winters. Let us hope that this will be true metaphorically and not only weather wise.
Shabbat shalom

Berel Wein      

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