Seriously, Who Are You Talking About?

The proprietor of Frumsex writes,

Jewcy.com [is] another venue in the recent spate of “we’re hip and culturally Jewish but not interested in your stinkin’ rules” media outlets that include Jewschool, Heeb, and Jewlicious.

And then on Jewlicious today, one commentor, on a thread following a swipe post from Laya at one of referencing one of our contributors (for, gasp!, expressing a different form of Jewish identity), writes:

I think that’s what’s missing from the new “hipster” Judaism is any knowledge of – or interest in – Torah. Talk about missing the forest for the trees. But I am hopeful that unaffiliated young Jews with no Jewish background who attend, say, a Heeb shock-value Purim party, may start to feel Jewish for the first time in their lives, and for some this could lead to increased interest in Jewish learning and observance.

Seriously, what’s with the misconceptions here? Since the people who like to denigrate us seem to have no knowledge of who we are, let me just give you a brief rundown in terms of our religious observance…

  • Ari F. is Orthodox and runs Frumsky.com. (NYC)
  • Asaf is a secular Israeli expatriate. (NYC)
  • BZ is a founding organizer of the Kol Zimrah chavurah and a member of the National Havurah Committee’s Board of Directors. (NYC)
  • Baron Yakov is currently getting his Ph.D. in chassidut at the Hebrew University. (Jerusalem)
  • Ben Baruch has an Orthodox background. (NYC)
  • Benyamin Cohen, editor-in-chief of Atlanta Jewish Life, is Orthodox. (Atlanta)
  • Bradford is a devout convert. (Atlanta)
  • Chorus of Apes is a former Hillel Jewish Service Corps liason and is currently studying at Pardes. (Jerusalem)
  • Danya is a rabbinical student at the University of Judaism. (Jerusalem)
  • David Kelsey has an Orthodox background. (NYC)
  • EV I’m not sure about, but why don’t you ask him? (NYC)
  • Harry is “traditional” and says a mean kiddush. (Modi’in)
  • Jake Marmer, director of Mimaamakim, is Orthodox. (NYC)
  • John Brown is a secular, anti-religious anti-Zionist. (NYC)
  • Kalman Rushdie is Orthodox. (Jerusalem)
  • Lilit I’m not sure about either. (NYC)
  • Monk Eastman goes to shul every Friday. (NYC)
  • Ronen I’m not sure about, but I think he’s fairly traditional. (NYC)
  • Shir Yaakov is a neo-Hasidic rabbi in residence at Elat Chayyim. (NYC)
  • The Town Crier is an Orthodox YU grad. (NYC)
  • Deitybox is progressive Orthodox. (Baltimore)
  • Komai I’m not sure about, but he lives in freakin’ Cambodia! (Cambodia)
  • Yoseph Leib, aka “Crazy Yoseph”, is a quasi-Sabbatean neo-Hasid who can halakhically talk his way out of any halakha. (Jerusalem)
  • Sarah is a founding co-organizer of the Mission Minyan. (San Fran)
  • Zionista I’m not sure about. (Pennsylvania?)
  • Sashinka I’m not sure about either, but she obviously cares about Torah if she shleps half-way across the planet go to Limmud NY. (London)
  • Biz, aka Aaron Bisman of JDub Records, is progressive Orthodox and met his wife while studying at Pardes. (NYC)
  • Eli Di Geto Zinger comes from an Ortho background. (NYC)
  • Joseph is a rabbinical student at RRC. (Pennsylvania)
  • L’Chayim is ultra-Orthodox, leading a double-life moonlighting on Jewschool, and if you know who he really was you’d shit yourself. (NYC)
  • Manuscript Boy is Orthodox and was, until recently, an archivist at The National Library at Hebrew U. (NYC)
  • Matthue Roth, author of Nevermind The Goldbergs, is ultra-Orthodox. (Jerusalem)
  • The Rooftopper Rav is a rabbinical student at JTS. (NYC)
  • Shamir Power has a dual masters in Bible and informal Jewish education. (NYC)
  • Shaul David is a student at Yeshivat Bat Ayin and the creator of Yeshivat Simchat Shlomo’s eco-beit midrash. And he has bitchin’ dreadlocked payes. (Bat Ayin Yishuv, Gush Etizyon)
  • I have been in-and-out of yeshivas my entire life — including Yavneh, YNJ, Frisch, Aish HaTorah, The Hebrew Union College Kollel, Pardes, Yakar, and Simchat Shlomo — in that order, was raised Orthodox ’til I was 10, my grandfather was the vice president of the Agudah and my grandmother wears a sheitel, all four of my grandparents were Shoah survivors, my mother went to Beis Yaakov and my father Chaim Berlin, I carry the weight of so much yiches (Muncacz, Partzov, Biyale, Shibloftza, & Przysucha) my shoulders slack, nearly every woman I’ve dated in the last three years has contemplated a rabbinical degree, and I am presently leading a quasi-halakhic life of my own making in: (Jerusalem)

