Pope Liberates Jerusalem
Future Pope Ratzinger and IDF Paratroopers Liberate Jerusalem

Jerusalem Post provides these recorded remarks from the new Pope Benedict XVI nee Ratzinger:

“I think it is very important that Jews, even if they live all over the world, have a homeland, a point of reference, live in the land of their fathers as a people in continuity with their own history and the promise given to their forefathers.”

A short while after this, Pope John Paul II uncoincidentally stated that “the Jewish people have a right to a land of their own” – adding that Palestinians too have a right to their own state.

Asked…whether Israel had special meaning for Christianity, he replied, “I think yes, certainly, but without rushing to theological conclusions, because the State of Israel was created by secular thought and is in itself a secular state. However, this fact has a great religious value because this people is not simply a people like any other. They have always maintained ties with their great history and therefore find themselves in this Holy Land, the Holy Land of the history of all three monotheistic religions. This, of course, also bears a message for Christians.”

Sounds like the kind of person who has an affinity for the Jewish people and who understands the need for a Jewish state. 😉

Edit: It seems this pope, as a cardinal, was responsible for sending a letter to US Roman Catholic bishops that had an impact on Kerry’s loss in this past election to Bush.

In a June 2004 letter to US bishops enunciating principles of worthiness for communion recipients, Ratzinger specified that strong and open supporters of abortion should be denied the Catholic sacrament, for being guilty of a “grave sin.”

He specifically mentioned “the case of a Catholic politician consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws,” a reference widely understood to mean Democratic candidate Kerry, a Catholic who has defended abortion rights.

The letter said a priest confronted with such a person seeking communion “must refuse to distribute it.”

A footnote to the letter also condemned any Catholic who votes specifically for a candidate because the candidate holds a pro-abortion position. Such a voter “would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for holy communion,” the letter read.

Note that Kerry was born Jewish but raised Roman Catholic by his (apparently paranoid) parents. It was reported that he is quite a devout Catholic, although that seemed to work against him here.

About the author

themiddle

229 Comments

  • Kerry wasn’t Jewish, born or otherwise. His father was born to a born Jewish woman, but his father was baptized and raised Catholic. That means John Kerry was not born Jewish, whether you are Reform or Orthodox.

  • Muffti is a little surprised. Given all he has read by many of you, he would have thought that philosophically and theologically, Ratzinger is your catholic equivalent (except with way more power). The man has devoted most of a life to ensuring strict interpretations of doctrine and dogma, even to the point of admitting that christianity may have to drop members to protect itself from corruption. The man has crushed all and any attempts at reform or liberalized theology. Where ever a hard line can be taken, he’s taken it. He’s claimed heresy time and time again. (He’s basically inheritor of the inquisition for christ sake!).

  • No outrage over the fact that Ratzinger is a former Hitler Youth and saw Jews being herded to their death in WWII? How come no one is jumping all over this one?

    (The story is linked from boing boing)

  • Muffti, of course, is right on point. After all the, ahem, pontificating we get in here about sticking to traditions, not wavering, women not allowing men to touch us even if it means they’ll never be touched in their lives, marrying only Jewish women (or Orthodox converts), adhering only to Orthodox conversions, etc., etc., one would think our regulars would be thrilled with this new pope’s reactionary positions.

  • My understaning is that Ratzinger joined the Hitler Jugend only after it became compulsory and did his best to avoid involvement, getting out as soon as he could (some kind of seminary deferrment, apparently gotten through the efforts of a Nazi profesor, believe it or not, who was convnced that Ratzinger really was against what the organization stood for). The worst that could be said of him is that he resisted the Nazis passively rather than actively, which would put him with about 99% of Europeans. That he was raised in an anti-Nazi household appears to be beyond dispute.

    And if he ever was a Nazi, which appears to be doubtful, he forthrightly supports the right of the Jews to Israel.

    What more do you want?

    Anyway, he’s the Pope, not the Chief rabbi of Israel. Why should any Jew care that he was the head of the Inquisition?

    Ratzinger was elected to be the anti-jihad “Stop the Turk At The Gates of Vienna” pope. This election signals the beginning of the Catholic (and, it is to be hoped, pan-European) resistance to the Islamization of Europe.

  • Muffti? TM? After all that talk of bad logic do I even need to discuss why all y’all are such ‘tards?

    Let’s just say that while I am a fervent supporter of the separation on Church and State in the US, I do not believe the same ought to apply in the exact same way, in Israel. Why is that? Because Israel is not America and, pay close attention shmendricks, Jews are not Catholics. I’ll just chalk up your comments to residual post Purim silliness and move on.

    I think y’all just wanted to to imply that those of us that seek to have an honest discourse with our spirituality and deal with societal changes within an Orthodox context are in fact reactionary and close minded. Well, hitbolelut is simply not an option for me. Orthodoxy is the best way to prevent that. It’s that simple.

  • I’m still trying to figure out the thought process behind the assumption that Orthodox Jews should somehow be happy that a traditonalist has been elected Pope.

    However, I think TM’s smarmy little emoticon joke makes it pretty obvious:

    Ratzinger’s a hide-bound reactionary who is too blind to see that wholesale modernization and the jettisoning of deeply-held beliefs to accomodate people who find tradition restrictive is the answer to all the Chruch’s woes; since the Orthodox are similarly benighted, we should be happy that a spiritual brother has been elected Pope so he can oppress Catholics as the Orthodox dictatorship oppresses Jews.

    Are you really that simple-minded, TM? I was looking for some deeper meaning, but I guess it really isn’t there.

    This news just in:

    Ratzinger is a Catholic. Who the hell cares what goes on in the Catholic Church among Catholics? What has it got to do with us?

    The only thing Jews should care about is whether a particular pope is good for the Jews. So far, this pope seems like he won’t be so bad on that score.

  • Ephraim wants women who don’t find a husband to go through life being untouched in any way by a male. Because god said so.

    Ratzinger wants women who are raped and impregnated not to have abortions, and wives who are in terrible relationships not to get divorces. Because god said so.

    Ephraim = Ratzinger [insert smarmy emoticon here]

  • TM wrote: Right, ck, and hitbolelut (assimilation) is not for Ratzinger either.

    Au contraire mon frere. The concern with Ratzinger is in that rolling back some of the reforms and inclusive sentiment championed by Pope John Paul II, in retrenching a more traditional Catholicism, he is willing to be less inclusive, even if it means allowing more liberal adherents to fall by the wayside.

    With over a billion adherents, Catholics can afford to lose people this way. Jews however, cannot. Its apples and oranges anyway. There is no comparison, except for the facile, totally innaccurate one you made earlier, which I will continue to chalk up to humor …

    Your comments to Ephraim however …
    Judaism permits abortions, Judaism permits divorces … but above and beyond everything, Judaism is a religion. You say the “God said so” mantra as if it’s a bad thing. Yes. It’s all basically becvause God said so. So what? That’s what our faith dictates. You don’t have to like it, you don’t have to share our faith. It’s your call and it’s all good.

