Thursday, August 02, 2007

Defending the Conservatives

Wait a minute grasshoppa... you dont think today's column is about our pals in the Republican Party!! Oh no... today we are presenting a Jewish column.

Those Republicans do amuse me.... and I think conservative Democrats like myself are driving those GOPers up a wall. Just so you know where this card carrying Democrat stands, look back in the archives for the column from Jan 19, 2006 and March 6, 2006. Another tidbit - I overheard a neighbor saying how he used to be a liberal Democrat but even he admits that welfare in America is a disaster! When the liberals start blasting welfare, you know the party is moving towards the center; it's just too bad that the Republicans who were moving that way a decade ago are slipping back towards their more right wing roots.

One GOP buddy of mine gets especially frustrated that I will not vote Republican next year.. (unless Middlesex County Freeholder Jim Polos wins the Democratic Presidential nomination - but that's a whole other story for another day). He asked me what I would do if Rudy Giuliani was the nominee in '08 prompting me to take a wager and issue this warning/Pumpstradamus-esque prediction to my fellow Americans: There is no way Rudy Guliani will get the Republican nomination. As the Democrats move more to the center and away from the liberal wackos like my friend from DAS Blog , the Republicans are slamming the brakes on any attempt to move the party towards a more center core. The fact is the Republican powers that be are a bunch of religious zealots who want to impose their beliefs on all Americans and they will not allow a pro choice candidate to anchor their ticket in November 2008.

Incidentally, lets give you an idea of Presidential material for those non South Dakota-ns who are pro-choice. When Reagan was President he cut all federal funding to any Planned Parenthood-esque clinic that mentioned legal abortion as an alternative for their pregnant clients. On his first day as President, The Great President Bill Clinton rescinded that ridiculous Reagan rule that continued through the administration of Evil George Bush I. However on the first day of Evil George Bush II, he reinstated the ban. This is the type of candidate that the Republicans want, so Rudy may as well just forget about any chance of getting the nod to top their ticket next year.

But the Conservative Jews are the ones I want to talk about today. Did you see the Sunday New York Times a week ago with the article by Noah Feldman a hoity toity Harvard Law Professor. One Wall Street Journal blogger called him a legal rock star when he bolted NYU last year to teach at Harvard. Anyway, Mr, Feldman kvetched in The Times that his alma mater Jewish Day School - Maimonides in Brookline, MA snubbed him. A picture he and his wife posed for at a high school reunion was edited so that they were cropped out. What Mr. Feldman also knows is that intermarriage,... which is what he announced loudly in The New York TImes in 1999 when his wedding was performed by an Assistant Secretary of State - is a big no no with an Orthodox Jewish Day School. I mean c'mon.. hes a big shot lawyer etc, but isnt he smart enough to "get it" why Maimonides doesnt advertise the fact that he married out of the faith? Or does he just want to be a rabble rousing pain in the neck?

Intermarriage is not an anti Non jewish women concept from my perspective. I like non Jewish women and believe me a lot of them are smart, sexy and many are hotter than pistols... (Of course none are as beautiful as Trophy Wife who unlike Mrs. Feldman is a Jew!) But the Jewish religion is only going to continue if the next generations continue to make it part of their lives. And when a member of the tribe marries out, they also say adios to the Jewish traditions. Im sure the first year or two they observe Yom Kippur, but lets face it folks, in these intermarried homes, Christmas Tree shopping and ornament hanging takes more time than Passover Seders, Menorah Lighting and Yom Kippur sitting in synagogue time combined.

And guilt plays a role too... How many Jews in the Holocaust refused to renounce their faith and were gassed because of it?? And their sacrifice goes right down the toilet as soon as a Mayor/Judge/Secretary of State/Reform Rabbi performs one of these ceremonies. Incidentally, The Jewish Week has shown that Feldman is full of bologna because the man who took the pic told that paper that everyone standing on that side of the pic got cropped because there were only so many people that were going to fit into his shot. He told The Jewish Week 16 people were cut out of the shot. Still, Feldman complains that the school bulletin doesn't run his lifestyle announcements.. Hey look... here's the Little Feldman kid at the Easter Egg Hunt at The White House!

