Virtual Talmud

Virtual Talmud


A Question of Ownership

Who does Jerusalem belong to?

At some level, that’s the question at the heart of the conflict between participants in Friday’s planned gay pride parade and haredi (ultra-Orthodox) Jewish protestors. An ad campaign planned by the Orthodox Agudath Israel group proclaims, “No one sensitive to the import of holiness, no one who faces the Holy City each day in prayer, can suffer the thought of the planned event in silence.” This language tries to claim Jerusalem as the exclusive province of religious Jews, even to the point of accepting hatred and violence if that’s what it takes to reinforce the claim.

Those who support the parade, on the other hand, see Jerusalem as a city that belongs to all Jews, even those whom the Chief Rabbinate has reportedly labeled “an abominated minority” and “the lowest of people”–namely Israel’s GLBTQ community (given some of the inflammatory language that has been directed at Jews throughout history, these are particularly disturbing charges to hear Jews leveling at other Jews).

For the parade’s organizers, it is important to hold the event in that city precisely because their goal is to assert their legitimacy–not a conditional legitimacy that exists in certain cities and certain places, but an unconditional legitimacy that accepts–or at least tolerates–people of their sexual orientation.

For Rabbi Stern, it appears a given that the parade is an unacceptable intrusion into the life of Jerusalem (even as he rightly denounces threats of violence against the marchers). His approach makes sense only if Jerusalem belongs to one group of people, only if there is one kosher set of ideas or opinions about what is legitimate.

But Judaism has never been that way, and Jerusalem isn’t that way. Jerusalem isn’t a symbol frozen in time any more than Judaism is. It’s a living city, with real issues and real people–people who have to learn to live together without resorting to demonization and sinat chinam (baseless hatred).

No one owns Jerusalem, no one owns Judaism. Those who resort to violence to assert the holiness of their claims only undermine the legitimacy they try to assert.



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Marnie age 64

posted November 8, 2006 at 5:07 pm


LIVE AND LET LIVE – A parade to applaud one’s sexual orientation is ridiculous. A parade to applaud one’s religious affiliation is just as ridiculous. Be proud of who and what you are. Pray to your God, in whatever manner suits you. Allow others to do the same.



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Carroll

posted November 8, 2006 at 6:47 pm


Who owns Jerusalem? Pardon my potential ignorance but I thought God owned Jerusalem and has given it over to His chosen people to rule from. I would therefore expect that any issues such as gay parades would be flaunting evil in the very city of God. I am not sure that would set very well with Him, would it?



report abuse
 

Yossel

posted November 8, 2006 at 11:16 pm


B”H Who Owns Jerusalem? Every Jew on the face of the planet does. It’s a permanent, Torah-given inheritance given by the One Above for whatever reasons He has, but mankind must accept this. It doesn’t belong only to “Orthodox Jews,” because truthfully the “divisions” created by some, are invalid. We are one nation and one people. (It goes without saying that other faiths that “claim” Jerusalem only do so in their attempts to hurt the Jewish People, R”L). I resent any mention of “Orthodox,” “Haredi” etc…these terms only serve to divide us further. Every Jew is a “Chelek Elokai MiMaal Mamash (A portion of G-d Above Truly). Period. Every Jew has the same responsibility to upkeep the Torah as we are all children of G-d. Those that don’t err, but they are still our brothers and sisters.



report abuse
 

jewish guy

posted November 9, 2006 at 2:13 pm


what is this talk of sinat chinam. people who openly advocate a lifestyle which is abhorent in the eyes of the Torah, are not included in the prohibition of “lo tisna et achicha b’lvavecha.” jews who take the torah seriuosly have a right and obligation to hate this parade and its organizers. the second temple fell because people fought over petty nonsense. this is very different. i am against violence, because society cannot function if zealots take matters into their own hands. but i certainly support every legal measure to prevent an abomination from happening in the holy city.



