No Escape from the U.S. Political Left—In Israel

 

A week ago the Israeli Knesset froze implementing a plan to open a new mixed-gender prayer area at Jerusalem’s Western Wall. Originally the change had been endorsed, even by the ultra-Orthodox Jews, but the effort was shut down at the last minute. Not only was Israel’s political Left furious, but our American Jewish Left was, too, making subtle threats over financial support of Israel.

What’s the fight about?

The Western Wall is honored as a portion of the ancient Second Temple complex, destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE. Jews are not permitted to worship on the Temple Mount to assuage the Palestinians, who claim it as their sacred site. Since the Wall is a holy site to Jews, both men and women pray there. Orthodox Jewish Law states, however, that men and women must pray with a separation between them. In August 2013 temporary prayer areas were constructed, separate from the Wall but nearby; in 2016 a joint committee was set up with two Reform leaders, two Conservative leaders, two non-Orthodox women representatives, the Jewish Agency chairman and six government officials overseeing a southern area in a repurposed archaeological park to establish a larger mixed-gender prayer area.

Some people saw this accommodation as a betrayal of Jewish values; the group called Women of the Wall saw it as a victory:

In approving this plan, the state acknowledges women’s full equality at the Kotel [Western Wall] and the imperative of freedom of choice in Judaism in Israel. The creation of a third section of the Kotel sets a strong precedent in women’s status in Israel: women as administrators of a holy site, women as leaders, women as influential force not to be ignore or silenced.

For the record, this statement is full of irony on several levels.

First, men and women are not the same in Judaism, and they have different roles. If anything, the women are considered superior to the men, as explained by Rabbi David Edelman who leads a Lubavitcher community in western Massachusetts:

‘You want to know how men and women should be? All the answers are in the Torah.’ Then he proceeded to tell me [the author] about the great Biblical matriarchs and the exalted position of women in Judaism. ‘Women are more spiritual than men,’ he said, to my astonishment. ‘They naturally have a closer connection to G‑d. Men need to be reminded to pray. That’s why they have to come to the synagogue. Women can pray by themselves because they pray deeper. And you know, it is said that when the Messiah comes, men will be raised to the spiritual level of women.’

So those who believe that women are considered to be of lower status in Orthodox Judaism are simply wrong.

Regarding the issue of men and women praying separately, it has nothing to do with the status of women. In a letter written by Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, he explains the reasons:

One of the inner and essential reasons for the Mechitzah [separation]—since you insist on an explanation—is that the synagogue, and the time of prayer in general (even when recited at home), are not merely the place and time when a formal petition is offered to Him Who is able to fulfill the petition; it is much more profound than that. It is the time and place when the person offering the prayer unites himself with Him to Whom the prayer is offered, by means of the prayer. . .

The union of two things can be complete only when there is not a third element involved, be it even a matter of holiness and the like.

From the above it follows that there certainly must be nothing to distract the attention and the attunement of the heart and mind towards the attainment of the highest degree of unity with G‑d.

The Rabbi also pointed out that leaving the decision to human reason, of whether or not to pray together, is unwise:

The human intellect is a very unreliable gauge, and quite changeable from one extreme to the other. Even in the so-called exact sciences, the unreliability of human reason and deduction has been amply demonstrated, and what was one day considered as an ‘absolute’ truth is the next day abrogated with equal certainty and absoluteness. Hence to presume to make conditions in regard to the eternal and G‑d-given Torah and mitzvoth is completely out of place.

As a result, Orthodox Judaism separates men and women because G-d calls for it in an effort to be intimate with each of us.

It’s helpful to understand the role of haredi or ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel:

Ultra-Orthodox rabbis strictly govern Jewish practices in Israel such as weddings, divorces, and burials. The ultra-Orthodox religious establishment sees itself as responsible for maintaining traditions through centuries of persecution and assimilation, and it resists any inroads from liberals it often considers to be second-class Jews who ordain women and gays and are overly inclusive toward converts and interfaith marriages.

It’s difficult to watch the struggle between the Orthodox and the other sects of Judaism arguing over laws that are either misunderstood or are criticized in order to “establish equality.” The American Jewish community, which is overwhelmingly Leftist, is determined to support these changes so that men and women can pray together, without wondering about the reasons for these laws or caring about them. In fact, a number of organizations have threatened to withhold funding in the absence of these unorthodox changes. And American Jews, overwhelmingly on the Left, are protesting:

American Jews, who have long lamented Israel should be as accepting of their religious practices as they are of their financial and political support, have been pushing for the new prayer area and had warned that if the deal did not go through it would lead to a dangerous rupture with North American Jewry.

