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1 researchok  Tue, Apr 12, 2011 2:10:05pm

I suspect they posted this for the notoriety and public exposure.

Just like most of the other moron bigots.

2 Bob Levin  Tue, Apr 12, 2011 2:15:53pm

I guess now is the chance. Bear with me.

It's possible in Judaism to lose the Jewishness. For instance, if Bernie Madoff were to discuss life with me and he said something like 'us Jews', I would say, 'just a second, you might have lost that aspect of yourself.' The same thing with Ron Hirsh, who just blew up a synagogue. 'I'm not sure you get to say that you're Jewish.'

Of course, they were born Jewish, but you can lose it. The Torah has certain specific instances where such a change in status occurs, but to me, the salient point is that such a change CAN occur. There are those who would say that only in the specific instances cited in Halacha can this occur. Otherwise, every Jew would be arguing whether every other Jew is a Jew. Of course, it's not for us to decide, but I think we can point out that the question is raised.

Now, is there such a provision in Islam?

I say this because around the world, some very nasty people seem to be hiding under the umbrella of Islam. Specifically, in Israel, Hamas, Hezbollah, and Fatah seem to be doing some things that, if they were Jewish, they would lose their Jewishness, at the very least.

Now, if they were to lose their privilege of being Muslim, we are left with some other people who are still Muslim, but trapped inside of three murderous cultures--that are simply murderous cultures, not interpretations of the Koran.

Does this seem right? Can a Muslim lose their Muslimness?

3 HappyBenghazi  Tue, Apr 12, 2011 3:10:15pm

David Duke, seriously?

4 Gus  Tue, Apr 12, 2011 3:58:24pm

They won't take it down. In fact, they just added another David Duke video. This one is from an interview on CNN titled: From KKK to Iran Rally.

5 Gus  Tue, Apr 12, 2011 4:10:15pm

Found this from the National Post:

Ex-KKK leader featured on Muslim group's website
Stewart Bell, National Post · Apr. 10, 2011 | Last Updated: Apr. 10, 2011 10:56 PM ET

A Canadian Muslim group is making no apologies for its Internet site, which features a video address by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.

In the 12-minute video on the Canadian Shia Muslims Organization website, Mr. Duke espouses conspiracy theories about what he calls “Zionist running dogs.”

Nowhere does the website say that Mr. Duke is the founder of the Louisiana Knights of the KKK and one-time Grand Wizard of the white supremacist group.

Asked about the video, the Markham, Ont.-based Muslim group responded with an email saying it would not discuss the matter unless the press reported on “the Islamaphobic [sic] hate propaganda going on here in Canada.”

The video was still posted on the site on Sunday.

The Canadian Jewish Congress said it believed there were grounds to lodge a complaint to police over the website, which it said may be in violation of Canada’s hate laws.

Read the whole thing.

Notice it says "video" and not "videos". Like I noted above, they added another David Duke video this afternoon. Here is that video of the crazed rantings of David Duke:

David Duke CNN Interview

6 Gus  Tue, Apr 12, 2011 4:12:26pm

re: #5 Gus 802

Found this from the National Post:

Ex-KKK leader featured on Muslim group's website
Stewart Bell, National Post · Apr. 10, 2011 | Last Updated: Apr. 10, 2011 10:56 PM ET

Notice it says "video" and not "videos". Like I noted above, they added another David Duke video this afternoon. Here is that video of the crazed rantings of David Duke:

David Duke CNN Interview

[Video]

Thought I'd also add this excerpt from the National Post article:

The Canadian Shia Muslim Organization was incorporated in 2008 to “support multiculturalism” and “interfaith dialogue.” Federal records list the directors as Munir Hussain Syed, Riaz Husain and Syed Fayyaz Mehdi Rizvi.

The group’s address is a postal box in Markham. It has no phone listing. In its literature, it calls itself “a grassroots organization of Canadian Shia Muslims that operates above racial, gender and ethnicity considerations.” Its stated aim is to “represent all Canadian Shia Muslims to promote and ensure their participation in religious and political arenas of the Canadian society.”

7 Gus  Tue, Apr 12, 2011 4:14:19pm

And here's something from "The American Muslim" website:

Canadian Shia Muslim Organization (CASMO) Joins the Muslim Lunatic Fringe
Sheila Musaji

According to the Canada National Post, a Canadian Muslim organization’s website features a video address by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.

The article says that they contacted the organization and received the following response: Asked about the video, the Markham, Ont.-based Muslim group responded with an email saying it would not discuss the matter unless the press reported on “the Islamaphobic hate propaganda going on here in Canada.”

