Friday, February 23, 2007

Shabbat Ideas – February 23, 2007

While I missed a week of Shabbat Ideas and I am totally out of the loop here are my Shabbat Thoughts.

Divestment now? Oh for Sudan…ok
Jewish Language in this great country we call America? No, who would think of such a thing?
Can You Help Save A Life? Check this Story
Queer Yiddishkeit

Words are interesting.

I am a liberal. I am a Zionist. I am a progressive. I am an activist. I am a Jew.

Each one of those declarative statements has a different meaning for different people. In "our" community – the left-leaning progressive liberal Jewish community – all of these statements go together (to a certain extent). It seems though, that as we move past the AJC fight and the idiocy of the battle of "New Jewish Anti-Semites," we should take a step back to see what we are really fighting about.

This week we saw a post from Jewbiq about Queer Jewblogs. I don't know Annie or Harley but from their posts they seem to be looking for men and they seem to be women. That they are considered allies to the GLBT community they are free to use words like Queer. If a person in the non-allied community or even a homophobic conservative community were to say Queer, regardless of the idea of reclaiming it as a positive term, there would be outrage.

Now what about Heeb? Heeb is a wonderful publication produced by a group of self-important hipsters with a Joshua Venture Grant backed bank account. Heeb is reclaimed, but want about Kike? I really don't see that one making a comeback anytime soon. Now what if Heeb was an anti-Semitic rag? Would it be as acceptable on the shelf of a newsstand? And then again there are those who would say Heeb is an anti-Semitic rag.

Finally for this Shabbat I bring in Zionism. Where do we get its definition and is it a dirty word? I am a Zionist in many ways. I believe in Israel's fundamental right to exist, as a democratic, Jewish state that stands upon Jewish values and democratic values.

Does Israel have flaws? You bet. Is Israel a place I am proud of most of the time? No way. Is Israel free from my scornful post when she screws up and kills children even if it was a mistake and the government says sorry unlike the terrorist that target civilians? Absolutely not. And all this makes me a Zionist.

Words are powerful. If we continue to fight about the use of the words, making words evil while not caring about the true meaning of the words we lose our fight. Regardless of what you call yourself, progressive, liberal, (post-, non-, anti-, pro-) Zionist, represent what you are by your actions.

As we get deeper into the Book of Exodus in the coming weeks, the laws of our traditions will be laid out for our ancestors. These laws have very little to do with their words alone, but what their words mean universally. If we are to reclaim words, then we should back them up. Queer has been successfully turned into a term of empowerment. Heeb on the other hand is an inside joke, I don't feel empowered.

But that is why words are interesting.

Shabbat Shalom

No comments: