JJ: Hier and Hier: From yeshiva boy to global storyteller

If David Suissa is right and Marvin Hier is at heart a yeshiva boy, then yeshiva boys are the enemy of Western civilization and the West must expel them if it wants to survive.

I don’t believe David Suissa is right and therefore I don’t regard yeshivas as the enemy of Western civilization. Nobody regards Marvin Hier as the embodiment of the yeshiva. Everyone I know in 90035 regards him as the Jewish Jesse Jackson.

If the Museum of Tolerance crowd succeeds, the West will be destroyed. If the West survives, the Museum of Tolerance crowd will be destroyed.

Anybody, including the Museum of Tolerance crowd, who wants to bring more Muslims into the West is clearly the enemy of Western civilization. These alien advocates may walk among us, they may daven among us, but they’re allied with the Allahu Akbar crowd and those tearing down what white people have built up.

If you found poisonous snakes in your bedroom, who would you hate? The snakes or the Museum of Tolerance crowd who deliberately put them there while living the sweet protected life on the generous salaries derived from frightened foolish old Jews?

The Museum of Tolerance crowd so loves Shoah business that they won’t stop trying to multi-culti the West until they’re thrown into camps.

David Suissa writes in the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles:

The longer I live in America, the more fascinated I become with the story of American Jewry — how a wandering and persecuted people discovered a free and open nation and have given so much back.
At the heart of this story are some larger-than-life Jews who have influenced every facet of American life, from Hollywood, Wall Street and Silicon Valley to academia, popular culture, media, social action and politics.
One Jew who surely belongs to this prominent cast is Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and its Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. Here is a yeshiva boy from New York’s Lower East Side who grows up to become one of the world’s most influential Jews, thanks to a special brew of smarts, chutzpah, faith and humor…

When he moved his family to Los Angeles in the mid-1970s, he had no idea he would ever be involved with the Holocaust or fighting anti-Semitism. His plan was to start a yeshiva for post-high school students of all backgrounds and denominations and contribute, as he says, “to the unbroken chain of Torah study that had sustained Jews over the centuries.”

…A key story in the book is how Hier convinced Wiesenthal, the legendary pursuer of Nazi war criminals, to agree to have his name on the center. Hier recounts a long courtship, punctuated by a hairy car ride through the streets of Vienna.
At a meeting with the great man, Hier mustered all his chutzpah: “Mr. Wiesenthal,” he said, “I recently visited a museum in L.A .where people come from all over America to learn about dinosaurs. In fact, there are a half dozen such places in America. But where can people go to learn about the Nazis? Who will teach them that thirty-two years after the Holocaust, anti-Semitism is still going strong? If we don’t teach young people now, we will once again be caught unprepared, and history will repeat itself.”
The Wiesenthal name helped put Hier’s Holocaust center on the map, just as the YU association did the same for his yeshiva. As they both took off simultaneously, the two tracks of Hier’s life began to take shape: an international leader around Holocaust remembrance and fighting anti-Semitism, and a local leader in Orthodox Jewish education in Los Angeles, first with the yeshiva and then with its successor high school, Yeshiva University of Los Angeles (YULA), which he led until 2005.
These two sides symbolize the two Marvin Hiers: the global storyteller who wants to change the world, and the yeshiva boy who stays loyal to his Jewish roots.
The yeshiva boy dreams of keeping the flame of Torah alive with the Jews of his community; the global storyteller dreams of keeping the memory and lessons of the Holocaust alive with people everywhere.
The yeshiva boy wears a yarmulke on his head; the global storyteller wears a smile on his face.
The smile and the stories help Hier attract prominent people to his projects; the yamulke keeps him grounded in the story of his people and the primacy of Torah observance.
Hier is not just one of these. He’s both. He’s as comfortable telling stories in Yiddish to a group of yeshiva students as he is receiving an Academy Award for one of the documentaries produced by his film company, Moriah Films.
But if I had to venture a guess as to which side is more dominant, I would pick the yeshiva boy. It is the yeshiva boy who drives the global storyteller in a way that always comes back to help the Jewish people. It is the yeshiva boy that nourishes his faith that, in the end, everything will come out for the good.
“As I look back over the trajectory of my life, from New York’s Lower East Side to Vancouver, Los Angeles and Jerusalem, from yeshiva bocher to rabbi, political activist, film producer and museum founder,” he writes near the end of the book, “I realize that I have always held firm to that deceptively simple idea. I have always believed that no matter how many people try to extinguish the flame of the Jewish people, they will never succeed, because the irrevocable covenant God made with Abraham will always produce unexpected helpers and new circumstances to rekindle it.
“I have always believed in miracles, whether the ancient types, staves that turn into snakes, seas that split, manna that falls from trees, or the greater miracles of our own time, the creation of Israel, the incredible victories of the Israeli army and the renaissance of yeshivas and Jewish day schools throughout the world.”
Hier’s obsession with Jewish education counters the critique that, for all of the universal imperatives of Holocaust remembrance, it’s not an enduring source for creating a Jewish identity. Showing how Jews died and how Jews are hated doesn’t teach Jews how to live. Hier understood that only Jewish education can do that.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
This entry was posted in Museum of Tolerance, R. Marvin Hier, Simon Wiesenthal. Bookmark the permalink.