As you can plainly see, most of the contributors to Jewschool are, in fact, Orthodox, ex-Orthodox, or are otherwise involved deeply in Jewish studies and innovative Jewish practice. So let’s put this myth about us being irreligious, anti-religious, entirely heretical, disinterested in Torah, etc. to bed once and for all, mmmkay? Just because we believe secular Jews, Reform converts, half-Jews, and anti-Zionists should have a voice in the Jewish community, or because we hold the Jewish religious and social establishments’ feet to the fire when we find it necessary, or because we come off “too cool for school” because — I dunno — we have taste or just different values than the Jewish mainstream, that doesn’t mean we hate God, Torah, Judaism or Israel. It means we allow for the scope of Jewish identity to be broadened and don’t put limitations on people just because they don’t fit neatly into the little boxes we’ve carved out for them.
Jewschool represents “The New Jew” precisely because you cannot confine us to traditional categories and delineations. We defy existing archetypes and forge new ones in their stead. We are spiritually devout and wordly. We are proud and ashamed. We are scholarly and sophomoric. We are traditional and radically opposed to our traditions. We are queer hasidim and tzenuah feminists, Orthodox maskilim and secular hareidim, anti-Zionist Zionists and diaspora enthusiasts longing for geulah, talmud chochams who don’t believe in God and athiests who want to throw rocks at cars on Shabbos. We embrace the contradictions. And we relish in our freedom to be true to who we are without having to fill whatever mold you may wish to cast for us without ever really getting to know us.
So enough with these indictments of Jewish hipsters. It’s not our fault you’re threatened by change, or that your Judaism is boring as f*ck.

45 thoughts on “Seriously, Who Are You Talking About?

  1. I was raised in a multifaith family. My mom is a shiksa. I consider myself Jewish and have stopped caring whether other people do. I attend Reform services and am learning Hebrew.

  2. “I’m sick of hearing stories of Jews who can only feel Jewish when they are in the diaspora, or surrounded by non-Jews (ie, defined by otherness). It’s just too easy. Particularly in a time when just being part of a minority gives you instant cachet. […] I wait with baited breath for a new paradigm of Jewish identity to emerge out of the petri dish of hipsterdom.”
    …with a link to a post by a chorus of apes. gee… i wonder who she’s talking about.

  3. Swipe mob? I responded on that post the points I disagreed with. I thought that the author had really missed a few things and had written from an extreamly jerusalem-centric position. Frankly, it sounded to me like an ex post facto justification for wanting to live in the Diasporah (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
    I have very little problem with the spectrum of Jewish connections. What I was calling for was substance. But hey, misconceptions go both ways.
    Thanks for painting me with your favorate “narrow” brush tho.

  4. My Jewish identity was something that wasn’t very relevant to me for so many years because I live in Israel. In Israel I’m Jewish by default and it’s not anything I need to be aware of or conscious of because it’s a given. It’s not like being abroad where you’re also categorized by your surroundings. Here I’m categorized because I’m a woman, because I’m Ashkenazi, because I’m either fat, skinny, rich, poor — issues that have more to do with class and ethnic background, so that the question of my Judaism comes out that I’m secular. If I’m secular, basically I’m Israeli. The fact that I’m Jewish is default. So it’s not anything I’ve necessarily had to question.
    Once I go abroad, the society or the situation I’m in relates to me completely differently. Once I’m abroad, sure I’m Israeli, but I’m also Jewish, and what that means is that my relations to the calendar, or to my lifestyle, or to the food I eat is completely different. Not because I’m Israeli, but because I’m Jewish. That communal and that traditional part of my Jewishness all of a sudden becomes something that’s very present and very important to me. Once I go abroad and become a minority in a non-Jewish community, its very significant for me to be able to mark Jewish holidays and have them be something that’s present and active in my life.

