Thursday, September 21, 2006

In the Beginning (a slightly more serious post)

In the beginning, God sanctified the earth through a separation of spheres: heaven from earth, firmament from firmament, light from darkness. Across the span of millennia, we replicated God’s initial creative act through our own series of separations: the sacred from the profane, milk from meat, public from private, good from evil. This process of sanctification through separation has proliferated, infiltrating every aspect of our lives, pervading the most basic ways we perceive our world. In the modern era, we chose to separate from others in order to more fully define ourselves and the spaces in which we reside: in philosophy (essentialist from structuralist), in religion (orthodox from reform), in politics (left from right). Each generation, likewise, defines itself, at least in part, in opposition to the previous generation. Where “they” were rigid, we are fluid; where “they” were exclusive, we are inclusive; where “they” were confined to established sacred spaces, we are creating our own places of worship, outside of the cold and constraining walls of their crumbling edifices. These distinctions can be useful in establishing communal identity and coherence, but harmful when the barriers we erect isolate us from the lessons and wisdom of those that preceded us or prevent us from accessing their grant money. However useful, boundaries blind us to our commonalities across affiliation (or lack thereof), across observance, and across the generational divide. As we rail against our elders, condemning their institutions and their myopia, we forget that thirty years ago, with longer hair and less paunch, they sounded exactly like us.

Before you OD on the kumbaya vibe, I am not advocating tearing down the walls and engaging in a group hug. If God established the pattern, then the process of constructing boundaries must be useful. In this blog, through satire, mockery, and attempted (albeit sparse) erudition, we will lay bare the words and work of the Jewish blogosphere, bravely going where thousands have gone before.

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