Post Reply
Page 4 of 5  •  Prev 1 2 3 4 5 Next
2 years ago  ::  Apr 13, 2012 - 1:37AM #31
Bunsinspace
Posts: 5,922

Apr 13, 2012 -- 1:09AM, nieciedo wrote:


...


What I would need is a community of Jews who consider themselves part of the American culture and not separate or distinct from it, who are not obsessed with Israel, who do not play the "I'm-more-observant-than-you" game, who reject the absurd and far-fetched burdens of Jewish law like separate dishes and no electricity on Shabbat, who don't go overboard during Pesach and recognize that corn syrup isn't leavening and you don't need to tinfoil your fridge, but who also believe in the reality and immanence of the Divine and not some philosophical construct, who believe that people deserve help based on their need regardless of whether they're Jewish, who don't consider it a shame if a Jew has a lot of non-Jewish friends or gives money to non-Jewish charities, who don't pretend a mystical unity of peoplehood exists among all self-professed Jews.


No such community, however, seems to exist. 




BS"D


I had always thought the Reform, Reconstructionist and Humanist Jewish communities had achieved those particular goals in varying degrees.  What would be wrong with checking them out?


To me a Jew is a Jew and there should be a community for every Jew.  And if there isn't we temporarily make one - like the Chavurah movement.   No need for you to stay where you feel stifled.  That is like going back to mitzrayim.  Don't stay in Mitzrayim even if it is filled with Jews.  You are obviously called to better things.   You DESERVE better things.  If you cannot change your community to accommodate your needs find one that will or make a new one.  Yiddishkeit does NOT sing when it is caged.  If the divine is hidden the Jew suffers.  Go to a community where the presence of the divine is more to your expectations.  You need to grow, not be miserable.


I guess you are faced with a choice similar to the one Avram failed to make himself but his dad Terah made for him.  Be stronger than Avram.  Make the move yourself.


P.S.  There is no diversity if you are forced to accept other's tenets as your own.  You can associate with a person for what you have in common rather than avoiding them for how seriously you differ.  That is the wisdom of the divine as practiced by King Solomon and that which is needed to be practiced in Israel today IMHO.

Quick Reply
Cancel
2 years ago  ::  Apr 13, 2012 - 9:16AM #32
Pam34
Posts: 2,654

Renewal, definitely.



That said, you are never in this life, EVER, going to find ANY community of whatever 'faith' or ideology, where every single member of that group is going to be an avatar of idealogical perfection at all times.



But you should definitely check out some Renewal groups - probably more than one because they vary a lot. Renewal-variations occur within most organized movements (except perhaps, the ultra-orthodox) and also as a varietal all their own.



But really, mostly you need to get out of New York City. Go somewhere with more sunshine, too. Phoenix maybe.




(BTW, (just my burning curiosity) which of those two did you 'like'? Yitz or Dennis? I happen to 'like' both of them, to some degree. Of course, Yitz was intelligent enough to marry Blu, which gives him extra points.)

Blessed are You, HaShem, Who blesses the years.
Quick Reply
Cancel
2 years ago  ::  Apr 13, 2012 - 9:48AM #33
howiedds
Posts: 2,687

Pam:


Yitz is really something, isn't he? He has about 40 "groupies" here in Dallas going on 38 years now. It all began for us when he came every month in 1973-1974 to get us ready for a trip to Israel. We've stayed in touch and have continued learning with him over all these years.

Quick Reply
Cancel
2 years ago  ::  Apr 13, 2012 - 9:58AM #34
Bunsinspace
Posts: 5,922

BS"D


OK I'm going to borrow a page from mainstream Jewish mystisicm.


We believe there is a god and we understand that both good and evil flow from above - meaning that an unaided human being can make no distinction between the methodology of good and evil in accomplishing their desires in this world.


