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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Why I'm Not Talking About It

As many of you have already realized, things are getting pretty heavy and heated here, in Jerusalem. A Gay Pride Parade is scheduled for this Friday. And, I'm not talking about it. This is so for a number of reasons. First of all, just about every single Israeli and/or Jewish blogger has dedicated at least one article to their opinion or analysis about the parade. Second of all, this is such an emotional subject that it's almost impossible to have a strictly intellectual conversation about it. Now, I'm not knocking the emotional part of it. If we're not emotional about issues that matter to us, than they're not worth fighting for. However, because THIS subject is getting so heated as to be ugly on many blogs, I have chosen not to put my 2 cents into it.

Don't get me wrong. I have a very strong opinion about it, but I just don't see the point in voicing it. The Hareidim have done such a "good" job with their protests that there's no way for any-one to really go out and make their opinion known in a peaceful way. Both sides have relegated to violence and threats, and I can't stand that. I have no problem giving my opinion on that. I think what the Hareidim have done is completely inexcusable and disusting, and I have to say, I think it reflects more of their complete lack of respect and loyalty to the state and society than their views on holding a Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem. How sad is that? Listen, I understand both sides even while I only agree with one of them. But, to destroy neighborhoods, invoke mystic prayers of death and destruction, and then expect the country to go on giving you your livelihood is absolutely repugnant. These communities don't pay taxes, don't serve in the Army, are mostly actually against the existence of the state of Israel since they really don't recognize its existence, and still scream for more rights and money from the government they despise. In my view, because they don't respect or even acknowledge the rest of society, they have no idea of what it means to be civilized with the world. In my mind, these communities are just as bad as Arab-Israeli communities that do the same. They feel that they have a right to not support the state and scream for more rights at the same time. This disconnection and superiority has caused a complete disregard for the concept of protesting in a productive and proactive manner. They believe the police don't have the right to contradict this activity, and they have no respect for the laws of the land since they don't recognize them as applying to them. How is this different than other extremist groups? How is this NOT a Chillul Hashem (Desecration of G-d's name)? I see it as a HUGE Chillul Hashem! Any-one who disagrees with me on this better have some Halachic sources to back up your claims. READ THE REST...

Instead of having the focus being on the reasons for why the Parade should not be held in Jerusalem, it's on the violence and extremist ideologies that the Hareidim are yelling. There are signs posted around their communities telling people that if the Parade is allowed to go forward, a huge earthquake will strike the country, and more war will come to the North. If you're against the Parade, why the fire and brimstone scare? Last time I checked, Jews aren't Catholics, and nowhere in Judaism are these kinds of consequences mentioned. But, what do I know? These guys have talked to HIDDEN HOLY SOURCES. Obviously, I'm not worthy of speaking with these "hidden" sources, so I can't be sure Jesus isn't alive and well in Mea Shearim. This is a symptom of a bigger problem within the Ultra-Orthodox community. Had the Hareidim simply protested peacefully and in an organized fashion, simply stating that this Parade is disrespectful to the Holy and Elevated stature of Jerusalem, and it should be held some-where else. Trying to invoke the Holiness of the city would have been more effective that going, sorry to put it this way, "Palestinian", and throwing rocks at police-men and burning trash cans. Now, the focus is on the Hareidim instead of the issue.

So, what's the bigger problem here? It's what I like to call, the catholization of Judaism. These Ultra-Orthodox communities have taken Judaism and completely changed it by adding more and more restrictions on themselves to the point where what they're practicing doesn't even seem like Judaism anymore. The Hareidi communities are part of the tradition that they've stopped time at the time their sect was created and have completely separated themselves from the rest of society in what they see as the effort to preserve their religious way of life. This happened during the times of the Middle Ages and immense persecution. But, today's reality is a result of never rethinking or retooling their understanding of religion or the world for hundreds of years. In essence, they are still the same community that existed hundreds of years ago. They wear the same clothes as when the community started. In my mind, this has allowed for absolutely no thought, whatsoever. When these communities were started, they actually burned Rambam's books, except for his Mishna Torah, because they believed that there was no room for contemplation or integration of secular and religious understandings or studies at a time when Judaism itself was under attack by Christendom. They decided that the only way to preserve Judaism was to press the stop button and stay in their present state. And, they've stayed that way ever since regardless of developments in the world and society. No secular studies are taught, and no questions are asked.

Now, you have what's happening in Jerusalem. I'm sorry. There is a reason G-d gave a Torah that was not complete in the way it described the way we did things. I've always been taught "Lo Ba'Shamaim Hee" and "Nitzchuni Baniye". G-d gave us brains in order to use them, not to be robots. Ramabam wrote that when it says that "G-d created us in His image (or likeness, depending on how you translate it)", it means that he gave us knowledge, and we should always be in pursuit to "Know G-d". That means learning everything and trying to come to an ultimate understanding of the world. Art, science, medicine, etc. is NOT secular in my eyes. G-d created us. He created the world. He gave us the blue-print for life. Every creation is part of His creation. How can science be considered "secular" when that's how the world was created. I simply cannot understand a group that is taught not to think for themselves and ask questions and learn how to figure things out for themselves. Maybe, you can explain it to me.

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At 7:07 PM, Blogger SnoopyTheGoon said...

You don't voice your opinion in a very persuasive way, I must say ;-)

At 8:45 PM, Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

I have no idea what you're talking about...;-)

At 11:51 PM, Blogger Lvnsm27 said...

If they want to get their message out, they could go somewhere else where they won't offend people. But then that's not fun.

At 1:22 AM, Blogger Sholom said...

Well-written article, I'm linking to it.

At 1:23 PM, Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

Sholom, thanks for the compliment. It's appreciated.


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