Rabbi Rick Jacobs, the President of the Union for Reform Judaism, the largest stream of Judaism in the United States, said the decision could lead many to rethink their support for Israel.

‘There is a limit to how many times you can be delegitimized and insulted,’ he said. ‘This is the core mission of the Jewish state — to be a home for all Jews … it is unthinkable but the unthinkable just happened.’

American Jews are responsible for giving millions if not billions of dollars in contributions to Israel. It will be interesting to see how far Israel is willing to compromise and give in to Leftist politics in order to satisfy their benefactors.

There are 62 comments.

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  1. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member

    Susan, do you know why the plan was scrapped?

    (btw, Rick Jacobs was my in-laws rabbi for decades.)

    • #1
    • July 2, 2017, at 3:12 PM PDT
    • Like
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):
    Susan, do you know why the plan was scrapped?

    (btw, Rick Jacobs was my in-laws rabbi for decades.)

    From what I’ve read, the ultra-Orthodox refused to go along. I don’t know why they originally agreed to consider it. But because there are a couple of opportunities to pray quite near the wall, they were unwilling to agree. And because Netanyahu needs them in his coalition, he had to go along.

    I actually sympathize with them. The ultra-Orthodox have watched the Jewish community disappear, as people intermarry (I’m in one of those marriages, and I know you are, too), abandon the traditions that enrich Judaism, and even (especially with the Left) criticize religion in general. If you look carefully at what the Jews from America are saying, they are (I believe) misrepresenting how they are being treated.

    • #2
    • July 2, 2017, at 3:34 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  3. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Rabbi Rick Jacobs says that the American Jews are being delegitimized and insulted. I’ve prayed at the Western Wall on the woman’s side, and I didn’t experience that at all; I think he and others are choosing to feel that they are being insulted. Where is his respect for the traditions?

    • #3
    • July 2, 2017, at 3:37 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  4. Nanda "Chaps" Panjan… Inactive

    Saddening…

    • #4
    • July 2, 2017, at 3:37 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  5. Hypatia Inactive

    I am not a Jew but am married to one. And when I think of –I won’t even say “the Old Testament”, I’ll say “The Bible” , as I was taught– there are so many examples of outstanding women: Zipporah, Rachael, Tamar ( in the Judah story) Esther, Deborah, Jael, Ruth the Moabite but a faithful,wife, Bathsheba…I say, let the keepers of the ancient flame, the sacred fire, be heard and respected.

    • #5
    • July 2, 2017, at 4:58 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  6. Kevin Schulte Member

    Susan, could not agree more with the statement that women are more spiritual than men (speaking in generalities). It is this way in Christianity also. Loved Rabbi Edelman’s explanation of the differences between men and women.

    I can never get my mind around why most Jews are leftest. Susan could you post your take on this conundrum ?

    • #6
    • July 2, 2017, at 5:00 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  7. Percival Thatcher

    Thank you, Susan.

    • #7
    • July 2, 2017, at 5:00 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  8. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Hypatia (View Comment):
    I am not a Jew but am married to one. And when I think of –I won’t even say “the Old Testament”, I’ll say “The Bible” , as I was taught– there are so many examples of outstanding women: Zipporah, Rachael, Tamar ( in the Judah story) Esther, Deborah, Jael, Ruth the Moabite but a faithful,wife, Bathsheba…I say, let the keepers of the ancient flame, the sacred fire, be heard and respected.

    Thank you, Hypatia. I’m touched. It’s too bad that politics has to be imposed on this ancient tradition. I think people who make the negative arguments ought to take a good hard look at their issues.

    • #8
    • July 2, 2017, at 5:02 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  9. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):
    I can never get my mind around why most Jews are leftest. Susan could you post your take on this conundrum ?

    I’ll try. I think that Jews have a long history of caring for the underdog. We know what that role is like in our own history. Sometimes an attribute can become a limitation–as in, elevating compassion at the expense of good judgment and wisdom. As Jews lost touch with their traditions and became more secular (which describes many if not most Jews in this country), they lost the connection with their origins and took on a new “ism” as in Leftism and secularism. I would also add that I think a lot of people abandoned their faith because they felt that G-d let down the Jews when He “allowed” the Holocaust to happen; how could G-d do that? They couldn’t come to terms with the fact that even monsters have free will. Does that help?