But if we believe in god then we must acknowledge that for ourselves we are the expression of the divine through which we are most intimately famililar.  It is in that arena that the real work must be done if we are to align ouselves with the "light" (good, divine will, halakha in its spiritual dimension)


And for mystics this has become a group effort in this age.


But for one who realizes that their spiritual life is falling behind their physical life, for the one whose observance of the divine mitzvos has become so ingrained as to be automatic - as expected and desired - the hunger for the light is kindled and one oppresses that hunger at the expense of one's own soul.


The soul which is determined to return to the light which is its source cannot be hindered except at great cost.  The restlessness of the soul to return to the light cannot be denied by human effort alone without impairing the mind and body.


So understand that you are the center of all things for yourself.  Respect that position because if you lose it you lose your humility, your perspective and your ability to act appropriately.


The divine created you from a unique blueprint of living molecules (dust of the Earth) and the resultant organism has somehow attained the desire to connect more directly with the source of its existence.


This can only happen when the person sets out and achieves a lifestyle of observance so as to condition one's body and mind to follow the ways of the light - that which illumines the distinction between the power of good and the power of evil.  Apart from the light there exists no practical distinction discernable by the mind of man.


But one who acknowledges the thirst of their soul for the divine is compelled to pursue that path and that encompasses ALL of creation.


I stop here because beyond this I cannot go - I do not believe in the notion of the mystics that our thoughts influence the Earth to create macro-phenomenon like weather and earthquakes.  But if it is true then the chaos reigning upon the Earth is a direct reflection of our collective soul as a species - and likewise the harmony.


So if you have the desire to align yourself with the divine good - do everything you can to pursue and not hinder the leading and desire of your heart.  Realize that physical communities limited by location on Earth are the clothing of the past.  When you reach out to the light your soul is attmepting to grow beyond its boundaries of space and time into which it is cast as an ego construct.  Use all the dicipline you have attained in making halakhic living automatic in your life and grow into what you were destined to become - what you chose to become - what your choices in the past now compell you to become - a conscious agent for the divine good in ALL of Creation - not just your local Jewish community.


This probably makes little to no sense for those not familiar with mystical Judaism, and if so please ignore it - for it requires that you attain that "automatic" disciplined conditioning of the soul and body to follow halakha and seek the divine good for yourself, your fellow yidden and all of Creation.  If one has not reached that level and is still subject to going off half-cocked into some form of evil mysticism is not yet for you.  Your moment-by-moment deeds are the measuring stick of your spiritual progress.  If your moind and bodied are conditioned by halakha to discern the divine good - you are ready.  If you commit evil intentionally or unintentionally you are deluding yourself if you think you are ready.  If you are not ready master at the very last the mitzvos of the Shabbos and the T'fillin until it seeps into your soul - for these two mitzvos are one fundamental measure of the spirituality of the Jewish people.

Quick Reply
Cancel
2 years ago  ::  Apr 13, 2012 - 10:04AM #35
nieciedo
Posts: 5,617
Pam:
I like Yitz. I despise Dennis he has had a change of heart, he believes that gay people destroy civilizations and that Muslims can be trusted to serve as elected officials.

Buns: the "liberal" Jewish movements have pretty much set up the State of Israel in place of the God of Israel as the object of worship and veneration.
Quick Reply
Cancel
2 years ago  ::  Apr 13, 2012 - 10:05AM #36
nieciedo
Posts: 5,617
Make that "unless" Dennis has had a change of heart.
Quick Reply
Cancel
2 years ago  ::  Apr 13, 2012 - 10:24AM #37
Bunsinspace
Posts: 5,922

Apr 13, 2012 -- 10:04AM, nieciedo wrote:

... Buns: the "liberal" Jewish movements have pretty much set up the State of Israel in place of the God of Israel as the object of worship and veneration.



BS"D


That is true, historically.  But you do not live in Israel.  You have already glimpsed a greater world.  There are indigenous peoples that have not lost touch with their ties to the land.  How much more American can you get?


