Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Next 5000+ Years

Where is Judaism going? Who are Jews? Will Judaism continue? Should we care? It seems like all the Jewish community can talk about is all continuity all the time. Despite this concern, it remains important to us to distinguish "authentic" Judaism, and who qualifies as a "good" Jew.

at Jewlicious talks about Cynthia Ozick's review of a book by David Mamet (confusing enough yet?) According to Phoebe it is "misguided to equate Jewish religious observance with feelings of Jewish national solidarity. Plenty of observant Jews are anti-Zionist or self-hating, and plenty of secular Jews (well, me, for one) reject nostalgic, shtetl Judaism, yet care deeply about the survival of the Jewish nation." Which raises an interesting point: what is Judaism without the religious component? Could it survive as just a culture, and in that case, should it? David Kelsey seems to think so, he seems to cheerfully accept the "swan dive" into secularism, and even says that it is "painful" to watch his roommates keep Shabbat. He ties it to being single, saying that once you are single and in your 30's the scene sucks, and so it is no longer fun to keep shabbat. If you get married, then you can sort of opt-out of the scene, but it will keep you tied to observant Judaism. Conversely Daniel Pipes cites a study that young Jews are becoming proportionally more, not less Orthodox. I'm not even going to touch that.

Of course Jews aren't the only ones that are worried about Jewish continuity. There is at least one major religion that requires the existence of Jews to "prove" the truth of its claims. Yes, Christianity has a vested interest in the continuance of the Jewish people, as the conservative right has shown by supporting Israel. The Out of Faith blog asks :What is the future of Judaism in the US? While the Free From Doubt blog claims that in Romans, Paul's comments about the restoration of the Jewish people is talking not about their physical restoration to the land of Israel, but instead the restoration fo the covenant between them and G-d, the covenant that Christianity believes that its inception superseded.


Mobius said...

self-hating jew is both an epiteth and a strawman. phoebe's whole post and ozick's whole piece are predicated on a false notion erected to punish religious and political dissidents. it's an intellectual billyclub and should never be given credibility.

evanstonjew said...

I agree totally with mobius on ozick/mamet .Right on.

As for my total disdain for hipster Jews, you misread me. I wrote two essays ,Generation Heeb and Hipster Jews and was enthusiastic and supportive. My only ironic comment was that unlike previous generations these young people are living high on the hog. I ask your readers, if interested to kindly look at my posts and decide for themselves.