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Muslim Rescues Jew in NY Hanukkah Miracle

I was in New York this week and actually bought a New York Post for the first time in my life. Why? Because it featured on it’s Dec. 12 cover a photo of Walter Adler, a Jewish subway passenger, with his arm draped over Hassan Askari, a Muslim accounting student, over the title: “Peace Train: Muslim rescues Jew from subway thugs.”
According to the Post, when Adler and some friends boarded a Q train, someone wished them a “Merry Christmas,” and Adler responded with “Happy Hanukkah.” About 14 men and women then started shouting anti-Semitic slurs and others immediately began to pummel Adler. That is when Askari jumped in, taking some hits himself to save Adler.


The story is both warm and chilling. It reminds us that anti-Semitism is prevalent not only in Europe and throughout the Arab world, but also remains a constant here in the good old US of A.
However, what earned the Post my 50 cents was the reminder that there are still good people out there of all persuasions.
Both hatred for and love of our fellow human beings is something that is learned. When asked why he intervened, Askari said his parents raised him that way. We need more parents like Askari’s–Muslim, Jewish and Christian.
Interviews with Holocaust rescuers show they do not think of themselves as courageous. How could they have done otherwise, so many righteous gentiles reply when asked why they intervened, often at great risk to themselves. They felt they had no choice if they were to live by their own code of moral decency.
Askari also doesn’t think of himself as courageous. He does wonder why no one else jumped in to help. That, too, is also something that is learned. All too often people just don’t want to get involved and teach their kids not to get involved. That sense of disinterest lies at the heart of much of what is wrong in the world today.
But that is not what our tradition tells us. Scripture teaches us “not to stand idly by the blood of our neighbor” (Lev. 19:16) and “to love your neighbor as yourself” (Lev. 19:18). It is not always clear how far one must go to fulfill these commandments, Rabbi Elliot Dorff explains in his book, “Love Your Neighbor And Yourself: A Jewish Approach to Modern Personal Ethics.” Must one endanger oneself for another, as Askari did? Or must one at least try to do something to help, even if only to go seek a transit cop or police officer? I wonder how many other Jews were on that train and did nothing but mind their own business.
Thank God for Askari, not only because he saved Adler from a much worse beating, but because he is a light for tolerance and concern in a world that is becoming increasingly polarized. We could use more of such concern in the world right now. Then this one little miracle would really light up the world.

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posted December 18, 2007 at 6:27 pm

I’ve just seen the video of this at the Only an ignorant fool would tell a Jewish person he “killed Jesus”. These people are clearly the worst kind of low-class, ignorant trash. His attackers deserve to be charged with a hate crime, have their pictures plastered in the paper and online for all the world to see they are anti-semitic TRASH. They are an embarrassment to America.

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Tarek Firzli

posted December 18, 2007 at 9:49 pm

Thank G-d for that man. I can’t believe that this happened. People think they can just impose christmas on everyone, and when a jew says ‘happy hanukkah’ (in response to another trying to impose their holiday religion on the jew). America is no christian state, so people should just stick to ‘happy holidays’ you never hear anybody saying happy hanukkah or happy kwanza, just merry christmas. Other people understand why to use happy holidays, why don’t christians (from what my christian mother say, is that it is tradition). Hanukkah came before christmas (before christian christmas it used to be a pagan celebration) anyway and my mom says that chrismas is tradition, to some people yes but not to all.
And my mother and brother (I live in a christian house) say that saying merry christmas is no big deal and people are being babies to not like it. Now christians beat up a jew for saying happy hanukkah.

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posted December 18, 2007 at 11:07 pm

“And my mother and brother (I live in a christian house) say that saying merry christmas is no big deal and people are being babies to not like it. Now christians beat up a jew for saying happy hanukkah.”
I wonder…will the American Center for Law and Justice offer to represent Mr. Adler in any civil suit he decides to bring against his Christian attackers?

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posted December 20, 2007 at 5:56 am

You said “America is no christian state.” Except that it was founded by Protestant (Christian) pilgrims, looking for a place where they could build on their idea of a “purified” (hence the term Puritan) Christianity. And to this day, well over 80% of the population identifies itself as Christian. So you might want to think about that.
Then you said, “Now christians beat up a jew for saying happy hanukkah.” Talk about an inflammatory remark.
Look, what you have here is a handful of deeply disturbed individuals who somehow got it in their sick heads that it’s okay to beat on someone just because they said Happy Hannukah. But it’s not he Church that teaches them that.
Go to a church and listen to a homily. Check out the cathechism. Read up on people like John Paul II and Mother Theresa. And then maybe you’ll stop with the ignorant and inflammatory remarks.

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posted December 20, 2007 at 11:54 am

The United States is not a Christian state and the primary reason is that many men who were Christians were involved in founding the state and they knew that when Christianity was part of government, it brought about terrible evils (Many founders who some Christians now pretend were Christians were not, but instead were theists.) The only way to save Americans from the evil passions of Christians who wanted to “purify” others was to deny Christianity access to the power of the state. Hence, we have the Separation of Church and state.
People incorrectly brag about Christianity’s role in founding this country should realize that it was the prejudice, thievery, and murder which Christians would perpetrate upon their fellow man in the name of their religion that resulted in America’s being a secular nation. In 1780’s no one was worried about Jews taking over the government; no one worried about Muslim extremists; no one worried about Hindus. There was only one religion that posed a threat to “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness,” and that was Christianity. Today centuries later only one religion poses a threat to America’s form of government, Christianity.

