44 comments posted · 7 followers · following 0

11 years ago @ Jewish Daily Forward - The \'Unaffiliated\' D... · 0 replies · +3 points

"The real question is what does affiliation mean, how is it measured"

Unfortunately, I believe it is measured entirely in dollars. Once someone is a member of a synagogue and has paid annual dues and high holiday seat fees, that person is counted in the "affiliated" list and promptly forgotten. The "danger" of the "unaffiliated" is entirely a financial one, and has nothing to do with Judaism. If you pay up you never have to show up for services, you can eat pork barbecue every night, and you can race motorcycles on Saturday. No one will care as long as you are in the "paid up" category of the synagogue's accounts receivables ledger.

And yet you will be considered a "true Jew" in these pages.

11 years ago @ Jewish Daily Forward - The \'Unaffiliated\' D... · 0 replies · +2 points

You forgot being able to read and debate Rashi in the original Judeo-French in your definition of who is really Jewish. Of course, I assume that you can, as it is often brought up in these pages as the litmus test sans égal of Jewishness, significantly more important than "sending your kids to Israel every summer for ten years" (you must be very wealthy to be able to afford this) and you are asserting that you are more of a "real" Jew than Quincyz.

I urge you to go back to learning Rashi, otherwise I fear for your authenticity.

11 years ago @ Jewish Daily Forward - Neighborhood Watch &nd... · 1 reply · +2 points

"As I later found out, my real estate agent was Jewish. I could have just asked him." Yes you could have, but if he had answered anything other than "I am not allowed to tell you that" then he would be in violation of several laws, some Federal regulations which had originally been enacted to prevent discrimination _against_ Jews, and the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.

If you want to live in the ghetto, move to Monsey or New Square or Kiryas Joel, New York. Otherwise I'd recommend drawing a 1/2 mile circle around an Orthodox synagogue on a map and only looking for houses within walking distance. Of course, they might not be the kind of Jews who join the Democratic Club, but as long as you are intent on not living next to non-Jews you can't afford to be so picky.

11 years ago @ Jewish Daily Forward - Why Do Jews Intermarry... · 1 reply · +9 points

Everyone complains about the Reform movement's acceptance of patrilineal descent. However, according to the Reform, the children from _all_ marriages involving one Jew and one non-Jew are jewish. End of problem.

I can only assume that the Orthodox, for example, are more interested in there being more _Orthodox_ Jews than there being more Jews of all stripes. I have nieces and nephews who are Jews-by-birth according to the Reform, and they all also self-identify as Jewish. However, according to the Orthodox they would all have to go through Orthodox conversion even to be fit for polite conversation, let alone to be suspiciously regarded as "sort-of-Jews". God help them if they ever want to visit Israel.

As to the endless blaring of the "End of Judaism As We Know It in One Generation" klaxon, let me just say that because of my great-great-grandfather's pigheadedness and rigid and blind adherence to the third Gerer rebbe he drove his entire family away from Ger and into the metropolis of Warsaw in search of freethinkers. Communists, Anarchists, and whatever, they all ended up in the US finally free to live as they saw fit. And yet somehow our family remained Jewish -- those who wanted to, that is, not anyone who was forced to.

People who insist on the narrowest definition of "who is a Jew" are also the most strident about how everyone _else_ is to blame for all of Jews'' struggles. Anyone whining about the horrid effects of intermarriage is choosing not to recognize patrilineal descent, and therefore only have _themselves_ to blame when the numbers don't look good.

The question is not "who is a Jew" but "what is a Jew". Are Jews like Navajos, born only and never converted in or out? Do Jews, like Baptists, the Amish, and Methodists, get the option of free choice as to whether they even want to be Jewish? Are Jews like Catholics, baptized (or whatever) at birth and therefore never allowed to leave the fold, even if they actively convert out? If a person is born Jewish, is adopted, and only finds out at age 45 that his mother was Jewish, does he have to obey the Orthodox shomrim who tell him that no matter what he thinks or wants he is Jewish because they say so? I wonder.

11 years ago @ Jewish Daily Forward - The Mirror in the Mikv... · 0 replies · +3 points

Immersion is cross-cultural and a time immemorial practice. The oldest religions in constant practice, Judaism and Hinduism, practice immersion in the mikvah and in the Ganges River. Offspring of Judaism Christianity and Islam use immersion for conversion and purification before prayer. Hinduism's offspring Jainism and Sikhism use it for purification.

Within Judaism it is not surprising that those who view their own interpretation of 5,000 years of history as the "only correct" interpretation would be against those who see interpretation as an ongoing process. Sad but true the intransigent divisions permeate all aspects of Jewish life, but possibly more so when the subject involves expanding women's roles in forming contemporary interpretation of historic practices.

11 years ago @ Jewish Daily Forward - Geza Vermes, Hungarian... · 0 replies · +1 points

"Together with a third collaborator, Renee Bloch, they battled doggedly against the anti-Semitic content in Catholic education and ritual of the time. The Second Vatican Council would later accept many of the trio’s theological arguments."

Is the author actually claiming that there is a direct line of causation between the "battles" of these three Jews in Paris and the Vatican ending its centuries-old teaching that anti-semitism was theologically justified? I know from personal experience that many Hungarian Jews (I am one) have an inflated opinion of themselves, but lacking a rock-solid reference for this claim of influence, it seems like the utmost in braggadocio.

11 years ago @ Jewish Daily Forward - Synagogues Merge Acros... · 0 replies · +6 points

The fewer divisions the better. Why is so much time and energy wasted enforcing differences? A Jew is a Jew. We can work together if only we want to.

11 years ago @ Jewish Daily Forward - Haredi Youth Mob Weste... · 0 replies · +5 points

Reminds me of the Gerer hasidim in Brooklyn beating the living cr*p out of whomever they perceive as not being Jewish enough. And the Squarer hasidim setting fire to their own who dared to stray from the party line. "Non violent?" Explain that to the victims of hasidic drug smugglers in Monsey and the money launderers in Hatzolah ambulances. Explain that to the massacred Lebanese. Explain that to the victims of lunatic settlers in the west bank. Let's not fool ourselves, being "chosen" never exempted anyone from the basic human lust for violence.

11 years ago @ Jewish Daily Forward - Israel Seeks To End Ba... · 0 replies · +7 points

"She was referring to events at which religious politicians and soldiers, adhering to a traditional edict to avoid temptation, have walked out rather than watch women singing or dancing"

This is the only acceptable solution in a civilized society: if something _you_ see upsets _you_, then remove _yourself_ from the situation and let the rest of us live in the 21st century.

11 years ago @ Jewish Daily Forward - \'Jews a Race Race?\' ... · 0 replies · +2 points

"The Jews would not die. Three millennia of prophetic teaching had given them an unwavering spirit of resignation and had created in them a will to live which no disaster could crush"

Baruch Hashem oin denken Gott far yiddn vvi Sammy Davis Jr. z"l