  • I am sorry that Ephraim thinking that Europe is in danger of being Islamized. Frankly speaking, I prefer moderate Muslims to Christians. Many rabbis in the Middle East used to say “there is nothing like the monotheism of Islam”, and I agree with them.
    Once there is peace in the Middle East, it is my fervent hope that we as Jews can work together with our Muslim brothers and sisters to promote monotheism throughout the world. I would also include our other monotheist brothers and sisters the Unitarians, and the Sikhs.

  • Au contraire mon frere. The concern with Ratzinger is in that rolling back some of the reforms and inclusive sentiment championed by Pope John Paul II, in retrenching a more traditional Catholicism, he is willing to be less inclusive, even if it means allowing more liberal adherents to fall by the wayside.

    Uh, correct me if I’m wrong, mon ami, but this is precisely what Orthodox Jews are saying to Conservative and Reform streams.

    A person born to a Jewish mother but who never practices Judaism a day in his life but does not renounce his faith or take on another, is considered to be more Jewish – and in fact, Jewish – as opposed to the most devout shomer shabbat Jewish person who converted to Judaism under the auspices of a Conservative rabbi.

    The Orthodox are willing to cut off those people because they are “willing to be less inclusive, even if it means allowing more liberal adherents to fall by the wayside.” How is this different from Ratzinger?


    With over a billion adherents, Catholics can afford to lose people this way. Jews however, cannot. Its apples and oranges anyway. There is no comparison, except for the facile, totally innaccurate one you made earlier, which I will continue to chalk up to humor …

    Numbers are not the issue. The Catholic population in Europe is in steep decline, while the Orthodox communities in Israel and outside of it are increasing in number. Jews are not Catholics, you are right. However, these reactionary ideas dismissing any innovations or interpretations of faith and practice are similar with the orthodox of both faiths.

    Nothing facile about that. It is the point Muffti made and I have repeated.


    Your comments to Ephraim however …
    Judaism permits abortions, Judaism permits divorces …

    …Permits divorces when the couple agrees and will not allow a woman to remarry when he disagrees. But that isn’t the point, which you seem to be avoiding. They take a point of faith which affects people’s lives because they believe it is a god-given command, and so do Orthodox Jews like Ephraim. Nice Jewish Girl would rather go through life without violating a law of Negiyah and Ephraim supports this and wishes the same upon his daughter if she cannot find a Jewish male partner to marry.


    but above and beyond everything, Judaism is a religion. You say the “God said so” mantra as if it’s a bad thing. Yes. It’s all basically becvause God said so. So what? That’s what our faith dictates. You don’t have to like it, you don’t have to share our faith. It’s your call and it’s all good.

    1. I’m born Jewish.
    2. I remain Jewish by my choice.
    3. I reject certain doctrine in Judaism.
    4. I share your faith whether you reject my take on it or not.
    5. If I weren’t born Jewish, but was more devout than you, and more strict than you, but was converted by a Conservative rabbi, you would reject me as a Jew anyway so it’s not about faith dictating anything, it’s about your choices in what you believe the faith states.
    6. Our faith is a panoply of traditions. Where we differ is the part where the Orthodox believe it is all from god and I don’t and that much of it is man made.
    7. #6 is what Ratzinger also believes, except for his people. He thinks, like Ephraim, that his efforts toward keeping his faith are god-ordained. Both men will act upon those beliefs, albeit in different ways because their faiths are different.
    8. However, that still means that both will reject anything that doesn’t “come from god.” They will view it as a necessity and a part of life, no matter how horrible.

  • TM, Being jewish is not a matter of adherence or observance or knowledge. You can be the smartest guy in the world about medicine, stay up for 35 hour shifts and wander around a hospital in a white robe giving orders of 50 CC’s stat, but unless you have the proper certification from a proper institution, sorry my friend, but you are no doctor, even if Community College says you are.

  • You know, TM, if you want to know why Orthodox people have so little respect for the religious opinions of reformers like you, you need look no further than the haphazard and slipshod thinking displayed in your ck&Ephraim=Ratzinger nonsense.

    First, why do you think that since I am Orthodox I somehow believe that single women should be condemned to a life of loneliness and celibacy?

    I guess I need to repeat this again since you seem to have completely missed the point of pretty much everything I have said on this subject, which is only to be expected since you obviously have a lot invested in setting up and destroying Orthodox boogey-straw men so you can prove your broad-mindedness to yourself:

    The Torah says what it says. People will make their own decisions about how they want to relate to it. I do not make it my business to spy on single women to see if they are engaging in “illicit” sexual activity any more than I would break down the door to your bathroom so I could catch you in the act of communing with your copy of Penthouse. That is your business. I am not the Sanhedrin or the Saudi “Morality Police”, intent on going around and throwing acid on unveiled women walking around with their boyfriends.

    The ONLY thing I have said is that every individual Jew has the freedom to relate to Torah however they want to. Everyone will make their own choice about this. There are plenty of people at our Orthodox shul who use baby carriages on Sghabbat even though there is no eruv. Nobody throws them out of shul and nobody shames them publicly about it. It is their decision to make, and I would not dream of taking issue with whatever they choose to do.

    What I do object to, however, is the tendency of people like you to reject the Torah and then turn around and accuse the Orthodox of being the ones who are causing a schism in the Jewish people because we don’t believe that Shabbat violation, etc., should be enshrined as “mainstream” Judaism. You can drive on Shabbat if you want to, but leave me out of it, OK?

    And what in the Sam Hill does Cathiolic dogma about divorce and abortion have to do with Jews, Orthodox or otherwise? Are you trying to draw some kind of parallel bewteen the Orthodox position on these issues and the Catholic one?

    But, no, it is notting even that “sophisticated”. All you are saying is that since you mistakenly believe that I think single women who might perhaps indulge in some canoodling are whores that I am just as bad as Ratzinger who, according to you, thinks that women should be raped or abused by their husbands and just lie there and take it.

    I can’t even begin to figure out your thought process, so I think I’ll just stop wasting my time trying to do so.

  • TM wrote:
    A person born to a Jewish mother but who never practices Judaism a day in his life … is considered to be more Jewish – and in fact, Jewish – as opposed to the most devout shomer shabbat Jewish person who converted to Judaism under the auspices of a Conservative rabbi.

    a devout shomer shabbat Jew who converted under the auspices of a Conservative Rabbi would then go to an Orthodox Rabbi and undergo a quickie 2-3 day Orthodox conversion. Happens all the time when the convert becomes mamash devout. Jews cannot renounce their faith. Even Cardinal Lustiger is a Jew according to the Orthodox.

    TM continued:The Orthodox are willing to cut off those people because they are “willing to be less inclusive, even if it means allowing more liberal adherents to fall by the wayside.” How is this different from Ratzinger?

    Reform/Conservative converts are not considered adherents. But anyone who is Jewish is welcome and encouraged to remain within the fold.

    TM continued: However, these reactionary ideas dismissing any innovations or interpretations of faith and practice are similar with the orthodox of both faiths.

    Dude there are innovations that fall within acceptable halachic parameters and then there’s my kosher reform hashgachah fish sticks with shrimp LISTED IN THE INGREDIENTS that clearly fall completely out of any halachic anything. Am I a close minded reactionary fuddy duddy for not eating the fish sticks? Well, if you say so, but treiff is treiff, no matter what some Reform Rabbi and his little bo peep hashgachah and smichah say. I mean seriously, yesh gvul!

