As a Jew, the horror and hope I saw in Rome

So the Romans erected an arch and Coliseum to celebrate their victory over Judea. Where are they now?

Rabbi Elchanan Poupko, Israel National News

It was a trip I will never forget. On our way to Israel, my wife and I stopped in Rome for a tour of the city. What sounded like a benign tour of a European city ended up being a traumatizing and reinvigorating trip, shedding light on the past and future of the Jewish people.

As we approached the Colosseum in ancient Rome, we marveled at its greatness; 157 feet high with a circumference of 620 feet, it was a sight hard to ignore. At its peak, the Colosseum would seat more than 50,000 people from a city that was the center of Western Civilization. At the same time, a flashback from the past, could not let me rest.

As we watched the beauty of the structure and its adjoining arches and buildings, 2000 years later, I could not help myself from hearing the cries and the jiggles of the chains of 97,000 slaves from destroyed Judea described in the writings of Josephus. I could hear the echoes of the shouts of my brothers and sisters–those who led proud and meaningful lives in the beautiful mountains of Judea– now living in slavery and humiliation in Rome. I could hear the heartbreaking screams of Jewish women who led dedicated and dignified lives in their regal homes in Judea, now living in shame and disgrace in a foreign land, with cruel and merciless slave owners as their masters.

I recalled the recently deciphered inscription found near the Colosseum which read “The Emperor Caesar Vespasian Augustus had this new Amphitheatre erected with the spoils of war”, the war being the recent destruction of Jerusalem. I can just imagine the vessels of which I read in reverence in the book of Exodus—the Menorah, the Table, the Altar, and more—in front of my eyes, in the exact spot it was featured to the Roman people, celebrating “Judea Capta”- Judea has been captured.

Tragedy did not end there. Some 60 years later, after the brutal crushing of the Bar Kochva rebellion, thousands of Jews who survived the Roman mass slaughter, were also sent to Rome – as slaves. One can just imagine the horror of going from being a proud and pious land owner in Judea to being an abused and perpetually tortured slave in a foreign land, under an idolatrous and cruel foreign people.

Those voices and collective memories haunted me as I remembered one of the most difficult times in our people’s history. But then I looked around and saw no Romans.

We had stopped in Rome on the way to Israel for Pesach, and during the Holiday, on a late evening, we headed over to the Old City and the Western Wall. It was 12:30 AM, a time one can assume a quiet and peaceful walk through the beautiful streets of Jerusalem. Again, things turned out differently that I had expected.

Walking the streets of Jerusalem—at midnight- we were slowed down by tens of thousands of Jewish people heading over to the Western Wall, and this was at the slower time of the day.

Proud Jews, living in the land of Israel, speaking the language of Israel, and celebrating the God of Israel, were all coalescing to head to the Western Wall. “For there is a day, the watchers shall call on the mountains of Ephraim; Rise! Let us go up to Zion, to the Lord, our God”(Jeremiah 31)

I reflected back on the Colosseum. I remembered seeing mostly tourists at the site; no Romans, no gladiators, no Caesar, no Latin being spoken–just remnants of an Empire that is no longer. Suddenly the Colosseum no longer seemed glorious or glamorous, it was just a sad relic of a bygone past.

As the Jewish people continue to face adversaries, challenges, difficulties, and failures, I look to the Colosseum and remember– ‘Am Yisrael Chai,’ the Jewish people continue to live on. We should never forget the difficulties we have been through or those who we have lost during those perilous times. But we must always remember: losing hope is never an option for the Jewish people. Am Yisrael Chai

  1. #1 by Jim Rizoli on 05/01/2017 - 9:34

    The Jews got what they deserved. God had had enough of their complaining, bitching and moaning.
    I mean really now, think about how many thousands of years went by before God said enough was enough. The death of his son was the last straw.
    The Bible says that God would bless those that obeyed him….the Jews are a good example of what NOT to do.