As I recall Jews were supposed to be the "salt of the Earth," not a huge block that causes all kinds of issues.  We were supposed to be strong enough to be bulwarks of justice and compassion wherever we ended up.  But it became far too easy for us to seek our own nationalism, forgetting that we are ALREADY a people and if we live as such the entire world, which belongs to the divine, is desiring to receive us - as real caring human beings.


So forget Israel.  Torah comes first.  The Jewish people comes first.  Creation comes first.. Israel is only incidental to that.  Be yourself and live as only you can.

Quick Reply
Cancel
2 years ago  ::  Apr 13, 2012 - 5:10PM #38
Pam34
Posts: 2,654

hmm - well, dan - I find that I can 'like' quite a lot of people without having to totally agree with them all the time. After all, while we are in life, we can always change our minds - but not if we never spend any time with or don't talk to, the people we don't agree with.



So if Dennis hasn't changed his mind YET - there is always the chance that he will, right? He's not stupid, at least.



We are getting pretty far off into the minutiae of personalities within the Jewish world, though, aren't we! The OP is going to be so lost...



Blessed are You, HaShem, Who blesses the years.
Quick Reply
Cancel
2 years ago  ::  Jul 12, 2012 - 8:00AM #39
river8101
Posts: 5,553

Nieciedo,


Come to my neighborhood!  It's a very large and friendly neighborhood, and AFAIK, mostly Jews of all kinds (as that's the way our neighborhoods were set up long ago.)  Years ago, many of the communities and neighborhoods in our city were restricted against Jews. So, most moved into one huge area; the NW section of the county.  In the early days, there was one large Orthodox synagogue and two Protestant churches separating the Jewish and Christian neighborhoods which were across the street from each other, and most of the  Jews lived nearby and "walked" to shul.  But much has changed over the years, and everybody has since moved into the new suburbia.  Today on Shabbos, or High Holidays, the parking lots are filled because most everybody drives to shul and/or temple. (Some belong to both.)  Police are needed to direct traffic on High Holidays, as many drive now.  As the population moved further out of the city and into the suburbs, houses went up where only a few months before was once farm land or woods. Even deer populated the neighborhoods.   In time their children grew up there and built their homes even further out.


One well known Reform Temple, once populated mainly by German Jews, rebuilt out in the suburbs.  As  Jewish families moved into suburbia, new younger people joined, many of them not of German descent and two more large Reform temples were built even further out in the country.  Younger Orthodox Jews joined the two new large suburban Conservative shuls, with plenty of parking and some even preferred Reform. The old large Orthodox shul where my parents and I once attended also rebuilt far out into new areas, with parking lots to accommodate older orthodox Jews who lived too far to walk.  Bar or Bat Mitzvahs occured all the time in all the different branches, and "orthodox" Jewish girls were no longer Bat Mitzvah in a class as I was, but individually on the bema.  Back in the day, golf courses and their country clubs were restricted.   So the JCC, and other Jewish clubs, once in the city, found new land even further out and built their own clubs, some with large swimming pools inside and out, and some with beautiful golf courses and other activities around the clock.  Buses picked up our kids from school and took them to Hebrew school.  And, I doubt few families keep strictly kosher anymore.  But, even in the new areas a large kosher supermarket and small kosher grocery stores attracted Jewish people of all kinds.


When I was growing up, we lived slightly over the border that separated the "non restricted" Christian neighborhoods from the Jewish ones.  Back then, there were no Reform temples nearby, only one large Orthodox shul.  In those days my parents and I walked the distance to the big Orthodox shul, but my mom and I only went on High Holidays.  My dad went more often, mainly if he had to say kaddish.  Yet, neither of my parents were orthodox at home.   We did have Shabbos every Friday night, mom lit the candles and my dad said Kiddish in Hebrew.   BUT, back then, the neighborhood school zones put me on the Christian side of the school system, and my elementary school was filled with Christians.  I endured antisemitism from the kids in school, and even from some of the teachers. Sometimes, even our home was violated by Jew hatred.


