Rabbi Joel Schwartzman responds to anti-Semitic hate mail “Christmas Wreaths on your grave” (sent “in the Holy Name of Jesus The Christ,” of course)

Published On: December 1, 2021|Categories: MRFF's Inbox, Top News|15 Comments|
Rabbi Joel Schwartzman

From: Clergy Admin <[email protected]>
Subject: Christmas Wreaths on your grave
Date: December 1, 2021 at 3:21:52 PM MST
To: Michael L Weinstein <[email protected]>

Greetings in the Holy Name of Jesus The Christ Mr. Weinstein!

Just wanted you to know that our Church has made formal arrangements to have a beautiful Christmas Wreath placed annually on your Jewish gravesite in perpetuity during the Christmas season.

Beginning whenever the Son of God finally calls you home to face His consequences. For your blasphemous work at the MFFR to advance the evils of satan against The Church and Christians.

Merry Christmas Mr. Weinstein! 
Luke 23:21 & John 8:44

Response from MRFF Supporter Rabbi Joel Schwartzman:

From: Rabbi Joel Schwartzman
Subject: Wreath Laying, Indeed!
Date: December 1, 2021 at 4:52:56 PM MST
To: [email protected]” <[email protected]>

Dear Christian ‘Believer’:

How nice of you to offer what we all know will never be followed through upon.  Your “formal arrangements” to provide a Christmas wreath on Mikey Weinstein’s grave is truly grist for the FBI since it conveys more of a threat than a kindness.  Had it been meant as any kind of a kindness, you would have included how much money your Church set aside for this endeavor. 

You just keep plugging along in your ignorance and hate.  We’ll just keep countering your attempts to make this nation something it thankfully is not.  Thank God for the Constitution.  Thank God for our system of justice which, by the way, just prevailed in Charlottesville, Virginia, where bigots like yourself just got tagged with a $26 M verdict against them. 

You await your Lord and Savior.  We await your stepping all the way over the line so that we can collect those funds your Church set aside prior to anyone in MRFF having first to die.

Do have a pleasant and revelatory Christmas.  Maybe, by some miracle, it will come to wake you and the ‘members of your Church’ up to what a true religion is all about.

Ch, Col (Ret), USAF Joel R. Schwartzman

Response from MRFF Ally, Elizabeth Sholes, California Council of Churches/IMPACT:

On Dec 1, 2021, at 5:33 PM, Elizabeth Sholes wrote:

I read your email to Mr. Weinstein and laughed.  This is about the silliest thing I’ve read since learning Mormons ‘baptize’ the dead.  It is meaningless as either a grace or a curse – I suspect you wish it to be the latter.  It is the height of hubris to think it matters at all.

Fundamentalist Christianity is steeped in the belief that it has all the answers, the only answer. Doesn’t matter if you’re out of Protestant or Catholic or Pentecostal traditions – that absolutism is simply wrong. It is old testament tribalism, not Christianity and not carrying out Christ’s teachings.  

You are blessed living in America where you are free to be unkind, unjust, and wrong. Nobody much cares about your wreath one way or the other, except for how sad it is you believe Mr. Weinstein isn’t there fighting for everyone’s religious freedom, even yours.  What he has opposed is the imposition of any religious view on our troops especially by command staff. That is the stuff of the First Amendment. To us it’s also the stuff of Christ’s inclusiveness and universal love. You might not agree on the latter, but that’s how we read scripture.  We definitely read the Constitution as religious FREEDOM, not imposition.

We do wish you a blessed Christmas despite your childishly rude attempt to make Mr. Weinstein feel bad. That he doesn’t, that we don’t, is your lump of coal in your stocking.  We are much stronger than that, and we are quite able to wish you a Merry Christmas and hope you find the real meaning of the season this year.  

Best to you and yours in this advent season of joy-

Elizabeth Sholes
Public Policy Advocate
California Council of Churches/IMPACT

Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Mike Farrell:

On Dec 2, 2021, at 12:58 AM, Mike wrote:

Dear Know Nothings,

I will assume this is a fake address from a cowardly group similar to the other anti-Semitic messages we receive.

Your attempt to be clever in fact exposes the poverty of your faith. Did Jesus stoop to smirking pretenses at superiority, such as you’ve done here? Did he attempt to ridicule other belief systems? I think you’d find, if you bothered to pay attention to the teachings of the man you claim to worship, that you’ve demonstrated in this puerile gesture, reason to bow your head in shame, beg forgiveness and attempt to actually achieve the ability to behave like true Christians.

