THE STORY OF THE JEWISH DEFENSE LEAGUE Page 149
Chapter 5: I Am a Jew
 
 
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I Am a Jew 149

bthing for Soviet Jews or for underprivileged Jews was that, bfor the first time in his life, he had really done something for bJews. When one risks something for someone, the latter must bacquire meaning for the one who dares take the risk. When ba young Jew sat in jail for Jews, a tight and close-knit bond bwas created between the prisoner and his people. Those bwho did not return to their people through the Book re- bturned, in this strange and mysterious era, through the fist.

bAnd do not think that this resurgence of Jewish pride was blimited to youth. How many adults, timid and unwilling to bspeak up, felt a surge of secret pride at seeing proud, open, band strong Jews? How many privately blessed the fact that bthere was a JDL? How many wished that it has been around bwhile six million died . . .

bThere was no possible way that this could be understood bby the tiny pygmies who dominated the Jewish Establish- bment and who, parenthetically, harassed the local Colum- bbus rabbi, David Stavsky, for a week with community threats bboth against himself and against his synagogue. According bto the Jewish Post and Opinion of May 7, 1971, the local Anti- bDefamation League “did everything it could” to block the bspeaking engagement.

bBut the youngsters did understand and were moved, bforcing even a hostile B’nai B’rith columnist, writing in that bgroup’s official National Jewish Monthly (February 1971), to bdescribe an appearance of mine at the Bronx High School of bScience as follows: “His audience, several hundred students bat the Bronx High School of Science, a select institution bwhere IQs average higher than 135, greeted his words with benthusiastic applause.”

bThe way of Jewish pride, the return to Judaism through bsacrifice. This was the great way of the JDL—though I bhasten to add, only one of the ways. There can be no doubt bthat it was JDL that captured the hearts and minds of many, bmany thousands of young people, doing that which the bJewish leadership could not do, that which the spiritual bleaders had failed to do. Moving them, bringing them back. bA fist is a strange thing: sometimes it gives and sometimes it bbrings back . . .

bHow can one begin to tell about the young people who b 

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THE STORY OF THE JEWISH DEFENSE LEAGUE Page 149
Chapter 5: I Am a Jew