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Comments for entry A house built on bagels and lox
A house built on bagels and lox
As for Steve ... his attitudes are not uncommon among some of the Jews I know. They reject the religion yet are strong defenders of the country. Others reject the religion but strongly embrace the culture. But I'll never forget a poster I saw in an Orthodox Yeshiva in Israel. It had a black background and a giant picture of a bagel with cream cheese, and under it it said, "Is this what 3,000 years of Judaism has come to?"
I don't think Steve realizes that Judaism without the Torah is an empty shell. I used to say that people like him have one foot out the door. He lost his religion, but still has the culture because he grew up with it. But what about his kids? Will they keep Judaism alive? And how about their kids?
Statistics say that they will not. The fastest growing segment of the Jews is the Orthodox. They have many kids and almost all of them pass Judaism on. The reformist sects have intermarriage rates around 50%. Steve is himself married to a Catholic. None of his kids are considered Jewish by Jewish law. There is no shame in this, but it is a case in point. At this point his kids would have to do an Orthodox conversion to even be considered Jews by the Orthodox, even though the Reform allows patralineal descent.
If the Torah is really just another book, and if its prophecies really are just a bunch of coincidences, then there really is no "legal" bases for the Jewish right to exist. Steve brings up the moral issue. Yes, the Jews were persecuted all over the world for millennia, therefore, they "deserve" a homeland. And since they came originally from Israel, and since there always were at least some Jews there for thousands of years, why shouldn't they be allowed to have a tiny sliver of land? But sympathy only gets you so far. In most courts you need the law on your side. And the Torah is tantamount to a deed.
If I thought that the Torah was what Steve thinks it is, basically bull crap, then I don't know if I would support Israel. At that point I might say that the Jews should just hang it up and assimilate into other cultures. Even if we are a great nation and have a great history, if so many people hate us and want to kill us, why deal with it?
One could argue that, in a way, Steve has already hung it up. He just can't give up those final few threads that he holds onto, namely supporting Israel and some of the Jewish culture. But he has laid the foundation for his kids to leave without the same regrets. But in my case, I am honestly amazed and impressed with the Bible and far from thinking that there is anything else out there like it. So I see the value in preserving, not just the physical land of Israel and the bagels and the klezmer music, but the foundation of it all, the Torah. For without a rock solid foundation, a house will surely fall eventually. But the Jewish house has withstood every storm and hopefully will continue.
Author: Von Cello Eintrag from 10.01.2009
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