Thursday, August 21, 2008

No Homecoming for Some

It's been very bittersweet watching the J-blogging conference and reading posts by Jameel and others about accompanying new olim.

There's a visceral homesickness for Jerusalem, where I lived for about 8 months back in 1996.

Humor at how seriously we bloggers take ourselves.

Frustration at how poorly the rest of the world seems to know/understand the real Israel.

Sadness, knowing that I would have a difficult time being accepted for Aliyah, despite my conversion, my strong commitment to the Jewish people, and to sustaining the Jewish homeland.

When I converted three years ago, after a long, long time of contemplation, and having been married to Bad Cohen for four years, I knew that my (Reconstructionist) conversion would not be accepted by some other Jews. That I would continue to be seen as an interloper, despite mikveh and bet din, kashrut and other halacha I adopted.

I was OK with this. It was, and is, more important for me to true to my own beliefs and practices, within the context of my Jewish community, than to kowtow to a small group who claim to have the only legitimate version in order to gain wider acceptance.

What's galling is how the increasingly narrow definition of Judaism staked out by this group is imposed on the official policies of a nation/state that is supposed to be a homeland for all the Jews. Sadly, my homeland is a place where I will only be welcome as a foreign visitor.


Blogger The back of the hill said...

Errrmm, as a "Judeo-cynic", I am even less likely to be aliyah-acceptable.

"Doubt - it's both a hashgofo and a minhag".

8/21/2008 8:41 PM  
Blogger QuietusLeo said...

Many of us here suffer because our religion is monopolized by a small group of "purists".

8/22/2008 4:52 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

I can imagine how frustrating that feeling of non-acceptance by some Jews could be.

However, I just wanted to point out one fact most people seem to overlook when they begin pointing fingers at the orthodox head rabbinate of Israel.... According to my professor in a course on the history of Modern Israel, when modern Zionism was growing towards the establishment of the State, orthodox Jews did not support this new form of Zionism. It had steered away from pure Torah. However, in order to garner their support, Zionist leaders offered the orthodox the opportunity to lead the religious affairs of the state. Considering the extent of the lack of orthodoxy in the state, I'd say they didn't really live up to their side of the bargain.

I apologize if I come off sounding obnoxious for pointing that out. I just thought I would lay out a defense for them when they do deserve it. I wish you luck.

8/28/2008 7:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many of us here suffer because our religion is monopolized by a small group of "purists".

Oy! You're telling me! I shan't even mention what some of my kin think of outmarriage.

---Grant Patel

9/03/2008 2:30 PM  
Blogger Tzipporah said...

Rachel, your point is totally valid. The original socialist/secular Zionists discounted religion as irrelevant, and couldn't foresee the future stranglehold on personal status issues such a position would give to the Orthodox. Also, to be fair, the nature of Orthodoxy and liberal Judaism has changed tremendously in the last 100 years, changes they could not (or chose not to) anticipate.

9/03/2008 2:34 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

Their position is wrong.

9/03/2008 7:05 PM  
Blogger rebecca said...

Written In March

The cock is crowing,

The stream is flowing,

The small birds twitter,

The lake doth glitter,

The green fields sleep in the sun;

The oldest and youngest

Are at work with the strongest;

The cattle are grazing,

Their heads never raising;

There are forty feeding like one!

Like an army defeated

The snow hath retreated,

And now doth fare ill

On the top of the bare hill;

The ploughboy is whooping--anon--anon

There's joy in the mountains;

There's life in the fountains,

Small clouds are sailing,

Blue sky prevailing,

The rain is over and gone.

~~~by age of conan

9/21/2008 10:04 PM  

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