report abuse
 

Yossel

posted November 9, 2006 at 9:34 pm


B”H This parade being slammed down the throat of every committed Jew, is akin to the time when the Romans brought a statue of an eagle into the Second Temple, in direct violation of Torah. It was done deliberately to “shtech” the Jews and get them upset so they Romans could “quell the violence.” By the way, it’s the Reform and other non-observant movements who coined the term “Orthodox” so they could make divisions between Jews. Torah knows no such divisions. We are all brothers and sisters. This parade has a damaging effect on the souls of every Jew, regardless of “affiliation.” May G-d have mercy on us and spare us from this horrible travesty of holiness…Yossel



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Rev. Alexei Michalenko

posted November 10, 2006 at 4:10 pm


Such sadness. Violence from any source is a shame. I share this wisdom from the past: The gods we worship write their names on our faces, be sure of that. And a man will worship something have no doubt about that, either. He may think that his tribute is paid in secret in the dark recesses of his heart but it will out. That which dominates will determine his life and character. Therefore, it behooves us to be careful what we worship, for what we are worshiping we are becoming. Ralph Waldo Emerson Vital religion is like good music: it needs no defense, only rendition. A wrangling controversy in support of religion is as if the members of the orchestra should beat the folks over the head with their violins to prove that the music is beautiful. Harry Emerson Fosdick



report abuse
 

RFK

posted November 14, 2006 at 5:48 pm


First, going to the grocery on sabbeth is as political an act as marching down a city street to gain recognition & acknowledgement for the idea that we all deserve to love whom we wish, and not be denied any rights – religious or civil – as a result – or indeed as a punishment if we don’t love the “right” person or the “right” way. Second, fundamentalism is alive and well everywhere – among Jews and Muslims and Christians. That’s ok – but fanaticism that impinges upon the rights of others in my view is not. In other words, I’m all for “seeing the light” as long as your light doesn’t blind me. Thanks, RFK



report abuse
 

Deborah

posted November 24, 2006 at 7:37 am


Holiness is not a travesty. It means ‘set apart’ by God as His very own, and we are intrusted by Him to uphold the Lord’s commandments. ‘Holier-tnan-thou’, or ‘Holier than God Himself’, or ‘too Holy to do the work God gave us to do without condemnation and with love for one another, without compromising God’s will and laws, (The Ten Commandments and the Two Greater Ones-To love the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself). One of the 10 commandments says not to commit fornication or adultery. Homosexuality and lesbianism are not even a part of those commandments given to Moses for His people. God did not accept behaviors that He did not create, but rained down fire and brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah for those very acts. Also, marriage, is only marriage, when between a male and a female. God is the Creator, we are the created. His work was done in 6 days and He rested on the seventh. It is hard to be strong for everybody else in the world, but be strong in yourself for yourself, that your soul might be saved, then you may be responsible for saving other souls and being responsible for others in a way that is whole and sure even for yourself. In other words, do not be a people-pleaser, or a country-pleaser, or a nation-pleaser. I have struggled with this myself, because I hate confrontations, but I’m learning. The Word says ‘be careful of that which you allow’. The Hebrews were taught many precious truths about God about Him and the earth itself from the beginning, and you shouldn’t have to be afraid to be strong and use it, properly. When I went astray, I didn’t have much of the Word of God in me with enough understanding and I needed a daily ‘dose’ of the Lord. When I woke up to that fact and started to read and study and ask questions, and pray, everything got clearer, made sense to me, and I was used by God, not others. My self-reapect grew immensely and my love for the Lord was filled with the ‘length, the depth, and the breadth’ of His love and wisdom. All in all, don’t sell yourselves short and by all means, don’t give up being ‘doers of the Word, not just hearers only’. I know it is hard sometimes, but be of good cheer and meditate on the Word. Strengthen yourselves so that you may strengthen others. To encompass all that God teaches is the lighter burden, and the only way to ‘stand strong’, ‘be of good courage’, and be able to keep our hearts right with God. In so doing, we may become tireless when devoted to Him. That is why God destroyed the hostility between the Jews and the Gentilesl The Jews were consistently obedient to ritual. They lacked one thing, sensitivity and courage like David did where people were concerned. THe Gentiles lacked knowledge of God. He made it lighter for them to bear, showing His own beloved one, that He knew they had taken the harder measure, and He came to lighten their loads, and free them of the harder unnecessary burdents they carried, and to teach the Gentiles how to love Him and His own people, and to be blessings one to another, to love one another, not give in to whims and sins of one another. We are all children of God, all that choose to be, but only through obedience to the Father.