Its interesting how the different branches of Judaism relate to each other and you just wish sometimes that some of this stuff would stay off the internet... espeically when Feldman falsely makes the intermarriage issue into one of Jewish snobbery. I was recently sent a link to a disturbing website run by an ultra Orthodox organization that features questions posed by young adults to a Rabbi who calls himself "The Moderator". I have nothing against the Orthodox.. I don't consider myself Orthodox or Conservative.... some in between call themselves Conservadox.. I prefer to refer to myself as Orthoservative. I don't prefer the egalitarian services where women lead - I prefer the e-itarian that removes the "g-a-l".

Just to get an idea where this Moderator stands, he is anti Zionism because the State of Israel was formed and is managed in a "not religious enough" manner. He also delicately take issue with the Modern Orthodox outreach organization National Conference of Synagogue Youth because it doesn't seperate boys and girls as is the rule with the Ultras. To them forbidding boy-girl friendships among kids and teens is part of day to day life - in the real world it's a bizarre concept. Let me tell you something, NCSY held events at my synagogue when I was a kid and there was no way a lot of fellas including myself would have gone if there werent girls there!

I must admit that the Moderator takes a very non judgemental approach to questioners who have wandered off the religious path. He handles those q's very delicately and with kid gloves and does what he can to help those young 'uns work their way back.

But some of the stuff is just absurd.... For example when he gets to his misconceptions about mixed seating during wedding receptions. A blessing is said during a wedding reception dinner as part of the Seven Blessings that includes a term for celebrating this happy occasion. This Rabbi/Moderator says mixed seating at a wedding is such a horrible thing that one must not say that specfic blessing. Sorry folks.. he is Wrong!. In reality, a scholar named Levush (who the moderator quotes out of context) had said that there was always a possiblity at a mixed seating reception that a married man might look lustfully at a woman who was seated at his table. Under those circumstances this made a happy event.... an unhappy event.. and therefore FOR THAT REASON, the celebratory blessing shouldn't be said... not just because the men and women are sitting together! Heck, the great Rabbi Moshe Feinstein had mixed seating at the weddings of 2 of his children.. Betcha didn't think an Orthoservative would know that!

And then we have his comments about Conservative Judaism. These are his comments cut and pasted directed from his crazy website.

I am offended by the Conservative movement. That, by Conservative standards, should be enough to abolish it, no? Who makes these decisions, and, most importantly, who gives any of these people the authority to decide laws and practices for other people? Like, who died and make them the boss?
The fact that Conservative Judaism does not believe the Torah is the Word of Hashem but rather "divinely inspired" whatever that means, makes it a totally different religion than Orthodox Judaism. The last time an Orthodox rabbi said this, the Conservatives freaked out and falsely publicized to the papers that we do not believe they are Jews.
Not so. They are Jews. Nobody ever said differently. Their religion, however, is not Judaism. Like Jews for Jesus, they are full-fledged Jews, but are practicing the wrong religion.
And at least Jews for Jesus believe that the Torah was given by G-d, not merely "divinely inspired".
The Conservative movement leads a rebellion against Judaism and then demands we join their rebellion in the interest of Jewish unity!
No. Jewish unity means unity in practicing Judaism. It means NOT siding with the rebels who rebel against the King.
It means remaining loyal to Judaism.
It means NOT joining those who break off from Judaism and create another religion.
Why don’t you say we should pray in a Church of Jews for Jesus in the interest of Jewish Unity?
So, too, we do not pray in a Conservative Church, whether they refer to it as a Shul, or call their religion "Judaism."
You can’t walk into the sanctuary any time. It is a Bais Vaad l'Minus - a place where heretical beliefs are disseminated
Conservative Judaism is clearly heresy, and not Judaism at all. They create their own baseless rules and policies and incorporate those fairytales into what they call Judaism.

These comments speak for themselves about how incrediby disgraceful some Jews can be with their published comments about other members of the Tribe. These ultras attack Conservatives and then their PR machine takes a step back and says they consider Conservative "Jews" to be Jewish.. but then they go off and attack the Conservative Jewish "movement". Its one and the same... and its silly to issue patronizing "Sorry we are not insulting you as a person.. we instead meant to insult the type of synagogue you belong to".