    — Ronni Shendar
    is that substanceless hipsterism in your book? you build a strawman out of CoA, a jewish hipster who relishes in his outsider status. but what does hipsterism have to do with it? what makes CoA a jewish hipster, or his views representative of this practically non-existent fabrication of a subculture? i assure you, CoA is no hipster. he’s a big loveable dork.

  5. Shaul David from Bat Ayin is a contributor? That’s freaking amazing. The Jewish world is small, indeed. Stephen, if you’re reading this, a shout out from Yoni Maslan. Chag sameach! (almost)

  6. well if that block quote was meant as a response, I will simply say, that’s a view point, but I whole hearted disagree, and it is precisely that kind of attitude I was hoping to challenge.
    It is because I can take my most basic Jewish identity of simply being a Jew for granted in Israel that I can, like I said in the post, try be be part of a people “poised to discover who we are when we are not defining ourselves by who we are not.”

  7. ha! Even more funny, I guess the post has been edited since you quoted it. It now reads:
    It’s for Jewcy.com – another venue in the recent spate of “we’re hip and culturally Jewish but not interested in your stinkin’ rules” media outlets that include Jewschool and Heeb. (Not Jewlicious. They’re totally halachic).
    Go Jewlicious! But, all things being equal, I would say that Jewschool is pretty “halachic” too.

  8. oh, you added stuff to the block quote comment, and, curiously, slash marks to the post.
    In any case, I’m really not making a straw man out of CoA, but I am allowed to disagree with his view point the others who echo it. I’m allowed to do that by presenting another option for identity and encouraging debate on the subject.
    However, as long as we’re bringing up straw men, lets look at what your’re doing in your post – taking my argument in a weakened form, making it into something it is not (taking a swipe at him as a person for expressing a differing view), and proceeding to use one of the comments that occurred after my post as if it is somehow representative of my view.
    I love the dialogue, but I don’t appreciate the gross misrepresentation.
    I never called CoA a hipster, or even referred to the hipster Judaism phenomena in my post except with this line: “I wait with baited breath for a new paradigm of Jewish identity to emerge out of the petri dish of hipsterdom.”
    Don’t confuse my criticism of an otherness-based identity with others blanket criticism of the hipster movement being godless or whatever. Two different things mob.
    Taking a swipe and publishing a different viewpoint also two different things, for the record.

  9. Krikey (and that’s a UK expletive not an ethnic remark, by the way)for all of the labels we attach to ourselves (Orthodox, post-this and that, traditional, yadda yadda yadda) we seem to be forgetting what is the most important and fundamental label of all…Jew. I think it was Yitz Greenberg who said, ‘I doesn’t matter what stream of Judaism you come from, so long as you’re ashamed of it.’
    Dialogue is great, and it is important to continue to push Judaic thought forward. It has certainly kept Judaism alive, vibrant, and relevant for thousands of years. But let’s not forget that, at the end of the day, we’re all Jews and should respect (if not agree) one another.
    And I’m not interested in the ‘who is a Jew argument’, or who is more halachic pissing contests. In the end, this is all up to the individual and Hashem anyway so let’s be more supportive and encouraging of each other as a Jewish community. If we don’t look out for one another, who will?

  10. listen, everyone: i am exhausted with the word hipster. it is an attack that belittles those who are presumably consumed with being in-the-know. last time i check, the whole of the jewish people were consumed with being in-the-know, one way or another.
    most of you know that even though i presumably sell hipsterish tee-shirts, i also help run a huge traditional/progressive minyan and throw a mean fucking shabbat dinner. many of you don’t know that while jewcy.com presumably does nothing but sells hipsterish tee-shirts, the jewcy people also support emerging jewish artists in one of the most accessible venues in new york. not for profit. not for hipster cache.
    some of you who’ve eaten lunch with me recently also know that i’ve had it to here with dare i say hipsterish displays of who-knows-more-interesting-jewish-people, who went to more yeshivas, and whose parents were thoughtful enough to enroll them in yeshiva at age 12.
    some of us are working it out as we go along. everyone has to start somewhere.
    i got back into judaism because of a song at bnai jeshurun. hold your breath, there was an organ playing. on shabbat! and i was there to check out hotties, not to get down with g-d.
    these jewish experiences are not shallow. they are not valueless. they are not hipsterish.
    they are a gateway. we should all build up such gateways with our respect, love and support. don’t like the tee shirt? don’t wear it. but recognize the spark inside the kid wearing it, and give her the benefit of the doubt. she just might give a shit about more than fashion.

