Sunday, December 6, 2009

It's a Dog's Life

If you think that Jewish life has been going to the dogs, you're going to love the posting that Ezzie has up about the Jews of Montana.


Rae said...

Chabad rabbis should really be commended for putting themselves into situations the rest of us wouldn't even consider so that they can help people back to yiddishkeit. Must admit though that this situation was really funny.

Lion of Zion said...

the dog story is funny
but i've never understood the whole menorah-lighting thing on public property. so now these orthodox rabbis argue that the menorah is only a secular symbol with no religious implications? what will these montana rabbis argue the next time that neigbors in the overwhelmingly christian state attemp to push the envelope on church-state?

ProfK said...

I think the argument about religious observance items placed in public places is that it's okay as long as everyone's symbols or observances can use that public space. If all religions have equal access then there isn't an issue of a state sponsored religion or religious observance.

Lion of Zion said...

there is a principle of equal access. but there is still the secular nature principle as well. that is why there is no problem with a christmas tree, which is recognized by the courts as a secular symbol, as opposed to a nativity scene, a religious symbol.
so city hall, the board of ed., etc. can have a christmas tree but not a nativity scene.

in 1989 chabad's public menorah campain was sanctioned by the supreme court after they pushed for recognition of the secular nature of the menorah. chabad lawyers have since cited this precedent whenever there is opposition to their menorahs (including a case a few years ago in an airport in your home state).

postscript: chabad's success led to a resurgence of efforts to decorate public spaces with nativity scene (citing equal access: if the jews can do it so can we; as far as the secular vs. religious problem, the courts in these jurisdictions ruled that context must be taken into consideration, e.g., a religious nativity scene in the presence of a secular christmas tree itself is transformed into a secular symbol.) in some jurisdictions christians have been successful and nativity are now exhibited where they had been absent for a long time. so thank you chabad for not only for transforming the menorah into a secular symbol, but also for paving the way for public nativity scenes.

or maybe i'm wrong. its been a while since constitutional history.