Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Jewish Pride

Why do we take pride in people of Jewish heritage who do nothing within the Jewish community? I too am guilty of this, but I just started to think, why do we care if someone has a Jewish parent (mother in most cases) and does something great or is powerful if that person doesn't participate in any way within the Jewish community?

The Forward has a piece on Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell's involvement in the Clinton campaign. He has raised un-Godly amounts of cash in PA, has taken his personal defense of Sen Clinton to a new and unscripted level and has a Jewish mother.

However the story goes on to mention that Rendell isn't involved in the community. He is a power broker, works on both sides of the aisle, helps do some fund raising (and perhaps helps get shady building deals) for his Hassidic rabbi friend and is a governor. He is married to a Catholic and sent his children to a Quaker day school. This is not to say that there aren't many interfaith couples who chose to engage in the Jewish community, but the Rendells are not such a family.

Why do we kvell over this guy as one of us? There is no question that he is powerful, smart, funny and resourceful. There is not question that he may be on Sen Clinton's short list for Veep. But he isn't a mench. He isn't the model good Jewish boy.

I suppose it has a lot to do with the fact that if he was a huge smuck, others would say "he is a Jew, told you he would do X,Y and Z." This is what happened when Spitzer had a bit of zipper control problem - even the Jewish media jumped on it.

When will our community take that step back and take pride in Jews who work hard, do well and fulfill their communal responsibility? There are lots of us who do just that and are in interesting positions of power. I just don't understand why we care that Rendell has MOT blood.

3 comments:

phil_in_ny said...

Listen, I brake with you here. Given Obama's anti-semitic friends, I'm surprised you feel that way.

As a Jew, it's just as important to me who's on radar. It sure as hell ain't Obama.

You're more than entitled to your opinion, but the majority of us don't share your point of view.

Anonymous said...

Maybe instead of deciding who Jews ought to feel pride about, you might try to accentuate the positive a bit more. I've learned as a teacher that you can get a lot more out of at least the smaller students if you can catch them being good and praise them for it.

I don't particularly follow Pennsylvania politics, but when the Governor does something good, something in line with Jewish values, maybe he needs praise for doing it. It might not be within the boundaries of the Jewish community, but good is good after all.

Liberal Jew said...

phil-

I have no idea what you are talking about. Being critical of Israel or its policy isn't anti-Semitism. Otherwise I don't even think that your comment has any connection to my post. That said thanks for reading!

anon-

No question about it. Good deeds are good deeds. But my question has more to do with the rush to claim people as Jews. I don't understand the continual thinking that we need all these people if they don't need us.