    • #9
    • July 2, 2017, at 5:07 PM PDT
    • 11 likes
  10. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    I was thinking there are generally three types of American Jews when we look at these issues. One group includes secular Jews who are not or barely religious, and judge Israel from afar on their refusal to “accept equality.” These Jews generally have no intention of going to Israel, but they stand up for “what is right.” (Or maybe I should say “left.”)

    The second group could loosely described as those who identify as Jews, practice to some degree and also might intermarry. They go to Israel and the only limitations they see are the separation of men and women at the Western Wall or at synagogues. As I recall, they also had long skirts available for those women who were dressed in pants or shorts to put on. No charge. I believe I did this when I was there, and assume that is still the practice. These are also the people who may protest for “equality” and often don’t know the Jewish beliefs for praying separately. If they do know, and still insist on equality, I would call them egotists: it’s all about them.

    The third group includes those who are deeply observant and are grateful to be able to visit the sacred sites with whatever expectations exist. They know these rules are all about deepening their relationship with G-d.

    • #10
    • July 2, 2017, at 5:22 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  11. Kevin Schulte Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):
    I can never get my mind around why most Jews are leftest. Susan could you post your take on this conundrum ?

    I’ll try. I think that Jews have a long history of caring for the underdog. We know what that role is like in our own history. Sometimes an attribute can become a limitation–as in, elevating compassion at the expense of good judgment and wisdom. As Jews lost touch with their traditions and became more secular (which describes many if not most Jews in this country), they lost the connection with their origins and took on a new “ism” as in Leftism and secularism. I would also add that I think a lot of people abandoned their faith because they felt that G-d let down the Jews when He “allowed” the Holocaust to happen; how could G-d do that? They couldn’t come to terms with the fact that even monsters have free will. Does that help?

    Yes, thank you.

    • #11
    • July 2, 2017, at 5:23 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  12. James Gawron Thatcher

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):
    I can never get my mind around why most Jews are leftest. Susan could you post your take on this conundrum ?

    I’ll try. I think that Jews have a long history of caring for the underdog. We know what that role is like in our own history. Sometimes an attribute can become a limitation–as in, elevating compassion at the expense of good judgment and wisdom. As Jews lost touch with their traditions and became more secular (which describes many if not most Jews in this country), they lost the connection with their origins and took on a new “ism” as in Leftism and secularism. I would also add that I think a lot of people abandoned their faith because they felt that G-d let down the Jews when He “allowed” the Holocaust to happen; how could G-d do that? They couldn’t come to terms with the fact that even monsters have free will. Does that help?

    Susan,

    In the middle 1990s a poll was taken amongst Reform Jewish Congregations in the USA. They were asked whether or not they believed in a single transcendental Gd. Over half said no. Since that time Reform in the USA, having hit rock bottom, began to move to the right. They still don’t understand that much of their kneejerk reactions only serve to help delegitimize Israel. I hope, of course, that a compromise will be found that will maintain standards and allow for the expression of prayer. However, Reform Jews in the United States need to realize that just writing a check isn’t all that there is. If you move to Israel, no matter who you are, it is likely that your children will serve in the army. I can tell you about a number of American liberals who have done just that and oddly enough their politics changed because of it.

    Real responsibility to a religious faith goes a little farther than just showing up and eating lunch. Real responsibility to a Nation State goes a little farther than just writing a check.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #12
    • July 2, 2017, at 5:26 PM PDT
    • 14 likes
  13. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):
    I can never get my mind around why most Jews are leftest. Susan could you post your take on this conundrum ?

    I’ll try. I think that Jews have a long history of caring for the underdog. We know what that role is like in our own history. Sometimes an attribute can become a limitation–as in, elevating compassion at the expense of good judgment and wisdom. As Jews lost touch with their traditions and became more secular (which describes many if not most Jews in this country), they lost the connection with their origins and took on a new “ism” as in Leftism and secularism. I would also add that I think a lot of people abandoned their faith because they felt that G-d let down the Jews when He “allowed” the Holocaust to happen; how could G-d do that? They couldn’t come to terms with the fact that even monsters have free will. Does that help?