If people who think like the Moderator want to say stuff in the privacy of their homes or within their groups... they can say whatever they want about Conservatives... but to write this kind of drivel on the internet where a person like myself can cut and paste it and republish it elsewhere is just plain wrong and irresponsible. There are aspects of Reform Judaism that I question but I would never make such horrible comments about them on the internet. When you put something on-line, you take responsibility for your words - I did so when I published "The Ballad of Melanie McGuire" where I got harsh criticism , (thanks to Google's cacheing to help find that deleted page), but also praise from a very unlikely source!

The moderator also makes a nasty comment comparing Conservative Jews to Jews for Jesus, Jews for Jesus/Messianic Jews are not Jews.. its a wacko cult led by Christian missionaries who use a gimmick to take more people out of the faith who don't opt to take the route of the oh so insulted Noah Feldman. The Messianic Morons are now infiltrating mainstream events by volunteering at programs where young impressionable kids hang out. I am starting to volunteer at those events just to make sure they stay away from kids pure souls; we should all keep an eye on these evil people just in case they start up with their stupidities.. especially that disgracefully fraudulent "Rabbi" Jan and his disgusting wife "Rebetzin" Marlene from Southern NJ.

But as for Rabbi Moderator.. This man with his hateful commentaries is not the type of person who should be considered a leader for young adults....Parents should not allow their children to consider this man to be a role model..... and I say the website should take the responsible route and cut him out of that website just like Mr. and Mrs. Noah Feldman were excised from the Maimonides Alumni Newsletter!

He should be fired.

Now time for the clip of the Week. Tom Snyder died earlier this week. Here is a montage I found on You Tube of the wildly entertaining talk show host.


alberich said...

As the Democrats move more to the center and away from the liberal wackos like my friend from DAS Blog

Hey, I resemble that remark ;)

Personally, I don't mind if the Democrats move toward the center as long as they are moving toward some sort of well-defined center rather than to what is known on lefty sites as "High Broderism". Moderate politics are fine by me ... what's not fine by me is the idea that the truth always lies in some carefully calibrated arithmatic mean between what lefties like me say and what the right-wing whackos say.

The other issue is moderation vs. wimpiness. It's one thing for the Dems. to be, ideologically, middle of the road, etc. But, e.g., in 2006 people elected Dems. to provide a vigorous check and balance on Cmdr. Codpiece. If centrism means maybe a little bit of perhaps needed reforms and moderation, it's fine by me. But if it means "Cmdr. Codpiece says X, some dirty hippy says Y, so we'll compromise and put forth X+Y/2", that's bad ... because (1) us dirty hippies were right (about the war, etc)! ;) and (2), the Dems. were put in power to oppose Cmdr. Codpiece, not compromise with him.

My friend Nate is different; but many centrists are actually much like Greens without the whacko liberalism: they'll see the Dems. compromising with the GOP and then figure "what's the difference between the parties?" and then stay home or even vote GOP based on "values issuess".

Many people (especially the clueless mainstream media) get us moonbat lefty netheads wrong. We may personally be dirty hippy moonbats, but we don't necessarily demand the Dems. be entirely in our image. What we want is a place at the table (why should we be deemed beyond the left edge of acceptable discourse? e.g. who was right about Iraq? the "serious thinkers" or us?) but more importantly we want (as I am sure you, Nate, do as well) for Dems. to, as Harry Truman would put it, act like Dems.


Anyway, as to Rabbi Moderator -- something tells me this guy, if he were transported back in time, would find the Tannaim and Amorim to not be good Jews because they debated things rather than just accepting what the Torah said at face value.

I agree with you in general on intermarriage, but I would like to add that not all entirely Jewish families raise their kids in an atmosphere of Judaism and some intermarried families actually do raise their kids in a Jewish atmosphere -- the family that lived next door when I was growing up had a non-Jewish mother and a Jewish father: the kids were raised Jewish (they, as were we, were Reform) and it was the mother's doing (not the father's)!

While intermarriage makes it far less likely for kids to be raised Jewish (even people who would like to think of themselves as rather a-religious oftentimes drift back to old ways when kids get involved ... so even a "secular" household is likely to become Christian once kids are involved as the majority religion tends to win out) ... the correlation isn't 100%. We have to discourage intermarriage, but we can't write off intermarried families.

In the interests of full disclosure, I probably should add that I am engaged to a nice, Jewish lady.

Nate said...

Congrats on that last sentence!! You took the advice I gave you when you guested on the podcast last year!! When's the big day??