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Previous Posts

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It has been heartwarming to read the warm responses to Rabbi Waxman's post asking Beliefnet to reconsider its decision to cancel Virtual Talmud. Virtual Talmud offered an alternative model for internet communications: civil discourse pursued in postings over a time frame of days (rather than moments

posted 12:31:46pm Apr. 03, 2008 | read full post »

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Well, loyal readers, all good things must come to an end and we’ve been informed that this particular experiment in blogging as a forum for creating wide-ranging discussion on topics of interest to contemporary Jews has run its course. Maybe it’s that blogging doesn’t lend itself so well to t

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There are few times in this blog’s history when I have felt that Rabbi Grossman was one hundred percent correct in her criticisms of my ideas. However, a few weeks ago she called me out for citing a few crack websites on Barak Obama’s advisors. She was right. I never should have cited those web

posted 12:09:08pm Mar. 31, 2008 | read full post »

The Future of Race Relations
As a post-baby boomer, it is interesting to me to see how much of today’s conversation about racial relations is still rooted in the 1960s experience and rhetoric of the civil rights struggle, and the disenchantment that followed. Many in the black and Jewish communities look to this period either

posted 4:04:41pm Mar. 25, 2008 | read full post »

Wright and Wrong of Race and Jews
Years ago, as a rabbinical student, I was one of a group of rabbinical students who visited an African American seminary in Atlanta. My fellow rabbinical students and I expected an uplifting weekend of interfaith sharing like we had experienced in visits to other (largely white) seminaries. We were

posted 12:50:11pm Mar. 24, 2008 | read full post »




A Question of Ownership

Who does Jerusalem belong to?

At some level, that’s the question at the heart of the conflict between participants in Friday’s planned gay pride parade and haredi (ultra-Orthodox) Jewish protestors. An ad campaign planned by the Orthodox Agudath Israel group proclaims, “No one sensitive to the import of holiness, no one who faces the Holy City each day in prayer, can suffer the thought of the planned event in silence.” This language tries to claim Jerusalem as the exclusive province of religious Jews, even to the point of accepting hatred and violence if that’s what it takes to reinforce the claim.

Those who support the parade, on the other hand, see Jerusalem as a city that belongs to all Jews, even those whom the Chief Rabbinate has reportedly labeled “an abominated minority” and “the lowest of people”–namely Israel’s GLBTQ community (given some of the inflammatory language that has been directed at Jews throughout history, these are particularly disturbing charges to hear Jews leveling at other Jews).

For the parade’s organizers, it is important to hold the event in that city precisely because their goal is to assert their legitimacy–not a conditional legitimacy that exists in certain cities and certain places, but an unconditional legitimacy that accepts–or at least tolerates–people of their sexual orientation.

For Rabbi Stern, it appears a given that the parade is an unacceptable intrusion into the life of Jerusalem (even as he rightly denounces threats of violence against the marchers). His approach makes sense only if Jerusalem belongs to one group of people, only if there is one kosher set of ideas or opinions about what is legitimate.

But Judaism has never been that way, and Jerusalem isn’t that way. Jerusalem isn’t a symbol frozen in time any more than Judaism is. It’s a living city, with real issues and real people–people who have to learn to live together without resorting to demonization and sinat chinam (baseless hatred).

