Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Rabbi laments American Jews' preoccupation with liberalism
Just grabbed this article from Haaretz. I was planning to write my own blog on this but since it has been covered in more depth and with much more time then I would have had you can have at it. What I will say is that being a Jew does not mean you have to fight just to fight. Taking down Christmas trees in public places how does that make America a better place. Less than 2% of the country is Jewish and speaking for myself I am sure a big part of them enjoys the Christmas holiday season and does not equate Jesus with a pine tree. It is nostalgic for me and even though I have a Jewish home now I love to watch Mr. Heatmeiser and Mr. Coldmeiser duel it out once a year.
I think the ACLU has become ridiculous and unnecessary and giving someone a longer jail sentence for a "Hate" crime is just plain silly. Is someone who is an antisemitic not going to spray paint a swastika on a Temple because they might spend more time in jail if caught? Hellz no, if they are a hater that is not going to change the essence of who they are. Even the beating in Paris a few years back that some Arabs got at the book signing of an antisemit by an underground Jewish militia is not going to change the hatred and ignorance. If anything it will only add fuel to the fire. I must say that there was a smile on my face when I first read the article in the Jewish Journal but since have had time to reflect.
You know I am all about tough Jews but in that situation they were just being bullies like the Muslim thugs in those Western European countries. I will let you read the article now that I have had my mini rant but that is what a blog is all about, to blog it out like verbal vomit. I am still threatening to write a blog on Dumb Ass Jews and this touches on some of them. I am coming after George Soros and his Move On.Org soon. Just because he survived the Holocaust does not mean that he knows who should run our country. If anything he should realize that backing these liberals to get Republicans out of power will only hurt the war on terror and leave Israel open to nuclear attack from these middle east A-Holes. And if he has forgotten where do the most Holocaust survivors live outside the US..yes it is Israel. But I am sure the libs reading this will say that I am just drinking the Bush cool aid. I am sure it is much tastier than anything Kerry would have come up with. Read On!
PS: Is this the Rabbi or is it Gregory Peck in hiding?
Last update - 22:37 26/09/2007
Rabbi laments American Jews' preoccupation with liberalism
By Shmuel Rosner ,Haaretz Correspondent
Rabbi Daniel Greer's white beard moves slightly as he shakes his head, pondering why he is always surrounded by a self-created state of disquiet. "My tendency is to do what needs doing," Greer says. The rabbi, so it seems, always thinks "something is to be done" and is therefore constantly endeavoring, sometimes stirring up controversy. Greer is a man of contradictions, living on the border between withdrawal and involvement, between enlightenment and separatism, between assimilation and tribalism. It is a very American model - even if extreme - of orthodoxy: assertive, assured, even arrogant. "In the battle over the soul of American Jewry" writes Samuel Freedman in his book Jew Vs. Jew, in which he devoted a lengthy chapter to Greer: "The Orthodox model is that which won." Greer would certainly agree.
"There is no other country in the world that makes Jewish life possible like the United States," he says. Some of its institutions he will fight against for the right to be different - occasionally angering the surrounding society - but his main strength lies in angering other Jews, whose community organizations and institutions he dismisses with a facial expression of revulsion. "They kept silent when Jews were murdered in Germany," "the Jewish organizations are no longer Jewish. All the Jewish Federation people married non-Jews,and if they didn't, then their children did." We need the guns "so they'll understand that we're serious," Eliezer Greer, one of Rabbi Greer's sons, says. He is dressed in a black T-shirt with a white square in the middle emblazoned with the slogan: Edgewood Park Defense Patrol. Twice a week he dons it over his ritual fringes and white dress shirt and takes to the streets of this New Haven neighborhood, for a three- to four-hour shift. Local police concede that crime is down in the neighborhood, but that's not enough for Eliezer.
He wants the police chief, Francisco Ortiz, gone. He's certain the mayor will get rid of him, because he simply won't have a choice. "I am part of the community, part of the neighborhood," the rabbi says. This neighborhood - a mixture of Jews and Christians, whites and blacks, educated and ignorant, workers and unemployed - is now his project. As harassment and crime increased ¬ and after his son, Dov, returned home one day bruised from an encounter with street thugs - the rabbi acted at once: The civil defense guard he formed works to prevent crime and the campaign he launched is aimed at ousting the police chief, whom they term "lazy." The brief public furor over the neighborhood patrol had two focal points: Black leaders were worried about harassment of blacks, and civil rights advocates objected to the patrol's bearing firearms. Greer appeased the first group and persuaded them he had the neighborhood's interest at heart. The others he ignored - what's he got to do with those liberals? He does not neglect to mention that many of them are Jews, like David Warren of the Anti-Defamation League in Connecticut, who took issue with the group "that is trying to enforce the law itself." Greer always spots the Jews among those standing in his way. The rabbi's involvement in this neighborhood neither begins nor ends with the civil patrol. A non-profit organization he established buys run-down houses, renovates and rents them to suitable tenants - not necessarily Jews. The homes are painted a uniform color, trees are planted, new kitchens installed. In the yard of one such house an old well pump was restored to working order. There are already dozens of houses like this located within walking distance from the yeshiva. The neighborhood face-lift is changing things for the better.
