|Volume 6 Number 17||Tue Jul 30 23:55:09 US/Pacific 1996|
From: Dina Tanners <TANNERS@GONZAGA.EDU> Date: Mon, 29 Jul 1996 22:31:52 -0700 (PDT) Subject: A Jewish Touch to Gymnastics at the Olympics I'm just wondering how many notices that in the gymnastics competition, the music for the floor exercise for Gina Gogean of Romania started with "Hevenu Shalom Alehem" and then switched to other Kleismer music. Dina Tanners
From: email@example.com (Louis Rieser (Greenfield)) Date: Tue, 30 Jul 1996 07:34:42 -0400 Subject: High Holydays Supplemental Material Sought We use the old Silverman Machzor along with a supplement I created a number of years ago. It is now time to reprint the Yom Kippur supplement, and I am looking for good material. If you have supplements that you would be willing to share, please send a copy to me - e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or snail mail at Temple Israel, 27 Pierce St, Greenfield, MA 01031. I will, of course, acknowledge authorship within the supplement and will be happy to send back a copy of my new compilation. Thanks for the help, Louis Rieser
From: Lynne Goldsmith <LGOLDSMI@cnsvax.albany.edu> Date: Tue, 30 Jul 1996 08:30:05 -0400 (EDT) Subject: Intermarriage I have been reading with interest the postings on the subject of intermarriage. I am aware of the dismal statistics of the liklihood of the children of intermarriages retaining a Jewish identity and raising their children as Jews. I am aware that many Rabbi's and synagogues do their best to discourage intermarriages because of the perceived loss of Jews and their children when these intermarriages occur. I also would be interested in a comprehensive study of intermarriages and what the results of these intermarriages are. But I think it should also be done with a parallel study of unaffiliated or cultural Jews. I wonder from my own experience if the practice of discouraging intermarriages does more to alienate both the Jew and the non-Jew in an intermarriage. If any of you read the list for intermarried Jews you can see the agony that couples go through trying to find a Rabbi willing to perform the marriage ceremony. When my husband and I got married 22 years ago (I can't believe that it has been that long!), the minister of the church I was raised in didn't even hesitate to say yes to not only performing our wedding, but to perform it with a Rabbi. Finding a Rabbi was another story. My husband was humiliated at the overwhelmingly negative response from the rabbi's he contacted. Our feeling was that if the Rabbis didn't want us, then we could probably live without them too. We did end up years later attending a synagogue and I was somewhat astonished to realize that Judaism met so many of my spiritual needs. I ended up converting and our children are being raised as Jews. Our first exposure to Judaism (my husband's family are non-observant) was a very negative one, and I wonder if that initial struggle that many inter-married couples face turn them off to Judaism altogether. Within the past two years, our synagogue decided that it needed a policy on non-Jewish spouses. The policy was precipitated when a non-Jewish spouse read from the Bimah. I cannot tell you the pain we suffered as we worked on this policy. Yes, we have a policy now, but we also have many hurt people, and because we have a "policy", the non-Jews feel like a separate group. Intermarriage is a fact of life. Trying to deny it is absurd. It would seem to me that if we are to retain Jews and even have the non-Jews convert.... after all Judaism has a lot to offer.... we need to more welcoming, from the time the couple decides to marry and when they decide to join a synagogue. Instead of beating ourselves over the head about the loss of Jews when they intermarry, why not welcome the whole family, and hope that they will decide that being Jewish is a positive thing instead of separating them with policies? Lynne Goldsmith
From: Julian Yudelson <YUDELSON.JE@a1.rit.edu> Date: Tue, 30 Jul 1996 08:30:00 -0700 Subject: Intermarriage As a member of an Orthodox congregation, I must express my dismay at the position expressed by Chiam Frazer (July 29) that the child of a Jewish mother, who's father had not converted "should be barred from formal membership in Orthodox communal institutions." on the presumption that Taharat HaMishpacha had been violated. This is a clear expression of the mentality that would lead to describing the Black Hat yeshiva world as being guilty of "crimes against Judaism." He speaks for an element who would cast aspersions on any Jew who does not meet its "holiness code", but he does not represent the Orthodox world I know. Treating every offspring of an intermarriage as a mumser (product of an immoral act) is not likely to lead to increased Jewish commitment and growth. Mr. Frazer is correct when he points out that the liberal movements can learn a great deal from the Orthodox about how to enhance Jewish continuity. Study, peer and family support, and active commitment are essential to virtually any form of cultural continuity- religious, patriotic, artistic etc. One of the great strengths of NCSY, however is the extent to which it reaches out to all Jewish teens not just the FFB (Frum [very observant] from birth). It is interesting to see how often different posters to the list mention the importance of deep study in their Jewish commitment. The problem is that today so many individuals, across the spectrum, are tying to discover a meaningful approach to a very adult topic with a 10 or 12 year old's knowledge base. The commandment is "to teach them [the laws and customs] diligently to our children" and two to four hours a week that stop at age 12 or 13 is not a very high degree of "diligence." Clearly intermarriage is a major issue to anyone concerned with Jewish continuity. The statistical data is very bleak. On the other hand, several respondents to this list have demonstrated that a non Jewish spouse need not be the end of Jewish commitment. As a people we need to learn how to accept without compromise and to give without blame. shalom Julian Yudelson kol Israel chaverim, even if some of them run away from you.