    Anyone who wants to invent some new religion and call it Judaism, please, go right ahead. I never stopped anyone from doing that. But for crying out loud, please try not to be insulted or hurt when I tell you I do not and CAN NOT accept your standards as mine.

    As for Nice Frum Girl – no one is putting a gun to her head. She is free to do what she likes, and should she fall off the derech, no one would fault her – as long as she didn’t then turn around and call it Orthodox Judaism. But in any case, you’d be floored at the levels of compassion even the most Orthodox of Rabbis is capable of.

    But whatever… we’ve talked this out so many times. You continue to refuse to address the almost coercive nature of your attitude – my way or the highway. I’m telling you go ahead and do whatever you want. Call it whatever you like. I don’t expect you to live like me, please do not get upset when I, with all due respect, refuse to adopt your reforms and modifications, critiques of Jewish doctrine, and shrimp-fortified “kosher” fish sticks.

  • TM wrote: Great Pic!!!

    I know! I’m starting to like Pope Ratzinger more and more every day.l Especially since if you look at him in a certain way, he really DOES look like Mickey Rooney!

  • I think y’all just wanted to to imply that those of us that seek to have an honest discourse with our spirituality and deal with societal changes within an Orthodox context are in fact reactionary and close minded.

    CK, you are getting so crotchety these days. *sigh*. Muffti wasn’t insinuating anything bad (for once) about you guys. (Though TM is right about the pontificating). He wasn’t saying that you should care that much about the catholic church. All he meant (thank you TM for being the only person to see this) is that philosophically, Muffti is suprised you guys don’t have a certain affinity for this pope. His take on catholicism is remarkably similar to your take on Judaism: innovation that leads to dropping or modifying bits of doctrine are tantamount to heresy. Muffti thought that you guys would generally appreciate that approach to religion.

  • Muffti:

    Why should you think ck (or I, since TM seems to think we’re in cahoots or something) would spend any time thinking about Ratzinger and his approach to Catholicism?

    He’s a Catholic. We’re Jews. Who cares what he thinks? You might as well say “Well, Ephraim and ck are hidebound reactionaries, so they would surely appreciate a how a doctrinaire Bolshevik rejects those namby-pamby Mensheviks” (or whatever).

    And ck beat me to the punch. Any G-d fearing shomer mitzvot person who gets a Conservative conversion will, if he/she is really committed to Judaism, will rectify his/her situation by getting an Orthodox conversion at the earliest possible opportunity.

  • Ephraim and ck, I believe that in your posts, you make my point for me.

    Muffti, I also fail to see how they cannot see what is so obvious here.

    Ephraim, your ongoing attacks suggest some heavy insecurities. If I can be a foil that buttresses your faith or confidence, I’m glad you have an outlet. Feel free to go at it all day long.

    Laya, I didn’t quite get your point. I could be born to a Jewish mother and never practice Jewishly a day in my life but still be considered Jewish by the Orthodox.

    I had a very nice holiday conversation with my haredi family in Israel today. They and I get along swimmingly although we obviously disagree about some matters. They don’t feel I’m on a crusade against their faith and they don’t feel I disrespect them. We think of each other as family. Sorry if that doesn’t jibe with what some of you out there would like to think. [insert smarmy emoticon here]

  • Why do you think I’m insecure, TM? Because I take issue with your ridiculous caricature of me?

    You’re free to do, say, and think whatever you want. And I am free to take issue with you when you are an unctuous, patronizing armchair psychologist.

    Let me ask you: in your conversations with your hareidi family in Israel do you say “Hey, why are you so hearltess to condemn shomer negiah women to a life of torment when they can’t find a husband, and why don’t you guys lighten up, can’t you see how reactionary that is, and oh, BTW, I think you guys would get along with the new Pope, he thinks women sould be oppressed too”?

    Just curious.

  • Conversion is a different issue, clearly, lets not confuse the two. I was born in America to American parents. I am automatically American, and never will i HAVE to pledge allegence to the flag or country no matter what i believe about America, I am still American. Someone not born here is required to pledge thier allegance to the country and agree to live by its laws and go through a legal process to become a citizen. Now, you could live here and live by American rules and customs but think that the process of nationaliztion is silly and antiquated, so fine, but you’re not a citizen. Is it not more or less the same for Judaism?

  • Oh, I forgot to address Yisrael’s early comment about Kerry. You are right, of course, that unless we’re Karaites, Kerry wouldn’t be considered Jewish. However, the Reform position on patrilineal Judaism is clear that you are Jewish if born to a Jewish father and go through some process of Jewish education or confirmation.

  • See, the stupid thing is that I am not now, nor have I ever been, opposed to reforms and or innovations within Judaism. Judaism is not now, nor has it ever been a monolith. Thus the notion of the Orthodox ordination of female rabbis – doesn’t phase me at all. The notion that Judaism is being failed by the current state of laws relating to agunot is one that sits well with me. I have no problem with normal evolution and Orthodox Judaism has plenty of room for that. In this and many other respects, I am not at all as Muffti and TM seek to portray me.

    Some may find solace in comparing me to a reactionary conservative theologian like Ratzinger. You may pooh pooh my objections to casting aside millenia-old halachah for the sake of modern convenience and sensibilities by assuring yourself that your way nonetheless maintains your conveniently self-professed and self-described spirit of Judaism. And hey, THAT’S COOL.

    But do not expect me to eat your shrimp encrusted fish sticks because your “Rabbi” said it was ok. Do not expect me to get into my car and drive over on shabbat because we will nonetheless spend a lovely day together. Do not expect me to marry someone whose conversion process involved reading a soft cover novel about Judaism, supervised by a Rabbi who does not even know how to read a blatt of gemarah in aramaic or even string together a sentence in Hebrew. You’re free to do all these things and if your Mom’s Jewish than I will always consider you a fellow Jew. But please don’t get upset with me if all I want is to be left alone to practice the only Judaism I and my forefathers have ever known.

  • i also have to refute this notion that somehow orthodox means unchanging. Judaism is now as it has always been dynamic, the need for chage and evolution is built in to the system. Like the American congress though, it is designed to move a little slowly so as to give us time to fully consider things before making rash judgements and throwing out the baby with the bathwater as some movements have done.
    I don’t see why this is a bad thing.

  • What TM said to Ephraim in this discussion:

    Ephraim wants women who don’t find a husband to go through life being untouched in any way by a male. Because god said so.

    Please explain how this is false.

    Nice Jewish Girl would rather go through life without violating a law of Negiyah and Ephraim supports this and wishes the same upon his daughter if she cannot find a Jewish male partner to marry.

    True or false?

    Our faith is a panoply of traditions. Where we differ is the part where the Orthodox believe it is all from god and I don’t and that much of it is man made.
    7. #6 is what Ratzinger also believes, except for his people. He thinks, like Ephraim, that his efforts toward keeping his faith are god-ordained. Both men will act upon those beliefs, albeit in different ways because their faiths are different.
    8. However, that still means that both will reject anything that doesn’t “come from god.” They will view it as a necessity and a part of life, no matter how horrible.