    Susan,

    In the middle 1990s a poll was taken amongst Reform Jewish Congregations in the USA. They were asked whether or not they believed in a single transcendental Gd. Over half said no. Since that time Reform in the USA, having hit rock bottom, began to move to the right. They still don’t understand that much of their kneejerk reactions only serve to help delegitimize Israel. I hope, of course, that a compromise will be found that will maintain standards and allow for the expression of prayer. However, Reform Jews in the United States need to realize that just writing a check isn’t all that there is. If you move to Israel, no matter who you are, it is likely that your children will serve in the army. I can tell about a number of American liberals who have done just that and oddly enough their politics changed because of it.

    Real responsibility to a religious faith goes a little farther than just showing up and eating lunch. Real responsibility to a Nation State goes a little farther than just writing a check.

    Regards,

    Jim

    I was hoping you would chime in, Jim, and beautifully said. Thank you. I would also add that if Jews are talking about withholding funds because they aren’t getting their way, what does that say about charity? Sounds like blackmail to me. BTW, did you mean to say that since the 1990s, Reformed Jews have started to move to the right? What’s that about? Or did you mean the left?

    • #13
    • July 2, 2017, at 5:31 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  14. Hypatia Inactive

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):
    I can never get my mind around why most Jews are leftest. Susan could you post your take on this conundrum ?

    I’ll try. I think that Jews have a long history of caring for the underdog. We know what that role is like in our own history. Sometimes an attribute can become a limitation–as in, elevating compassion at the expense of good judgment and wisdom. As Jews lost touch with their traditions and became more secular (which describes many if not most Jews in this country), they lost the connection with their origins and took on a new “ism” as in Leftism and secularism. I would also add that I think a lot of people abandoned their faith because they felt that G-d let down the Jews when He “allowed” the Holocaust to happen; how could G-d do that? They couldn’t come to terms with the fact that even monsters have free will. Does that help?

    I think there’s a sad heritage of “I thank thee that I am not as that man!” . I read a book called “Too Jewish”, Pattie ???, can’t look,it up now…but heartbreaking on Jewish self hatred, the awful bigotry against the Eastern European Jews….and remember Irène Nemerovsky, whose work was popular a few years ago? Yes, she died in a concentration camp, but not before trying up convince the regime that she wasn’t like those other Jews. It seems to my husband and me that so many Jews are afraid to take their own side. As if refusing to do so has ever saved them.

    Late in the day to say this , but

    God bless and protect His people!

    • #14
    • July 2, 2017, at 5:31 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  15. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Hypatia (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):
    I can never get my mind around why most Jews are leftest. Susan could you post your take on this conundrum ?

    I’ll try. I think that Jews have a long history of caring for the underdog. We know what that role is like in our own history. Sometimes an attribute can become a limitation–as in, elevating compassion at the expense of good judgment and wisdom. As Jews lost touch with their traditions and became more secular (which describes many if not most Jews in this country), they lost the connection with their origins and took on a new “ism” as in Leftism and secularism. I would also add that I think a lot of people abandoned their faith because they felt that G-d let down the Jews when He “allowed” the Holocaust to happen; how could G-d do that? They couldn’t come to terms with the fact that even monsters have free will. Does that help?

    I think there’s a sad heritage of “I thank thee that I am not as that man!” . I read a book called “Too Jewish”, Pattie ???, can’t look,it up now…but heartbreaking on Jewish self hatred, the awful bigotry against the Eastern European Jews….and remember Irène Nemerovsky, whose work was popular a few years ago? Yes, she died in a concentration camp, but not before trying up convince the regime that she wasn’t like those other Jews. It seems to my husband and me that so many Jews are afraid to take their own side. As if refusing to do so has ever saved them.

    Late in the day to say this , but

    God bless and protect His people!

    Your comment reminds me of a time I was invited to speak at a school for people training to be rabbis. It was when I still practiced Buddhism. The conversation was intended to focus on why I turned to Buddhism instead of Judaism, because there is reason to be concerned that so many Jews are taking this path. I was glad to answer their questions. One person did ask if I had left Judaism because of self-hatred. He might have been trying to poke at me, but I was just perplexed, since that was not the issue at all. I hadn’t found a way to make a deep spiritual connection in Judaism. Ironically, Buddhist meditation deepened my connection to G-d (although Buddhism is not god-centered). Worked for me for 20 years.