It's hard not to appreciate this enterprise, even in view of the controversial personality behind it. But let no one dare call it "tikkun olam," Greer says, using the Talmudic term for repairing or perfecting the world, a phrase that has become the mantra of the more liberal Jewish movements in American. "It's an Orwellian term, 'New Speak,'" he seethes, offended, or pretending to be so. "Tikkun olam is the way of people who call themselves Jews to conceal the fact that they have no Jewish content left." Ten years have passed since the so-called Yale Five incident. A real classic case, reflects attorney Nathan Lewin out loud in his Washington office. Jews against Jews. On one side, Greer's Jews: His daughter Bat-Sheva and four of her friends, students New Haven's prestigious Yale University, who demanded the institution exempt them from living in the dorms. On the other, Yale Jews and their supporters: Dean of Student Affairs Betty Trachtenberg and the heads of most Jewish groups in the U.S. Requiring Ultra-Orthodox Jewish students live in mixed dorms infringed one's religious rights upheld by the constitution, Lewin argued in court. The story of the five received lots of publicity, but within the Jewish community aroused ill feeling. "It's a gross error," said the head of a Ultra-Orthodox group. Observant Jews who lived in the dorms were petrified by the lawsuit's implications on them. "It's not always easy to live here and maintain a modest lifestyle," they said: "but that's the price of living in the modern world." Grir lives on this borderline, between the "modern world" and the Jewish camp. He too went to Princeton, and opened the first kosher kitchen at the university. Even then, he was someone who "did what he had to do." They were different times: less Jews studied at the university, and there was less understanding of their needs. Nevertheless, Greer believes it was easier then. Today's generation's permissiveness makes life as an observant Jew in their midst even more unbearable, he believes. "Parents don't understand what goes on in the dorms," he states and hopes his story aroused awareness and caused some to shun universities that do not offer alternative housing arrangements. The lawsuit was thrown out of court. As a private university, Yale is allowed to impose such requirements, a judge ruled. Those unhappy with the arrangement shouldn't enroll. After having four children graduate from Yale, Greer's fifth son went to Brown University.
Here is a question whose answer is the key to understanding the five's lawsuit: Is the demand that a student live in mixed dorms akin to having to take an exam on the Sabbath? Greer answers in the affirmative without hesitating; it shall not pass. Thus, the private university argument seems to him as absurd today as it did at the time. Can they also keep black students out because they are a private university? His lawyer, Lewin, opted for a more cautious description, attributing the equation to others: "some students felt it was like asking them to take an exam on the Sabbath." That is to say, he himself is less certain, even if he believes the students deserved to be exempt. "There are many ultra-Orthodox Jews who studied at Yale, and they were no less observant than Greer," said one student. The black and white world of Greer is sometimes hard to swallow even for those supposedly on his side. There are rabbis and Orthodox leaders who believe to this day that a compromise could have been reached, but that Greer did not seek it. But he disagrees.
At too many institutions "freedom of speech is a flag waved only when it suits their position," he concludes. For this reason, Greer is no fan of elite universities, and even less so of the Jewish community's institutions. In the U.S. of all countries, where one can be Jewish and proud, they chose not to be "too Jewish," he says. In any event, Greer says, "the U.S. has two Jewish communities." One is "dwindling," until it disappears. "Liberals," he calls them, and coming from him it isn't praise. He says they "aren't serious" and are therefore "assimilated." Greer is acerbic, an extreme example of this mindset, but not the only one among the Orthodox to view with a degree of scorn and arrogance the direction in which the other streams of Judaism are headed. In opposition to them he places the model of the Orthodox community, varied and splintered though it be, which shares a "common interest," he believes. Greer thinks this is all that will remain of the huge American-Jewish community. "They're trembling," Greer says of the other streams, "frightened by the start-up gang that's grabbing a more central place." Besides, he adds, "their grandchildren won't care if they marry a Catholic or a Navajo," so there's no call to take their sensibilities or opinions into account.