27 October 2009

Real Jewish Activism

The term "Jewish activism" can pass as many things. The nature of English as a language permits a deceptively common string of otherwise disparate entities or events to define the core nature of both entities. Jewish activism is a good case study of this trick. One might assume that Jewish activism must be both Jewish and be activist to warrant this description. As most readers already know, most Jewish activism has little to do with Judaism and is usually only called such merely by virtue of the fact that it is activism of Jews or by Jews but without a Jewish soul.

Two recent articles however define in my opinion what real Jewish activism is. The first found at Shmais.com comes from the United Kingdom where chairman of the Rabbinical Council of United Synagogue(RCUS), Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet is going the distance in the UK court system to defend the halachic definition of "Who is a Jew". The court case involves a child of a non-Jewish mother and Jewish father who sought to enroll their son into a school in London which requires it's students to be Jewish. Where the common "Jewish activist" sentimentalism and raw emotionalism would call for a decision to be made in a non-traditional way, over-ruling halacha for the family's sake (in the mode of the US Federations who adopt non-traditional Jewish break-away definitions to keep the money pie as big as possible), the RCUS and Rabbi Schochet are standing firm. Bravo, kol hakavod. This is real Jewish activism.

The second story comes from Jpost in the form of an editorial by David Weinberg calling out JStreet for what I would refer to it as (although I doubt this is original), the Yevsektsiya of American leftist politics, serving its masters at the DNC and the White House.

JStreet is holding its first ever "hug-in" as Weinberg calls it this week to discuss how to better re-define support for Israel by opposing Israel and to justify this opposition by calling it a Jewish thing to do. Weinberg says:

J Street is a new form of Jewish apostasy. Its adherents hasten to embrace their Jewishness (even if they don't really know much about authentic Jewish tradition and morality) in order to besmirch Israel and the mainstream Jewish community. They earnestly declare how "profoundly" Jewish they are, in order to engender a distancing in US-Israel relations.
Indeed, David Weinberg scores a full body blow in this editorial. And again, this is real Jewish activism, no apologies, no ill-will, just telling the truth, doing the right thing for the right reason, not looking back.

Both Rabbi Schochet and David Weinberg should be an example for American Jewry. We will never overcome the problems that endanger the survival of our community until we are willing to tell the truth about what ails us and speak up to defend our Torah, tradition and our Holy Land. Our common destiny awaits.

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What Words Offend Arabs? The Truth.

Children's Poetry Booklet Recalled After Arabs Complain
(Israeli censorship kowtows to Arabs.
When Will We Tell The Truth Without Fear)

(IsraelNN.com 7 Sivan 5768/June 10, '08) Ynet's web site and Arab complaints against a ten-year-old boy's poem about terrorists has resulted in the recall of all of the Nes Ziona municipality's children's poetry booklets.

Ynet boasts that its coverage of the poem resulted in its being recalled.

The text of the poem (Ynet's translation):

Ahmed's bunker has surprises galore: Grenades, rifles are hung on the wall. Ahmed is planning another bombing!What a bunker Ahmed has, who causes daily harm.Ahmed knows how to make a bomb. Ahmed is Ahmed, that's who he is, so don't forget to be careful of him.We get blasted while they have a blast!Ahmed and his friends could be wealthy and sunny, if only they wouldn't buy rockets with all their money.

Poetry competition director Marika Berkowitz, who published the booklet, was surprised at the protests and told Ynet: "This is the boy's creation and this is what he wanted to express. Of course there should be a limit, but I think the there is no racism here. 'Ahmed' is a general term for the enemy. These are the murmurings of an innocent child."

The Education Ministry told Ynet: "The local authority that published the booklet should have guided the students in a more correct manner through the schools. The district will investigate the issue with the local authorities."
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