  2. #2 by frankkleij on 05/01/2017 - 9:34

    They are NOT the people of Israel, they are the people of Judea, They were turned their back on by the real people of Israel. Twothousend years later they still do not understand that an keep insisting on a false identity. It will for them appear a horrible awakening when things converge in a manner they never expected,

  3. #3 by Preterist1951 on 05/01/2017 - 9:34

    The capture of Jerusalem (“Babylon the Whore” of the book of Revelation in the Bible) and the destruction of its temple in AD 70 was the Second Coming of Christ.
    The Jews used the Romans to carry out the crucifixion of Jesus and in return it appears that God used the Roman Army to exact revenge on the Jews for their killing of His Son. Christ’s return was in judgment of the twelve tribes of Israel and not only the Jews.
    So no matter how the Jews spin it the fact is that what held true back then holds true today. And that is that if anyone overcomes this world (by believing and having faith in Jesus) one inherits God’s Kingdom New Jerusalem. If one does not “overcome the world” then they are doomed to the “second death” which is the “lake of fire.”

  4. #4 by Paul Bruce on 05/01/2017 - 9:34

    Always playing the damn victim, lying bastards are pathetic. proves they have absolutely no claim or right to exist in stolen Palestine

  5. #5 by Vickie Jacobs on 05/01/2017 - 9:34

    “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” Romans 8:9…..”Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: In Isaac shall thy seed be called. (8) That is, they which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.” Romans 9:7, 8.

    Man has made their own religion with that of flesh…not Spirit. The children of promise are those of the Spirit.
    1 Samuel 16:11 tells us the story of Samuel going to the home of Jesse to anoint the king but found that all his sons were home but the youngest which was David….Jesse kept his children home but sent out the youngest who had to fight bears and lions or get killed. That was the whole get rid of David…why? Psalms 51:5 tells us: “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” David’s line was broken….and it was not to Abraham any longer. The Jews have had a line break in their history on more than one occasion…Jeremiah 3:8 has told us that God divorced this group of people but produced a new (wine) covenant when Christ died on the cross.

  6. #6 by O'Rourke on 05/01/2017 - 9:34

    “We should never forget the difficulties we have been through…” He forgot to say – “…that we brought upon ourselves”!

    Jews; they always omit major facets of the story! He must’ve forgotten that it was the jews who attacked the Romans. Just as it was the jews who declared war on Germany in 1933. They make themselves an enemy of the State, then cry when they get stomped.

    I thought he was describing the Palestinians under the jews when he was referring to the jews under the Romans:

    “…those who led proud and meaningful lives in the beautiful mountains of Judea– now living in slavery and humiliation. I could hear the heartbreaking screams of Jewish women who led dedicated and dignified lives in their regal homes, now living in shame and disgrace with cruel and merciless slave owners as their masters.”

    The jews invented lying & hypocrisy. The jews should burn in Hell!

  7. #7 by mikem on 05/01/2017 - 9:34

    Well of course silly, the Roman civilization was over 2 thousand years ago, your not going see Roman gladiators and such. But a lot of what they proposed is still in use in modern society.

    Can’t say that about Judea unless you count usury as a redeeming value.

    And if this guy is a modern jew more likely then not he is Eastern European or Ashkenazi and has absolutely no claim to that land they are squatting on.

  8. #8 by NLG on 05/01/2017 - 9:34

    Like Jose Saramago said (paraphrasing): this holocaust, that holocaust, whatever-the-caust, it’s a wound they keep scratching and digging and even stabbing at themselves. It’s pathological, and if any individual kept showing this kind of behavior–tearing open wounds that, say, happened in infancy–to show how persecuted he is, he’d be locked up for self-harm. But this kind of self-victimizing is one of the keystone of their sick, pathologically demented belief system. It’s how they justify their crimes against humanity, over and over and over again, with endless financing to produce the big-budget films, books, as well as “news,” to keep the machine grinding along, chewing up the innocent.

