Neviim Tovim, blogs by Gillian Gould Lazarus

Is it a bird? Is it a plane?

Posted on: December 27, 2021

In the 1980 film Superman 2, as Superman rescues a child who is falling into the Niagara Falls, a little old lady among the admiring onlookers can be heard to say:

‘Such a nice man. Of course he’s Jewish.’

The creators of Superman, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, were indeed Jewish but the Man of Steel himself, possibly not.

Christmas bank holiday Monday, when Boxing Day falls on a Sunday, I walk the mile to the M&S food hall. As I walk, I think about Oskar Schindler, the exemplar of the righteous gentile; thinking not about his righteous deeds so much as his personality. Schindler was a hedonist and hedonists, who appreciate comfort, are well placed to be empathetic to suffering. After the war, residence in Germany was untenable for him and he moved to Buenos Aires. By 1958 he was bankrupt and, leaving his wife in Argentina, he returned to Germany, where he failed to prosper. He was supported financially by ‘Schindler Jews’, those whose lives he had saved who were now settled in Israel. Schindler was honoured by the State of Israel as one of the Righteous of the Nations and is buried in Jerusalem, on Mount Zion. I have visited his grave there. Thomas Keneally’s book Schindler’s Ark and Steven Spielberg’s film Schindler’s List are both fitting monuments to his memory, as are the descendants of those he saved.

What really made Schindler – an established, extravagant and flamboyant business man – risk his life and scatter away his wealth, saving Jewish lives? Many answers have been given; none of them solve Schindler’s enigma or dispel his mystique.

The Righteous Among Nations, ḥasidei ummot ha`olam, are of abiding interest, especially now as, even in the age of Medinat Israel, we Jews continue to need their support.

In the diaspora, antisemitism has not quite laid hands on us, outside of criminal terrorist acts which have claimed lives in Europe, the United States, South America, India, Australia, in the air and at sea, but it is globally resurgent. It breathes on us, making us shrink back from its acrid breath.

At this time, when it is difficult to be unconscious of a threat to our security, we find supporters who are prepared to make their own lives harder by standing up against anti-Jewish prejudice and hatred. It does make their lives harder and they are abused for it. They sustain losses, in their careers and in their friendships.

Why are they prepared to do so much for us? Like Schindler, they do not have to. Like Superman, they fly into the Niagara Falls while others watch from the sidelines.

And they are many. How could I begin to name those I know of?

Emma Euan Heidi Ray Jonas Warren Craig Zoe

John Ian Joan Stella Sajid Nadhim Eddie Helen Joanne

Angela Tim Derek Natalie Keith Fran Andrew Gavin Bev Malcolm Steve Kevin Graham Aboud Damian Tony Freddie Ibrahim Mike Mark Rosemary Richard Neil Chris David John Bob Tom Carl Dee Garry Gary John Fiyaz Dan Ayesha Steve James.

I don’t produce those lists we see on Twitter, paying homage to worthy accounts, as I will forget more names than I remember, and then remember afterwards that I forgot.

To paraphrase Nehemiah, And now, strengthen their hands, ועתה חזק את-ידיהם

Strengthen all their hands. You don’t have to be Jewish to be Superman.


4 Responses to "Is it a bird? Is it a plane?"

I’m honored.

I keep adding names because, when I started writing them, I could only remember a handful – yourself among them of course!

Vy moving. Thanks for writing this Gillian

Thank you for reading it Garry.

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  • Gillian Gould Lazarus: Thank you Keith.
  • keithmarr: Dearest Gillian < div dir="ltr">Not only do you manage to read all this filth without throwing up but you manage to make me laugh
  • Gillian Gould Lazarus: Unless they are members of the group in general agreement with the Labour manifesto of 2019 but against the excesses which are often found in these gr
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