This isn’t exactly Jewlicious, but as CK keeps pointing out, the Jewlicious crew are really mormons. So Muffti is clearly is over-reading but check out this text from Romney’s baffling and rambling speech on faith the other day:

And in every faith I have come to know, there are features I wish were in my own: I love the profound ceremony of the Catholic Mass, the approachability of God in the prayers of the evangelicals, the tenderness of spirit among the Pentecostals, the confident independence of the Lutherans, the ancient traditions of the Jews, unchanged through the ages, and the commitment to frequent prayer of the Muslims.

Two things strike Muffti as salient. (1) Romeny couldn’t find anything better to say about the Jews than that they have old traditions they haven’t changed (is that true? Experts please weigh in – Muffti know that laws haven’t changed but haven’t traditions?) and (2) The phrase ‘wish weere in my own’ suggests that the features he lists aren’t part of his own. Which means that if he is right, Mormonism lacks the following features: ‘approachability of God, tendernessof spirit, confidence independence and commitment to frequent prayer’. This is a bit odd, but not as odd as him wishing that Mormons had Mass and ancient traditions, which presumably would entail that he wish mormonism was much, much older.

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  • Traditions have changed greatly; for instance, read up the Jewish Encyclopaedia’s entry on weddings, and you’ll see what’s considered to be standard these days is far from what used to be common. The varying views on and traditions of wedding rings alone could fill a book. Additionally, the Monumenta Judaica gives pretty detailled descriptions medieval Central European Jewry and also transcripts of medieval sources, religious as well as secular ones. I’ll email you more examples if you wish.

  • Fred Thompson did much better in finding something good about the Jews: Remember when he said to a Jewish group that he liked the jews since making money is “part of the Jewish tradition.”

  • If that was an appeal to the Jewish voters — and I suppose that is what it is — than he was right on the money. By appealing to Jews as the grand daddy of them all, it is the pat on the back that many Jews desire.

    As far as the accuracy of what he said, it goes without saying, that in many ways he is right, and wrong.

    Without going into fine details here on erev shabbos, we are an ancient people, with an ancient language, ancient holy writings, and ancient customs. We are also a modern people, with a modern state, and modern customs, modern language, and modern literature.

  • (1) Romeny couldn’t find anything better to say about the Jews than that they have old traditions they haven’t changed (is that true? Experts please weigh in – Muffti know that laws haven’t changed but haven’t traditions?)

    1) That’s definitely one of *my* favorite parts of the religion.

    2) I’d imagine it’s particularly striking to a Mormon.

    3) Regarding “unchanged” — c’mon, the guy isn’t running for the presidency of JTS!

  • Incidentally, I wish Jews had the courtesy and personal integrity that’s routine among the Mormons I’ve met. Do you — sorry, does Muffti — find that particularly odd?

    I’d say the same about the sermonics of the AME, the literature of Hinduism (OK, we kind of have that one), the art of Roman Catholicism, the music of pretty much everyone else…

  • Various religious groups are always coming up with improvements to the faith of Abraham.

    All it takes is some guy (usually) claiming a ‘vision’ and ‘God’ telling them that they are His prophet or apostle or whatever.

    To quote Phineas T. Barnum, “Every crowd has a silver lining.”

  • Would you say that good manners are a matter of religious adherence? I’d rather consider it a result of (direct and indirect) education (or lack thereof, for that matter). Besides, how valuable is courtesy if it aims at making you feel comfortable enough to agree on having your ancestors baptized posthumously? Also, what may be perfectly decent behaviour over there may qualify as an absolute faux pas here in Europe and vice versa. We might be inclined to be more aware of and more sensitive to the bad behaviour of people we relate to, hence feel in a way responsible for and embarrassed about. I’ll agree though that a lack of manners often is striking; one need not make use of certain vocabulary to bring one’s point across, one should not talk with food in their mouth, one should not pry into others’ private life, one should not subject everybody within a 20-metre radius to overhear one’s mobile phone conversation etc. But then again, I’m European…

  • “I wish Jews had the courtesy and personal integrity that’s routine among the Mormons I’ve met”


  • I find all religions and their literature highly intriging and a literal view into mans need for understanding the heaven and earth they found themselves in, where they came from, and were they are going to end up.

    Most religions I know provide these answers, some more palatable to our reason than others. But all requiring absolute faith, for better or worse, against the harsh realities of the randomness of life with no sign of ‘good’ interference from that all powerful that demands faith.

  • We do, however, find ‘good’ interference from our fellow man on a regular basis. Is this god working through the conscience he gave man,
    the ability for us to empathize, to put ourselves in others predicaments?