When I was in my teens, the "Teens for Christ" (whatever their name was) who lived nearby, were always trying to convert me, threatening me with eternity in hell if I didn't accept Jesus Christ as my savior.  They never left me alone. 


Now, my best friend, a Methodist, (we're still best friends)  was angry that I started hanging around with them when I told her how they kept trying to convert me.  Though I sang in her Methodist church choir for 2 years, no one ever tried to convert me. The minister was very kind and liberal, and his sermons had nothing to do with non Christians going to hell.  Mainly he preached how God wanted us to be good and charitable to each other, giving examples of how important it was to be good citizens and help the poor.  Most of the kids in our choir didn't pay much attention to the sermons, but whispered among ourselves.  Because I was a budding musician at 14, I chose to sing there (as the only synagogue in the old neighborhood where I still lived was orthodox, and girls couldn't sing in the choir.)  Church had 3 choirs.  (very musical church!) The tots, the teens and the adults, seated abit separately.   Choir master also ran the Reform Temple's choir as well, and tried to get me to join, but it wasn't nearby, and I didn't know anybody.


My best friend learned of this new problem with the "born again" Christian girls, and I told her of my ongoing confusion. She disapproved with a simple answer.   "If God wanted you to be a Christian, he would have made you a Christian, but he wanted you to be a Jew, and that's what you are!  Don't hang around with those girls anymore!"  But her disapproval didn't help because two of the girls lived next door and one was a good friend.  The leaders lived up the street.  Furthermore,  they kept coming around.  Eventually the leader of the troop who was 17 suddenly fell in love, got married ... to a Catholic!  and converted!  Imagine my surprise! (Why?  Because, before she fell in love, she insisted that Jews and Catholics were all going to hell.) Amazing what happens when you fall in love! About then, I became more confused. Her new defense was, that all those who believed in Jesus went to heaven.   Then, another young girl in the group married a Catholic also, converted, and the little group fell apart.


After a couple years, we moved, and I flew away to college and forgot all about it .... well... not entirely .... I wanted to know more and I'm sure that was the underlying reason I became interested in ancient history and religions, so eventually after getting my degree in music, studied Cultural Anthropology in a college in my hometown of Maryland. I had begun to read a lot in the library about ancient religions; their practices, beliefs, mythologies and how they grew.  I also  read more about what happened to the Jews through all those years.  I was mortified!  Though I heard about some of it from my mother, I was young, so it wasn't 'till after I read about it in books, that it really became clear and I understood.  I no longer wondered about Christianity, I hated it for what they had done to the Jewish people for centuries.


To avoid what happened to me,  I raised my children in a Jewish neighborhood, and they went to Sunday/Hebrew school. Because of the neighborhood we chose, their schools were populated with mostly Jews.  All married now, one son and his family joined Chabad (which none of us quite understood) but they don't seem very different from the rest of our family.   My other son, my daughter, my husband and I think of ourselves today as "cultural" Jews.   Our relation to Judaism is through our Jewish family, our history, culture, ethical values and especially shared experiences of the Jewish people.  I think many of our neighbors feel the same way, as I know very few who are strictly orthodox anymore and none that have converted.  The rest of my extended family for the most part are mainly Reform or Conservative.


So you see, Nieciedo, not all Jews are like the ones you have met.

“Faith is deciding to allow yourself to believe something your intellect would otherwise cause you to reject.”
Quick Reply
Cancel
2 years ago  ::  Jul 14, 2012 - 7:46AM #40
river8101
Posts: 5,553

Maybe you should take Pam's advice and get out of New York. 

“Faith is deciding to allow yourself to believe something your intellect would otherwise cause you to reject.”
Quick Reply
Cancel
Page 4 of 5  •  Prev 1 2 3 4 5 Next
 
    Viewing this thread :: 0 registered and 1 guest
    No registered users viewing
    Advertisement

    Beliefnet On Facebook