The article also gave some background on the organization The Canadian Shia Muslim Organization was incorporated in 2008 to “support multiculturalism” and “interfaith dialogue.” Federal records list the directors as Munir Hussain Syed, Riaz Husain and Syed Fayyaz Mehdi Rizvi. The group’s address is a postal box in Markham. It has no phone listing. In its literature, it calls itself “a grassroots organization of Canadian Shia Muslims that operates above racial, gender and ethnicity considerations.” Its stated aim is to “represent all Canadian Shia Muslims to promote and ensure their participation in religious and political arenas of the Canadian society.”

I went to the CASMO site to check this out, and the video is there on the main page (as of 4/12/2011). The sites “about us” section included this statement “To encourage and support multiculturalism by integration and active participation of Muslims in Canadian civil society”

How is it possible that an organization who has such a positive goal can include a video by a hate-monger? How is it possible that Muslims could raise the question of Islamophobia while at the same time hosting a video by someone like David Duke?

Continues.

8 CuriousLurker  Tue, Apr 12, 2011 4:16:34pm

re: #4 Gus 802

They won't take it down. In fact, they just added another David Duke video. This one is from an interview on CNN titled: From KKK to Iran Rally.

re: #5 Gus 802

Found this from the National Post:

Ex-KKK leader featured on Muslim group's website
Stewart Bell, National Post · Apr. 10, 2011 | Last Updated: Apr. 10, 2011 10:56 PM ET

Notice it says "video" and not "videos". Like I noted above, they added another David Duke video this afternoon. Here is that video of the crazed rantings of David Duke:

David Duke CNN Interview

[Video]

Ugh. I guess that's their bigoted hateful way of of proving they can be twice as nasty. We need to make an award for people who pull this kind of crap, like the Annual Asshat Award or something.

9 CuriousLurker  Tue, Apr 12, 2011 4:20:46pm

re: #7 Gus 802

And here's something from "The American Muslim" website:

Canadian Shia Muslim Organization (CASMO) Joins the Muslim Lunatic Fringe
Sheila Musaji

I'm not surprised—she does her homework. I don't agree with her positions on everything, but she has a wealth of info on her site regarding extremism (both by and towards Muslims), and she's been around for a long time.

10 researchok  Tue, Apr 12, 2011 4:25:43pm

I can only imagine what Pam Geller will do with this.

She won't be happy excoriating these lunatics only.

I expect an epic, bigoted rant.

11 RadicalModerate  Tue, Apr 12, 2011 4:28:20pm

So, now CASMO can claim that they share a common ground with the Tea Party movement, who Duke has a strong support for, and has addressed (via video, since he lived in the Czech Republic at the time) at meetings/rallies.

Hint: do a Google search for "David Duke Tea Party" and marvel at the half-million hits, including links to his video messages.

12 Gus  Tue, Apr 12, 2011 4:37:53pm

I put together a screen grab of the website with arrows indicating the location of the David Duke videos which you can view either here or here.

13 CuriousLurker  Tue, Apr 12, 2011 4:43:34pm

re: #2 Bob Levin

Of course, they were born Jewish, but you can lose it. The Torah has certain specific instances where such a change in status occurs, but to me, the salient point is that such a change CAN occur. There are those who would say that only in the specific instances cited in Halacha can this occur. Otherwise, every Jew would be arguing whether every other Jew is a Jew. Of course, it's not for us to decide, but I think we can point out that the question is raised.

Now, is there such a provision in Islam?

As you've mentioned with regard to Judaism and the Torah/Halacha, there are also specific instances cited in the Qur'an/Sharia where a Muslim would cease being Muslim. For the same reason you cited above (...every Jew would be arguing whether every other Jew is a Jew...), those instances are technically the only ones that count.

I say this because around the world, some very nasty people seem to be hiding under the umbrella of Islam. Specifically, in Israel, Hamas, Hezbollah, and Fatah seem to be doing some things that, if they were Jewish, they would lose their Jewishness, at the very least.

Now, if they were to lose their privilege of being Muslim, we are left with some other people who are still Muslim, but trapped inside of three murderous cultures--that are simply murderous cultures, not interpretations of the Koran.

Does this seem right? Can a Muslim lose their Muslimness?

IMHO, yes. The way that you feel about the lost Jewishness of Bernie Madoff (and I assume others like the JDL, TNT, Baruch Goldstein, Yigal Amir, etc.) is the same way I and many other Muslims feel about Hamas, Hezbollah, Fatah, AQ, Nidal Malik Hasan, etc.

