Friday, August 29, 2008

Probably nothing.

I watched the Democratic National Convention the last couple of days, off and on. I didn't see it all. I'm registered Republican, though I often vote Independent.

I listened to the issues and the speeches and I found myself in agreement with a lot of what was said about the economy, about job security, about the war in Iraq, and about healthcare.

I know, for a fact, that a continuation of the Republican indifference to the implied social contract between employers and employees, between customers and businesses, between corporations and the nation, and between the nation and the workers of the rest of the world and the global environment will lead to only more economic ruin.

I am also nearly 100% sure that Barak Obama will throw the state of Israel under the bus at the first opportunity to make "peace" with Islam.

So I am terribly conflicted at this moment. It boils down, apparently, to one question:

What do I owe the state of Israel?

To the extent that Israel is controlled by the Chereidiban who have been given unilateral power to decide who is a Jew, who can marry, who can make aliyah, and who can be a citizen of Israel, Israel has made it pretty clear that I and my husband and my five children mean nothing to them.

They're very happy to have my money, of course. But even that is not something I intend to commit to them anymore. I decided a while back to "Relocalize" my giving. I pledged to the local Jewish Federation, and we also give to the local food bank and to other local charities. So I'm not sending money to Israel or to the Cheredi anymore. They don't want me - why should I support them?

So should it matter any to me that Barak is going to throw Israel to the wolves? After all, I have to live in America, since I can't live in Israel, either now or when my husband retires (he's 58). I need a government in America that will protect my economic situation and protect my children's employment prospects and make sure we aren't bankrupted by a healthcare emergency.

If that means Israel will no longer have American support - is that my fault? Is it my problem? Does it have anything to do with me at all? Does it have anything to do with the people in my community, even? Israel was supposed to be a place where all Jews, no matter what their sect or background, could go to be our own nation and be accepted as Jews in a Democratic Jewish society. That has not happened.

Israel, in my opinion, has failed to live up to its mission. Though descendants of the WWII generation were promised a land of milk and honey, what they got was a weak and ineffective government too afraid of political correctness and world opinion to claims its rights to the land. Then, for good measure, they got harassment and intimidation by the cheredi (who are a burden on society and refuse to work or to protect Israel's right to exist) - and they also got an impossible burdens of "proof" for people whose grandparents, disillusioned with Hashem in the wake of the war, just wanted to live a "normal life" and be anonymous, and who turned to unions, worker's rights, and social justice or whatever to try and fulfill their spiritual lives in an anonymous way in the secular world. These parents and grandparents who fled the realities of the War and the Holocaust never envisioned a time when their children or grandchildren might want to find Hashem again. And if they did, they never imagined a time when simply stepping up and claiming to be Jewish and not practicing some other religion wasn't enough - it always had been historically.

People whose background is Reform or Conservative have no real options, either, as their status is "questioned" by the Rabbis as much if not moreso than people whose parents and grandparents became secular - nor do Converts who also want to be Torah observant but don't want a life of unhistorical Chereidi stringencies. They're all in the same boat - a boat that gets turned away from Israel's shores.

Many people want to be part of Israel, but not on chereidi terms, who control all "orthodox" conversions and clarifications of status as a Jew, now including supposedly modern orthodox ones, and not on the unbiblical terms of the flaming liberals in the Reform or Conservative sects - who ironically have status to become citizens of Israel, if you're willing to throw your convictions out the window to get a "conversion" through them. Which means many people have no terms at all by which they can reclaim their heritage and/or become part of Israel.

To get to the point, Israel has failed many people I know, and failed my own husband, and myself, and my children, both my natural born children and my ward. The money, power, and corruption issues of the Chereidi and their control of Judaism in Israel and the Diaspora have made Israel unpalatable, to say the least - and it has made Judaism unpalatable to educated people, as well. If being a "real" Jew who can be accepted into Israel means discounting science, modern medical knowledge and hygeine, and accurate history - and accepting medieval fables of mermaids, golems, and spontaneously generating lice and mice in their place - then Israel has failed me personally. The promise is dead. It's a foreign place I and my children will never know - somebody else's homeland, not mine.

So what do I owe Israel?

Probably nothing.

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