New Frum Blogger (to me)

I just wanted to tip my hat to a new blogger that I found (surprisingly enough through SJ).

Modern Uberdox

Keep up the good work, glad I found your blog

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Orthodox Jews and the Arts

DK has once again reminded us today that his standard is the only one that we should hold ourselves to, and that Orthodoxy has done everything wrong.

He quotes SJ who says that,

Orthodox Jews don’t have a musical tradition. The Orthodox jewish “musical tradition” sounds either like little kids babbling or it sounds whiny.

And DK agrees with this.  I have so many things to say about this:

1) No musical tradition? What about the singing in the Temple? Or the Various tunes in davening that have lasted centuries?

2) Even if you don’t like the music doesn’t mean its not a tradition.  Personally I am not a huge fan of  “Jewish Music” but to say there is no tradition is just plain ignorant.  If you don’t like something it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

3) Little kids babbling? I don’t even know what that means.  Can I get an example?

4)Whiny? OK.  I hear that in some cases…

DK eliquently goes into a diatribe about how arts are shuned in the religious world and that,

If you come from an artistic family like I do, you should understand that those skills (yes, Orthodox readers, artistic abilities and achievements do count as “skills”) will not be appreciated in the Orthodox community. In fact, they will be derided.

I can’t say that I blame DK for his view.  He is so woefully ignorant of the actual orthodox world that he just doesn’t know the truth.  Purely on the issue of music, the orthodox world does not deride but in fact looks up to musical talents.  Don’t believe me? Watch how many people merely stand and watch the band at an orthodox wedding.  I know DK wouldn’t know this because he hates separate dancing (i think he called it “gay”, but I can’t find where he said it, so I wont officially say that he did), and therefore would never attend an orthodox wedding.

Or even the admiration for people like Piamenta or Lipa Schmeltzer.  You may not like their music, but people look up to them and certainly do not deride what they do.

I could go on and on with examples from the arts too, but I won’t.  Why you ask? Because you don’t kick a man when he is clearly already been beaten.

So These Are the Arguments of the “Intellectuals”

Many times we have heard people who hate hassidic, yeshivish, and in general more religous people, argue that these groups are not “intellectual” and the only books they look at are the gemara so they obviously know nothing about a scholarly argument.

On that note I would like to point out what some people I have been arguing with have said after I wrecked them in an intellectual argument.

Half Sours:

You sir, are liar, liar pants on fire. And everyone knows it now. Another kiruvnik discredited. My work here is done.

DK:

Cheerer, have you considered dating a militant feminist? Because your whole, “That’s not funny!” refrain would go over quite well with those women.

DK after someone questioned his making holocaust jokes in the context of the Heeb Magazine Contest for fake holocaust stories

Liz: No matter how you want to spin it, Holocaust “jokes” are not funny.

DK:  Then don’t laugh.

And of course DK’s response to my argument based on his making a satirical posting about the OU giving a haskgacha to Zyklon B

Me: I will not be told that I “didn’t think” from someone who marginalizes the holocaust.

DK: I will not have one of my best satires marginalized by someone who connects issues that are not interrelated.

These are the people who claim there that frummies are “anti-intellectual”.

These are the people who are trying to stop kiruv.

These are the people who say religious people are stopping the advancement of the Jewish People

These are the people we fight for future of our people.

Don’t ever forget it.

Freedom of Religion (for those who agree with him)

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution reads as follows,

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…

Apparently according to Kvetcher when the amendment says “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” it meant only the stuff that he finds sensible.  DK, despite the fact that you find chalov yisroel products “inferior” and have “inflated costs” (which there is substantial proof to back up that claim), it does not mean that people should be allowed to make that part of their religious observance.

He claims that it is

a terrible thing for the U.S. government to be subsidizing these idle haredim who are so “pious” they can’t trust gentile farmers to be delivering cows milk.

but then in the same breath claims that

Maybe the Agudath Israel should teach its people the value of work, and stop “educating” the government on how to treat their degenerate constituency with ever-greater coddling and “sensitivity.”

If these people are not trusting non-Jews for their milk then it must be Jews making the milk.  Is that not good enough work for you?  I see, they should spend their days in front of a computer insulting people who merely express their religion differently then him, because that is good honest American work.

Moreover, just because they have different views in this case it makes them degenerates? Excuse me?  How dare you call them that merely because they believe something you don’t.  Its not like they didn’t go about this the right way.  Do you have any proof that they did something illegal or inappropriate to get the government to agree to this prevision for chalav yisroel?

This is a dangerous line to cross people.  At what point do we draw the line because we find something silly or too stringent?  Soon those “silly Jews” with their “silly specific ways of killing cows” or their “silly rules of kosher”.  While DK may be ok with this i would say all orthodox Jews (not just the silly ones with the hats) would have a problem with this.

Yet again I am forced to ask.  Merely because they want to do something different religiously then DK , and ask for governmental allowance the same as anyone else with a different religious belief, that gives them a “dark heart”?  Taking it a little far are we?  But thats our good friend David Kelsey, always on the forefront of hating other Jews.

My View on JSU

There is an organization that runs jewish clubs throughout the country called the Jewish Student Union or JSU Kvetcher, among others, have commented that they think that JSU is a part of NCSY and a way to trick public school kids into joining NCSY without their knowledge.

Let me start by saying the following: I think NCSY is great.  I think the work they do is great.  I think that every person who is not religious and is a teen should join NCSY and that NCSY people are doing the right thing by trying to get more and more teens to join so that they can make them religious.