Mike Farrell
(MRFF Board of Advisors)

Response from MRFF Board Member John Compere:

On Dec 1, 2021, at 7:35 PM, John Compere wrote:

Your anonymous, asinine, acrimonious & anti-Semitic attack against a fellow American you do not even know reflects only upon yourself & reveals contemptible cowardice lacking the courage or conviction to provide correct identification.

It must never occur to pseudo-Christians & hypocritical hate-mailers that some families of deceased military veterans do not want a fundamentalist Christian organization proselytizing their religion version & marketing their religious organization on the graves of their loved ones. Those families believe it to be an inconsiderate intrusion on the personal burial site of their American veterans. 

When requested, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (composed of 85% Christians) represents the religious freedom right of those families to object to such thoughtless trespassing on & disrespectful desecrating the graves of their deceased American military veterans. We do so with respect for the wishes of those families & will continue to do so.

Real Christians do not hate their neighbors. It is recommended you read & reflect on 1 John 2:9-11, Matthew 22:39, Mark 12:31, Luke 10:27 & Psalm 50:19-20. Even Renaissance Philosopher Machiavelli wisely warned those who cannot avoid being hostile to their neighbors are ungrateful to God (“Exhortation to Penitence”, 1527).

Brigadier General John Compere, US Army (Retired)
Disabled American Veteran (Vietnam Era)
Board Member, Military Religious Freedom Foundation

Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member James T. Currie:

On Dec 1, 2021, at 7:00 PM, James Currie wrote:

Dear Mr. Clergy Admin:

I am confident that you will never see this reply because you are so cowardly that you gave neither your name nor a genuine email address. Yet, you pretend to be a Christian. I find it ironic that someone with so much hatred in their heart can claim to be a follower of someone whose message was that one should love their neighbor. The fact that you–whoever or whatever you are–have arranged to “have a beautiful Christmas wreath placed annually on your [the Weinstein] Jewish gravesite during the Christmas season” just shows how depraved you are. Serving as a counter-weight to those who attempt to foist their religious views on someone else is precisely the reason why the Military Religious Freedom Foundation exists. MRFF does not try to advance Satan or any other real or imaginary deity. MRFF exists so that members of our military forces–men and women who have pledged to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic–can worship as they choose, or not worship at all, if that is their choice. Such choice is one of the fundamental freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution, which these courageous individuals have sworn to protect. You would not understand the oath they take, because it is so different from the one you apparently embrace: I will make a fool of myself in every way I can imagine. Your threat to decorate Mikey Weinstein’s grave with a Christmas wreath is both premature, absurd, and wasteful to the highest degree. You should save your wreath money and spend it on some mental health counseling sessions. It is clear that you need them.

Col. James Tyson Currie, USA (Ret.), Ph.D.
Advisory Board, Military Religious Freedom Foundation
Ordained Elder, Presbyterian Church, USA

Response from MRFF Supporter Fr. Steve Dundas:

On Dec 1, 2021, at 8:27 PM, Steve wrote:

Dear Anonymous and Cowardly Jew Baiter,

Your insolent and hateful email to Mr. Weinstein demonstrates that you know nothing of the message of Christmas or even when the laying of wreathes on graves of military personnel became a part of Christian tradition. In fact this “tradition” has no place in the Christian tradition as it began in 1992. No Church Fathers, Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran, Reformed, or for that matter any Christian tradition from the birth of the Church on Pentecost to the present day. For the fact of the matter this is an attempt to co-opt Christmas in the name of Right Wing Christian Nationalism in order to impose the Christmas wreath which has nothing to do with honoring the dead, upon the graves where American veterans of all faiths lay in final repose.

To think that doing this honors the dead or honors Christ is blasphemy. Your fake email address identifying you with the Church Fathers is arrogant and hypocritical. They would not know you. This pathetic attempt to disparage and denigrate the Jewish faith of Mr. Weinstein and other Jews, as well as the Muslims, Hindoos, Buddhists, Unitarians, Universalists, Pagans, Wiccans, Free Thinkers, Agnostics, and Atheists who have served this country would not be known by the founders of our Republic and framers of the Constitution.