From: Beth Fishman <BFISHMAN@cchd.cfr.usf.edu> Date: Mon, 29 Jul 1996 14:07:27 EST Subject: Learning Hebrew I must gain the equivalent of one year of college Hebrew (spoken Modern Hebrew is the focus) before next summer and, living in the Jewish hinterland (Tampa), find myself without local options. There is only one college level Hebrew class in the area and it conflicts with my work schedule. Neither tutoring nor adult education at local synagogues are available. I am currently working with the Pimsleur system/Sybervision audiotapes but consider this a stopgap measure. My current level of Hebrew is the remnants of 4 years of afternoon Hebrew school at my Reform synagogue as a child (translation: beginner). I am eager for your ideas, materials or programs that would result in this level of proficiency. Help! Beth Fishman email@example.com
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (John Sherwood) Date: Mon, 29 Jul 1996 16:20:21 -0700 Subject: Mixed Services near the Western Wall In a recent post, Simchah Streltsov raises an interesting question, as to why liberal Jews, who have no interest in the restoration of the Temple, and no interest in the restoration of the ancient sacrificial cult, would want to pray at the Wall. Being one of those whom he describes, the following thought occurs to me. Behind his question is an implicit statement with which I, a reform rabbi whose theology is based on an epistemology known as logical positivism, wholeheartedly agree. This behavior makes no sense at all. However, as a part time cultural anthropologist, who has been involved in interfaith dialogue for over thirty years, I submit that religious behavior, including my own, is rarely based on reason. It is based most often on emotion. When I am in the classroom, I use the critical faculty to the hilt. On the other hand, when I wrap my self in my huge talit, I indulge in a process known as sublation, in which the critical faculty is suspended, and my emotions and sense of spirituality come to the forefront of consciousness. The Wall was known for ages as the Wailing Wall, a symbol of the loss of Jewish nationhood. Even after the establishment of the State of Israel, the Wall became more precious because of lack of access. Today it is one of the world's major symbols of Jewish identity. It is featured on almost every Israeli travel brochure, its ancient stones reflecting the glorious colors of Judea. No wonder then, that all Jews, regardless of orientation, have an attachment to it. One of my favorite moments in the study of human inconsistency occurred when an avowed atheist asked me to put a written prayer in one of the spaces between the stones. The liberal Jew (and I include myself) is responding to feelings of identity, compassion for pain suffered by Jews of previous generations, and a desire for a sacred place that transcends rational definitions. His second question, as to a noisy prayer demonstration at the Wall, must be answered on a different level. He wants to know why these noisy egalitarian daveners are not more considerate of the people whom they are disturbing. Here the issue is not theological, but social and political. These people are using the same practice as Gandhi did in India, and Martin Luther King did in Alabama. It is called non-violent protest. The discomfort felt by the orthodox who are being disturbed is real and understandable, but it does not begin to match the discomfort felt by non-orthodox Jews who are not free to choose their own rabbis, have their own synagogues treated on equal basis, and have their women treated as equals (and separate but equal is not a concept accepted by modernists). The discomfort felt by the orthodox daveners is certainly less than that felt by the young woman whose tires were slashed because she wore a sundress near, not in Meah Sh'arim, (LA Times 7/26/96) or the Israeli police who were attacked with dirty diapers by ultra-orthodox Jews demanding that Bar Ilan Street be closed to traffic on Shabbat (LA Times 7/28/96). The Women of the Wall and other egalitarian daveners will probably continue to be noisy until their goals are met. The Wall is one of the major symbols in the Jewish world of "where the action is at", and as long as that is true, it will continue to be a place of both prayer and conflict. Whether that is fact is good or bad may be open to debate. However, that it is a reality and that it will continue to be a reality is not. [Moderator's Note: The full text of the LA Times articles should be available at http://www.latimes.com. The 7/26/96 article, titled "'Sabbath War' Flares in Holy City" may be found with the link: http://www.latimes.com/cgi-bin/slwebcli?DBLIST=lt96&DOCNUM=63441 The 7/28/96 article, titled "Religious Jews Hold Huge Sabbath Protest", may be found with the link: http://www.latimes.com/cgi-bin/slwebcli?DBLIST=lt96&DOCNUM=63931 I hope this helps. Yr. Mod.] Rabbi John M. Sherwood
