Friday, August 17, 2007

Sneaky Succubi

Apparently, I am corrupting innocent Jewish men with my feminine blogging! I am kissing up to the boys, manipulating people, and sending "lovey dobey" emails!

My goodness. I seem to be quite dangerous.

And here I thought I was simply mocking chulent.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Dissent - Genuine and Otherwise

Chaim G. forwards this remarkable article, in which Allan Nadler, director of Jewish Studies at Drew University, takes exception to this infamous Noah Feldman's self-comparison to Spinoza.

Feldman, he contends, is no Spinoza; he is simply a crybaby.

True dissenters have not only the courage of their convictions, but enough respect for the institutions, religions, or authorities they are defying not to expect sympathy from those defied. They accept the consequences of their actions, without complaining about being excluded, excommunicated, cursed.

I must say, I find him persuasive.

When Bad Cohen and I got married, it was in the full knowledge that our marriage would not be recognized by many segments of the Jewish community. In respect of their views, and out of respect for our own values, we did not have the traditional erusin and nissuin of a Jewish wedding; we chose instead to base our wedding ceremony on Rachel Adler's provocative Brit Ahuvim: in the Palestinian tradition of a shutafut (partnership), rather than kinyan (acquisition). We essentially have a halachically based Jewish civil union.

When, years later, I converted to Judaism under the auspices of our local rabbis (Reconstructionists), it was in full knowledge that my conversion would not be recognized by Orthodox Jews, for despite years of study, involvement in a Jewish community, increasing observance of halacha, and mikveh and bet din - I was not using an authorized Orthodox bet din. I respected my own path to Judaism as legitimate, and not in need of approval from those who would never countenance it. And I respect the right of the Orthodox to set boundaries of their own about what constitutes a legitimate conversion.

Someday, my son will have to deal with these issues. Some Orthodox I correspond with were shocked that I would "force" him to "prove" his Jewishness later in life, if he wants to, by having his own Orthodox conversion.

But, to my mind, this is one of my gifts to my son. Unlike many of his peers, someday, he may have to actually decide where his line in the sand is. Who decides the legimitacy of his identity? Where does his true belief lie? If he wants to affiliate with the Orthodox, he has the option (and the Jewish educational and cultural background) to make that possible, and not very difficult. If he believes that the Judaism he was raised with is valid, in and of itself, he can choose to maintain that identity, and be recognized within liberal Jewish communities as a full participant.

By being honest with him about my beliefs, my husband's beliefs, and respecting the ways in which others disagree with us, we are not passing on a legacy of resentment about his status. Rather, we are passing on the framework for what Nadler calls "genuine dissent," which has served our evolving religion (and others) so well over the past several millenia.

Friday, August 03, 2007

My Secret Superhero Identity

You're The Dictionary!

You're one of those know-it-all types, with an amazing amount of
knowledge at your command. People really enjoy spending time with you in very short spurts, but hanging out with you for a long time tends to bore them. When folks
really need an authority to refer to, however, you're the one they seek. You're an
exceptional speller and very well organized.

Take the Book Quiz at the Blue Pyramid.

LOL - well, they sure have me pegged...