Thursday, May 22, 2008

"It was deeply humiliating to be forced to disclose the most private aspects of my life and justify it in front of complete strangers and onlookers."

All I can think is "welcome to a Shabbos table in Baltimore". I can't count the number of times I have been present for people invasively drilling a Ger/Giuress on the "private aspects" of their life in front of complete strangers...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

More People I Support

Rosh Yehudi and Lev Yehudi. If only other kiruv groups in Israel and b'Hutz would apply the same essential thinking! Counting on being "radically other" and divorced from what is even 'pareve' (charedi lifestyle, apathy/opposition towards the state of Israel, appeals to alienation, cult-like appeals to "peak experiences", etc, etc), can only take you so far, unless deep down you really do want everyone to be in Lakewood, B'nei Brak or Mea Shearim (don't answer). I think there is at times a sincere reveling in being alien and removed from [HKBH's...] world - and I think it subconsciously suggests to ourselves and others that HKBH's world (you know, the one He Made for us all to live in?...), is H"V not capable of sanctification - that one must withdraw to be oriented to Torah.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I am Unashamed

Thursday, May 15, 2008

"We were not attached to the physical world - at all"

Granted, I have no idea of the greater context of this quote. Virtually all the images in the other videos are filled with smiling kids. It reaches me. That being said, many dyed-in-the-wool surfers can tell you surfing or dream-living doesn't entail sacrificing every other dream or life decision. I do not think any of what follows is "Paskowitzian" - but there are definitely people "out there" (on many levels") that can think "non-attachment" entails drifting hither and yon about the countryside (internally or externally...), alienating friends and family unless they're willing to dispense with their lives and conjoin them with yours. The drifting thing, the unattachment to place, to a sense of place, I can't grant inherent value to. There are indeed people out there who are "driven", who are "risk takers", who are willing and able to take ridiculous risks and put life on the line for something - because they're mentally challenged and/or Abba and Ema are always there to pull them through.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Conversion Crisis in Israel and American Responses

The RCA, who made its peace with the Rabbinut and Rabbi Amar over the authority of those overseeing conversions - issued some sharp words to the Rabbinut recently (other news pieces here).

Dr. Marc B. Shapiro in an OpEd piece in the New York Jewish Week, really follows with my last few posts. It will probably mean more for me than I think now. With the increase in Charedi engagement in Israeli politics (previous shunned by many, to hold onto subsidies and exemptions they will have to do something...), which will only increase as politics-friendly American Charedi Olim start to move into the government (they will), I only see the situation getting worse. Speaking of things escalating, Zvi Zohar gives a terrifying fictionalized breakdown of how things might break down from the annulment of Conversions.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Two New Links

I added two more links to the column on the right side of my page, Tzohar and Meitarim (also spelled Meytarim). I need not say these institutions are considered controversial by the Charedi camps in Israel - and of course it's my blog, so..that's that. But I would add that, from my American perspective, I think they're revealingly similar to efforts at reaching Klal Israel that are already exercised by many Charedi Kiruv groups in Hutz l'Aretz. They make likely extensive (and tactfully/tactically unstated...), use of heterim and degrees of engagement that, though legitimate in Halacha, are provisional, temporary measures to address crisis situations that divide Klal Israel - and I can't think of crisis situations dividing Klal Israel without thinking of the "Daati"-"Chiloni" division in Eretz Israel; the heart should be strong.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008 me crazy, but a shidduch that'll let me wear a Utilikilt in public is far more precious than pearls.

Because I simply don't have anything that goes with pearls.

I can't really put on frumster "I'm a tshirt and Utilikilt kind of guy" - because I don't actually have a Utilikilt.

Of course, I'd need several. Otherwise people would think I was just being kinda weird and doing it for attention; I can say with relative certainty that I have NEVER seen a Torah Jew wearing *the same* kilt all the time.

Monday, May 05, 2008

On "In-fighting" and "divisiveness"

Recent events in Israel triggered a pointed, biased and oft-times accurate piece in, would you believe it, Haaretz. When things like this are said outloud, condemnations immediately issue from various camps, lets be honest, mostly among the Charedim - against "infighting" and "divisiveness" and a "lack of unity".

It is not an infight when a patch of Charedi bullies muscles every other kid on the playground into submission. There is no room for moral equivocation where a Good Ol' Rabbis network protects child predators and belittles their victims. It is not infighting when Modern Orthodox rabbis and scholars engage in respectful disagreement on matters affecting Klal Israel - only to be met by bans, proclamations of heresy and verbal abuse. I can scarcely think about these things anymore. Divisiveness "on all sides" my tuchas.

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