I'm Jewish - I'm Privileged - Prologue to Judaism - Israel - Palestine


As I begin this writing, MSNBC’s (muted) screen says:

Trump, What’s Happening to Me is a Form of Navalny (or similar)

That, perhaps is a metaphor for this writing!   A Most Privileged white man, who sees himself as “THE Victim”.   This man lives in fear – manipulated and bullied by his father.   His Sadism and Narcissism – and its Impact upon so many others reflects – both his Incredible Privilege, as well as Anger and Hatred – arising out of his fears, most of which I know little or nothing about.  (5:35 a.m. – Wednesday, February 21, 2024)


Judaism, My Judaism – its impact upon me is, I hope, an interesting story.   This is a personal story.   You, the reader, can jump ahead and learn more about me at any time if you go to Part I – of this writing – where I began writing – at:  Judaism-Israel-Palestine: Part I – at: https://www.georgemarx.org/2024/01/judaism-israel-palestine-part-i.html or https://www.georgemarx.org/2024/01/judaism-israel-palestine-part-i.html .

As with some of my writings, up at 3:30 a.m. – on my exercise bike at about 4:45 a.m. (after stretching, putting the dishes away and more) – I knew – it was time to write what I had just thought of.

I am deeply grieving!   I am also very angry!   In the short-term I am very pessimistic.   I am deeply committed – seeking meaning.   I am Curious.

I hope that two specific women will be curious.   This story is Not about them.   

In 1987 – while living in Madison, Wisconsin, I went to hear Louis Farrakhan - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Farrakhan - speak at The University of Wisconsin – Madison.  

Ethically – Morally – I would Never have paid an admission charge to attend.   I was curious!  I wanted to better understand his Anti-Semitism and his Charisma.   He will turn 90 five days before my 73rd birthday almost three months from now.  

I’m glad I heard him speak!   I learned – from him!   My respect for him was less, after I understood more.

I hope that the aforementioned women – who are both – white and Jewish will read – this prologue – and perhaps, faintly perhaps – be curious to read more of my writings – on this difficult subject.   The third relevant woman is also Jewish.  

My partner converted to Judaism over 30 years ago – totally voluntarily.  She is Black, Female and Queer Identified.  

Being Jewish is very, very different for.   She is different because she is a Jew By Choice.   She is different because she is.    Additionally – being Queer Identified makes her Significantly Different.  

These Differences – reflect - Our Privilege and the Complexities of Living as a Jew who isn’t white and who isn’t Cis/Het!  This is in addition to the Anti-Semitism and of course Sexism that all three women face.

There are also three Men in my story:  my father, my brother, and myself – also all Jewish.

My father (Menachem) Imanuel Marx was born in Berlin, Germany on June 29th, 1918.  His father, Moses Marx, emigrated after being recruited to Cincinnati – as the Chief Cataloger at Hebrew Union College in 1926.  The three boys and my grandmother followed a year later.   

I was named after my great-grandfather.   He sold his bank to Deutsche Bank in 1904 – he was wealthy!   The family’s wealth went away with the extreme inflation in Germany after World War I.   We, were, however a privileged family!    My grandfather’s second oldest brother Alexander Marx (mentioned below) emigrated to NYC in 1903 upon completing his PHD at The University of Koenigsberg.   He was the chief librarian and a history professor at The Jewish Theological Seminary.   When my father was born – in 1918 – there was no mail service between Germany and The U.S. due to World War I.   I saw correspondence at the JTS some decades ago – from Berlin to a relative in Switzerland (neutral during The War) to my great-uncle in NYC.

28. ”North German Credit Institute” founded by George Marx

The Jews of Königsberg at the turn of the 20th century

Marx - A successful banker

Bаnking family

Even the “North German Credit Institute” founded by the banker George Marx in 1897 (he came from Cologne) was in reality a family business, because several of the twelve children as well as other relatives worked at the bank, which opened many branches in the province of East Prussia.

24. Children of the family of Gertrud und George Marx 1892


My grandfather is in the lower left corner of this picture.   I believe that directly next to him is:  Esther (nee Marx) Agnon.

