Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Teach Above


Tisha B'Av was just a few days ago. [Tisha B'Av is the saddest day on the Jewish calendar -- it is marked by fasting and it commemorates the destruction of both Jewish Temples in Jerusalem, one by the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar in about 586 BCE and the second by the Romans circa 70 CE.] On  Tisha B'Av I was thinking about what is going on in the Jewish community and how it makes my heart ache.

I see many wonderful people who "do G-d proud", helping people and accepting others who are different from them. I see a positive framework for many within the Jewish world.

But I also see hatred and judgmentalism, I see people protesting to keep Sephardim out of their Ashkenazic school, I see people who want to turn away honest converts, people who chose to be Tora true Jews, simply because they don't follow the Tora the way THEY follow the Tora.

I see people who tell others how they should be keeping the Tora. Oftentimes, I see the same people who are being judgmental about others' observances calling for Moshiah (The Messiah). Don't they understand that not loving their fellow Jews is in a large part the reason the Moshiah hasn't come. This was the reason, the Rabbis say, for the destruction of the second Temple and this, say the Rabbis, is what we need to repent about, what we need to change, before the Moshiah will come.

A number of weeks ago, an issue came up related to a blog entry on one of the blogs I follow. The woman who writes this blog told a story about some issues she was having getting her son kosher food after he was detained in their local prison for several weeks -- Read the blog by clicking here.

So I put the link up on Facebook and expected to get support from my friends. I couldn't believe the reactions I got from some people.

Their attitude was that if someone did something so terrible as to land him/her in prison (something that could happen to a person for not giving a source if you're a reporter, get arrested at a protest demonstration or in some cases, just p***ing off a police officer or judge) that person loses the right to kosher food.

I couldn't believe that people would react that way. This goes along with the whole "it's my job to decided who is and who isn't Jewish or religious enough or the like". Once you get into the realm of deciding what G-d's decision would be, how G-d would be judging this or that person, you run the risk of ticking G-d off yourself.

I know that I am pretty good at putting myself in another person's shoes (granted, I'm not perfect, but I digress...) and I generally feel I should fight for people's right to keep their religion, particularly when it comes to food (for those of you who don't know, I'm a vegan and I'm also diabetic, which means I can't go for very long without food, but I won't eat animal products. So I'm very sensitive about telling people, "sorry, but you got into a bit of trouble [possibly of your own doing but possibly not] so you don't deserve to eat."

I think it's important for us to fight for our coreligionists when they have no power to fight for themselves. Even Bernie Madoff deserves kosher food in prison, in my humble opinion. For centuries, we Jews have ended up in prison for no reason other than being Jewish. When we're in a country that accords all prisoners rights we need to ensure that our rights are among those protected.

We also need to remember that WE'RE NOT G-D! -- we don't know what G-d thinks about our own level of observance. To tell others that what they're doing isn't good enough is a tad egocentric. You don't know how G-d will judge you or others. I wouldn't want G-d to judge me as one who doesn't care about my fellow Jews.

Check out my squidoo lenses:
Strong Biblical Women
Strong Biblical Women 2
Strong Biblical Women Part 3
Ruth and Naomi
Strong Biblical Women 5: Tamar -- Mother of Kings
Strong Biblical Women 6: Yocheved -- Mother of Moshe (Moses)
Strong Biblical Women 7: Miriam
Why Be Vegetarian
Vegetarianism: Getting Started 1
Vegetarianism: Getting Started 2
Rosh Hashana
Quick Vegan Cooking
Creating new recipes from old
About the Jewish Calendar
Witches and Morality
Presidential Trivia Quiz
Christmas and the Jewish Single
Math Hints 1 -- Adding Fractions
Presidents1: George Washington
Passover: Holiday of Freedom
John and John Quincy Adams
Television Trivia Quiz
Jewish Perspective of G-d
Purim, Esther et al
Being an internet small business owner
Why I'm a Red Sox fan
Pythagorean Theorem
My Blogs
Top 10 Presidents
Bottom 10 Presidents
How Can We Appeal to G-d for Forgiveness?
Math Tips 2
Searching for a Fashion Partner
Math Hints 3
One Actor, Two Shows (TV Quiz)
Presidential Tidbits
Why Should anyone hire Me?
Eat a Healthy Breakfast
My experience on Jeopardy
Project:Runway and how it got me excited about designing again
Who's Buried in Grant's Tomb?
My Vocational Experiences
Check out my Stress Release Mix list

Check out my other blogs:

Jewish Singles
Strong Jewish Women
Everything Goes

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