    True or false?

    Did those comments strike you as a “ridiculous caricature” or an accurate representation of your beliefs.

    Ephraim’s comments to TM in this discussion:

    However, I think TM’s smarmy little emoticon joke makes it pretty obvious

    Are you really that simple-minded, TM?

    You know, TM, if you want to know why Orthodox people have so little respect for the religious opinions of reformers like you

    you obviously have a lot invested in setting up and destroying Orthodox boogey-straw men so you can prove your broad-mindedness to yourself

    the tendency of people like you to reject the Torah and then turn around and accuse the Orthodox of being the ones who are causing a schism in the Jewish people because we don’t believe that Shabbat violation, etc., should be enshrined as “mainstream” Judaism.

    Misinterpretations by Ephraim of what TM said in this discussion:

    First, why do you think that since I am Orthodox I somehow believe that single women should be condemned to a life of loneliness and celibacy?

    Where did I say that?

    I am not the Sanhedrin or the Saudi “Morality Police”, intent on going around and throwing acid on unveiled women walking around with their boyfriends.

    Where did I say that?

    you mistakenly believe that I think single women who might perhaps indulge in some canoodling are whores that I am just as bad as Ratzinger who, according to you, thinks that women should be raped or abused by their husbands and just lie there and take it.

    Where did I say that? Holy cow, are you reading what you’re saying?

    (TM’s imaginary conversation with Haredi family) “oh, BTW, I think you guys would get along with the new Pope, he thinks women should be oppressed too”

    Where did I say that?

    Armchair psychologist? Not even that, Ephraim. I’m simply stating the obvious about your hostility and aggression. The other day you did a similar thing with Kelly, so I know it’s not just me…

    I could be wrong about the insecurity, but you’ll note the responses you give to my comments have nothing to do with what I’ve actually said or suggested.

  • TM, what’s the hang up with something being “man made”? Do we throw out all the great works of philosophy because they too are simply “man made”? Did not man “make” science? Shall I stop believing in genetics or living my life by rules of physics because they come to us through flawed men? Surely you see how science has been an evolution of standing on the shoulders of giants, a process towards something like truth, why do you refuse to give the same benefit to religious thought?

    Thousands of years of people spending their entire lives dedicated to religious and spiritual teachings and certain men among them have determined that x, y and z are the best rules to live by for a connected, conscious and meaningful life. I yield to their wisdom on many accounts, for just as I am no physicist, i am no Talmudic scholar. I respect their knowledge, wisdom and expertise. Why do you demean it?

  • Where did you say it?

    Right here:

    Ephraim wants women who don’t find a husband to go through life being untouched in any way by a male. Because god said so.

    Ratzinger wants women who are raped and impregnated not to have abortions, and wives who are in terrible relationships not to get divorces. Because god said so.

    Ephraim = Ratzinger [insert smarmy emoticon here]

    You are obviously saying that I believe what Ratzinger believes, or, at the very least, insinuating that in order to score a few cheap rhetorical points. Sort of like the “Nazis put Jews in camps, the Israelis put Arabs in camps, therefore Israelis=Nazis” line of reasoning. Shoddy from top to bottom.

    Again, I do not believe what you say I believe, and I do not believe what Ratzinger believes (if I did, I would be a Catholic, obviously). However, you obviously think that because of what you mistakenly think my views are that I should feel some sort of spiritual kinship with a man who holds that women who are raped should not have access to abortions and that women who are abused by their husbands should never be able to get a divorce. I mean, just what is the matter with you?

    I can’t believe that you are shocked when ck and I are offended by your cavalier approach to traditional Judaism. Hence my rhetorical question about your conversaton with the hareidi side of your family: if you insulted them as egregiously as you insult traditionlists like ck and I, do you not think they would take offense?

  • No Ephraim, when I said Ratzinger = Ephraim, I added the smarmy emoticon bit. If you look upstairs next to the Ratzinger = ck, you’ll find a smarmy emoticon that means laughter. If you read Muffti’s original point and the one which led to this discussion, you’ll note that all we’re talking about is being a Jewish reactionary who wishes to keep at a distance changes to the status quo….just like the new pope.

    Nobody insulted you, but you did insult me a number of times. Fortunately, I don’t care.

    I also note you didn’t address my questions in post #30. I think I know why.

    ———

    Laya, you and I are in complete agreement about honoring our man-made thousands-of-years old traditions. Absolute and complete agreement. In fact, that is precisely how I approach my Judaism, my practice, my faith. I respect these traditions greatly.

    But…once you remove god from the equation, in the sense that the writings come from men, men who are not god and are flawed, then it becomes one thing to respect a tradition and another to respect it to the exclusion of other man made developments.

  • which other man made developments are you refering to? cause American civilazation has yet to stand any real test of time, but whatever we’ve been doing for the past 5,000 years, man made, God made, or whatever it is, seems to be working for the most part. Therefore I gotta say even when things in Judaism don’t immeadiately jive with my “modern sensibilities” maybe theres something there I’m not seeing at first glance. If they persist, then perhaps there is room for an evolution within the movement, but I cannot simply make up my own rules and screw the system that has allowed me to be here in the first place.

  • An example of man-made: dairy and meat (note it’s not only beef even though the verse alludes to cattle).

    Now take a look at your last line about “making up” your own rules and consider that if one believes our traditions, heritage and culture are the product of men, this means that in their time, they made it up. That’s not to say they are bad or good traditions, it’s merely to indicate that they are merely men and they were a product of their time. They made choices like you or I make choices. That opens up numerous avenues for discussion and exploration that a person who believes in god given Torah and oral Torah would not challenge. They might discuss and question, but the bare minimum they would “keep” is what they believe god wants of them.

    The fact that the premarital sex discussion is being had at all, indicates that many people are “making up” their own rules to “jive with their modern sensibilities.” If you believe our traditions are man made, then some of those traditions are based on exactly that, actions taken at the time to accomodate jiving with their then modern sensibilities.

  • RE dairy and meat, there are really profound reasons for that, you know. I consider it wisdom, even if it is man made. It is designed to teach us restraint, self control, and most of all consciousness to the fact that this is death, something died here for your enjoyment. Connect to that fact and do not take it lightly. As a reminder that you have just come into contact with death, you must wait a period of time before having milk, this symbol of life. Draw a distinction. Judaism loves teaching us distinctions, between Shabbat and the week, night and day, life and death, men and women. Again, I do not consider this to be a bad or antiquated thing.

    RE: traditions, like i said, I am no Talmudic Scholar, nor to I have a burning desire to be one. Just as I defer my own judgment to professionals when it comes to matters of medicine and such, so i defer to “professionals” in the religious realm to help define for me a way of life that will be meaningful to me and approved of by God. Were I to spend as much time studying the texts and evolution of our heritage as these men we call rabbi’s and posik’s did and do, were Torah my area of expertise, i might behave differently.