IOW, someone can be a thieving, murderous, fanatical asshole and still technically  be considered a Muslim (though a very sinful one), but I can't identify with them in any way. Feelings are probably different amongst some Muslims in the ME, and undoubtedly amongst even larger portions of Muslims in the West Bank & Gaza, but I can't speak to or for those people as I've never walked a mile in their shoes. That being said, two wrongs don't make a right—i.e. whatever their grievances are, supporting or participating in bad behavior is still a transgression.

A more personal example:
Years ago—when Saddam was still in power and we were bombing Iraq regularly, we're talking 1998-99 or so—I went to Friday prayers at a mosque in NJ. The guy giving the khutba (sermon) started ranting about how the U.S. was using WMD against Saddam, and since he was our "Muslim brother" we (Muslims) should use WMD against the U.S.

There were quite a few American Muslim women & children present that day, and we all sort of just gaped at each other as our jaws hit the floor in unison. Me being who I am, it took every ounce of my willpower not to jump up and start ranting. My brother?? That mass murdering scum and his murdering, raping, thieving offspring are supposed to be people I freaking identify with and want to avenge simply because he's technically still a Muslim? Um, NO. He's not my bleeping "brother" in any sense of the word. Needless to say, I gave the board members of that mosque a piece of my mind later that day and never went back there again.

Hope that answers your question.

//I'm too lazy to go back and look for my typos today, so just read around them.

14 CuriousLurker  Tue, Apr 12, 2011 4:45:53pm

re: #10 researchok

I can only imagine what Pam Geller will do with this.

She won't be happy excoriating these lunatics only.

I expect an epic, bigoted rant.

Yeah, as she stands around holding hands with her European version of Duke & the KKK.

15 HappyBenghazi  Tue, Apr 12, 2011 4:47:17pm

re: #14 CuriousLurker

Yeah, as she stands around holding hands with her European version of Duke & the KKK.

I was thinking the same. Not like Pam cares about that though. To hell with fascism.

16 CuriousLurker  Tue, Apr 12, 2011 4:47:50pm

re: #11 RadicalModerate

So, now CASMO can claim that they share a common ground with the Tea Party movement, who Duke has a strong support for, and has addressed (via video, since he lived in the Czech Republic at the time) at meetings/rallies.

Hint: do a Google search for "David Duke Tea Party" and marvel at the half-million hits, including links to his video messages.

E gad, I just googled it. There's apparently an infinite supply of bad crazy in the world.

17 CuriousLurker  Tue, Apr 12, 2011 4:48:32pm

re: #12 Gus 802

I put together a screen grab of the website with arrows indicating the location of the David Duke videos which you can view either here or here.

Thanks!

18 reine.de.tout  Tue, Apr 12, 2011 4:49:21pm

re: #13 CuriousLurker

IOW, someone can be a thieving, murderous, fanatical asshole and still technically be considered a Muslim (though a very sinful one), but I can't identify with them in any way.

Replace "Muslim" with "Christian", and I could have written that statement.

19 Gus  Tue, Apr 12, 2011 4:54:04pm

I just Tweeted this to Jack Layton (Leader, Canada's New Democrats).

@Gus_802 Gus
@jacklayton Canadian Shia Muslim Group Website CASMO Features Anti-Semitic David Duke Video [Link: lgf.bz...] #LGF #NDP #Cdnpoli #elxn41

20 Bob Levin  Tue, Apr 12, 2011 5:37:27pm

re: #13 CuriousLurker

Thanks, yes it does answer...the first part of my question. Here's the second part.

Do you feel in any way captive to the...call them faux Muslims? Because I understand that if I were to visit Israel, I would automatically be a target of this same group.

So, what do we do? I'm not sure that exposing them is all that effective, since they take the exposure as a victory and source of pride. Violence certainly isn't the answer. (I'll tell you, I've had this discussion with quite a few observant Jews, and the conversation gets to this point and stops. We're entering the vacant stare part of the program, followed by Act III, avoidance.)

But I can't think of a more important religious question.

21 What, me worry?  Tue, Apr 12, 2011 8:54:20pm

re: #20 Bob Levin

Thanks, yes it does answer...the first part of my question. Here's the second part.

Do you feel in any way captive to the...call them faux Muslims? Because I understand that if I were to visit Israel, I would automatically be a target of this same group.

So, what do we do? I'm not sure that exposing them is all that effective, since they take the exposure as a victory and source of pride. Violence certainly isn't the answer. (I'll tell you, I've had this discussion with quite a few observant Jews, and the conversation gets to this point and stops. We're entering the vacant stare part of the program, followed by Act III, avoidance.)

But I can't think of a more important religious question.

