Friday, March 19, 2010

The ridiculous Jerusalem incident and the US’s lack of a chief rabbi


Jewish date:  4 Nisan 5770 (Parashath Wayyiqra’).

Today’s holidays:  Saint Joseph's Day (Roman Catholicism), Bahá’í Month of Fasting (Bahá’í Faith), Eve of the Holy Season (Thelema), Mojoday (Discordianism).

Worthy causes of the day:  “Save the Internet: Take Action!:  Stop the Great Internet Rip-Off”, “American Heart Association - Reinventing Healthcare:  Time to Act: Tell Your Representative to "Vote YES"”, “Heart Disease and Stroke. You’re the Cure.:  Tell your Senator NOW is the time to protect South Carolina kids”, and “Save BioGems: Take Action: Stop Pebble Mine”.

Topic 1:  More on the ridiculous Jerusalem incident:  “Special Report: Making Sense of the Jerusalem Crisis” dismantles the ideas that adding new housing to Ramath Shelomo prevents peace between Israel and stateless Arabs and that the Ḥurvah Synagogue undermines the Temple Mount (from 330 meters away).  Also noted is that the stateless Arabs thought this would be a great time to name a public square after terrorist Dalal Mughrabi, who in 1978 murdered 38 and wounded 71; it is a glaring double standard to consider planning to build housing a provocation but not honoring a murderer.  Rav Shmuley Boteach argues in “Obama’s Bullying of Israel” that Israel is under no obligation to do whatever the United States government wants it to do.  Israel is an independent country with a functional government, not US territory, and the duty of its government is to act in Israel’s best interest, not that of the US.  Correctly noted is that the governments of other nations who receive aid from the US are not held by anyone to do whatever the US wants them to.  Yaakov Kirschen in his Dry Bones cartoon also puts in his two cents in “Latest News (1990)” and “The Response”.

Topic 2:  Also by Rav Boteach:  “Why America Has No Chief Rabbi”.  Rav Boteach argues that the lack of an obligatory rabbinical hierarchy in the USA is a good thing.  Rabbis here are free to innovate and act as they believe right, as they are not beholden to a system in which they must take politics into account.  A rigid hierarchy collectively works to protect itself and can easily stifle anything that does not fit well with what the hierarchy is trying to do.  Though Rav Boteach contrasts the USA with the UK, arguably the problem exists elsewhere and even within the USA in more hierarchically organized groups.  It also is not limited to Judaism.  Contrast the USA and Europe in general; the USA, without any official state religion or obligatory religious hierarchies, is the most religious country in the West, while Europe, which has multiple official state religions, is infamous for religious indifference and secularism.  I hope that the Chief Rabbinate of Israel takes this to mind; I have already heard about too many scandals and political maneuvers over there.  When we get a Sanhedhrin again, they last thing we need is for it to be try to squash people trying to take initiative in doing what YHWH wants.

Topic 3:  For today’s religious humor:  Since Pesaḥ (Passover) will be soon:  “The 2010 Facebook Haggadah” and “Robots of the R&D Institute for Intelligent Robotic Systems, Computer Science Department”:

Peace and Shabbath shalom.

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