Wednesday, March 10, 2010

This isn't your father's Judaism.

As you may have heard, an Ashkenaz Rabbi in the Great Neck area barged into a birthday party for a young girl in a Persian family. He began shrieking curses and threats against the family and their guests for the heinous crime of having a party of mixed adults, men & women, including music (gasp) and dancing (bigger gasp).

Once again, Failed Messiah has posted on the story. But here's the point, the point I and others have been making all along for the last several years:

...“The community is moving in different directions in a way that didn’t happen when we were still living in Iran,” observed community member Ellie Cohanim, who did not attend the party. “...there’s a group that’s taking on this very haredi brand of Judaism — and neither of those trends is normative to the Middle East. It’s not normative to how our parents and grandparents observed Judaism.”

Exactly. The stringencies and White European cultural affectations being imposed on Jews all over the world by Ashkenaz leadership is absolutely not, in any way, shape, form or fashion, historically authentic Judaism. These stringencies are innovations, not Torah. And it is a violation of the Persian community's rights to have some foreign Rabbi come in uninvited and pretend to have any authority to reprimand them for simply living the Jewish life they and their parents and grandparents and remote ancestors have ALWAYS lived - an educated and modern lifestyle that was NEVER before considered un-Jewish until the recent crop of OCD control freaks with imperialistic agendas took over Orthodox Judaism. They LIE when they say their stringencies are "min har Sinai." Moshe and Aharon would never recognize these people or their neurotic, backward, medieval beliefs which come straight from White Catholic Europe, not from authentic Hebrew Near Eastern practice.

Why is the American Jewish community, of whom the Chereidi/UO are a fractional minority, allowing these nutcases to pass themselves off as the only "real" Judaism and make official policy for klal Yisrael? Is it some sort of Holocaust "survivor's guilt?" I humbly submit that such "respect" for these "leaders" is terribly misplaced. Not only do they not represent normative historical Judaism, but their intention is to institute policies that will decimate the Jewish population - eliminating even more Jews from Judaism than the Holocaust did. They intend to do this by simply defining away millions of people's Judaism, and American Jews seem content to let them. I can't understand this.

If someone can explain to me why American Jews don't seem to care that the right to freedom of religious practice, the right to get married in Israel, the right to be buried in Israel, and soon, ultimately, the right to make aliyah at all are all being taken away from us - I would like to hear it. Anybody?

Of course, at the point where the Chief Rabbinate is already submitting laws to prevent converts (and let's be honest here, we're mostly talking AMERICAN converts) from making aliyah and receiving Israeli citizenship it's a bit late, I know, to do anything about it. Clearly their power is so entrenched now that they feel entirely emboldened to do this - knowing but not caring what the Diaspora Jews will say. And why should they care what we think - presuming we look up long enough to voice an opinion? What indication have the non-Chereidi/UO communities given that WE care? Precious little, class. That's how they became empowered - each and every little step we let them take, oblivious or unconcerned, thinking it had nothing to do with us. Who cares what the Chereidi do, we thought? We should have cared. And now they're nearly at the top of the summit of power and we are far, far too behind to stop them from reaching it.

This isn't your father's or grandfather's or even your great-grandfather's Judaism, class. Don't pretend like it is, if you value your Jewishness. The rules have now changed, and not to the benefit of American Jews. This is war - the Jewish Civil War. And they're winning.

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