Monday, December 28, 2009

Authentic Judaism isn't what they told you it is.

UO/Chereidi Jews push their Jewish Civil War agenda with the myth of "min har Sinai" - that is, all the innovations and stringencies that they are pushing on people are actually straight from the Mouth of God to Moses on Mt. Chorev. This is one reason they work so hard to suppress secular historical sources and sources from other Jewish sects - or even their own historical photographs of their mothers, grandmothers, and other relatives - because they clearly show people who were considered to be Orthodox Jewish not observing their imaginary "authentic" Judaism.

When they do write or make films, they cast their stringencies backward onto the historical figures and hope nobody will notice. For example, as mentioned in the article below, paintings of Moses crossing the Sea of Reeds are now being made depicting him wearing 18th century Polish garb, complete with fur hat, in the arid Middle Eastern climate.

And young people who don't know any better - because their education doesn't include such facts - take such things as "authentic." Worse, such images get included in the wider Jewish audience's imagination, and even if they intellectually know better, they tend to begin to identify "authentic" Judaism with those factually incorrect images. They then consciously or subconsciously compare themselves to the false image of historical Judaism being portrayed, and consider themselves lacking - just as the UO/Chereidi want them to. But it's a PR snow job - a lie.

Ha'aretz Online
Last update - 09:09 28/12/2009
To be or not to be a real Jew, in the American imagination
By Jay Michaelson

...there persists in the American Jewish imagination an anxiety of inauthenticity - that someone, somewhere, is the real Jew, but I?m not it.

The myth of authenticity, however, has got to go.

First, of course, it's not historically accurate. Traditional Jews didn't wear long black coats until the 18th century (notwithstanding some recent, and absurd, images of Moses crossing the Red Sea in a fur-lined shtrayml).

Moreover, until the advent of modernity, the notion that if you were "really" religious, you would dress anachronistically, simply did not arise in Jewish thought.

Distinctive dress, modest dress, visible signs like the yarmulke, sure - but never the idea that to be "real" was to be so radically other from one?s own place and time. In fact, with only a few exceptions, everything that we think of as "really Jewish" came along at a particular place and time, because of particular historical circumstances, and was never universally shared (by Sephardim, for example).

More importantly, however, the entire notion of authenticity is a false projection of particular historical quirks onto an imagined ideal of "realness" that artificially freezes culture, and thus spells its demise. The truth is that there is no single authentic Jewishness.

...Even the ultra-Orthodox maxim that "innovation is forbidden by Torah" is, of course, a 19th-century innovation. To imagine that cultural forms must remain static to be authentic is to doom a culture to obsolescence.

It is also, of course, to privilege some cultural forms over others...

...Anytime we claim that one cultural form is more authentic than another, we are replicating privilege and marginalization.

...For progressive Judaism to succeed, it must jettison the myth of authenticity based on some "real" forms that some "real" Jews really believe in and replace it with a personalized notion of authenticity measured by integrity and individual coherence.

...Progressive Jews don't do what they do to compromise the authenticity of Judaism; they do it to maintain it. Sure, plenty of lazy Jews simply indulge their laziness, whether as ritual wafflers, ethical slobs or intellectual weaklings.

But for those who care about living an authentic life, values shift because of consideration, not spinelessness. To say "This works for me" can, indeed, be a summary denial of responsibility. But to say so meaningfully, based on discernment and introspection, is a mark of integrity.

The myth of authenticity, in contrast, is an abdication of introspection and personal responsibility...

No, Biblical Israelites are not the real Jews. Neither are Hasidim, 20th-century modernists, neurotic New York psychoanalysts, Moroccan saints, angst-ridden intellectuals, High Reformers or anyone else.

Real Jews are all of the above - and the rest of us who take Jewishness seriously, in one form or another.

...Finding authenticity without is ahistorical and self-defeating. Finding it within is holy.

And this message needs to be transmitted to our young people and children, as well as to ourselves, along with real historical photographs, home movies, documents, etc., showing that their warped version of "authentic" Judaism is a modern product - an innovation.

As long as we allow the myth of "min har Sinai" to be passed off as truth, more people will be turned away from Judaism. Intelligent, educated people can seldom stomach the nonsense being pushed by the Chereidi, which is why such a large portion of BTs end up leaving the UO fold and so many youth, who can't abide intellectual dishonesty and hypocrisy, end up going OTD completely. They are told that all other expressions of Judaism are "fake" or "apikorus," so they figure - "hey! If I'm going to hell anyway, I may as well really make it worthwhile." And they go off the deep end, most ending up in a earthly hell of drug use and wild living. Why? Because their parents and teachers and counselors and Ravs gave them no reasonable alternative.

This is wrong on so many levels - instead of honestly telling at risk kids and BTs that Judaism has historically offered several options as to levels of observance, the UO/Chereidi attempt to force them to choose ultra-orthodoxy by falsely claiming there is no other "real" Judaism - and that's a lie. Not only is it a lie, it's a lie that killing kids and BTs every day, and it needs to stop.

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