  • The Truth is, I love Judaism, but i really do not know the evolution of halacha nor does my brain fully understand Talmudic logic (a field unto itself) I have not looked at the sources from the inside, in the original text. I have not broken my teeth over a page of Gomorrah or followed a 12 page discussion back and forth about which direction to light Hanukkah candles. Perhaps you have.

    I DO know enough, however, to know that no halacha is arrived at quickly or arbitrarily. So until I do study these things, follow the reasoning and understand why the conclusion is such, I will continue to defer to those throughout our generations who have had greater knowledge of these matters than myself, becuae like i said before, the fact that we’re still around is proof enough to me that we’re doing somethig right.

  • Let us just say, then, that I do not like your sense of humor, TM. You say you are joking when you equate ck and I with Ratzinger, but I think that you are being disingenuous. I think that you are quite serious about it but put in the emoticon to cover your butt so that when people take issue with what you say you can back-pedal and say “Jeez, can’t you guys take a joke?” But I really think you mean it.

    As for your questions, see my post #17, and ck’s more eloquent response, which reflects my views also. The halacha says what it says and people have free will about what they choose to do in response to it.

    If that’s not enogh for you, too bad.

  • Laya, I wasn’t commenting about whether mixing dairy with meat is a good or bad tradition. I was commenting that if it is indeed a man made tradition, then you follow it out of respect for those men and not because it is commanded by god. That makes all the difference in the world.

    I am also not disputing that there are learned men who deserve a seat at the table of halachic decision making and they may indeed be very knowledgeable about all things Jewish. They remain men and can make errors, or can make judgements and decisions that reflect their era. Surely, some things might be looked at differently in a different period.

    Let’s consider the issue of matrilineal Judaism. I suspect that this tradition came about because it eliminates any doubt about the parentage being Jewish. Now let’s assume that I’m correct and instead of 100 C.E., these decisions are being made in 2005 when conclusive genetic testing is possible so that there can be absolute proof about parentage. Isn’t it possible that the lawmakers would choose a different law?

    —————–

  • Ephraim, nobody is backpedalling. The emoticons were there from the beginning irrespective of your aggressive response.

    You think your #17 answers my questions when it does nothing of the sort. I’ll keep waiting, but let’s look at #17 anyway, shall we?


    You know, TM, if you want to know why Orthodox people have so little respect for the religious opinions of reformers like you, you need look no further than the haphazard and slipshod thinking displayed in your ck&Ephraim=Ratzinger nonsense.

    stupid insult. ignore.

    First, why do you think that since I am Orthodox I somehow believe that single women should be condemned to a life of loneliness and celibacy?

    never said any such thing. ignore.

    I guess I need to repeat this again since you seem to have completely missed the point of pretty much everything I have said on this subject, which is only to be expected since you obviously have a lot invested in setting up and destroying Orthodox boogey-straw men so you can prove your broad-mindedness to yourself:

    more idiotic insult. ignore.

    The Torah says what it says. People will make their own decisions about how they want to relate to it. I do not make it my business to spy on single women to see if they are engaging in “illicit” sexual activity any more than I would break down the door to your bathroom so I could catch you in the act of communing with your copy of Penthouse. That is your business. I am not the Sanhedrin or the Saudi “Morality Police”, intent on going around and throwing acid on unveiled women walking around with their boyfriends.

    more stupid insults. idiotic assumption I prefer Penthouse to Playboy. moronic non-sequitor about calling you or anybody else morality police. ignore.

    The ONLY thing I have said is that every individual Jew has the freedom to relate to Torah however they want to. Everyone will make their own choice about this. There are plenty of people at our Orthodox shul who use baby carriages on Sghabbat even though there is no eruv. Nobody throws them out of shul and nobody shames them publicly about it. It is their decision to make, and I would not dream of taking issue with whatever they choose to do.

    straw man and has nothing to do with my statements above. nothing at all. you keep writing and writing and it’s not to the point, dude. ignore.

    What I do object to, however, is the tendency of people like you to reject the Torah and then turn around and accuse the Orthodox of being the ones who are causing a schism in the Jewish people because we don’t believe that Shabbat violation, etc., should be enshrined as “mainstream” Judaism. You can drive on Shabbat if you want to, but leave me out of it, OK?

    childlike generalization. comment about what I want to happen has no basis in fact. ignore.

    And what in the Sam Hill does Cathiolic dogma about divorce and abortion have to do with Jews, Orthodox or otherwise? Are you trying to draw some kind of parallel bewteen the Orthodox position on these issues and the Catholic one?

    no!!!!!!!!!! how is it possible you keep missing such a simple point. reread Muffti’s first comment.

    But, no, it is notting even that “sophisticated”. All you are saying is that since you mistakenly believe that I think single women who might perhaps indulge in some canoodling are whores that I am just as bad as Ratzinger who, according to you, thinks that women should be raped or abused by their husbands and just lie there and take it.

    complete bullshit. I don’t say anything of the kind and you can go back to #30 and #14 to review everything I say. this is where I seriously begin to suspect your insecurities.


    I can’t even begin to figure out your thought process, so I think I’ll just stop wasting my time trying to do so.

    I wish you had followed your instincts.

  • I just got a text message from Paris Hilton, and she says that Jews who argue passionately but respectfully are hot.

    I hate generalizations. But my issue with many of the “halakhic” issues we struggle with is that they’re not halakhic, they’re minhagic, if that is even a word.

    Often, the line between halakhah and minhag blurs in the Orthodox movement, to the extent that the “wrong” (outside the mainstream, a little more modern, Sephardic even, etc) minhag is quickly deemed assur, just because that’s not the way most (North American Ashkenazi) people do it. (“Rice on Pesach? Assur! Beating each other with scallions to symbolize the oppression of the Jews during Egyptian slavery? Assur!”)

    It’s easier to condemn a different behavior instead of figuring out why there’s such a different tradition at large, and determining whether or not it actually evolved that way to fit a real spiritual need.

    The main example that comes to my mind is liturgical. The liturgy is not Torah miSinai. We add prayers for the State of Israel and the government, but I wish I had a dime for every time an Orthodox woman complained about some of the (let’s call it) gyno-insensitive language. I say quit the bellyaching and just change it. If reconstructing or getting approval to officially change the liturgy seems too daunting, just DON’T SAY IT. Be a conscientious objector and choose passive resistance or stop complaining. That I have no patience for.

    The Haggadah’s my ideal model for the union between tradition and modernity. Every year, there are new readings and new opportunities to add to our understanding of the traditional text. New haggadot are printed every year: feminist, Zionist, archeological, artistic, etc. One of my favorite things to do is to look at different translations, different artistic interpretations, etc. It enhances the overall experience to have diversity of opinions and interpretations.

    I’m sure there are other examples, and I want to give you all a chance to ream me (from a place of love and respect, undoubtedly), so I’ll call it quits with this example for now.

  • RE: matrilineal decent does that not start at the very very beginning of our religion, for the “chosen child” had to come through Avrahams union with Sarah. his union with Hagar just didn’t cut it.

    RE: other stuff, i guess it’s just that they way you phrase things, it seems as though you are outright dismissing halachot because it is man made. Tell me if I am wrong, but that’s how it comes through.

