Culture, Global, Identity, Politics, Religion

Blogging the Omer, Days 20 & 21: Havieinu Leshalom Me'arba Kanfot Ha'aretz and a really funny joke

Week Three, Day seven
Malchut of Tiferet
Week Three, Day six
Yesod of Tiferet
This past weekend, Be’chol Lashon (In Every Tongue), a project of the Institute for Jewish and Community Research sponsored a conference in San Francisco of Jews and Jewish identified ethnic groups from around the world. Many of these groups are not formally Jewish, the descendants of anusim and xuetas. Some are Jews officially, although not always accepted with open arms by the so-called “mainstream,” such as the Ethiopian Jews, or the Abayudaya. And then there are the Jewish communites whose faces and color don’t fall within the stereotypes of what a Jew looks like – as if there was any such thing: the Jews of India, Jews who are of color who converted, or whose parents did.

“The Jewish community keeps talking about the crisis of intermarriage and the crisis of declining numbers, but meanwhile you’ve got people with Jewish heritage, spiritual seekers, Jewish communities of historical significance, and the Jewish community is doing nothing to help them,” says Gary Tobin, the institute’s president and a longtime advocate of greater openness to those outside the Ashkenazi mainstream.
According to institute research, at least 20 percent of American Jews are racially and ethnically diverse. But old stereotypes about what “real Jews” look like persist, Tobin says.
“Instead of worrying about people being ‘lost’ to intermarriage,” he wonders, “why aren’t we extending our ideological borders to include all these people who are so interested in joining us?”

Personally, I think it would be completely fabulous if the descendants of the anusim made a formal return, and the Ibo and Lemba formally converted. Welcome! Join the party!
And of course, for those that are us, we should move mountains to bring them close and help them.
On a humorous note:

Safed’s Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu wrote in an article … “it turns out that Olmert is more corrupt than we thought.”
“So what shall we do? Elect another prime minister without faith? Another one without credibility? Another one without values?…when will we wake up and realize that we need a prime minister with a kippa?”
“We need a prime minister who acts based on genuine faith and values.

Um. Hey, I’m a rabbi myself, and I even occasionally wear a kippah (rather than a hat), but I’m just not quite sure this would solve the problem. Especially since I’m pretty sure that Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu wasn’t promoting say, Rabbi Andy Sacks, or R. David Golinkin, as a solution to the problem.
I dunno. I could be wrong. PM Sacks, has a kind of a nice ring to it….
Yeah, okay. A PM with a kippah. That would definitely solve all our problems. No more corruption. (Anyone want to do a quick google on rabbi, Israel, corruption charges?)

5 thoughts on “Blogging the Omer, Days 20 & 21: Havieinu Leshalom Me'arba Kanfot Ha'aretz and a really funny joke

  1. As we all know, none of the politicians convicted in white-collar crimes in Israel wears a kippah (Aryeh Deri, Ahem, Shlomo Benizri, ahem ahem, Yair Peretz, ahem ahem ahem)

  2. Like many politicians, Olmert often wears a kippah for public appearances (e.g. on Thursday when he was presenting the prizes to the winners of the Tanach Quiz). This doesn’t seem to have helped.

  3. i think what he’s trying to say is that we need a PM who has emeser yiras shomayim. I think everyone can agree with that. The problem with public offices anywhere is that they’re almost always filled with politicians. The cynics will say that moral compromise is necessary for getting anything done in government (if true, a case for anarchism if i ever heard one) but I don’t hold by that. If the public servants of the world really held fast to the idealism that they must have started out at some point, the world would be a much better place. You can call me naive, but you know I’m right. Eisav says “you gotta crack a few eggs to make an omelet” but that mentality creates nothing and destroys everyone. Just saying. Change it.

  4. why demand “formal conversion”? You know its just going to lead to a fight in Israel with different standards and conceptions of conversion and the rabbanut saying yet another group of folks is not really jewish. Why not just accept folks for how they identify. If these folks claim to be Jews, cool. If they claim to be descendants of jews, but dont claim to be jews themselves, that is cool as well.

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