  9. #9 by James Benn on 05/01/2017 - 9:34

    “I reflected back on the Colosseum. I remembered seeing mostly tourists at the site; no Romans, no gladiators, no Caesar, no Latin being spoken – just remnants of an Empire that is no longer. Suddenly the Colosseum no longer seemed glorious or glamorous, it was just a sad relic of a bygone past.”

    Indeedy do. What a profound and deeply self-serving reflection on the part of Mnsr le Rabbi Elchanan Poupko. Oh yes, the once proud Republic brought first to its knees as a ‘Demoksy’, and then flat on its face like a gladiator at the receiving end of a coup de grace…

    “The major reason for the decline of pagan Rome can be attributed to the long-term destructive effects of usury. Indeed, usury has fueled the rise and the fall of the great civilizations of Egypt, Persia, Babylon, Greece and Rome.”

    Ah yes, our old friend USURY. The deeply self-serving Rabbi would no doubt know a thing or two about it…

    “The Roman government was far too corrupt already with its politicians bought by moneychangers for any fledgling Christian sect to have an affect on its decline. The moneychanger’s demand was perpetually self-serving, which was disparate to the common good of the populace. Originally, Rome was founded as a republic. The unchecked influence of the moneychangers caused it to change into a democracy. A republic is derived through the election of public officials whose attitude toward property is respected in terms of law for individual rights. A democracy is derived through the election of public officials whose attitude toward property is communistic and respects the “collective good” of the population instead of the individual. This is the resultant system that moneychangers bring to civilization. The subversion of power is a sleight of hand that changes the right of the individual into what is often called the “collective good” of the people (communistic), which is always controlled by an alliance of powerful interests.”

    Of course the Rabbinicalist doesn’t pause to consider what came along to replace hopelessly mired and corrupted Rome … namely … Christianity. Yes, it was anti-usury Christianity that replaced Rome. Not Judaisticalism.

  10. #10 by ironoutlaw4c on 05/01/2017 - 9:34

    Let me guess, there were 6 million Jews who died in the Colosseum. Obviously, the Christians, slaves, prisoners of war and political prisoners who there died don’t matter.
    Here a holohoax,
    There a holohoax,
    Here, there,
    Everywhere a holohoax,
    Old McRabbi had to moan
    Eeyi, eeyi, ooh, oink, oink!

  11. #11 by Greg Bacon on 05/02/2017 - 9:34

    Trump recently made the WH visitor logs no longer public. He didn’t want Americans to see the steady stream of Juden who visit the WH on a daily basis.

    In 100 Days, A New Jewish Elite Rises Under Trump

  12. #12 by stlonginus on 05/02/2017 - 9:34

    Regarding the article from The Forward titled, “In 100 Days A New Jewish Elite Rises Under Trump,” this was the paragraph that I found most interesting:
    “Formal avenues to the White House for Jewish groups have also been difficult to access, since Trump has yet to fill the positions of liaison to the Jewish community, head of the faith-based office and special envoy for combating anti-Semitism.”

    What is also interesting is ‘Rabbi’ Poupko, according to his blog, lives in New York City. Why then did he go through Rome to get to Israel? Why subject himself to the fear and loathing of viewing the Colosseum? El Al has 3 daily non-stops from JFK to TLV and Delta has one non-stop. I’m sure he could’ve found a seat on one of the 4 daily flights. Why the histrionics about Rome?

    While in Rome, did he manage to get over to St. Peter’s Square to view the obelisk? If he did, (and I’d bet he did, unless the trip to Rome is a fabrication) then, I’ll bet the flashbacks he had viewing the obelisk didn’t cause him any trouble at all.

    So the Jews erected a “Freedom Tower” in NYC to celebrate their victory over these united states of America, whose profile at street level seems to rise to a point as would a pyramid, and whose 408 foot spire some have likened to a minaret. But, unfortunately, I can’t ask the question, “Where are they [the Jews] now?”

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