Friday, December 22, 2006

Shabbat Ideas – December 22, 2006

Perhaps I will have a few people reading the blog, so here are my Shabbat Ideas for December 22, 2006

Interfaith in December Hat tip to Michael van der Galien at The Moderate Voice
Is Marriage by any other name as sweet?
Black Eye for Black Hats
It looks like I got what I asked for...but I feel a little guilty...
And a BIG thank you to Jspot for the placement of POLJ on the Blog Roll

I have had some nice interactions with my pretend blog friend Mobius via email. Well I suppose it was just the completion of a long chain of comments over on Jewschool. He continues to support this idea of an infrastructure-based Jewish community centered on the concept of Anarchy. This won’t work.

Mobius states that the superstructure of the Jewish community is out-dated, self-serving and generally doesn’t work. He has proposed that we create this infrastructure to serve any Jewish group, large or small, in it attempt to create true and meaningful localized Jewish community.

Great! Sign me up! But wait here is the problem. Localized, democratic institutions tend to need some sort of organization. Let it be a union or collection or even a Co-Op to borrow from the anarchistic ideal. These small groups, if formed and left completely alone to their own devices will only serve themselves and if they try to expand their mandate they will need for form larger and more inclusive communities, leading to what Mobius quotes a “mortgage of values.”

Besides the idea being completely flawed and the only people who stand to benefit from such a system are people who have system in place to take advantage of such a free-democratic infrastructure, the concept of creating a system to take the place of a system to prove you aren’t in a system is silly. Why do anarchists Jews feel the need to create some sort of community I ask?

And I answer: Because the Jewish world is made of Community Organizations. The first thing a Jewish town needs to be considered Jewish is a Burial Society and Cemetery. Fine on a small scale that could be completely democratic, but not when you get into the fact that not everything must be decided on by everyone. Can’t we pretty much agree that it is a good idea to have the lawns be kept clean in our cemetery? Do we need a town hall meeting to decide that? What about funding pre-schools? Good idea! Have the parents be involved in the creation of curriculum sure, but should it matter to have everyone make the decision about whether to use chalk boards or white boards?

The answer is no. The reason why the Jewish people have excited for so long is that we don’t get bogged down in the minute details. Look to the Greeks and Romans…They had similar structures and were completely based on total Democracy (besides the slavery aspects). They do not exist because after a few historical minutes of total democracy and localized governance, they gave up and let an all powerful leader take over…things were good for a while…then not so much.

The system in place in the Jewish community needs help and lots of it. But by creating a counter system that undermines and take away from the current system only will serve to fracture the strength of the Jewish people. There are far too few of us to fight over this type of program. We need to integrate and modernize what we have now, not scrap it and start over.


ck said...

Yikes... but yeah, thats what a lot of us have been saying for a while. Anarchist Judaism? Uh... not so much. There may be much amiss with the organized Jewish community but who else will feed the poor? Fund the old folks homes? Run the burial societies and Vaad Ha'ir? Come to shul every morning so someone can say kaddish? Fund Jewish day schools? and on and on? Anarchists? I'm a little skeptical. Judaism is all about community - uniting as much as possible around common interests, not breaking up into ever smaller special interest groups.

Liberal Jew said...

Thanks ck-

I have been trying to get people to see that this isn't going to work. I really wish that those with whom I have been debating would also show some of skepticism that you have presented.

but hey until then POWER TO THE PEOPLE.

Mobius1ski said...

oh for fuck's sake...what are you fools talking about?

most federations spend about 25% of their annual budget on self-maintenance. of the remaining 75%, less than half goes to providing social services. the rest goes to fighting intermarriage and supporting israel.

yet that wasn't even my point.

where in my post did i talk about disemboweling the federation system? where did i talk about throwing chevra kedishas and jewish day schools out the window or fucking micromanaging the selection of chalk?

my focus was on the manner in which grants are doled out to independent actors and startup initiatives, and eliminating gatekeepers from the process by providing infrastructure for all such projects to try their hand at success, rather than the merit of those projects being determined by narrow-minded bureaucrats.

you either cannot read, or you intentionally ignore and distort my position in order to set me up as a strawman.

it's preposterous.

Liberal Jew said...

I can read and pretty well.

I see what you are doing as EXACTLY THE SAME AS WHAT WE ALREADY HAVE. If you believe you are starting some sort of revolution – gay gazunt. But you aren’t. You want to create some system in which the little guy will get some sort of money. Ok great. How do you then insure that those who currently monopolize the Jewish community do not then monopolize your system?

Miss-read this --- Respect must flow for the little guy to have some sort of chance. Rock the boat, do something new but don’t expect to have a mass exodus from what has worked, if not perfectly.

Large orgs will always be flawed, but small orgs tend to become bigger ones when they see what type of problems they have and opt to take on the problems of big orgs.

Don’t treat me and those who disagree with you like idiots.