Arguing Over Judaism, hip, funded, or otherwise

It concerns me that Mobius and other like-minded, ethical, and energetic people are wasting so much of their time arguing over Judaism. Believe me, I know what it’s like to watch one’s religion be hijacked by ne’er-do-wells. And I understand how frustrating it is to be engaged in one of the only blogs that dares to tell the truth about Jewish funding and power, and to be ostracized as a result–even by the so-called ‘hip’ Jews.

I just got off the phone with Mobius, in fact. He was talking about some people who like Jewschool, but can’t participate because they are hoping, someday, to get funding from the very people Jewschool occasionally criticizes. These cool kids, well, they take the philanthropy money knowing full well that they don’t mean to deliver to the philanthropy what they want–but also knowing it’s foolish to bite the hand that feeds you. At least not in a way that they can figure out.

But please, get real. The place you take your money from really is who you work for. Jewish hip is not cool. It is the appropriation of other culture’s cool in order to attract confused people to Judaism. This is why the philanthropies pay for it.

Real cool is self-generated. It’s people hanging out in groups, devising their own ‘cultural product.’ Not buying someone else’s, or waiting around for hand-outs from people they despise. (It’s why Keith Richards is so upset about Mick Jagger accepting his knighthood–but that’s another story.)

But Mobius was still upset–frustrated–in the battle over Judaism. How are “we” going to mount a resistance to the people who have taken over Judaism–who seem to own it? What I said to Mobius–and he asked me to repeat here–is that everybody is arguing over a word: Judaism. Judaism is this, Judaism is that.

Fact is, NOTHING IS ANYTHING. Read Robert Anton Wilson, or any general semantics text. “IS” creates false equalities between language and real stuff. This is an apple. No! You simply assign the value ‘apple’ to that object in order to refer to it. The word apple, like the word Judaism, lives way over there in the world of symbols.

Why waste our time arguing about that word–about who might be practicing the most legitimate form of that word, who owns that word, etc.? I’m much more interested in solving the corporate-sponsored water crisis in Brazil than arguing about whether its perpetrators should be funding a kitsch Jewish periodical.

I don’t feel the need to ‘win back’ Judaism from the corporations who may be owning it, or even the fundamentalists who refuse to argue issues (but never cease name-calling). Are these the best people to be concerned with?

Just because they’re “Jewish” doesn’t make them any more interesting to engage. Interacting with them isn’t any more gratifying or educational than engaging with the most fundamentalist Christians in America.

What? We’re supposed to engage with them because they are *our* loonies? *Our* brothers and sisters? No deal.

My brothers and sisters are the people who have committed themselves to making the world a better place, to dispelling ignorance, and to developing compassion. These are the people I consider good Jews, even though most of them aren’t (weren’t born Jews, or aren’t practicing Jews). Of course, I don’t refer to them out loud as Jews, because that word means something else to them.

Halakhah, covenant, etc. I know I know. Judaism has particularities and is unique in the way it brings us to want to be holy people. Believe me, I know.

We may only live once. We may only have a very short time to make a positive difference in this reality. I still do believe we people can make a difference. I simply fear that arguing over this word Judaism, and over the internal politics and external marketing of this word is robbing us of the will to make that difference. This, if anything, is the enemy’s objective.

5 thoughts on “Arguing Over Judaism, hip, funded, or otherwise

  1. yeah, word. There’s a thing in the morning prayer service liturgy, where the Tsitsith are gathered together from different extremes and brought together, held in the hand between the 2nd and 3rd finger, and held on to tightly…
    and there’s a point, after the shma has been said, right before LiOlamay Olamim (forever and evers), we let go.
    Of everything we were holding on to, to whoever we were before.
    Speaking as an orthodox jew, honestly: who needs Judaism, the Word, to mean only one thing? to save it’s good name? it feels important somehow, defend the princess from slanderous lies, worse yet when they’re true.
    Cause that what we’re a little afraid of, right? what if they associate us with evil and turn again. Squacking and snarling won’t fix a world, won’t make the problem go away.
    Some taking responsibility would be in order: We’re sorry about how we responded in the haskalah, about listening to G-d’s order when a better idea was audible.
    Meat is only permissible if you’ve got the taiva (appetite) for it, so is petty bullshit. But distrusting the other side is the begining of war, the end of communication and expression, the end of growth and life of movement and the reach toward the Heavens, the leap for the stars.
    The messiah by definition doesn’t come but as the end of religion, of division of stress, because it’s seeing the divine thing happening. When it’s happening, and Love Your Neighbor is as clear as daylight, the judgement all falls away, the divine judgement as well as the personal.
    In a generation with peace, idolatry is not avenged, is not searched after. We have to trust each other to be so much, so much, give each other so much permission to be, to be believed in and appreciated.
    I appreciate the efforts y’all are doing on behalf of living and encountering and helping to build some kind of coherent perception of what this whole crazy, crazy trip our whole big earth tribe is on, what it’s been and what it’s growing into.
    Into the stars, yeah, kWha hoo!
    forget engaging organizations and forces. engage people instead, because forces don’t care, but everybody, everybody wants to know what REALLY going on, deep down. we just need a language, y’know? wouldn’t that be cool, a universal sense of language, or just enough interest from extremes to understand each other?
    Yeah dude, R.A Wilson and R’ Nachman of Breslov got reality down, or know they don’t rather. Trust every body, believing everything yields the most overall truth.
    But the world is way to big to be wasting our time and G-d revelation and existence to people who don’t conciously want to hear it. There’s so much world, so many amazing souls everywhere, so many trees roots sucking out for water… mmm.
    I’m sure y’all already know the talmudic definition of Jew, why Moredchai, from the tribe of Benjamin, is called “yehudi?”
    Because anyone who doesn’t worship nothingness is called Yehudi. this is the innovation of King David and SOlomon to the Israelite kingdom, the joy and the dance, the eros and the experience and the devine love of delights to want to heal the world, the great dream and function of Israel, right? because if it’s not, and that’s not what we’re deifning it as, then it’s really pretty useless in accomplishing afformentioned main purpose (see: Love etc.) and really might just as well be forgotten and cast aside like garbage on tuesday morning.
    thanks for caring, good luck to all who shine the fire of truth and being without fear or hesitation.
    be blessed to get the word out, get the drum beat out, keep the party alive for worlds and worlds.

  2. The Torah has seventy faces, but that doesn’t mean it’s the one you want it to have…
    secular humanism never was and never will be Judaism.

  3. Judaism is doomed to expire unless it becomes secular?
    Mo – Thats a bit of spiteful wishful thinking on your part. I can assure you that the Halachic observant community is growing and thriving like almost never before in Jewish history.
    SO cheer up! Judaism will survive even without abdicating its true soul to secularism!

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