    • #15
    • July 2, 2017, at 5:36 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  16. Kevin Schulte Member

    Hypatia (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):
    I can never get my mind around why most Jews are leftest. Susan could you post your take on this conundrum ?

    I’ll try. I think that Jews have a long history of caring for the underdog. We know what that role is like in our own history. Sometimes an attribute can become a limitation–as in, elevating compassion at the expense of good judgment and wisdom. As Jews lost touch with their traditions and became more secular (which describes many if not most Jews in this country), they lost the connection with their origins and took on a new “ism” as in Leftism and secularism. I would also add that I think a lot of people abandoned their faith because they felt that G-d let down the Jews when He “allowed” the Holocaust to happen; how could G-d do that? They couldn’t come to terms with the fact that even monsters have free will. Does that help?

    I think there’s a sad heritage of “I thank thee that I am not as that man!” . I read a book called “Too Jewish”, Pattie ???, can’t look,it up now…but heartbreaking on Jewish self hatred, the awful bigotry against the Eastern European Jews….and remember Irène Nemerovsky, whose work was popular a few years ago? Yes, she died in a concentration camp, but not before trying up convince the regime that she wasn’t like those other Jews. It seems to my husband and me that so many Jews are afraid to take their own side. As if refusing to do so has ever saved them.

    Late in the day to say this , but

    God bless and protect His people!

    The Nation State of Israel is evidence of God Blessing and protecting His Heritage. Also the supper power America being their Ally .

    • #16
    • July 2, 2017, at 5:40 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  17. James Gawron Thatcher

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):
    I can never get my mind around why most Jews are leftest. Susan could you post your take on this conundrum ?

    I’ll try. I think that Jews have a long history of caring for the underdog. We know what that role is like in our own history. Sometimes an attribute can become a limitation–as in, elevating compassion at the expense of good judgment and wisdom. As Jews lost touch with their traditions and became more secular (which describes many if not most Jews in this country), they lost the connection with their origins and took on a new “ism” as in Leftism and secularism. I would also add that I think a lot of people abandoned their faith because they felt that G-d let down the Jews when He “allowed” the Holocaust to happen; how could G-d do that? They couldn’t come to terms with the fact that even monsters have free will. Does that help?

    Susan,

    In the middle 1990s a poll was taken amongst Reform Jewish Congregations in the USA. They were asked whether or not they believed in a single transcendental Gd. Over half said no. Since that time Reform in the USA, having hit rock bottom, began to move to the right. They still don’t understand that much of their kneejerk reactions only serve to help delegitimize Israel. I hope, of course, that a compromise will be found that will maintain standards and allow for the expression of prayer. However, Reform Jews in the United States need to realize that just writing a check isn’t all that there is. If you move to Israel, no matter who you are, it is likely that your children will serve in the army. I can tell about a number of American liberals who have done just that and oddly enough their politics changed because of it.

    Real responsibility to a religious faith goes a little farther than just showing up and eating lunch. Real responsibility to a Nation State goes a little farther than just writing a check.

    Regards,

    Jim

    I was hoping you would chime in, Jim, and beautifully said. Thank you. I would also add that if Jews are talking about withholding funds because they aren’t getting their way, what does that say about charity? Sounds like blackmail to me. BTW, did you mean to say that since the 1990s, Reformed Jews have started to move to the right? What’s that about? Or did you mean the left?

    Susan,

    The Reform movement finally admitted it was in crisis in the late 1990s. They had retained nothing that even looked like Judaism. Their children were not continuing to be Jews. So they began to adopt rudimentary Orthodox practices, wearing Kippahs, tallis & tefillin. They took teaching basic Jewish theology a little more seriously. This has brought them some stability. However, political habits seem to be what is most rooted in the Reform heart. They may be Reform Jews but they are still largely Orthodox Democrats.

    Some people are slow learners.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #17
    • July 2, 2017, at 5:43 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  18. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    @hypatia, you said
    It seems to my husband and me that so many Jews are afraid to take their own side. As if refusing to do so has ever saved them.

    We only need to look at the German Jews before the war; they wanted so much to fit in. I think one can fit in AND own one’s heritage.

    • #18
    • July 2, 2017, at 5:43 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  19. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    James Gawron (View Comment):
    Some people are slow learners.

    I am definitely not a Jewish Democrat but I am a slow learner. Sigh.

    • #19
    • July 2, 2017, at 5:51 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  20. Hypatia Inactive

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Hypatia (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):
    I can never get my mind around why most Jews are leftest. Susan could you post your take on this conundrum ?