Shmuel Yosef Agnon (Hebrewשמואל יוסף עגנון; August 8, 1887[1] – February 17, 1970)[2] was an Austro-Hungarian-born Israeli novelist, poet, and short-story writer. He was one of the central figures of modern Hebrew literature. In Hebrew, he is known by the acronym Shai Agnon (ש"י עגנון‎). In English, his works are published under the name S. Y. Agnon. … In 1913, Agnon moved to Germany, where he met Esther Marx (1889-1973), the sister of Alexander Marx.[5] They married in 1920 and had two children.    In 1966, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature "for his profoundly characteristic narrative art with motifs from the life of the Jewish people".[17]


My father’s cancer was amazingly in remission during 1962-3 – when we lived in Zurich (he was studying – while on sabbatical).   We saw many relatives he had not seen since 1927 – including Shai Agnon.

Imanuel Marx died on Friday, November 13, 1964 – when I was 13 years old in St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Lafayette, Indiana.   He “chose” when to die.  It was roughly 18 hours after he taught his last class at Purdue University – the only time he was in a hospital – during the last six months of his life.  He weighed about 85 pounds when he let go!

My brother – has been hospitalized because of his severe mental illness for the past 12 or 13 days.   My brother’s life has been Very Challenging!   Until very recently, he repeatedly told me of how happy he is with his life.   I believed him!   He is Chasidic – very Orthodox Jewish.   My cousins – and their close relatives – are his “lifeline”.

For most of my life, I have lived in fear!   Depression – was at least my “middle name” – most of the time.   I am no longer stuck in fear on many levels!

I “escaped” – starting in November, 2018.   Each month and year since then have been increasingly amazing!

Life is meaningful now!   Life is challenging, but not difficult.   I have significant medical issues.  I’m otherwise – very healthy – and am physically very strong!


I have been very fortunate!   My privilege – has certainly helped!  I seek meaning – in my life!   Meaning – includes experiencing physical and emotional pain – when not overwhelming.   Meaning – includes – experiencing my feelings deeply.    My heart and spirit – are most important now!


As a Jew  – my traumas have gotten in my way:

1.    On an individual/personal level – Three neighbors -  boys who were two years older than me – bullied me.  I would have never thought of talking about the bullying with anyone.  My parents – taught me – “learn, learn, learn” – and learning was – factual and intellectual – not emotional.  (note: being male didn’t help!)

2.    The Holocaust – was still deeply within me – and I can/will never forget (about) it.   We traveled on trains that passed through Germany.   We never stopped in Germany.

3.    I have also been traumatized – by at least 2000 virulent Anti-Semitism.  (Thankfully – unlike one of the aforementioned women, at least, I didn’t experience it profoundly at West Lafayette High School.)

As Jews – I think it particularly important that we heal as significantly  as we can from our traumas.   For most of us – they include: 

1.    Anti-Semitism – we have experienced,

2.    The Holocaust

3.    Ancestral Anti-Semitism.

Many, if not most of us - Upper-Middle Class – white Jews – particularly – those who aren’t relatively young - have grown up with Zionism – embedded – deeply within us!

I remember Exodus – Leon Uris - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exodus_(Uris_novel) – which deeply moved me for close to 20 years!   I remember arriving at Haifa on a Zim passenger boat from Naples on Passover-Eve in 1963.  It was amazing – for me – to be in a Jewish country.

Being Jewish – we have a Deep, Deep Divide – between many of us today!

My two – aforementioned Jewish Friends – one from childhood, and the other – from my recent days in Chicago, are very different from me – in one important way!

For all of us – Our Judaism is very important!   They, at least, are highly intelligent.   They have done many incredible things during their lives.

They are Zionists.   I am not!


When one questions – Israel – and Zionism – within our Jewish Community – on a personal level – it deeply affects us – in HUGE ways!

To move beyond the current limits, progressives must embrace a more principled politics, one that begins by recognizing the fundamental humanity of Palestinians. (p.155)


I strongly believe that when we – question – Israel and Zionism – more than extremely, extremely superficially – we:

1.    Clash – with our – Trauma – as Jews, and perhaps more importantly,

2.    Literally – face – “Excommunication” – from our Jewish Community – our Jewish friends – our Temple/Synagogue – where we are observant,

3.    Generally – we get little, if any, support from others we are in community with - who are not Jewish.

I hope that fellow Jews – will be curious.   It is Naïve – and Not Helpful to expect that other Jews – who strongly disagree with me here – will agree with Most of what I say in the remainder of this set of writings.