  11. However, as long as we’re bringing up straw men, lets look at what your’re doing in your post – taking my argument in a weakened form, making it into something it is not (taking a swipe at him as a person for expressing a differing view), and proceeding to use one of the comments that occurred after my post as if it is somehow representative of my view.
    a) by the time i hit ‘save’ on that comment (which i was in the process of editing when you posted) your post appeared. b) i was not trying to link that comment about godless hipsters to your views; it was a separate point all together. if i had been referring to something you said, i would have quoted you. c) when you say “i’m sick of hearing…” and then you link to one of my writers, you can expect that i’m going to go on the defensive and stick up for them.

  12. I was just wondering for curiousity’s sake and everything. What is your definition of orthodox in this list, mobius, if all of you are so label defying?

  13. and where does “halakhic” get us, children? that’s right! arguing for the validity of 2nd to 3rd citiznry status for women and homosexuals! if that is “halakhic” why would i want to be? i follow halakhah, but i am not morally blind, nor can God be not reflected in the difficult, shifting struggle to find and act on what is right.

  14. actually, you can halakhically work your way out of those moral blindspots. there are plenty of rabbeim that are now championing the rights of women and queers without parting ways with halakha.

  15. Jews fighting with other Jews. Greaaat. Just what we need.
    Quit picking on each other for all yalls little differences and shit. We’ve got a thousand beaurocratically run non-profits that already do that for our people. Must the bloggers join in too?

  16. leaving aside the back and forth nitpicky things, never mind the swipe at conservative judaism not being halakhic, i want to go back to mobius’s original post and say that i think it’s a nice elucidation of what’s wrong with the whole notion of “jewish hipsterdom” — when you look at “hipsters” closely you realize that the term is just a brush that’s being used to dismiss new takes on jewish life & culture by young people. how much more interesting would the story be about how all these wacky, diverse, talented, thoughtful, smart, caring young jews came together on jewschool (or any other blog) to create something completely new in the jewish world.
    the hipster story is getting really tired, i think — historically it’s absolutely nothing new. young people come along, young people redefine judaism, young people’s good ideas and effective leaders are absorbed into the mainstream, and 10 years later the cycle starts again when the formerly young people become middle-aged mainstream leaders threatened by the innovations of the new young people. snore.
    moreover, there’s no such thing as “a” jewish hipster — nor are many of the things included in that rubric particularly “hip.” anyone who knows the mission of the organizations or the backgrounds and seriousness of purpose of their leaders knows this is as stupid a term as using “hippie” to describe the variety of jewish countercultural movements of the 1960s and ’70s. (led by now completely mainstream people like john ruskay, paula hyman, art green…which is exactly my point) it’s just lazy shorthand by critics who haven’t done their homework.
    and by the way, sarah, i don’t think jewcy is non-profit. just for the record.

  17. sorry — meant to say “the term is just a brush that’s being used to TAR…”
    (don’t want to get nailed for mixing my metaphors or whatever i did there)

  18. Big yawn to calling Orthodoxy “more halakhic”. Yes, that’s true if “halakha” is defined as “what Orthodox Jews do”, but if everyone is placed on a scale from 1 to Orthodox, then the statement is so tautological as to be meaningless.
    For many people, Orthodoxy is a cultural identity, which happens to get backed up by the word “halakha”.

  19. I do, sorta, come from an orthodox background. My parents ultimately decided to become less traditional.
    Not to mention though, secular Jews interested in secular Jewish identity. There ain’t nothing wrong with that. Shame on those who don’t got their history right. YUNG VILNEH! bwah.

  20. Actual data:
    Profile – Jewish educator, 5+ years yeshiva learning.
    Affiliation – “hipster” Judaism
    Likes – long walks on the beach, alchohol, and chiding misguided