    Men are fallible, clearly, but that does not in anyway imply that halachot are then wrong and to be disregarded because they MIGHT not be 100% correct.

    Again, men are fallible, clearly. But precisely as this is the case, we must look how ourselves and our own fallibility and realize that many times the decisions we make as to what is right or wrong are severely shaped by our own personal desires. This is one of the reasons we put some faith in a higher authority such as rabbi’s and other kinds of spiritual leaders to help us see things that our own ego and self interest would otherwise cloud.

    You seem to have the attitude that whatever knowledge you have amassed being a citizen of the modern world is clearly more suited for deciding what is right or holy than people who are “specialists” in the field. I know you are a very smart guy, but religion doesn’t seem to be your forte. It’s certainly not mine. Plus, don’t knock it till you’ve tried it dude.

  • Paris Hilton said that?

    Really?

    Hmmm… she is lookin’ kinda fetching on this month’s cover of Elle Girl for the teen and pre-teen set. If Paris Hilton is a good enough role model for them then sure as shootin’ her text messages are like the Gospel for me!

    As for liturgy, again, nothing stops anyone from doing whatever they are comfortable with. Many Orthodox people I have spoken to now omit the morning blessing thanking G*d for not making them a woman (sheh lo assani ishah) and replace it with thanking God for making them as to his will (sheh assani kirtsonno).

    That’s cool. I can’t find fault with that. However, some of these Liberation Haggadahs are so pathetic… “Oh God! We are so sorry that we had the temerity to defend ourselves and subsequently beat the Arabs in war of anihilation after war of anihilation. Just as Pharoah freed the Jews may we also be free of this yoke of uh… fighting back and defending ourselves. We suck. Dayeinu!” Well, those Haggadahs are insane. And have nothing to do with Judaism, despite the lofty peace loving sentiment.

    But again. Please, do whatever you like. Call it whatever you like. Just do not be insulted or hurl insults at me if I tell you that what you call Judaism, is NOT any kind of Judaism I can practice.

  • oh, and middle? I know ephraim can be a little uppity, but you kinda did say/imply some of those things that you then deny. sorry yo.

  • Laya, lemme see if I get ya. I am not a “specialist” in my religion and therefore should place my life in the hands of such specialists.

    I am fallible and therefore should trust “specialists” to help me see through the haze of life. Is that it?

    Religion is not my forte (whatever that means) but it is the forte of others.

    Like the Dalai Lama?

    “Specialists” rejected the Theory of Relativity when it was first presented. “Specialists” rejected Jonas Salk’s ideas about how to create a polio vaccine. “Specialists” rejected the idea that the world was round. “Specialists” assumed that the Lubavitcher Rebbe was the messiah.

    People are people. That’s not to say we can’t ask and learn. We certainly can and should. We should respect them as a source and then we should investigate and come to our own conclusions. My conclusions differ from yours. That doesn’t mean I disrespect them. On the contrary, as I keep pointing out, I respect them while being among the group who is disrespected because I disagree and do not wish to adhere to what I consider man made traditions except by my choice.

    Now excuse me, I have to go help my wife finish with removing the chametz from our kitchen.

  • Oh, and Laya, I did not say any such thing to Ephraim and you have the contents right in front of you. Prove me wrong.

    ck, regarding your post #18, anybody who gives a shrimp filled fish stick kosher approval should be fed the stuff raw.

  • geez TM, you are so fricken sensitive! maybe all that pesach cleaning is getting to you, but chilling out for a while might not be the worst thing.

    And yes, like the Dalai Lama (whom I love). He’s got some great things to say about humility. You can borrow my books if you promise to return them. 😉

  • TM said:

    Ephraim wants women who don’t find a husband to go through life being untouched in any way by a male. Because god said so.
    (comment no. 11)

    to which ephraim said
    First, why do you think that since I am Orthodox I somehow believe that single women should be condemned to a life of loneliness and celibacy? (no. 17)

    which TM then said never said any such thing. ignore. (no. 40)

    then asked me to prove to him that he “kinda did say/imply some of those things that [he] then den[ies]” (no. 45)

    ok, lets break it down:
    TM’s comment about ephraim uses the term “women who don’t find a husband”
    whereas Ephraim’s comment about what TM said uses the word “single women”

    was this the source of confusion?

    or was it that what TM called “go through life being untouched in any way by a male”, ephraim refered to as “condemned to a life of loneliness and celibacy?”

    help me out here TM, cause it’s hard for me to see how these two statements are so different that you can deny you said anything of the sort

  • TM wrote: ck, regarding your post #18, anybody who gives a shrimp filled fish stick kosher approval should be fed the stuff raw.

    Well… now you kind of understand the very nexus of my entire outlook. I’m glad we could see eye to eye on the fish stick issue, which as you of course know, is merely a small part of a much larger picture.

    I can’t stop you from eating shrimp encrusted fish sticks. But when you call them kosher, there are problems. The Hashgachah looked “legit” and had I not looked at the ingredients I may have eaten these fish sticks and trayfed up my kitchen.So again, do what you wanna do – just don’t mess with my beliefs. If you wanna eat shrimp, eat away, but why must you also call it kosher?

    Capish?

  • Um, ck, I had nothing to do with those fish sticks. I also don’t know how this packaging came to be labeled kosher. Really, I’m not to blame. [insert blameless haloed angel emoticon here]

    Laya, I was speaking about Ephraim and not all Orthodox Jews as he suggests in his post. Key difference #1. I also wasn’t speaking about loneliness although I was speaking about celibacy and in fact any kind of touching. Key difference #2. I also didn’t mean, as he suggests, some nefarious evil intent on his part because he’s Orthodox. Key difference #3.

    I had a clear impression in my mind of what Ephraim thinks about this topic because of comments he had made in the long premarital sex discussion. *sigh* Yes, I actually went back into that discussion to find out what had given me that strong impression about Ephraim’s beliefs. Check out comments #171, 336, 386, and 407.

    No less important is the crux of my comment. I am saying in my comment that he believes what he believes not because he’s mean or evil and it is his natural tendency to want to cause anguish to a woman, but because he genuinely believes that this is a law that comes from the Torah and the Torah is from god.

    In other words, he wants for people what god has commanded. He knows that people may not succeed, but he wishes that people will follow god’s commands. I think this is self evident if you read enough of Ephraim’s posts. By the way, although I disagree, I respect his right to believe this.

    His response, which you propose is similar and which I think is very different from my comment, suggests that I attribute some inherent evil nature to Orthodox Jews and believe they wish the harm and pain of “loneliness and celibacy” on these single women.

    I suggest and think nothing of the kind. I don’t think there is evil intent or a desire to cause harm. There is merely a desire on Ephraim’s part to strive toward fulfilling as many of god’s laws as possible.

    To prove that this is what I mean, let me explain that even with a far deeper issue of concern to me, the plight of agunot, I do not think for a minute that the rabbis, or those who follow these laws, mean any harm or evil to the agunot who may end up suffering terribly (as might children born to them). Rather, it is an unfortunate by-product of their faith and it is understood as the will of god which must be kept, even if some humans are harmed by it.

    This is why I rejected the comparison he made and continue to reject it.