For my partner – who is less privileged than most other Jews that I know, this is much, much more than a hope.   She pays a Steep Price – that I don’t Face – related to being a combination of: Black and Queer Identified.

I can see – the Puzzlement – some of you may have!   I hope that you are (still) curious!

I live in a world of fear!   Hatred comes out of that Fear!   Anti-Semitism is real and dangerous!  

“Jews will not replace us!” This was one of the rallying cries of the white supremacists who converged on Charlottesville, VA in August 2017. 


Some Jewish students have justifiable fear – related to Anti-Semitism!  I wish to distinguish between two very different sets of fears that many of them have.  

1.    When People are murdered in the United States – which has happened in multiple Jewish settings, this is Anti-Semitism.

2.    When one’s daughter or granddaughter – sees a room filled with people wearing a keffiyeh – the fear is real.

3.    When one hears the words: “From the River to the Sea” -  

The Fear is Real.

The issues of “impact” and “intent” are important!   When I say to another person: “I understand what you mean” – my intention may be my relationship (or perceived relationship) with you – and connection.   If you hear me saying: “What you said was Obvious, so why did you say it?” – the impact of my words was far different from my intent.

I doubt that many of us who are Jewish would believe that my wearing of my yarmulka/kippah (actually Iranian hat- given to me circa 1960

Or other fellow Jews – wearing a more traditional one could be perceived as threatening.  It could similarly!

I would Never advise anyone to ignore their fears!   I would also suggest that absent – clearly more substantial – significant evidence – Not accusing – others – of showing their Anti-Semitism by such actions.

As was eloquently said by a visiting professor at Harvard (from Dartmouth) – that getting triggered is a common occurrence for college students today.  He noted that many of his Black Students – came to him at times telling him that they were triggered virtually on a daily basis by statements of fellow white students.

I learn a lot from my curiosity!   Some of it is factual.  More of it is deeper – heart-felt images.

I was curious about Hamas.  I read an incredible book about Hamas.  You can read my review at: 



https://medium.com/@marxgeo/hamas-contained-tareq-baconi-s-excellent-book-94cc04640a1f .

I find Hamas – more understandable – now!   Reading the book did NOT make me into a Supporter of Hamas!

You should read what you desire to read!   I would recommend that Most People – especially fellow Jews might want to read a bestseller:

James McBride’s: “The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store” – my review is at:




I’m pretty sure one of my two aforementioned friends read this book upon my recommendation and loved it!  It’s (in my opinion) the best novel I’ve ever read.

We don’t need to agree!   I hope that this writing will be meaningful to readers who are Jewish as well as others who aren’t Jewish!

The remainder of my writings in this series (not fully completed as I complete this now) – focus more specifically upon Israel and Palestine and in the latter parts especially about Gaza.   I would alert – some – that they could be triggered by some of the quotes – and perhaps by some of my expressed views!     When I worked this morning as a clinic escort in Concord, California and when I work at Planned Parenthood’s San Francisco Office tomorrow morning – being male – in heavily female space – may make me feel – “out of ‘my’ place” and mildly uncomfortable.   This is good for me!   - MERJ – Men for Equity and Reproductive Justice (www.JoinMERJ.org) – came out of my discomfort – as a privileged, upper-middle-class, cis-hettish, Autistic – white Jew!


The latter two specific examples are situations where the INTENT of the “other” and the IMPACT upon you or your daughter may be very different!

To label the latter two examples as:

“Anti-Semitic” – without clear – other – evidence – to me is premature.

IF – my words above are triggering – I’m sorry that they are triggering!   I hope that you will look within yourself at why they are triggering.  I hope that IF your trauma is Deep in these moments – you will look mor deeply at it.

In saying this, this is rarely something that one can do alone – as a single individual!   It takes time.  It takes effort.  It takes others – who will listen and share with you.



1.   Part I - 


2.   Part II -


3.   Part III -


4.   Part IV - 


5.   Part V - 


6.   Part VI - 


7.   Part VII - 


8.   Part VIII - 


9.   Part IX  - https://www.georgemarx.org/2024/02/judaism-israel-palestine-part-ix.html

10. Part X - Conclusions



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