  21. Wow, I don’t log on for 24 hours and there is all this verbiage about a post of mine. I am honored. I cannot respond to everything, but I do want to note that I am typing this post in the Beit Midrash while participating in a chassidic shiur on the subject of torah study. Of course, I’m typing and only half listening at the moment. Its emblematic of the role of torah in my life, its always around, but only sometimes do I pay attention. Thats my choice. I am not halachic, but deeply invested in torah. If thats not good enough for you, fuck off.
    To value torah over other elements of Jewish culture may be supported by the religious status quo, but to apply that value on others in the current post-modernity just gets you in trouble. If you love torah, great! Sometimes I love torah as well, sometimes torah makes me want to puke.
    One final response about my diasporist tendencies. I don’t know if its easier or harder to be Jewish in Israel or the Diaspora. Assimilation makes it challenging to build meaningful Jewish community in the diaspora, likewise many a zionist tells me that they live in israel because its easier to be a Jew, the calendar, the cultural references, and the state itself support Jewish life.
    If you really want to know, my commitment to the diaspora comes from my commitment to equality. I think Jewish lives are as valuable as any other lives, and I cannot support a political structure that discriminates in favor of Jews. It has nothing to do with what is easy, it has to do with justice.

  22. Wow – I guess I’m finally on the map, having pissed Mobius off. I’m not knocking you, Mobius. I’m describing your site, in very minimalist terms, based on the face you present to the world. I’ve been regular visitor to Jewschool for more than a year. I read your piece on Shabbat observance. I read your rants about JTS embracing homosexuals (how’s that for a stinkin’ rule?). I stand by my original sentence. Deal with it.
    And dude, I can’t imagine why you’d need to trot out your entire yichus for little ol’ me. Are we redding a shidduch? i wasn’t questioning your commitment, your credentials, or your pedigree. My grandmothers didn’t and don’t cover their hair. Neither does my mom. My dad’s a rabbi, tho. Does that count?

  23. Wow – I guess I’m finally on the map, having pissed Mobius off. I’m not knocking you, Mobius. I’m describing your site, in very minimalist terms, based on the face you present to the world. I’ve been regular visitor to Jewschool for more than a year. I read your piece on Shabbat observance. I read your rants about JTS embracing homosexuals (how’s that for a stinkin’ rule?). I stand by my original sentence. Deal with it.

    this isn’t about you. this is about the hipster canard. i don’t think your statement is wrong per se, i’m just sick of having us tied to the false notion of the vapid jewish hipster. your remarks feed that false impression, even if it’s generally true that we’re hipper than most and we don’t give a damn about the rules.

    And dude, I can’t imagine why you’d need to trot out your entire yichus for little ol’ me. Are we redding a shidduch? i wasn’t questioning your commitment, your credentials, or your pedigree. My grandmothers didn’t and don’t cover their hair. Neither does my mom. My dad’s a rabbi, tho. Does that count?

    that wasn’t for you. it’s for the general audience of the entire jewish blogosphere who obviously have no idea who we are or where we come from when they make the preposterous statements about who works for heeb, jdub, jewschool etc.

  24. How interesting that Mobius rails against the criticism of ‘hipster’ Judaism, rails against the ADL ‘silencing Jewish dissent’, and then has the chutzpah to judge Conservative Judaism as ‘not rigidly halachic’. Wow. That level of hypocisy just blows my mind.

  25. i didn’t rail against the adl silencing jewish dissent. i posted a press release.
    and i don’t judge conservative judaism at all. i stated my opinion, that conservative jews tend to be less rigidly halakhic than orthodox jews. that is a statement based on my experience, not on the ideals of conservative judaism. that’s not a judgement. personally, i don’t believe halakha is even binding. and people who are rigidly halakhic get on my friggin’ nerves. i’m more likely to judge them than conservative jews.

  26. Fine. But to ensure that there are no misconceptions, might I recommend that you state your views regarding Conservative Jews a bit more clearly in the future as opposed to making a sweeiping statement regarding the entire movement?
    For the record, I know plenty of ‘orthodox’ Jews who attend orthodox shuls here in the UK who are about as halachic as a ham and cheese sandwich. Equally, I know Jews who attend Reform shuls who are shomer shabbos and rigidly kosher.
    The way ‘hipster’ Jews are being judged negatively makes me bristle, and just to be clear I am supportive of what I perceive as our generations first steps towards evolving the movements. But I would expect the ‘hipster’ Jews to be nothing less than non-judgmental when discussing other Jews or movements.

  27. Mobius – You just said you don’t believe halacha is binding. So then what was that whole rant about your yichus and your observance level? What the heck is going on?
    (I’m not judging either way. I promise. There’s no implied accusation here. I’m just pointing out your inconsistency.)

  28. Actually Mobius,
    i would classify your “new” brand of jew confused judaism and in some cases convenient judaism. Many Judaism fads have come and gone but through the years, and i mean history of Judaism, Halachik judaism will always live on.
    So enjoy your fad now- have fun.

