Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I live on stolen land too

A guest post by TikunOlam

I can’t seem to get this comment written by a commenter named Ahem out of my head. The following is what he or she said on my thread linking Rabbi Shlomo Riskin’s poignant and timely (IMO) article, “Why My Torah is Crying.”

“Please. Efrat was built on stolen land. He hears the torah crying? I hear the tears of Arabs, and others he and his fellow zionists displaced in the name of their foolish religion.”

When I think about what Ahem said, I can't help but feel terribly guilty. I live on stolen land too. The land I live on was stolen from Native Americans. The Native Americans who used to inhabit my land were very badly treated. So I have decided to do something about it. I decided to live up to my blogger name and right my wrongs. It is time to give back my land to the Native Americans.

So, I have been doing my research. It seems that, mostly likely, before my land was stolen by the colonists, who after a couple of generations sold it to me, it was inhabited by a Native American tribe called the Lenape. I have read about the Lenape. It seems that these folks were and are very good people. And some good news, there are some Lenape still living whom I can contact to offer my land! So at first I am thinking, YAY!

So here I am thinking this is going to great. I will be doing this wonderful thing. But then it gets more complicated. Of course. Why should doing the right thing ever be easy? I find out, low and behold, before the Lanape inhabited my land, the Munsees may have lived there. The Lenape may have stolen it from them for the natural resources! So what am I to do now? Who is the rightful owner? The Lenape, because they inhabited the land directly before the White Men who sold it to me, or the Munsees, who may have had their land stolen from the Lenape. And what if the Munsees killed off some other tribe in order to steal the land. My head is spinning trying to figure out who to contact here!

And to make matters worse, no sooner am I stressing over which Native American tribe to contact, when it occurs to me that there is a whole other problem that I haven't even considered. Where do I go after I give back my land? I am not even sure where I belong. I don't even know what my native land is. I mean, I know that my recent ancestors were Eastern European. I am afraid though, that when I go to Poland and knock on the door of the house that my great-grandparents once owned before it was seized by the Nazis and tell the people there to move out, they might not comply. And I figure, I know that my family must have lived somewhere before Poland anyway. Jews didn't *always* live in Poland right?

So I figure I should keep looking further back to figure out where exactly my native home is. This might take a while and some serious research. So now this is what I am afraid of. What if , at the end of all the exhausting research, I find out that when I trace my ancestry all the way back to when the Hebrews entered the land of Canaan, I find out that my family lived in a little hut in Efrat!

So basically, I am in a serious pickle and it looks like I am going to end up homeless.

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