    This may be the case. But unfortunately, this good god also chose to allow absolute monsters among us. Sociopaths and mental cases that can and do reek horrible tragedies on the lives of the perfectly faithful, with absolute no interference.

    Call me a skeptic.

  • The Angel Moroni. That’s all I have to say.

    “Under The Banner Of Heaven” by Jon Krakauer. Good read. Maybe not an accurate depiction of modern-day Mormons but a good read. Despite it’s sensationalism one thing it exposes is:

    Mormons are as divided, undefinable, and sectarian as… non-Mormon Christians, Jews and Muslims.

  • If he loved judaism because it is old and unchanged he must be orgasmic about hinduism. I guess he was just to shy to mention it.
    Of course his contention that unbelief in god is un american is just what the founding fathers had in mind that´s why they wrote the belief in god as the main principal of american government.
    The United States i is dying in Guantanamo and the believers are the termites in it´s structure.

  • They thought the US was dying in France and Germany too, until the last elections gave the people the choice over the pundits.

    Guantanamo is actually where we house the termites.

  • Middle, Giyoret, Sarah: Have any of you ever met any (civilian) Mormons? In my experience, they’re (on average, obviously) *the* nicest, most generous and most honest group around.

    Orthodox Jews, meanwhile … well, let’s just say that many of them could stand to devote as much energy to matters of bein adam l’haveiro as they do to washing bugs off their lettuce.

    Also, what may be perfectly decent behaviour over there may qualify as an absolute faux pas here in Europe and vice versa.

    1) that’s not true and 2) even if some behavior was the norm in 17th century Poland, I’m pretty sure that kiddush hashem requires you to abstain from it in a culture and century that finds it obnoxious.

    Incidentally, other features that I wish were included in Ashkenazi Judaism include zaatar, hawaij, cumin, tahini and the concept of flavor in general. Does the Muffti find that odd?

  • Hey JSinger, out of curiousity, why do you keep asking if Muffti finds any of these things odd? Muffti also likeflavour, tahini, cumi, and zaatar; he’s not really sure what hawij is.

  • JSinger, how is that not true? Just because you feel it should not be true? Look at the differences in table manners, for instance, and you’ll see why many Europeans feel that Americans eat like toddlers…

  • As far as religions go, Mormonism is just about the weirdest one you could possibly find. Warmed-over Freemasonry dressed up as a religion (Joseph Smith was a Mason).

    For a primer on Mormon “theology”, watch this clip. I’ve spoken with Mormons. They actually believe this stuff.


    You’ve obviously never had a good brisket. Yes, the flavor palette of Eastern/Northern Europe is not as varied as the Mediterranean area. When you’re buried in snow half the year things can be tough. But food doesn’t necessarily have to be spicy to be flavorful. You need to get out more.

    Sarah: don’t you get tired of lecturing us poor provincials on our language and table manners? Yes, Europeans are more sophisticated and cultured than us Americans. We get it. Let’s move on, shall we?

    Of course, I have yet to understand why Europeans feel they have to pile rice on the back of their forks in order to eat it “properly”. I’ve learned to do it, but just because something is difficult and counterintuitive doesn’t necessarily make it better.

    Of course, the Japanese think white people in general are savages because we don’t use chopstick like any proper civilized person should. And they consider Europeans filthy since they don’t bathe every day like civilized people. And we wear OUR shoes in the house! Did you ever hear of such a thing?

  • Ephraim, I don’t consider American table manners worse per se; they’re just different, and part of that difference would qualify as bad table manners in Europe. You need not pile rice (or peas) on the back of your fork – unless you’re British and enjoy your sides “overcooked” (that’s how the peas and rice stay in place). BTW, there’s a law in Britain which states that only the Sovereign may point out their little finger while drinking tea. I’ve certainly heard of Japanese manners, but I cannot bring myself to find many sympathies for a culture that deems vending machines filled with schoolgirls’ used knickers and hardcore-pornographic comic strips socially acceptable, no matter how sophisticated and tricky their tea procedures may be.

  • Sarah:

    I don’t mean to be a nudge, but when you say that “many Europeans feel that Americans eat like toddlers”, I assume it means you think we have table manners befitting infants.

    Sorry I leaped to the conclusion that you think that eating like 2-year olds doesn’t mean that we have bad table manners. Gee, come to think of it, now when you explain that you just meant we have “different” table manners, I can’t even think what gave me the impression that we eat like slobs.

    Sorry for jumping to conclusions.

  • Ephraim, in a nutshell, the way people hold their cutlery over there, the cutlery pointing up when not in use, one hand underneath the table etc. over here are considered typical of the way little children eat. Before you start wondering, that kind of eating manners is what is deemed good style in American busines etiquette guides.