  29. Heh. Like the great unwashed masses of Jews outside a narrow demographic give a shit. For most there’s Jewish, very broadly defined, and then too Jewish. By virtue of the fact that any of you are here, you have already been condemned by most to be too Jewy. “Jew, Jew, Jew, Jew – blah, blah, blah – seriously, don’t you have anything better to talk about? Does everything have to revolve around the Jews?”
    Granted, this is a gross over generalization, but it is reflective of a deeper reality. And that’s the 600 pound gorilla perched on our collective shoulders that no one wants to acknowledge.
    “Monkey? What fucking monkey?”

  30. Hang on just a second here – that was my post you quoted and I was in no way, shape or form taking a swipe at Jewschool or Jewlicious. I *was* taking a swipe at Heeb for their emphasis on secular Jewish culture to the exclusion of the faith that spawned it, but I ultimately came out pro-Heeb because anything that gets young Jews to feel more Jewish is a good thing, no?
    I am a daily reader of Jewschool and Jewlicious, and as far as observance level I identify as “Reform Hasidic” – that is, the ruach of Hadisim with a more Conservative approach to halakha.
    I can’t believe I offended you with my post – I am a huge fan of Jewschool and again, I’m not quite sure what I said that you disagree with. Please eludicate. Thank you.

  31. ck says we’re too jewish, nina beth says we’re not jewish enough. can’t please everyone.
    nina — you do realize that me, kelsey and lilit are all on heeb’s staff, right? and that joshua newman, the editor of heeb, himself, has a degree from harvard’s divinity school?
    which is kind of the whole point here:
    heeb is successful because it addresses the audience ck mentions: the ones who want their jewish culture without the religious influence.
    jewschool is successful because it addresses the audience nina represents: those who want their jewish culture rich with religious significance.
    different strokes for different folks.
    but make no mistakes about it, the people behind heeb are not devoid of god or torah. heeb is just not the venue for it.

  32. Thanks for clearing me up on Heeb. Personally, I think the magazine’s readership would appreciate an irreverent, edgy drash once in a while – something that makes Torah meaningful to their lives in a fresh way. But I know religion scares many people (i.e. my own family) and I understand that presenting a purely secular vision of Jewishness was an editorial choice.

  33. This is my first visit here, and this the only post and discussion I’ve read, so you’ll forgive me if I wasn’t taken in by the sheer uselessness of this. I’ve never seen people so obsessed with categorizing themselves. Is this the Jewish definition of cool or hip they’re selling now? Whether or not I buy a stupid tshirt!? Or which branch of Judaism or non judaism I practice?
    Help a stranger or older lady cross a busy street, that’s cool. Cool is classic and timeless, I don’t even know what a jewish hipster is nor do I particularly care.

  34. I’m a bit late in this game–graduate school can take the wind out of you–but I must say that I am confused by the list in the original post–why exactly were the families of Jewschool contributors brought into the picture?
    My family is three generations of Hashomer Hatzair, anti-religious, and my father and mother wouldn’t be able to parse a suggiya if it meant they’d save money on their taxes (hey, we’re almost in tax season). And yet I think I could hold my own with some of the orthodox-raised people I know. Does the list imply that people raised Orthodox are naturally more qualified to comment on Halakhic matters? What would Steinsaltz say?
    And the second thing I didn’t get is how in the world Laya’s post was construed to attack Jewschool…but I guess that was discussed, so I’ll stay out of that one.
    Oh–and CoA, if you really were blogging from the Beit Midrash, I’m wondering how you square the fact that, well, the entire Torah favors Jews, except for those parts where the Jews did not yet exist. If you’re interested in the spirituality of the matter, great. So are other faiths–and they too read our Torah, even if they call it by a different name. But I don’t understand how you could say you are invested in Torah if you then oppose what is the main plotline of four of the five books–the institution of an independent homeland for the Jews. Maybe you can say it’s a hobby, or an inspiration. Something you do when you’re not doing other stuff.
    Invested is such a strong word. What would Miriam say (As she dances and sings to celebrate the utter destruction of the Egyptian army)?

  35. Surely the Torah is about something deeper than an independant homeland for the Jews. you definitly argue semantically that the jews appear very little in the pentateuch– just Judah, his kids, and a few cheiftans here and there. Israelites, well, alot of people identify with that title.

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