I think we have to recognize that everyone can spin an ideology to their own violent means. Meanwhile, Christians, Jews, Muslims, (whomever) will say, "They don't represent us" but you'll never stop others from disparaging the whole group. Every Jew feels a horrible pain when confronted with Jack Abramoffs and Bernie Madoffs. It sets us back. I suppose Christians feel the same about Fred Phelps and Terry Jones.

"Western" Muslims have a bigger problem. Removing themselves from extremism while retaining their customs and religion. And trying to make the world understand that it isn't ALL like that.

Which is why I think we have to help. Tackling the issue from a different angle may be more healing. That is, say, a "million person march" on the Capitol of all religious groups, mainly the Big 3, in a peaceful, hippy hugging, love fest. hehe But I'm serious. Small town city marches or gatherings would be good start, but something huge that could be publicized, especially around the world would be awesome. In the least to show that Americans, the model melting pot, can rise above this.

22 Bob Levin  Tue, Apr 12, 2011 9:58:20pm

re: #21 marjoriemoon

Although your suggestion would be a significant media event, do you think it would change a single vote in the UN? Would it make that Canadian group take down their David Duke video? (Or might they put up two more just to show the Americans they can't be pushed around?) Would it cause one rocket launcher in Southern Lebanon to be dismantled? Would it help any of the many Muslims living in the West Bank and Gaza to escape those areas in order to actually practice their religion? Would it stop the BBC from perpetuating its three-pronged stereotype that Israelis are evil, that Palestinians are helpless victims, and that predominantly Islamic nations can't take care of themselves without the help of the British Foreign Office? Would it change the fact that both you and I would be targets if we were to visit Israel?

I'm not convinced that the answer to any of those questions would be yes.

Let me take your thought experiment a little further. Let's say that this event actually happens, the Million Mensch March. And we're there at the steps of the Capital. There are speakers, music, nice drugs...but no cameras. The media doesn't show up. Will this event have just as much of an impact, or do the cameras have to be there? If you say that the cameras have to be there, then I would ask--why would we think the cameras can solve the problem when it's the cameras that have actually had a significant role in creating the problem?

23 Vicious Babushka  Wed, Apr 13, 2011 4:59:59am

re: #2 Bob Levin

Of course, they were born Jewish, but you can lose it. The Torah has certain specific instances where such a change in status occurs, but to me, the salient point is that such a change CAN occur.

There is no point at which you can lose your Judaism. "Yisrael af al pi sh'chata, Yisrael hu."

Where exactly in the Torah do these "specific instances" occur?

I do think there is a point at which a person loses the right to utter the words "as a Jew" but unfortunately most of those who preface their anti-Israel, anti-Zionist comments will begin with that phrase.

24 What, me worry?  Wed, Apr 13, 2011 7:36:59am

re: #22 Bob Levin

If you're asking me when and how bigotry will cease or when we'll start respecting each other, then the answer is never. But somewhere along the way, you have to rise above the hate. I think the majority of people want that, but the haters have the larger voice.

25 What, me worry?  Wed, Apr 13, 2011 7:38:16am

Oh PS, I love the "Million Mensch March" name hehe We don't need to stinkin cameras. We have iphones and the internet, remember?

26 Bob Levin  Wed, Apr 13, 2011 12:55:30pm

re: #23 Alouette

Kares. For all practical purposes, that's what's happening there. They can say what want, but if you're in a state of Kares, it is what it is.

I said that I might challenge those words. There are no courts that can make such a decree, and many arguments can be made whether it can even happen nowadays since we are all so screwed up, but there isn't any doubt that Judaism is both an obligation and a priviledge, according to the Torah. It's not an immutable fact of a person's character.

27 Bob Levin  Wed, Apr 13, 2011 12:59:45pm

re: #24 marjoriemoon

Actually, what I'm saying is that there is a very real danger out there that renders many conventional ideas and notions of fighting completely useless. And this danger affects everyone.

There's a point where bigotry becomes more than just a personal opinion, it essentially begins to hold cultures hostage and is threatening to other cultures.

28 Bob Levin  Wed, Apr 13, 2011 1:04:08pm

re: #25 marjoriemoon

So you're saying that this problem cannot be solved without some type of mass communication/media? This is a vital ingredient to the thought experiment?

29 Bob Levin  Wed, Apr 13, 2011 2:27:38pm

re: #26 Bob Levin

I should add that Judaism is something that you have to want to do, with all of your heart, every day. So it's an obligation and worldview that you lovingly embrace. Especially the debates. Which is why the cultural act of studying Torah is reading about debates.