From: email@example.com (Ann Proyect) Date: Tue, 30 Jul 1996 13:16:48 -0400 Subject: Some comments on v6n16 [Moderator's Note: Normally, I try and break apart submissions such as these so that each topic is addressed on its own subject line. That really can't be done for this post. I remind posters to try and limit a submission to a single subject, so that we can chain subjects together and make researching submissions on particular subjects easier. If you respond to this, please go back to v6n16 and pick an appropriate subject line. -- Daniel] I really appreciate today's mail. Nina Salkin, re teaching for young people, Rabbi Lester Polonsky moving on to Temple Israel in Jamaica, Queens (he was Rabbi for Temple Sholom in Monticello, while he was here -- held a Temple Tots service once a month for young children, ages three to five, and it was open to community at large. There were crafts at large, but I visited and noticed how he had a picture of ten commandments and how he managed to do the "thou shalt not committ adultry, and the one about lying, etc. My wish was that he were in a situation community-wide to teach the same thou shalts and nots. Mike Pelltier's comments about being the son of an intermarriage and his Jewish committments, may I please remind him that we learned at a Levitas lecture at the local college, that 80% of the New Testament in based on the Hebrew Bible. Robin Cohen Anderson's e-mail is beautiful. Thank you, Robin. As was Rabbi John Sherwood's message. You all made me realize the books I am surrounded with are worth pursuing and I will prepare an inventory for my "Jewish Books" category in my book business. Thanks again. ann proyect
From: Alana Suskin <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Tue, 30 Jul 1996 14:04:41 -0400 (EDT) Subject: Use of the Word "Goy" and Similar Terms > Tina Anderson makes a good point when she compares "goy" to terms like > "yankee" and "queer." Not all pejoratives are equal. It would make life > simpler if they were, but they're not. There is a qualitative spectrum with > words like "nigger," 'kike," "dyke" on the extremely offensive end and > "Yankee," "Limey," "babe" on the less offensive end. > > "Goy" and "Shvartza" fall, in my view, somewhat in the middle. In certain > contexts, of course, all of those words can cause offense. I, for example, > largely on behalf of my non-Jewish wife and mixed heritage children, found > the usage that got this thread going to be offensive. Indeed, point well taken, however, I think another issue is that it simply isn't enough to say that some words are offensive and perjorative, some words are very mild, and perjorative, etc. I think the issue is really one about power and who gets to name themselves, for example, in the names you cite above, I would certainly consider "babe" on the extremely offensive end, since it is labeled on individuals who are members of a class with less power inthis society. On the other hand , "dyke" has been quite proudly taken on by some lesbians as a badge of honor. I don`t know if that counts only when used by other lesbians, or whether it's still insulting when used by others who are not part of the GLB community. "Goy" on the other hand may be perjorative, but is used by a class of people with substantially less power toward a class with substantially more (jews and Christians) Thus on the scale of offensiveness, it must rate relatively low. It's sort of along the same lines as an African-American's use of the term"whitey" or some such. Perhaps it IS offensive, but African Americans as a class have far less power in society, so the power of their insults is much reduced to those against whom those words are used. On the other hand an African American man calling an African American woman "bitch" or "ho'" is soimething substantially different, as African American women have even less institutional power. Alana Suskin
From: email@example.com (Eric Simon) Date: Tue, 30 Jul 1996 16:28:14 -0400 Subject: Re: Information Request: Austin TX Neil Nelson <firstname.lastname@example.org> asked about synagogues in the Austin Texas area. Check out the UAHC Web site (at http://shamash.org/reform/uahc/). Bob Rosin has done an excellent job of building it. I went over to the UAHC directory area, started a search on the string "Austin", and found Temple Beth Israel (which, btw, has their *own* web page at http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/ubiquity/jewish/jcbi.html). Hope this is useful to all our readers. Eric
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