Sunday, May 18, 2008

The More Things Change...

I'm going to admit to something: I was running an experiment, a sociological one, when I put up the last posting. I knew when I put up the "New York the Center of the World...Not" post precisely what kinds of responses were going to be made--I was hoping to be proven wrong; I wasn't. Yes, I was truly giving what seems like a sensible alternative for those who are suffering financially and for those whose "desired" neighborhoods are reaching or have reached the point of not being able to accommodate anyone else. But "sensible" and Klal don't seem to want to be introduced to each other, nor is this something new, unfortunately.

We are always talking about how we have rebuilt the glory of Yiddishkeit that was Europe pre-WW II. Well, I will grant you that we have rebuilt pre-war Yiddishkeit. That was the Europe in which East was East and West was West and never the twain would meet. That was the Europe where those living in town X looked with disfavor and distrust on those living in town Y. That was the Europe where those living in area X "knew for a fact" that those living in area Y were not the "right" kind of frumkeit. That was the Europe that fostered the attitude of "My rebbe/rabbi is better than your rebbe/rabbi, my way of practicing Yiddishkeit is better than yours." That was the Europe where indifference to those from elsewhere in Europe blossomed. That was the Europe that introduced the schism of the Haskala movement. That was the Europe that, because it couldn't be unified in the good times, couldn't unify in the bad times either.

The comments here and on similar postings on other blogs show that the lessons of Europe are alive and well here. Talk about "out of town," whatever that is, and we start talking about "yenem"--about "them," as if "they" are not us and never can be. Loyalty to place supersedes loyalty to the idea of a unified Klal. I don't exempt myself from this either. But Yiddishkeit as we are still practicing it today requires us to "take sides," as if there were a war going on. And in one sense there is: the war for final supremacy as the "chosen" of Klal.

I'm not the only one to see this; we all have. Rabbis from one group frequently attack rabbis from a different group. Rabbi X says M so rabbi Y says Q. Yeshiva W looks down its nose at Yeshiva R. Town B looks askance at Town F.

We aren't one unified Klal Yisroel, but then when have we been? We are like a group of fractious children all wanting to claim the title of "Daddy's favorite." It is axiomatic for parents that they should love their children all the same. It is the children who don't manage to do that with each other.

Moving away from places like Brooklyn should not be looked at equivalent to being sent to the moon. Those are our sisters and brothers "out there." It's more than time that we started acting like a loving family. Moving out of town should be just going to live with our family. It is not, no NOT places that should be important--it should be people.

"Let them come here," I am going to hear from someone. And thus the battle will continue,
a battle where there is going to be no winner and a lot of losers.


Anonymous said...

Can't argue with youhere. Jews have never been one big happy family and certainly aren't now. Whatever happened to United we Stand, Divided we Fall?

Ookamikun said...

From what I hear from friends, in those "other" places, there are less Jews and they are united. It's when Jews start to congregate in one place and there are enough of them to split into separate communities, that's when all the fighting starts.
You can observe this behavior in NY too. If you work in a place where there aren't a lot of Jews, you'll say hi and be friends with any Jews there no matter what group they belong to.

Bas~Melech said...

... what Moshe said.

This was a pretty sad post, but I don't think that's the whole picture. I've seen a lot of acceptance and love -- you just need to look in the right places.

Anonymous said...

To me, the phenomenon is the saddest thing I have witnessed in my lifetime. That so many Jews behave that way (Sinat Chinam, etc) is the primary thing preventing the arrival of the Mashiach.

concernedjewgirl said...

You know it’s incredible that not one of the posts said anything about making Aliya.
Nobody thinks of Israel as the center of Jewish life, everyone thinks its New YORK?????
Wow, we live in a sad, sad time.

Anonymous said...

My mother always used to say that Jews don't have to worry about non Jews because Jews themselves were the worst antisemites. The longer I live the more correct I see her words to be.