Sunday, November 19, 2006

It's about power and money, of course.

Entry for Wednesday, 12 July, 2006

Concerning the recent controversy about the Israeli Rabbinate no longer recognizing American conversions, or possibly even retroactively canceling already finished conversions, I found this interesting comment:

One reason for Israel's new brashness is demographic. Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics announced last month that 5.64 million Jews live in Israel. For the first time since antiquity, there are more Jews in Israel than in any other country.

But another reason that Israelis increasingly think of themselves as the central agents of Jewish history has more to do with ideology. This notion was thrown into high relief by another recent case of Israeli conceit scandalizing American Jewish vanities. The very day that the population numbers were announced, the well-known, secular Israeli novelist A.B. Yehoshua dismissed non-Israeli Jewish identity at a highly publicized panel in Washington. "Those who do not live in Israel and do not participate in the daily decisions that are made there and that are entirely Jewish," he told the audience at a centenary celebration of the American Jewish Committee, "do not have a Jewish identity of any significance. . ..You are just playing at Jewishness."


I have been pondering this statement for some weeks, since I first read it. And in the final analysis, I have to agree, actually. What reason, I ask myself, could the Orthodox Jews in America have for refusing to move to Israel? It is a commandment in the Torah, actually - so why purposefully disobey it? If you have the Book of Mitzvot, I believe it's on page 268 (but I don't have it here with me, and I'm not sure off the top of my head). It's under the heading of the commandment not to live in Egypt, I think.

But after looking at blogs and news reports of many of the immoral and unethical goings on in the yeshiva communities, I see why they don't move - it's obvious. The reason they don't want to move is that in Israel, they aren't in charge anymore. They can't rip off the Israeli taxpayers the way they do in America. They can't claim they aren't married when they are. They can't get away with their powermongering and arbitrariness and bribes and other misconduct.

See, if they move to Israel, they'd have to give up all that control they soooo enjoy.

They've built their little incestuous communities here where they call the shots, and moving to Israel would make them little fish in a big pond. So they disobey Hashem, because they love their power more than they love Him. Their obedience extends only to the point where it would inconvenience them, and there it stops. It's terribly inconvenient to actually have to earn a living, after all. (It's certainly inconvenient to have a real Israeli Rabbinate making rulings about your rulings, too.) So they stay.

This is why, by the way, that if they even suspect that you might want to make Aliyah someday instead of moving to one of their communities, you can kiss your conversion good-bye. They want you, your kids, and your money under their control. They aren't about to have anyone going overseas to live an authentic Jewish life in their Middle Eastern homeland. No, they want everyone to be stuck in the European-style ghettos that they have created.

These people have no idea what real Middle Eastern Jewish culture is like. Not that the Ashkenaz Rabbinate in Israel is much better, mind you. Real Jewish culture is Middle Eastern - it's Mediterranean, not Polish. But the poor imitations of Judaism in American Orthodox ghettos are worse. These people ARE just "playing at Jewishness."

Real Judaism takes place in Israel and nowhere else, class. Real Judaism involves obeying ALL of Hashem's commandments, not just the ones they like. As I have said before, the Bible is not a buffet. And until they decide to obey, they are hypocrites, "playing at Jewishness."

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