    By the way, I just googled Negiyah, shomer negiyah, halacha shomer negiyah…and found Jewlicious in either the #1 spot or close to it. [insert half happy half rolling eyes emoticon here]

  • TM, are you this positively incapable of admiting you are wrong in real life too? I broke it down for you as you asked. anyone can see. don’t split hairs.

  • Sigh. The packaging was not faulty. The Reform Rabbi granted his hechsher because in his estimation the shrimp content was less than one 64th of the finished product and was not there by design but merely as a byproduct of the manufacturing process which involved taking a whole mess of fish byproducts, mushing them together and molding them into a deep fried, breaded fish stick.

    This does not pass the kashruth muster according to Orthodox Judaism and for very legitimate reasons. I don’t consider it kosher and if you’d serve me these fish sticks, despite the lovely 10 commandments logo on the hashgachah, i would not eat them nor would I allow these in my kitchen. Now members of the Reform movement may insist all they like that these fish sticks are kosher, but all they are is kosher to adherents of the reform movement.

    I make no excuses for not considering these fish sticks kosher and I am sorry if reform jews think that my insistence that these are not in fact kosher, is divisive. People can call a ham sandwich a felafel if they like, but in my estimation that does not make the ham sandwich any less of a ham sandwich. You can call the process by which a car burns fuel “internal combustion” and ignore the combustion part, but for me its still fire and still work and still not allowed on shabbat. One can call the dude that converts folks a “Rabbi” but if the conversion process takes a few minutes and is being administered by a dude who has to think for a minute or two about who the founding fathers and mothers of Judaism are… (Abraham, Isaac and, uh… don’t tell me, I so know this…”) well, forgive me if I have issues with that. Call the convert Jewish if you like, I’ll reserve my judgement.

    And no TM, I am not speaking directly to you in any of these comments. I am quite certain you are in fact horrified by the shrimp fish sticks, but that, and other things, are the inevitable end result of unchecked reforms and lack of deference to rabbinic interpretation and authority.

  • Regarding the fishsticks, I believe Reform considers shrimp and any food to be acceptable. I don’t have time to research it right now but I suspect kashrut isn’t an issue for Reform.

    Hey, how about the new pope? [insert cutesy emoticon with a red kipah here]

  • Uh, Laya, this is going to strike you as odd, but I actually have some important things to do today rather than search out an answer to your question – it’s enough I actually went back to the 500 comment thread for you.

    But you are welcome to conduct a search. Focus on those posts where you think I hold the wrong views or ideas ( 😆 that should be quite a few! ) and see if you or somebody else got me to agree. Good luck!

  • I’m actually most shocked by the concept of a Reform hashgahah…never realized those existed. FWIW, I would never serve any of you fish sticks where there was even a batel b’shishim chance of shrimp contamination.

  • hey, it’s your ascertation, its your burden of proof, but i TOTALLY understand the time thing. That’s quite probably what goes on with other people when they havent fully answered your questions and you insist they do so. But I won’t do that.

    however, i think any rational person would agree with my comment no. 49, perhaps you’re just a little blind to see it, but whatever.

  • What is the difference between an Orthodox vegetarian, a Conservative vegetarian, and a Reform vegetarian?

    An Orthodox vegetarian never eats meat of any kind, meat by-products of any kind, any food that has been prepared using pots or pans that have been used to cook meat, and never eats food using dishes or utensils that have been used with meat.

    A Conservative vegetarian may eat meat, but only at restaurants or at other people’s homes, never at his own home where it might trayf up his dishes.

    A Reform vegetarian eats meat.

    Yes, TM, I believe that people should make an honest attempt to observe the halacha to the best of their ability and that if they find they cannot do so for whatever reason, they should take responsibility for the choices they make.

    For example, as a BT who grew up in a decidedly non-religious home, I grew up eating all sorts of delicious trayf, most of which I still remember quite fondly. Occasionally, I still get a strong jonesing for the comfort foods of my childhood, things like Swedish fleishpankaken, a delicious bacon pancake, and German schinkenflecken, a nutmeg-flavored ham kugel, served with applesauce. (Both sides of my family are from Germany.) I realize that many of you may find these foods disgusting, but because of the nostalgia assocated with them, choosing not to eat them was, far more than being a physical deprivation, a spiritual deprivation because I consciously rejected what I grew up with and the pleasant associuations that went along with that.

    However, as much as I would sometimes like to, I do not indulge these desires. And if I did, I would not try to find a way to get my rabbi to tell me that I really wasn’t eating trayf. If I fall off the derech, that is between me and Hashem. Like ck said about the shomer negiah single woman, 34 and still a virgin: no one is holding a gun to her head. If she were to decide to sleep with someone tomorrow, I would not hold it against her, nor would I think it is my place to make any sort of judgment against her. It is between her and G-d.

    If you had simply said “Ephraim wants people to obey because G-d said so” and left it at that, I wouldn’t have gotten so angry. But since you have an obviously deep-seated hostility to Orthodox Judaism, you chose to phrase your argument in a way that was deliberately inflammatory. Your statement that you are talking about me only and not about Orthodox Jews/Judaism in general is, again, not to be taken seriously.

  • Laya, I’m positive the hordes of readers out there all agree with you. Really, I do. The rational ones, anyway.

    As for answering your questions, I already took the time once to write you a fairly lengthy response that incuded sources. Your response was to ignore it and call it “splitting hairs.” Another way to say it would have been, “I disagree and don’t bother me with details.” You blended that non-answer with some assertion about my overall ability to admit I’m wrong about anything.

    Now why would I be foolish enough to repeat that, ahem, mistake?

    You and Ephraim aren’t dating on the sly, are you?

  • Oh no Ephraim, I was talking specifically about you. With respect to deep seated hostility, I suggest you go back to where you told Kelly that her mouth should be sealed.

    Oh wait, I just realized, you should go back to your comment #10, which preceded the comment that made you so angry. Perhaps the order of things should enlighten you a bit as to why you got bitten back.

    Laya, did I hit a nerve somewhere?

  • I freely admit to my deep-seated hostility to people like Kelly, TM. I wish you would be as honest.

    I mean, come on: you call ck and I Jewish Ratzingers, i.e., reactionaries who espouse religious policies with which you obviously strongly disagree, even though you atempt to disguise your disapproval of our views behind emoticons, hoping that people will laugh instead of saying “Hey, wait a minute….”

    Fine, feel free. I assure you, by Orthodox standards, I am really quite left-wing, believe it or not, certainly more so than your hareidi relatives, for example. So, even if you choose to disagree politely with other Orthos and reserve your vitriol only for me, I think it is more than safe to assume that you disagree just as vehemently with their views, whether or not you ever discuss it.

  • Now, now y’all.
    It’s a whacky situation. I know TM and in many ways, MANY WAYS, his actions are, for lack of a better term, frummer than mine. Without going into personal details, TM lives a life mamash committed to some of the highest values endorsed by the most right wing Haredim, let alone the sort of watered down orthodoxy I and others pay lip service to.