The religious liberty of people does not end when they die. I am a Priest and combat veteran with nearly 40 years of unbroken service between the Army and Navy. If my grave is ever desecrated by one of your wreathes I will have my survivors sue you and take you for everything they can get, and then give it to the care of all veterans regardless of their faith.

Your threat to Mr. Weinstein, and to all Jews to desecrate their graves with a Christian symbol that has nothing to do with honoring the now deceased men and women of all faiths or no faith. It is simply a way to impose a non-biblical and ahistorical practice more related to American nationalism and unending war than the Christian faith.

Only a person who is ignorant of his or her Christian faith, or only uses it as a fascist political and religious weapon would write such an email.

I sign off with my sincere disrespect of you and all that you stand.

With unmitigated disrespect and derision, I wish upon you visits of the Ghosts of a Christmas Past, Present, and Future in hopes that you will heed the warning given to Ebenezer Scrounge. Your acts, though clothed with a very thin veneer of American cultural Christianity are far worse than the fictional Scrooge. He was redeemable, and I doubt that you are way past redemption, in this life or the next.

Likewise, you and yours disrespect the Constitution and everything about our system of government is on display in your email.

You are an Anti-Semitic Fascist masquerading as a faithful Christian, something that you are oblivious incapable of comprehending. So get a life 

With no respect whatsoever, I am yours,

Fr. Steve Dundas, CHC, USN (Ret.) 

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  1. Kurt Van Tassel December 1, 2021 at 4:19 pm

    Dear Clergy Admin.

    You are what is wrong with our country.

  2. jimbo December 1, 2021 at 4:44 pm

    The simple truth is there are no gods, those who act like this know that truth and their only response is persecution. I’m a prime example Mikey, a latest example flight attendant on an Hawaiian Airline flight from Hawaii drawing his finger across his throat to threaten me. Nice folks those Hawaiian Airlines folks. Of course you know some of the others.

  3. jimbo December 1, 2021 at 4:46 pm

    Happy Holidays Mikey to all of you.

  4. Big Al (Army Arty) December 1, 2021 at 5:56 pm

    Well, A big F___ Y__ to you, you asshat! I am 81 years old and would love to drop a 105 round on you. But I agree with Kurt Van Tassel…You are what is wrong with our once great nation!
    Mikey, I hope you and yours have a wonderful holiday.

  5. Big Al (Army Arty) December 2, 2021 at 6:56 am

    My apologies to one and all for my rant yesterday…it was a long and overwhelming day. When I read Clergy Admin’s remarks, I lost it. Sorry. I wish death on no one. But I am constantly amazed by the idiocy spouted by pseudo-Christians who apparently have never cared for the Golden Rule. Most religious traditions have this tenet in one form or another. So, I, for one, must continue to try to follow this rule and hope my countrymen and countrywomen do, too. Peace be with all of you.

  6. Christopher Blackwell December 2, 2021 at 8:38 am

    Always Ironic as Jesus was Jew and a Rabi as I understand. Also Jeus never condemned any of the many religions of his day, nor any of the varies kinds of people some Christians attack today.

  7. Lynda Bloomberg December 5, 2021 at 2:44 pm

    As my father would say to someone like this…. You worship a dead Jew. The real reason for the season is Saturnalia. A Pagan/Roman holiday. Don’t be putting a wreath on my headstone when I die.

    Loring AFB 1981-84. It might be gone but never forgotten.

  8. Jeff December 6, 2021 at 7:59 pm

    Wow – invoking the name of Jesus, who was a Jew, to slander Jews. Talk about ignorant, bigoted nonsense. Some people just don’t know when to hold off on their comments – they feel the need to demonstrate their ignorance and bigotry for the world to see. Congratulations to Clergy Admin.

  9. A.L. Hern December 6, 2021 at 8:18 pm

    It’s common Jewish tradition to leave a small stone on a Jewish grave.  That’s it, just a common pebble.

    If the folks at Worcester Wreath Co. want to honor that tradition, it will be appreciated and, while they don’t deal in pebbles, finding some to place on Jewish graves will cost them exactly nothing.

    No one, including Mikey Weinstein and the MRFF, objects to their laying wreaths on Christian graves, but Jewish ones should be left to those who know how to honor Jewish dead, aren’t trying to convert them to Christianity posthumously and who aren’t using nakedly transparent demonstrations of fake piety to buy an express ticket to heaven for themselves when their time’s up.