However, the method of using JSU to “trick” kids into joining NCSY and becoming frum is not the answer.  If JSU was merely the name of the NCSY public school arm then I would have no problem with it.  But, the way it is described on the JSU site and everywhere else I have seen it is merely considered a partner group with NCSY. Except that Rabbi Burg (national director of NCSY) is also the “dean” of JSU.  Seems kinda shady to me.

So if I want as many public school kids to join NCSY, why do I have a problem with JSU?  Because it is a form of tricking kids.  If we (religious jews) really believe that observant Judaism is the correct way for a Jew to live his or her life, then why would we need to trick people to do the right thing?  If we truely believe that the Torah (all of it, including the Gemara and Mishna) are truth, then why does NCSY need to hide behind a false entity named JSU?  If we are truely doing G-d’s work then we don’t need to trick people into following us, G-d will open their minds to the words.

Moreover, if JSU truly does allow groups of other denominations into the clubs then these kids will get exposed to USY, NFTY and other groups who’s goals are the complete opposite of NCSY’s.  If i was a member of any Jewish group and they didn’t allow me into the clubs I would throw a hissy fit.  And if I was a NCSY member and they did allow these other groups in I would throw a hissy fit.  This is not ok.

We shouldn’t and cannot be tricking kids.  The reason most people go “off’ is because they don’t have a solid foundation in Juadism.  Either they just accepted whatever they were told and never used logic and reason to reach the conclusion that religious Judaism is correct, or they were tricked with reasoning that was flawed in its conception.  We must correctly educate those teens who aren’t religious so in 10 years when they question their faith they have the backing needed to stay religious.

By tricking kids they can come to resent religious Jews or Jews altogether.  This is not ok.  If Orthodox Judaism is true, then why lie to kids when teaching it?

I Feel So Stupid

I have always been told that Orthodox Judaism is the sect of Judaism that refuses to allow people with different beliefs have their own say.  I have been told time and again by SJ and his whole group of friends that other movements allow opposition and treat dissension with respect.  Even OTD has this viewpoint about orthodoxy.  Well, since Conservative Judaism is so open and willing to hear other opinions I was shocked to read the following in the bible criticism section of Etz Hayim: Torah and Commentary published by The Rabbinical Assembly of The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism,

Many of us naively assume that the Torah that we use today is an exact copy of one original text, but there are many versions of the text of the Torah.

It goes on to talk about different version of the translations of the Torah, not the original hebrew version mind you.  The argument made in this section is that since there are different translations it can be the same book.  Huh?  There are different translations of Beowulf, Don Quixote and various other ancient documents but no one doubts their accuracy to the original text. Whatever.  Moving on.

Beyond that I feel so stupid! I have been so naive!  It’s so nice of the Conservative movement to point this out.  Never-mind the fact that a bible sitting in the pews of a Synagogue has a section with bible critism, I am all for talking about the issues people have but to have a whole section in the book itself? Just plain silly.  The constitutions people carry around don’t have a section ripping the founding fathers for letting slavery stay or having gun ownership as a right, nor is the standard Shakespeare sold with criticisms of his work.  Those are sold in special volumes unto themselves, NOT in the standard print edition.

What really annoys me is that it doesn’t say “some believe” or even “there are some who think that” the Torah is the same.  But rather it is naive to believe otherwise!  How dare I, based on an unbroken chain since the giving of the Torah, KNOW that the Torah is virtually the same document (there is some issue with some LETTERS, just letters, not words, and certainly not content).

This is typical of people who are not as religious as others.  They scream for the rooftops “how dare you try and force me to believe what your believe!? Its my right to believe what I want!“, but then when I believe something different? I’m naive or stupid or any number of insults.

Its very common…”You can believe whatever you want, as long as it’s what I believe.”

UPDATE: It seems that I was mistaken over DK on this, so I have removed his name above.  See, unlike some other bloggers (SJ) I am willing to admit when I may have made a mistaken.

The Tolerance of Intolerant People

In general, the idea of freedom in the US generally says the following, “You are free to do whatever you like, as long as it doesn’t infringe on someone else’s rights”.  Sure there are exceptions to this rule, but generally I think thats a pretty good way to put it.  

There are a lot of people in this country who are tolerant of views that aren’t their own.  Then there are others who are only tolerant of views that aren’t their own, as long as they dont conflict with their own views.  David Kelsey aka The Kvetcher is one of the later types of people.  

While DK seems to be very tolerant of certain things, the is far from tolerant of anyone who’s religious views that conflict with his own.  

For Example

That whole “dash” thing is not appropriate in the least bit. Only wackos use a dash instead of an “o,” and they should probably all move to B’nai Brak and use gender segregated forms of transportation.

So because others have a respect for The creator of heaven and earth and are extra careful not to use his name in vain (one of the commandments btw) they are “wackos”.  Sure you may argue that it may not be in vain, but there are those of us who don’t want to take chances.  Moreover, its a matter of respect.  Its similar to not calling the President by his first name or even Mr. Bush/Obama you call him “Mr. President” out of respect.  More importantly do you hear me attacking him for using the “O”? Not at all.  Do it if you like!  Why? Because it doesn’t effect me!

But this is far from the only instance of intollerance again here,

Additionally, I support France’s clamp on religious fundamentalism in public schools and elsewhere. No kippahs; no hijabs or veils.

Got to love that merely wearing a religious article of clothing is fundamentalism.  I could go on and on but honestly i don’t keep track of all of DK’s comments i disagree with (because I have a job and have better things to do with my time).  But check out his past posts and you will see… tolerance only goes as far as he agrees with you.