    He has issues of course, who doesn’t? I mean Rav Ovadiah Yosef, my ostensible Rabbinic leader, often says things that make me gag. And I understand why TM’s committment to Judaism being questioned causes him to rear back and strike out given the very real and daily sacrifices he makes to a larger notion of Judaism that is not so far removed from my own.

    This is why I always urge understanding. Try and focus on commonalities – after all, ezeh hoo chacham? Halomed me kol adam – who is truly wise? He who learns from every man – even a guy I often disagree with like TM, can teach me and many of us here, how to be better Jews.

    So let’s try and step back from our righteous indignation for a minute. Let’s try and be good Jews for a change …

    Just sayin that’s all ….

  • Yes, Ephraim, is there anything wrong with #6? Is there mistaken information in there? Is the use of the word pontificating in a discussion about the pope not amusing for you? Is the use of an emoticon not enough to soften the meaning of what comes before it since you’re not there to see my smarmy face or gestures? Is it an offensive post in any way or does it speak to the facts of both our conversation on Jewlicious and in general within the Jewish community?

    You attacked unpleasantly several times before you received in kind. You took umbrage because you didn’t see or didn’t want to see the simple thesis Muffti put forth.

    Laya, just made two phone calls, sent out two emails and wrote a check to a supplier. I’ll try to work a bit harder between frequent posts. Just for you.

  • Oh, and Ephraim, I disagree with some of my Haredi cousins’ views quite strongly and they and I have had open, pleasant and intense discussions about these differences. I don’t think they respect my lifestyle although I respect theirs. They do seem to respect and genuinely like me, as I like them.

  • I’m not questioning TM’s committment to being Jewsih, ck. I’m wondering why he goes out of his way to insult the Orthodox.

    For example, in comment #6 he says:

    “After all the, ahem, pontificating we get in here about sticking to traditions, not wavering, women not allowing men to touch us even if it means they’ll never be touched in their lives, marrying only Jewish women (or Orthodox converts), adhering only to Orthodox conversions, etc., etc., one would think our regulars would be thrilled with this new pope’s reactionary positions. ”

    This shows a masterful grasp of the nuances of passive-aggressiveness, but the intent is pretty clear: people who hold by Orthodox positons are reactionaries and should be thrilled that a fellow reactionary is now Pope, since, hey, obviously we should be able to relate, right?

    I believe TM when he says that he was just trying to be funny. But hostility is at the root of humor, and even though his hostility is couched in a wink-wink, nudge, nudge cloak, it is still pretty clear, at least to me.

  • ck, thanks for the comments. I don’t think my lifestyle matters in this conversation, but whatever.

    Listen, I approved a gigantic comment earlier, but cannot locate the post where it belongs. It seems to be a post in the archives. Do you have the ability to go back about 30 or 40 comments to seek it out? If you do, maybe you could post a link to that post so we can all find it. Thanks.

  • Ephraim: So he has issues! And he deals with them by being a little aggressive sometimes. You have identified this tendency – now try and get over it and deal with substantive issues!

  • but the intent is pretty clear: people who hold by Orthodox positons are reactionaries and should be thrilled that a fellow reactionary is now Pope, since, hey, obviously we should be able to relate, right?

    This is what I was saying. This is what Muffti was saying. The word I use, “thrilled” is meant to be humorous, since I don’t think you guys care who is pope or what he believes. But the point is that there are similarities in outlook between your views and his about respective traditions. Now, if you disagree, why don’t point out why we might be wrong. All the other stuff in this discussion is really quite irrelevant and makes little impression other than to waste time. [insert smarmy emoticon waving away all the fluffy irrelevant crap]

  • Uh TM, I wasn’t trying to imply you’re a retard or anything – just that you have issues. I already wrote that I have issues too. But I’m glad that was followed by a smiley face emoticon and a LOL.

    Now I know it’s all good.

    😉

  • TM: You’re wrong because Ephraim has stated a non-judgemental position regarding a woman’s decision not to follow the rules of negiah should she find herself unmarried at 34 and in need of human touch and affection. Hardly a reactionary position. You’re wrong about me being a reactionary because many of my opinions, while respectful of the current state of Orthodox Judaism, express a longing for a more enlightened interpretation – especially when it comes to aggunot and the role and perception of women in Judaism. This is also just the begining of my critique. In any case, once again, hardly the position or outlook of a reactionary who shuns and despises change.

  • ck, 😆 you crack me up!!!!

    I really don’t have time to do the searching but how many times have you indicated that you would rather, for example, not compromise on marrying a woman if she did not convert with an Orthodox rabbi? How is that different than this pope’s assertions that the liberalism (by the Church’s definition) of some of their American and developed countries’ clergy is unacceptable and should be rejected? That is just one example.

    But then again, really, if you’re not reactionaries, that’s great. Now what’s the matter with you, you sinners! You’re going to destroy Judaism by wavering on god-given rules! [insert emoticon of your choice, avoid smarmy ones]

  • Marrying a woman whose conversion I have issues with is for me like marrying someone whose Judaism is suspect, or eating kosher labelled shrimp encrusted fish sticks. It’s simply not anything I can do.

    Perhaps we have different understandings of the word reactionary? Am I extremely conservative? Certainly not from my perspective. Am I an opponent of progress or liberalism? Again, not from my perspective.

    I can go on and on… but really I think we all have better things to do today …

  • The reason that the positions of Orthodox Jews and conservative Catholics don’t have anything to do with one another is because I am a Jew and Ratzinger is a Catholic. Why don’t you get that, TM?

    I think Catholicism is a crock and a plague on humanity. I wouldn’t care if it all went away tomorrow. So I ask the question I asked in the beginning: why do you think I care a single whit about what the Pope thinks about anything? He’s a Catholic. I don’t care. It is not relevant.

    Also, I object very strongly to your characterization of Orthodox people as “reactionaries”. It displays your bias from the get-go. Clearly you think that Ratzinger is a dinosaur and that his views are, well, wrong. And so clealry you must think the same thing about Orthodox Jews, otherwise your supposition that we would somehow like and agree with him would be nonsensical.

    The use of the term “reactionary” as opposed, to say “Orthodox”, or even “traditonal” shows your bias. Everyone knows that “reactionary” is Bad. Ergo, the opposite of reactionary (Orthodox) is “liberal”, and therefore Good.

    You need not be rude to be hostile. You think we’re reactionaries. Fine, I get it. We think that people like you who say it is OK to desecrate the Shabbat and that Judaism as an institution should dump the halacha whenever it doesn’t fit in with your particular ideas about how Judaism should be made to fit modern sensibilities are irresponsible.

    ck’s comments upthread about accepting the authority of the rabbis is key. Orthodox people, while they may agitate from within for the adoption of practices that might ameliorate certain problems (let us take the whole issue of agunot as an example, even though I am not that familiar with it), recognize that whatever evolution takes lace within the halacha must take place from within the halacha, and not be imposed on it from the outside in response to gentile fashion. That is really the key difference.

  • re·ac·tion·ar·y ( P ) Pronunciation Key (r-ksh-nr)
    adj.
    Characterized by reaction, especially opposition to progress or liberalism; extremely conservative.

    n. pl. re·ac·tion·ar·ies
    An opponent of progress or liberalism; an extreme conservative.