Added some four years after original post:
Jewishness: difference for the sake of difference or difference that makes a difference?
"ממקומו הוא יפן ברחמים"
"From G-d's place G-d will turn in mercy...."(from the shabbat liturgy)
The stillness of
and everything in its
this is the SatGuru
from the formless space
in a particular
time and place
A sub cullture that does not define itself in opposition to the dominant culture is likely to be co-opted by it - hence the state of progressive Judaism today - in flux, uncertain, with very little to offer except gender equality and inclusivity rather than exclusivity - but no depth or intensity or "spiritual' insight or tribal solidarity
I want to push more intensively the idea of "naaseh venishma" as a hugely profound educational principle - especially at the school that I teach at. I'm not sure that we honour that principle enough.
What happens when you have outgrown a set of emotional loyalties, but still understand their appeal, and their value as a bonding device? For example, the "us" and "them" encoded into many Jewish holidays - "we" the few, "they" the many, "we" the persecuted and enslaved, "they" the opressors and the wicked...I find in myself the ability to resonate as much with the Egyptians in thePesach story and the Greeks in the Hanukah story as I can with the Hebrews and Israelis....yet the sweetness of children's faces clustered around the Chanukah lights still calls in avisceral way...and to sing the words of "maoz tzur" - despite their rather vengeful lyrics.
The "Greeks" within all of us and the "Yehudi" within all of us...in this cosmology, the Greek is to value appearance over substance, to reinforce societal values where physical excellence is valued and celebrated more broadly than moral or intellectual excellence, where the body beautiful is commodified a million times a day and used to sell products we don't need, where people are urged to live beyond their means to sustain unsustainable appearances etc etc...vs the Jewish-Hebrew values of modesty, restraint, and sustainability.
How to universalise the Hanukah story? Make it a protest against commodification, against the over valuing of appearance (the tyranny of cosmetics and fashion and consumerism), and the emphasising of doing acts of altruism as the source of true beauty.
It is often more productive to "(be)hold" Judaism as a dialogue, not a set of answers…and in the process the answers emerge for you, in your time and place and stage, they become clear.
A polemic arguing for the establishment of a second Jewish state (in addition to Israel)
On the need for a Jewish holiday which is offered up to the Australian public. Perhap simchat beyt hashoeyva during Sukkot because this was traditionally a time when all the nation sent offerings to Jerusalem. Simchat beyt hashoeyva involves street parades, jugglers, acrobats, wise fools, and lots and lots of devotional music.
Milchemet haotiot - all the children got dressed up as letters - aleph kicked the thin and reedy vav very hard in the shins - the children arrangd themselvs into the words zayin baayin...lech habayta mora revital...etc etc... lamed smeared their lunch all over taf's face...then Mr Porter came in, dressed as the mighty mem
Some mind talk ( see ) or self-talk on hearing of anti-Semitic behaviour/speech by some priviledged Australian kids in elite private schools. The words of Eckhart Tolle come to mind...
be at least as interested in your response as in the lifeshock ( ) stimulus that triggers the response
I must protect myself by getting clear
I coul drown in this fear and anxiety
This threatens my very survival
If I don't fight this we will not survive
The truth is I (if I is identified as the body) will not survive irrespective, whether I am eaten by a shark or die of cancer or old age or in a cr crash or killd by a criminal or die peacefully in bed. Given that I will not survive irrepective then waht is the fear that arises of? Of anhilation? Of "premature" anhilation. So is this a wake up call to jettison false senses of self?
I must equip my children to deal with this
I must repond to this in some way
Some practical responses to anti Semitism:
Ecstatic dancing and ecstatic singing of wordless nigunim
Missiles and bombs and sustained small arm fire
An equal and opposite focus and celebration of philo-Semitism
An ongoing and sustained acknowledgement of ourselves and our worth, both as human beings and as manifestations of the infinite and divine