by Jerrold A. Zoloto, PhD
The following Open Letter appeared today on Dr. Zoloto’s public Facebook page and is reposted in Defending History with the author’s permission.
We have watched in horror the events leading up to and concluding with your “election” as the leader of the Lithuanian Jewish community. Having grown up in the world’s greatest democracy, it appalls me to see how you have ruthlessly and illegally managed to maintain your power base.
I am a proud Litvak, but you would not consider me a Litvak because I do not fit your definition of a Litvak. My mother was a Litvak and my father was a Jew born in Zhitomir. I grew up with my grandmother who was born in Kaunas. My grandfather was also from Kaunas, though he had died before I was born. Yiddish and Russian were spoken in my home as I grew up. You have disenfranchised Litvaks whose native language was not Lithuanian or whose parents were not both Litvaks or who was not born and raised in Lithuania. Your rhetoric on this subject is dangerously close to that of the Nazis who tried to destroy us. Within that concept of yours, you remind me of a Kapo who will do anything to her own people to ensure her own survival.
I work every day to support the Litvak cause in the U.S. and Lithuania. I have learned in my long life (I am your age) that inclusion, not exclusion as you prefer, is the key to success in any endeavor. My goal in my work is to revitalize and energize the Litvak heritage, not for the benefit of a bunch of “alte kockers” like you and me, but for the continuation of the Litvak culture for generations and generations to come. Litvak youth, who are the future of our common ancestry, are clearly opposed to your tactics. Likewise, my many non-Litvak Jewish and Lithuanian friends cannot believe what they see in your power games.
I can certainly understand that an apparatchik would use Soviet tactics to prevent free elections and freedom of speech. While Putin would certainly admire your behavior, anyone with an open mind and an open heart is sickened by what you have done.
We owe it to the six million to fight against you and to fight for Litvak freedom. Demeaning a true Litvak genius and demonizing true Litvak leaders and others who have different perspectives and agendas is not the way. We should be allied as one in honor of the six million. Instead you prevent those who would disagree with you, much less oppose you, from having a voice and an impact. I have voted in more elections than I can count. Never were there guards at these elections. Never was anyone prevented from speaking and voting.
Those who oppose you may not defeat you. However, we will continue to work endlessly for a different Litvak future. Your time will end soon, one way or another. You are a crude voice of the past with not that many years left to impose your will on others. Eventually the millennium of Litvak culture will survive and prosper. And you, Faina, will be at best just an ugly and painful example never to be repeated.
Sincerely and sadly,
Jerrold A. Zoloto, Ph.D.