    I’ll try. I think that Jews have a long history of caring for the underdog. We know what that role is like in our own history. Sometimes an attribute can become a limitation–as in, elevating compassion at the expense of good judgment and wisdom. As Jews lost touch with their traditions and became more secular (which describes many if not most Jews in this country), they lost the connection with their origins and took on a new “ism” as in Leftism and secularism. I would also add that I think a lot of people abandoned their faith because they felt that G-d let down the Jews when He “allowed” the Holocaust to happen; how could G-d do that? They couldn’t come to terms with the fact that even monsters have free will. Does that help?

    I think there’s a sad heritage of “I thank thee that I am not as that man!” . I read a book called “Too Jewish”, Pattie ???, can’t look,it up now…but heartbreaking on Jewish self hatred, the awful bigotry against the Eastern European Jews….and remember Irène Nemerovsky, whose work was popular a few years ago? Yes, she died in a concentration camp, but not before trying up convince the regime that she wasn’t like those other Jews. It seems to my husband and me that so many Jews are afraid to take their own side. As if refusing to do so has ever saved them.

    Late in the day to say this , but

    God bless and protect His people!

    Your comment reminds me of a time I was invited to speak at a school for people training to be rabbis. It was when I still practiced Buddhism. The conversation was intended to focus on why I turned to Buddhism instead of Judaism, because there is reason to be concerned that so many Jews are taking this path. I was glad to answer their questions. One person did ask if I had left Judaism because of self-hatred. He might have been trying to poke at me, but I was just perplexed, since that was not the issue at all. I hadn’t found a way to make a deep spiritual connection in Judaism. Ironically, Buddhist meditation deepened my connection to G-d (although Buddhism is not god-centered). Worked for me for 20 years.

    Susan, my comment wasn’t a reproach. It’s just, I don’t know why, I guess because it’s a racial as well as a credal religion, I feel even more strongly about Judaism than I do about Christianity ( in which I was well and truly raised) . Also, and I know Jews hate replacement theology, but I was raised in the belief that Christians are the new Israel. But if that sounds awful, well, let me tell you what the Children of Israel were to me, growing up….my heroes, my playmates, my constant companions..truly my workday week, my Sunday best , pace Auden.

    im sure you’ve written about this before. But

    what brought you back?

    • #20
    • July 2, 2017, at 5:55 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  21. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Hypatia (View Comment):

    Worked for me for 20 years.

    Susan, my comment wasn’t a reproach. It’s just, I don’t know why, I guess because it’s a racial as well as a credal religion, I feel even more strongly about Judaism than I do about Christianity ( in which I was well and truly raised) . Also, and I know Jews hate replacement theology, but I was raised in the belief that Christians are the new Israel. But if that sounds awful, well, let me tell you what the Children of Israel were to me, growing up….my heroes, my playmates, my constant companions..truly my workday week, my Sunday best , pace Auden.

    im sure you’ve written about this before. But

    what brought you back?

    I didn’t take it as a reproach at all. There apparently is quite a bit of self-hatred out there; it just wasn’t true for me. Also, to be precise, Judaism isn’t a race; we have every race represented in the tradition. You could say it’s a heritage and religion.

    Since I have spoken before on why I returned, I won’t go into a lot of detail. The short version is that I broke with my Zen teacher in CA after 20 years from what was a toxic relationship. Then I couldn’t find a Zen community near where I lived here in FL that seemed a fit. And finally I had become more and more disillusioned with the fact of the politicization of Buddhism (Leftism, of course). They were becoming more and more public about it, too. So I left it behind. It seemed like I was being moved in a different direction. I began to re-think Judaism. And with the encouragement of a number of Jews here on Ricochet (such as @iWe and @jamesgawron), I decided to find my way back. It’s been slow but steady.

    • #21
    • July 2, 2017, at 6:05 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  22. Kevin Schulte Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Hypatia (View Comment):

    Worked for me for 20 years.

    Susan, my comment wasn’t a reproach. It’s just, I don’t know why, I guess because it’s a racial as well as a credal religion, I feel even more strongly about Judaism than I do about Christianity ( in which I was well and truly raised) . Also, and I know Jews hate replacement theology, but I was raised in the belief that Christians are the new Israel. But if that sounds awful, well, let me tell you what the Children of Israel were to me, growing up….my heroes, my playmates, my constant companions..truly my workday week, my Sunday best , pace Auden.

    im sure you’ve written about this before. But

    what brought you back?

