Turn Right for the Siyum

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10 Responses

  1. David Brand says:

    As to the first point, I think you and your neighbor both read a little too much into the caption. It was just a play on words–hem ratzim was just a funny reference to the racetrack. You know, the place where people bet on races? It was not a slap at the non-Jewish value system which was supposed to somehow elevate us. You’re darshening it way too severely. I think it was just a funny line, nothing more.

  2. Yoni Doe says:

    The caption on the sign bothered me too. It was underservedly gaavadik and really innaccurate. If you’ve ever been to the casinos in Atlantic City and seen all the fruma yidden there you’d know exactly what I mean.

  3. Different River says:

    Yasher Koach Gedalia! Perfectly said!

  4. As the photographer that took this picture I have to agree with you. A better caption IS “malchus shel chesed.” (Especially since as I pointed out on my blog – in a more zoomed out shot both signs actually point the same way.) I also wrote about what else I felt gave the picture such a huge appeal. And I quote from my blog:

    ”This is America! You don’t see the words ‘SIYUM HASHAS’ lit up on the highway every day. It’s like spotting someone in the Daily News wearing a yarmulke. It makes you stop and point and say ‘hey, look!’ Of course nobody opens a Jerusalem Post and starts pointing out every yarmulke they spot. And I think there’s an important lesson in that. ‘SIYUM HASHAS’ is something unusual on Route 3 – West in New Jersey. But it wouldn’t be so strange to see it posted on the Begin-North highway in Israel. Because in one country we are guests and in the other we are Home.”

    Indeed while we live in a “malchus shel chesed” where we are WELCOME guests, we nevertheless are still guests, and not Home. We MUST not forget this.

  5. DovBear says:

    The US Congress supports Israel the way it does because of Christian Americans, not because of Jewish Americans

    Yes, and Christian Americans support Israel because they pant for the Rapture, or the bloody demise of of Jews and other nonbelievers at Armageddon. Those aren’t “friends” I want, or trust.

    I agree this is a malchus shel chesed, but not because of the christians. It’s a malchus shel chesed only because the founding fathers were wise enough to check the influence of christianity, and other religons.

  6. Zev says:

    Don’t have anything to say about the first part of your post, but as to the second segment: right on!

  7. Yaakov Rosenblatt says:

    Good intentions notwithstanding, the effect of the photo was a message of “anu ratzim vehaim ratzim”, the tagline with which it was circulated. Someone hung it up on our shul bulletin board, too. It is so bothersome. If we are going to have a positive affect on the not-yet-frum Jewish world and gain the respect of the Gentile world, it will be because we respect people as people, Jews as Jews, and live positive, spiritual lives.

  8. David Waghalter says:

    Isn’t the rapture issue only a problem if you *believe* in the rapture? In other words, once we get to that point in history, they will turn on us if that kind of thing goes down. But since it won’t, I don’t see the problem, and either way right now I certainly don’t see the problem.

    But that reasoning is a myth, or at least the extent of its influence is a myth.

    And freedom from religion does not influence Congress to support Israel. It’s the Christian constituents who do that.

  9. Observant Observer says:

    Mr. Litke:

    What conclusion should we draw, or what action should we take, from your assertion that “any objective read of where we are today leads to the conclusion that authentic Judaism is more closely aligned with today’s right than today’s left.”?

    Leave Israel aside for the moment, not because it is not an important factor but precisely because it is for many the most important factor. Do you believe that it is important to vote for candidates who are anti-abortion, or opposed to gay rights? If so, how important a factor is it? In New York, should the Orthodox community support the Republican challenger to Mayor Bloomberg, especially since that challenge is predicated on the social issues where Bloomberg is in effect a liberal Democrat? In New York State, should Orthodox Jews support the Conservative party candidate, since he will surely be the only candidate “closely aligned” to “authentic Judaism.” If the social issues of the day are to be determinative, the answer must be yes. Somehow, I suspect that is not your answer.

    On Israel, President Bush has been very, very good, at least until he announced that there shouldn’t be new building in Maaleh Adumim. But supporting President Bush is not the same thing as supporting “the right.” The first President Bush was no friend of Israel, and it’s not an anwer to say that he also wasn’t very Conservative.

    Your post devotes more space to an explanation of the reasons we should not join the left than it does on reasons to join the right. We ought to support people or issues; I’m a bit hesitant when we are asked to support movements, because they tend to bring along lots of baggage. There are lots of right-wing issues that don’t make much sense for our community – gun control is a prominnet one that comes to mind. Another issue concerns public benefits programs – should we attempt to ascertain the impact of budget cuts or programmatic changes to our community? I don’t know, but I suspect that there is more angst and more of an impact in Orthodox homes when some programs are cut than when a parental notification prior to abortion bill is defeated.

    Since you rightly criticize the recent and current policies of the left, while recognizing that movements prior appeal, you ought to learn an important lesson from that experience. Jews supported the left, because of their candidates and because of the rabid anti-semitisim on the right. Then, we forgot the reasons for our support, and supported the left because that’s what good Jews did. Now, we support candidates on the right, often for good reason. But when we support the right because that’s what good Jews do, we are being as foolish as our predecessors who supported the left.

  10. DovBear says:

    Isn’t the rapture issue only a problem if you believe in the rapture? In other words, once we get to that point in history, they will turn on us if that kind of thing goes down. But since it won’t, I don’t see the problem, and either way right now I certainly don’t see the problem.

    No. Because when the fantasies don’t come true, they will blame the Jews. That’s how it always goes, isn’t it?

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