  10. Ironmoped December 7, 2021 at 11:47 am

    Per Clergy Admin, the Son of God has to call you “home” to face “the consequences?”
    I presume the only reason to call you “home,” is to parade you in front of the saved masses of “Christians” that have gone before you and are already in Heaven so that you can be jeered at and ridiculed by these righteous sycophants before being cast into the lake of fire for their viewing pleasure! I mean, after all, you’re in Heaven. What else would you have to do other than bask in the misery of others? At least, until His Majesty comes by, then “act busy!” He could change his mind! Sounds like a celestial North Korea run by a Heavenly dictator and his sadistic son!
    To Big Al – you say “this once great nation?” You mean like when we owned slaves and black and brown people knew their place? You mean when “made in Japan” wasn’t a sign of quality? When we actually produced something? When our Corporate overlords didn’t offshore American jobs for lowered cost and increased profit? You mean back when we really could “grab them by the pussy” without consequence? Or actually get away with shooting blacks with a shotgun? Or in the back as a result of a routine traffic stop? Or March with Tiki torches shouting, “Jews will not replace us?” Or caging immigrant children? Or building walks on our southern border to keep out the only people that will do the work that white people won’t? You mean when we impose tariffs on steel and aluminum and drive up the price of everything in this country?
    And then have to send that Tariff money to farmers because China won’t buy their soybeans? You mean back in the day it was OK to storm the capital? You mean back when your kids could be on the White House staff as senior advisors to the leader of the free world. Back when we actually had good roads and bridges because rich people actually paid their share? Point your 105 vertical and pull the cord!

  11. Paul Ferretti December 9, 2021 at 2:29 pm

    As someone who has participated many times in the annual wreath laying at Arlington, I can honestly say that all volunteers are instructed to only put wreaths on the Christian graves and that’s it. Not everyone hears this message or understands, and I have on occasion stopped someone from doing it and they were always apologetic and stated that they didn’t know. I don’t think anyone wants to deliberately disrespect any of the fallen. I thoroughly understand the position of the MRFF and will continue to do my best to make sure all of the fallen are honored in accordance with their beliefs.

  12. Patriot Pastor December 10, 2021 at 2:08 pm

    I will join in putting a wreath on Mikey’s grave after God stops his heart from beating. Stop with the threats with the FBI, that is the last thing they need to worry about is someone putting a wreath on Mikey’s grave whenever he passes from this life. They cannot stop anyone from doing that unless they want to post an agent year round at his grave to stop someone from doing that. Also, putting a wreath on the grave of a Jewish person is not antisemtic according to the IHRA’s working definition of antisemtism which has be adopted by several nations including our own state department. So, dear Rabbi, get over yourself, you are just as bad as Muslims feigning Islamophobia for anything that gets them butthurt or having hurt feelings. Finally, Mikey is no Jew for I am sure he neither obeys the Old Testament, observes the feasts or attends synagogue anytime during the year. He is what I call a Kapo Jew. Merry Christmas!

  13. cb December 14, 2021 at 11:50 am

    Before the wreath became associated with Christmas, it was a prominent emblem of victory and power in ancient Greece and Rome. In Ovid’s Metamorphoses, after the nymph Daphne rejected the god Apollo and escaped from him by turning into a laurel tree, Apollo says, “Since you cannot be my wife, you shall surely be my tree. O laurel, I shall for ever have you in my hair, on my lyre and quiver.” The passage inspired art such as the marble statue “Apollo Crowning Himself,” reinforcing the imagery of Roman and Grecian gods donning the green crown. History is a Wonder for correcting stupid.

  14. Bob December 14, 2021 at 12:03 pm

    So you NPO is complaining about putting on a U.S Military Grave the Classical Historical Emblem of VICTORY! Isn’t that the greatest Honor? As a retired Air Force Officer, I will be honored by any respect given for my service by any religious group when I pass; because, Why? because I served to protect all Religions of THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA not just ONE!

  15. P. A. Martinez (Ret. Air Force) December 14, 2021 at 12:44 pm

    With all the wrong and hate in the world today, you choose to add to this growing epidemic. Why don’t you spend your time to find something worthwhile to rally against. Combat hate not feed it, you do not speak for the dead lying in our nations cemetery. I hope that someday humanity will once again have some common sense and show some respect to one another.

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