Friday, July 24, 2009

Being Part of the Club - or not!

My former brother in law, whom I don't think ever reads my blog, mercifully, seems to have picked me to debate Judaism with. A silly sort of back and forth, since we have some diametrically opposed ideas when it comes to belief and practice.
He started off this barrage with the question, "do you believe?" After I figured out what he was asking that i believed in, he described Judaism as a sort of club, where you either follow the rules and become a member, or opt out of the club. Now opting out of the club does not mean you opt of Judaism, rather just a particular group of Jews.
This has spurred an ongoing debate which neither of us can win, since we both hold immutable tenets that are diametrically opposed to one another. Firstly, he rejects change altogether. Or if not, he feels it needs to take several centuries to accomplish. While I understand the nature of his concern, i disagree entirely, and that is where we ultimately will have to agree to disagree.

But this club he refers to, made me think. Yesterday, as I am sure most people know, several Rabbis were arrested for money laundering from the Deal, NJ community. This is a proud, close knit community of mainly traditional Syrian Jews who I imagine must be sick over the publicity they are getting in relationship to this tragedy. So they must want to leave that club, because membership has negative privileges. Then of course I read the article in the Yeshiva World News that Rabbi Yitschak Tuvia Weiss is encouraging his followers in Meah She'arim to protest in the streets this Shabbos because of the continued opening of a municipal parking lot, which is sure to create hostility, and maybe even a little name calling and throwing of nasty objects.

Another club that I would not want to belong to. And while I really do want to talk about the meat and potatoes of the discussion i have been having, today, i pose the question, "which club do you belong to, and why?" I know the answer to that one for me. So many clubs, so little time.
Shabbat Shalom


Child אִישׁ Behavior said...

I like this post. I can relate very well. And I say, I belong to a club of One. When I get married I will have a club of two, so on from there. I go to shul, but i skip around from shul to shul. I went to Yeshiva, but left when I felt like it. I am an Orthodox Jew, on my own terms.

Mottel said...

I hear ya. Love the name, btw.
We struggle to belong to the club, fight to get away, and often go back. I, like you, don't really belong to any clubs. I will save that for my former bil