Thursday, February 22, 2007

A Place of Refuge

Lunched with new friends from Boston: both grads of a famous dayschool high school in NYC area. Both distanced from that world, philosophically and in their life style; both committed to giving their kids enough knowledge/exposure for them to make an informed choice about Jewishness. But will that work in Diaspora? They had lots of historical/ethnic/religious experience; their kids will be that much further from those sorts of people/places/senses. So they come here and I can tell they're feeling as if "wow: here we wouldn't have to work so hard at all of this stuff." Just to be. Hebrew, Shabbat, the air.


greencho said...

Of course there is a flip side...2000 years of diaspora gave rise to the adaptations of Rabbinic Judaism -- we now think carefully about boundaries, when and how to cross them, obsessing on the mundane. But is that same model sustainable where Judaism dominates? It is great to go into an Israeli mall for lunch where the whole food court is kosher. Easy. Relaxing. But in 60 years will hungry shoppers still remember to check what's on the label?

davidbstarr said...

good question. do we need to be countercultural to survive, or can we actually be adults and take responsibility as a people for the full range of public and private functions that most nations do?

Daniel said...

(I am enjoying the visual enhancements to your blog.) I sometimes view Judaism as one of the most successful ways of instilling people with a moral compass and passing on those values to the next generation. When "everyone" is Jewish, as in Israel, there is less pressure to pracitice religious observance. In Israel it seems as if it is the religious bureaucracy that is destroying the state that people like because it is the Jewish homeland. I guess it is a place for Jews, a place of refuge, but not necessarily Jewish, because the religious have shown themselves to be more concerned about funding and power than Jewishness. Who knows?