No one owns Jerusalem, no one owns Judaism. Those who resort to violence to assert the holiness of their claims only undermine the legitimacy they try to assert.



Advertisement
Comments read comments(7)
post a comment
Marnie age 64

posted November 8, 2006 at 5:07 pm


LIVE AND LET LIVE – A parade to applaud one’s sexual orientation is ridiculous. A parade to applaud one’s religious affiliation is just as ridiculous. Be proud of who and what you are. Pray to your God, in whatever manner suits you. Allow others to do the same.



report abuse
 

Carroll

posted November 8, 2006 at 6:47 pm


Who owns Jerusalem? Pardon my potential ignorance but I thought God owned Jerusalem and has given it over to His chosen people to rule from. I would therefore expect that any issues such as gay parades would be flaunting evil in the very city of God. I am not sure that would set very well with Him, would it?



report abuse
 

Yossel

posted November 8, 2006 at 11:16 pm


B”H Who Owns Jerusalem? Every Jew on the face of the planet does. It’s a permanent, Torah-given inheritance given by the One Above for whatever reasons He has, but mankind must accept this. It doesn’t belong only to “Orthodox Jews,” because truthfully the “divisions” created by some, are invalid. We are one nation and one people. (It goes without saying that other faiths that “claim” Jerusalem only do so in their attempts to hurt the Jewish People, R”L). I resent any mention of “Orthodox,” “Haredi” etc…these terms only serve to divide us further. Every Jew is a “Chelek Elokai MiMaal Mamash (A portion of G-d Above Truly). Period. Every Jew has the same responsibility to upkeep the Torah as we are all children of G-d. Those that don’t err, but they are still our brothers and sisters.



report abuse
 

jewish guy

posted November 9, 2006 at 2:13 pm


what is this talk of sinat chinam. people who openly advocate a lifestyle which is abhorent in the eyes of the Torah, are not included in the prohibition of “lo tisna et achicha b’lvavecha.” jews who take the torah seriuosly have a right and obligation to hate this parade and its organizers. the second temple fell because people fought over petty nonsense. this is very different. i am against violence, because society cannot function if zealots take matters into their own hands. but i certainly support every legal measure to prevent an abomination from happening in the holy city.



report abuse
 

Rev. Alexei Michalenko

posted November 10, 2006 at 4:10 pm


Such sadness. Violence from any source is a shame. I share this wisdom from the past: The gods we worship write their names on our faces, be sure of that. And a man will worship something have no doubt about that, either. He may think that his tribute is paid in secret in the dark recesses of his heart but it will out. That which dominates will determine his life and character. Therefore, it behooves us to be careful what we worship, for what we are worshiping we are becoming. Ralph Waldo Emerson Vital religion is like good music: it needs no defense, only rendition. A wrangling controversy in support of religion is as if the members of the orchestra should beat the folks over the head with their violins to prove that the music is beautiful. Harry Emerson Fosdick



report abuse
 

RFK

posted November 14, 2006 at 5:48 pm


First, going to the grocery on sabbeth is as political an act as marching down a city street to gain recognition & acknowledgement for the idea that we all deserve to love whom we wish, and not be denied any rights – religious or civil – as a result – or indeed as a punishment if we don’t love the “right” person or the “right” way. Second, fundamentalism is alive and well everywhere – among Jews and Muslims and Christians. That’s ok – but fanaticism that impinges upon the rights of others in my view is not. In other words, I’m all for “seeing the light” as long as your light doesn’t blind me. Thanks, RFK



