Reading the words of Rabbi Benjamin Blech on the re-publication and public domain issue around both Mein Kampf and Anne Frank’s Diary, I am shaking my head. While I agree with Rabbi Blech, I know that it is not any book that will change people’s minds or cause them to hate more. It is truly the way people are perceived by others. This perception comes from the stories and lies told over and over again. As a young Jew, I was called a ‘matzochrist’, Christ Killer by some Italian people, a dirty kike by good Christian people, etc. One of my uncles believed he had to change his name because it was too Jewish sounding and he couldn’t get a job. All of these perceptions come not from books as much as from people and the stories that keep getting repeated. In the Jewish tradition, many Rabbis still make Esau, Jacob’s twin brother, out to be a bad guy because the Sages of old made it this way. In reading the Torah, Esau is not a bad guy, in fact there are many things that point to his being a good guy.
I believe that we have the right answers and the wrong questions. While I share Rabbi Blech’s horror at the uptick in Anti-Semitism and the draw of Mein Kampf, I am much more interested in finding the solution to “how do we get God’s Story, which is in the Public Domain, into the hearts, minds, souls and actions of all people’? God’s Story is the Bible. God’s Story is a story of love, tolerance, compassion, Truth, justice, etc. God’s Story is how do I/You/We take care of the widow, the orphan, the poor and the stranger? God’s Story is a story of how do we stop trying to look good and start Living Well? God’s Story is how do we take to the streets and, as my dear friend Reverend Mark Whitlock taught my community on Yom Kippur 5776, live an FYOU religion, Forgive You. God’s Story is that YOU/I/WE Matter, everything that we do impacts each person, the world and God.