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posted December 20, 2007 at 1:17 pm

First saying “Merry Christmas” does not make you a Christian and judging others and placing labels also is not a “Christian” action “Judge not least ye be Judged” Those attackers were cowardly disturbed individuals who could have and would have just as easily attacked someone else for making an alternate retort to Happy Independence Day. To say this attack was by Christians because they said Merry Christmas is ridiculous, their very actions are not based on any Christian principal of any religion in the US. And if you believe people ACTING in the name of Christianity (and I repeat acting)is the religion that posed a threat to “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness,” you had better read the multiple docrines put out by the Taliban and many muslim splinter groups which very specifically deny that any population has the right to self government or representation and should be ruled by a select priledge few, under the threat of violence if necessary to accomplish that means.
I also believe you are mistaken on your reasons and historical justification for the founding of the US. It was not that when “Christianity was part of government, it brought about terrible evils, Many founders who some Christians now pretend were Christians were not, but instead were theists.” Christianity was part of the government docrine. Seperation of Church and State was created to prevent the the European unholy aliances (several monarchies declared themselves head of the “state” church and perseucted other religious sects, Christian and non-christian that tried to exist)of government and unscrupulus self-appointed popes using religion to coerce the people under their rule, tax unfairly and escape scruinty, in short it was to keep government out of the church and let the church be, NOT to keep the church out of government. You have to take into account the entire historical arena that was going on at the time of founding fathers. As to theism, when Thomas Payne wrote his AGE OF REASON, he was ridiculed by almost every signer of the Declaration as beign preposterous in his assertions and even he wrote “I believe in a God…and hope for happiness after this life”
Some of the founders may have been theist not most, and the most noted Thomas Jefferson even said, “Say nothing of my religion. It is known to God and myself alone. Its evidence before the world is to be sought in my life: if it has been honest and dutiful to society the religion which has regulated it cannot be a bad one.” And the Treaty of Peace and Friendship, ratified by congress under President Adams states in Article XI that “the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion.” BUT this was the result of multiple arguments about the founding of the nation even then, but you have to read the preamble, it was acknowledged and affirm by congress and most of the founding fathers the U.S. was founded on Christian principals (not a particular Christian religion). You also have to take this period of history in the context that may felt betrayed by a State Church which was not acting in anything even closely resembling Christian love and Charity, may were disillusioned. You have to remember not only were people founding a different nation, religious fractions were also revolting trying to return to Christian values within the church.
One has to differentiate between Christian Principals (which are not exclusive to christianity) and Christian religion which people within do not always act with Christian Principals and all christians should not be judged and labeled based on the actions of a few who utter “Merry Christmas.”
I do beleive as a Christian the moral majority is neither!

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G. Walter

posted December 20, 2007 at 9:22 pm

It is sad that people can hurt each other by using their religion as a weapon. I was born in Hitler’s Germany and I went to a Concentration camp as a child. People in Berlin would spit on me and my family for being Jewish—WHY??? Why was murdering permitted in a Christian country? lET IT NOT GET STARTED IN THIS COUNTRY. Why did the Pope, IN 1939-1945, or any other Christian leader not say a word?? I lost 320 people of my Fanily! Leave us alone and let us practice our Religion which happens to be the foundation of Your religion. Learn the 10 Commenments one of them is “Thou shall NOT MURDER” How comes in the in the New Testament (Christian) belief is was translated as “Thou shall NOT KILL” LET US ALL BE FRIENDS AND REMEMBER WE ARE ALL AMERICANS–WHICH I CONSIDER A BUNCH OF WONDERFUL PEOPLE! AMEN!

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posted December 22, 2007 at 8:59 pm

Yes, it really is sad that there still is anti-semitism in the world, and very strong at that! There are many towns where the KKK are the majority and I must make sure I put my star of David necklace inside my top. For this reason I usually wear a chai. As a child I never believed that evil could exist, however as I get older and study the Tenach more I am becoming surprizingly aware of all the evil in the world. I guess I am a little slow, I am 53 years old!

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Hannah Ruth Abraham

posted December 26, 2007 at 2:31 pm

The laws of this nation are based on Mosaic Law, Judaism and Christianity are similar in many ways. I have met many people from several different persuasions, Amish, Menonite,Orthodox Jewish, Baptist, Methodist,New age, Catholic. What we really need in this country is to realize that each religious group is a community unto itself, and that most want to contribute to the greater society.
There are also people in those same groups who would like to take over he world and make everyone beholden to worship God in the way that The government tells them to. That is why almost every great \ancient Kingdom fell. It fell from within, because if the people dont have a right to their own thoughts and beliefs, If a government tries to brainwash them and create a national religion, Then why did our ancestors leave europe?? The great Cathedrals in Europe are empty. No one worships God at all because it was crammed down there throats and they got sick and tired of it. State religion destroys Faith, and gives us no more than empty socialism in its place.

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Jerome Haney

posted January 8, 2008 at 1:27 pm

This was very inspiring. I enjoyed reading. I am hopeful that as I wrestle with a personal situation that the light of reading this will come forth in my life. Love your neighbor as yourself is so hard when your neighbor will not let you love them or only wants your love in one way.

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