report abuse
 

Deborah

posted November 24, 2006 at 7:37 am


Holiness is not a travesty. It means ‘set apart’ by God as His very own, and we are intrusted by Him to uphold the Lord’s commandments. ‘Holier-tnan-thou’, or ‘Holier than God Himself’, or ‘too Holy to do the work God gave us to do without condemnation and with love for one another, without compromising God’s will and laws, (The Ten Commandments and the Two Greater Ones-To love the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself). One of the 10 commandments says not to commit fornication or adultery. Homosexuality and lesbianism are not even a part of those commandments given to Moses for His people. God did not accept behaviors that He did not create, but rained down fire and brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah for those very acts. Also, marriage, is only marriage, when between a male and a female. God is the Creator, we are the created. His work was done in 6 days and He rested on the seventh. It is hard to be strong for everybody else in the world, but be strong in yourself for yourself, that your soul might be saved, then you may be responsible for saving other souls and being responsible for others in a way that is whole and sure even for yourself. In other words, do not be a people-pleaser, or a country-pleaser, or a nation-pleaser. I have struggled with this myself, because I hate confrontations, but I’m learning. The Word says ‘be careful of that which you allow’. The Hebrews were taught many precious truths about God about Him and the earth itself from the beginning, and you shouldn’t have to be afraid to be strong and use it, properly. When I went astray, I didn’t have much of the Word of God in me with enough understanding and I needed a daily ‘dose’ of the Lord. When I woke up to that fact and started to read and study and ask questions, and pray, everything got clearer, made sense to me, and I was used by God, not others. My self-reapect grew immensely and my love for the Lord was filled with the ‘length, the depth, and the breadth’ of His love and wisdom. All in all, don’t sell yourselves short and by all means, don’t give up being ‘doers of the Word, not just hearers only’. I know it is hard sometimes, but be of good cheer and meditate on the Word. Strengthen yourselves so that you may strengthen others. To encompass all that God teaches is the lighter burden, and the only way to ‘stand strong’, ‘be of good courage’, and be able to keep our hearts right with God. In so doing, we may become tireless when devoted to Him. That is why God destroyed the hostility between the Jews and the Gentilesl The Jews were consistently obedient to ritual. They lacked one thing, sensitivity and courage like David did where people were concerned. THe Gentiles lacked knowledge of God. He made it lighter for them to bear, showing His own beloved one, that He knew they had taken the harder measure, and He came to lighten their loads, and free them of the harder unnecessary burdents they carried, and to teach the Gentiles how to love Him and His own people, and to be blessings one to another, to love one another, not give in to whims and sins of one another. We are all children of God, all that choose to be, but only through obedience to the Father.



report abuse
 

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

The Task Is Never Finished
It has been heartwarming to read the warm responses to Rabbi Waxman's post asking Beliefnet to reconsider its decision to cancel Virtual Talmud. Virtual Talmud offered an alternative model for internet communications: civil discourse pursued in postings over a time frame of days (rather than moments

posted 12:31:46pm Apr. 03, 2008 | read full post »

Some Parting Reflections
Well, loyal readers, all good things must come to an end and we’ve been informed that this particular experiment in blogging as a forum for creating wide-ranging discussion on topics of interest to contemporary Jews has run its course. Maybe it’s that blogging doesn’t lend itself so well to t

posted 1:00:29pm Mar. 31, 2008 | read full post »

Obama's Lesson and The Jewish Community
There are few times in this blog’s history when I have felt that Rabbi Grossman was one hundred percent correct in her criticisms of my ideas. However, a few weeks ago she called me out for citing a few crack websites on Barak Obama’s advisors. She was right. I never should have cited those web

posted 12:09:08pm Mar. 31, 2008 | read full post »

The Future of Race Relations
As a post-baby boomer, it is interesting to me to see how much of today’s conversation about racial relations is still rooted in the 1960s experience and rhetoric of the civil rights struggle, and the disenchantment that followed. Many in the black and Jewish communities look to this period either

posted 4:04:41pm Mar. 25, 2008 | read full post »

Wright and Wrong of Race and Jews
Years ago, as a rabbinical student, I was one of a group of rabbinical students who visited an African American seminary in Atlanta. My fellow rabbinical students and I expected an uplifting weekend of interfaith sharing like we had experienced in visits to other (largely white) seminaries. We were

posted 12:50:11pm Mar. 24, 2008 | read full post »




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