    I didn’t take it as a reproach at all. There apparently is quite a bit of self-hatred out there; it just wasn’t true for me. Also, to be precise, Judaism isn’t a race;

    I was under the impression that Judaism is a race as well as a religion. ie your Jewishness is determined by the mothers blood line.

    Is this incorrect ?

    • #22
    • July 2, 2017, at 6:12 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  23. Hypatia Inactive

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Hypatia (View Comment):

    Worked for me for 20 years.

    Susan, my comment wasn’t a reproach. It’s just, I don’t know why, I guess because it’s a racial as well as a credal religion, I feel even more strongly about Judaism than I do about Christianity ( in which I was well and truly raised) . Also, and I know Jews hate replacement theology, but I was raised in the belief that Christians are the new Israel. But if that sounds awful, well, let me tell you what the Children of Israel were to me, growing up….my heroes, my playmates, my constant companions..truly my workday week, my Sunday best , pace Auden.

    im sure you’ve written about this before. But

    what brought you back?

    I didn’t take it as a reproach at all. There apparently is quite a bit of self-hatred out there; it just wasn’t true for me. Also, to be precise, Judaism isn’t a race; we have every race represented in the tradition. You could say it’s a heritage and religion.

    Since I have spoken before on why I returned, I won’t go into a lot of detail. The short version is that I broke with my Zen teacher in CA after 20 years from what was a toxic relationship. Then I couldn’t find a Zen community near where I lived here in FL that seemed a fit. And finally I had become more and more disillusioned with the fact of the politicization of Buddhism (Leftism, of course). They were becoming more and more public about it, too. So I left it behind. It seemed like I was being moved in a different direction. I began to re-think Judaism. And with the encouragement of a number of Jews here on Ricochet (such as @iWe and @jamesgawron), I decided to find my way back. It’s been slow but steady.

    “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

    • #23
    • July 2, 2017, at 6:14 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  24. James Gawron Thatcher

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    James Gawron (View Comment):
    Some people are slow learners.

    I am definitely not a Jewish Democrat but I am a slow learner. Sigh.

    Susan,

    I completely disagree. You are at the head of the class. Just keep doing what you are doing.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #24
    • July 2, 2017, at 6:17 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  25. James Gawron Thatcher

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Hypatia (View Comment):

    Worked for me for 20 years.

    Susan, my comment wasn’t a reproach. It’s just, I don’t know why, I guess because it’s a racial as well as a credal religion, I feel even more strongly about Judaism than I do about Christianity ( in which I was well and truly raised) . Also, and I know Jews hate replacement theology, but I was raised in the belief that Christians are the new Israel. But if that sounds awful, well, let me tell you what the Children of Israel were to me, growing up….my heroes, my playmates, my constant companions..truly my workday week, my Sunday best , pace Auden.

    im sure you’ve written about this before. But

    what brought you back?

    I didn’t take it as a reproach at all. There apparently is quite a bit of self-hatred out there; it just wasn’t true for me. Also, to be precise, Judaism isn’t a race;

    I was under the impression that Judaism is a race as well as a religion. ie your Jewishness is determined by the mothers blood line.

    Is this incorrect ?

    It is not really accurate to say Judaism is a race. It is true that if your mother is Jewish all Orthodox Rabbis will accept you as Jewish. However, you can become Jewish by conversion. Traditionally Judaism does not push for conversions. An Orthodox conversion can take as much as two years. However, recently we are seeing many more conversions.

    The joke is that the converts know more Judaism than the rest of the congregation.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #25
    • July 2, 2017, at 6:23 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  26. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):
    I was under the impression that Judaism is a race as well as a religion. ie your Jewishness is determined by the mothers blood line.

    Is this incorrect ?

    To be called Jewish, one’s mother is supposed to be a Jew. That doesn’t have anything to do with race, though.

    • #26
    • July 2, 2017, at 6:29 PM PDT
    • Like
  27. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    James Gawron (View Comment):
    Some people are slow learners.

    I am definitely not a Jewish Democrat but I am a slow learner. Sigh.

    Susan,

    I completely disagree. You are at the head of the class. Just keep doing what you are doing.

    Regards,

    Jim

    Bless you, Jim. I keep thinking I should do more. It’s a constant struggle, so your kind words mean a great deal.

