Friday, October 03, 2008

On Jews and the Left and the Book of Job

A couple of days ago I wrote "A small meditation for the Jewish New Year", in which I commented on a possible lesson to be learnt from the book of Job. I expected that I might hear from one or two of my Jewish readers about it and I am pleased to say that I have. Because of my strange combination of utter atheism and great respect for Judeo-Christian religion, I get a fair bit of correspondence from religious people and I appreciate it all. I reproduce below an email from a religious Jewish reader that comments further on the issues I raised earlier:

The book of Job is a profound book; we read it on Tisha B'av, the commemoration of the destrruction of the Temples in Jerusalem. The main thrust of it is that one has to have faith, ultimately, that God has reasons for what he does. While God does "attack" Job, He later gives back everything, but the story really speaks to the problem of theodicy, trying to explain the existence of evil in a world we believe is run by a benevolent God. Of course, there ARE no answers that make sense, and one either takes it on faith that it is so, or goes the way of atheism. And I am not condemning the latter at all!

But I began being a religious Jew in part because I loved the "non-answer" of Job, that there ARE no real answers. Job's friends try to make sense of what is going on, but they can't persuade Job, and that is because, philosophically and superficially, there ARE no answers that make sense. I fell in love with my own religion because it recognized that, even as the rest of the time, it acts as if it does know the answer.

Same thing in that on the day of a funeral for a close relative, there are certain prayers and things not done by the mourner. Why? Because Judaism realized it is impossible to fully accept the idea of a god or benevolent deity in the face of grief. And the rest of it may seem pretty crazy, the stuff we do (and I can step into an outsider's shoes and understand that!), and as always, this is not an attempt to persuade towards Judaism...we don't do that...but I loved these couple of things that I wrote about above.

As to Jews and evangelical Christians...I AGREE WITH YOU 100%. During the intafada, the only ones who supported Israel were Orthodox Jews and evangelical Christians. The lack of brains on the part of Jews concerning this, as well as them voting Democratic, has nothing to do with anything from Heaven! More like some suicidally stupid something from Hell.

Part of the problem is that the Nazis were labeled as "right wing", which is a perversion of what they really were. But I didn't learn or understand that until a number of years ago either. And to this day, nationlistic movements, especially in Europe, SOME (and some mistakenly) are labeled anti-Semitic AND are termed "right wing". In my father's time, in Europe, prior to the Holocaust, the anti-Semites were the Hungarian and Romanian "right-wing" nationalistic groups that allied with the Nazis, and many Jews still equate the terms.

It's wrong, but it's almost an educational problem, plus a blind spot on even the idea of learning anything new. It's the same thing of Jews voting Democratic. They still refuse to accept that FDR was an anti-Semite, or at least no friend of ours...that all the totems of the early Left that were supported by Jews were WRONGLY supported by Jews...but we have this weak spot in our hearts..and brains..that buys into the same crap, excuse the expression, that the Left is always the side of good intentions and caring about the "forgotten man"..but as has been pointed out, the very idea of that phrase was PERVERTED by FDR for political use, just as the very word "liberal" came to be coopted into something it wasn't meant to be.

Does this mean I give my fellow Jews a pass? NOPE. I am livid that we don't learn the truth, that we can't even bother to look into it (though I go to a small congregation where 90% will vote for McCain/Palin and the Republicans!). It's not just Abe Foxman, either. He's but one of many.

Finally, the other problem is that the biggest proportion of Jews in the United States are anti-religious, not just not religious. They are more concerned about "gay" and "abortion" rights than protecting Israel (or themselves, in my opinion, since they don't see the damage this does to our own people). It makes me sick, truthfully, but there it is. The irony is that most Jews are afraid of the Christian Right because of those kinds of issues, but will also say "but they are trying to convert us!". It's true, but so the hell what?! 75% of the Jewish religious Left intermarries out and loses connection to Judaism anyway, plenty getting married in churches. So what are they really worried about?

Religious Jews vote increasingly for Republicans, and though we tend to not like conversion efforts directed our way, realize we have commonalities with the Christian Right. We can still be friends...maybe not the closest, but we can certainly be allies to a point, because we absolutely believe in Israel and even many social issues.


Desperate dissing of Palin

A dispatch by Jason Szep of Reuters carries the headline "Palin's Troubles Mount for McCain in White House." What are these "troubles"? Here's the list:

An editor at Newsweek wrote a column saying that Palin is "unqualified."

Palin's interviews with CBS, Fox News and ABC "raise questions over her nomination and dealings with the media."

Palin faces "a stubborn investigation into charges that as governor she abused her power by firing a public safety commissioner."

A conservative columnist "called on Palin to step down ."

Palin has been mocked on "Saturday Night Live" and "Late Show With David Letterman."

A "conservative New York Times columnist . . . called her candidacy 'embarrassing.' "

Mitt Romney "questioned the campaign's strategy of restricting Palin's media exposure."

Except for the "stubborn investigation," all of these "troubles" are troubles with the media. One wonders why Szep did not include his own article in the list.



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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


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