    • #27
    • July 2, 2017, at 6:30 PM PDT
    • Like
  28. Hypatia Inactive

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Hypatia (View Comment):

    Worked for me for 20 years.

    Susan, my comment wasn’t a reproach. It’s just, I don’t know why, I guess because it’s a racial as well as a credal religion, I feel even more strongly about Judaism than I do about Christianity ( in which I was well and truly raised) . Also, and I know Jews hate replacement theology, but I was raised in the belief that Christians are the new Israel. But if that sounds awful, well, let me tell you what the Children of Israel were to me, growing up….my heroes, my playmates, my constant companions..truly my workday week, my Sunday best , pace Auden.

    im sure you’ve written about this before. But

    what brought you back?

    I didn’t take it as a reproach at all. There apparently is quite a bit of self-hatred out there; it just wasn’t true for me. Also, to be precise, Judaism isn’t a race;

    I was under the impression that Judaism is a race as well as a religion. ie your Jewishness is determined by the mothers blood line.

    Is this incorrect ?

    It is not really accurate to say Judaism is a race. It is true that if your mother is Jewish all Orthodox Rabbis will accept you as Jewish. However, you can become Jewish by conversion. Traditionally Judaism does not push for conversions. An Orthodox conversion can take as much as two years. However, recently we are seeing many more conversions.

    The joke is that the converts know more Judaism than the rest of the congregation.

    Regards,

    Jim

    Yeah, I do know all that….but, still, the whole “chosen people” thing..it is more of a racial creed than Christianity, which, dating from the Peter-Paul dispute, set out to be determinedly non-racial.

    funny to me: my daughter considers herself Jewish. Jews wouldn’t consider her so, since I’m not…but Hitler would’ve. Can’t win, really.

    • #28
    • July 2, 2017, at 6:34 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  29. Kevin Schulte Member

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Hypatia (View Comment):

    Worked for me for 20 years.

    Susan, my comment wasn’t a reproach. It’s just, I don’t know why, I guess because it’s a racial as well as a credal religion, I feel even more strongly about Judaism than I do about Christianity ( in which I was well and truly raised) . Also, and I know Jews hate replacement theology, but I was raised in the belief that Christians are the new Israel. But if that sounds awful, well, let me tell you what the Children of Israel were to me, growing up….my heroes, my playmates, my constant companions..truly my workday week, my Sunday best , pace Auden.

    im sure you’ve written about this before. But

    what brought you back?

    I didn’t take it as a reproach at all. There apparently is quite a bit of self-hatred out there; it just wasn’t true for me. Also, to be precise, Judaism isn’t a race;

    I was under the impression that Judaism is a race as well as a religion. ie your Jewishness is determined by the mothers blood line.

    Is this incorrect ?

    It is not really accurate to say Judaism is a race. It is true that if your mother is Jewish all Orthodox Rabbis will accept you as Jewish. However, you can become Jewish by conversion. Traditionally Judaism does not push for conversions. An Orthodox conversion can take as much as two years. However, recently we are seeing many more conversions.

    The joke is that the converts know more Judaism than the rest of the congregation.

    Regards,

    Jim

    Thank you for clearing this up Jim. Though ” not really accurate” leaves just a few streaks on the glass. :)

    My understanding is the Jewish people are still waiting for the Messiah . If He were to come ( I am Christian and believe He already did that’s why I respectfully say if) would his lineage have to be traced thru the mothers ? Therefore the Kingly line being race ?

    • #29
    • July 2, 2017, at 6:40 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  30. James Gawron Thatcher

    Hypatia (View Comment):
    Yeah, I do know all that….but, still, the whole “chosen people” thing..it is more of a racial creed than Christianity, which, dating from the Peter-Paul dispute, set out to be determinedly non-racial.

    funny to me: my daughter considers herself Jewish. Jews wouldn’t consider her so, since I’m not…but Hitler would’ve. Can’t win, really.

    Hypatia,

    This is a very important statement. American Jews think of Holocaust Survivors as those who escaped. Really we are all post-Holocaust Jews and the fact that Hitler would have chased us down and murdered us can’t be avoided. We try to compartmentalize to avoid the really hard questions but they won’t ever go away. When you can finally express your faith as a true relationship to Gd and not some cultural artifact then you can be fearless in your faith.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #30
    • July 2, 2017, at 7:00 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
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