30 b_snark  Wed, Apr 13, 2011 2:35:11pm

CL, you are an honourable woman.

31 What, me worry?  Wed, Apr 13, 2011 8:31:31pm

re: #27 Bob Levin

re: #28 Bob Levin

Actually, I think mass communication is helpful even necessary. The Egyptian revolution began through social networking. People were made aware of it around the world in the same way. There's a power there. I'd like to see it being used in the positive way to enlighten.

I realize that it's not just personal opinion, but an ideology of hatred that drives people to commit heinous acts. I don't think we can ever stop it completely. In some instances, war may be the only solution. The courts are another remedy, like how the KKK was stopped. I also think seeing some love can be influential.

You're point about Jewishness reminded me of the Neturei Karta. There was a call to excommunicate them years ago. I don't think that ever happened before that I'm aware. One of the many issues the rabbis had was that they would be associated with Orthodox and negatively influence people.

32 CuriousLurker  Wed, Apr 13, 2011 8:56:18pm

re: #23 Alouette

There is no point at which you can lose your Judaism. "Yisrael af al pi sh'chata, Yisrael hu."

Can someone translate that for the rest of us?

33 CuriousLurker  Wed, Apr 13, 2011 8:57:04pm

re: #25 marjoriemoon

Oh PS, I love the "Million Mensch March" name hehe

Heh, me too.

34 CuriousLurker  Wed, Apr 13, 2011 8:58:09pm

re: #30 b_sharp

CL, you are an honourable woman.

On my my good days, yeah. ;)

35 Bob Levin  Wed, Apr 13, 2011 9:06:15pm

re: #31 marjoriemoon

Actually, I think mass communication is helpful even necessary. The Egyptian revolution began through social networking. People were made aware of it around the world in the same way. There's a power there. I'd like to see it being used in the positive way to enlighten.

Okay. So do you think there is enough, whatever, to change the predominant views of Hamas, Hezbollah, the UN, the usual crowd? Because these groups have quite a bit of leverage right now, in terms of consciousness. I agree that the best we can do is drive it back under the rocks. I think my dad, who fought in WWII, thought it was driven under pretty well. But it's out again.

You're point about Jewishness reminded me of the Neturei Karta. There was a call to excommunicate them years ago. I don't think that ever happened before that I'm aware. One of the many issues the rabbis had was that they would be associated with Orthodox and negatively influence people.

No, I was talking about Kares, which is not excommunication. However, in order to define Kares, you'd have to live in a culture where 'soul' is not a theoretical term, 'self' is not simply associated with being selfish, and part of the definition of self includes ancestors. The closest word in the western lexicon is 'alienation', but that doesn't begin to describe the intense soulful pain that one feels. One analogy might be Wes Montgomery waking up one day and realizing he's forgotten how to play the guitar. And not in a Pat Martino way. Wes remembers all of his music, he just can't remember how to play anymore. I can't imagine any greater pain than that.

The concept is translated in this vague, numb way, of 'being spiritually cut off from your people'. Those words don't convey any feeling.

I don't even think we can excommunicate anyone. Does the Beis Din even have that authority?

36 CuriousLurker  Wed, Apr 13, 2011 9:41:00pm

re: #20 Bob Levin

Thanks, yes it does answer...the first part of my question. Here's the second part.

Do you feel in any way captive to the...call them faux Muslims? Because I understand that if I were to visit Israel, I would automatically be a target of this same group.

So, what do we do? I'm not sure that exposing them is all that effective, since they take the exposure as a victory and source of pride. Violence certainly isn't the answer. (I'll tell you, I've had this discussion with quite a few observant Jews, and the conversation gets to this point and stops. We're entering the vacant stare part of the program, followed by Act III, avoidance.)

But I can't think of a more important religious question.

I guess I feel captive in the sense that the haters & extremists make life difficult for the rest of us with their repeated bad behavior. It doesn't help that they have a lot of financial backing which allows them to disseminate their ideology.

When I first became Muslim back in '91, there weren't many American imams or sheikhs* with extensive Islamic knowledge like there are today. This means that the imams in the mosques either didn't speak English well, or of they did, they had grown up in a completely different culture and didn't have much understanding of (or interest in learning about) our specifically American problems & concerns. It also meant that the bookshelves of many mosques were filled with books from Saudi Arabia. IWO, back then you kinda just had to wing it and hope you eventually figured things out. That led to some people taking a pretty hard-line path becuase they assumed that was the right way.

Now there are plenty of imams & sheikhs who were either born in America or have been here for decades and have married, raised families, worked, etc.—i.e. they are much more assimilated & open minded than the old school guys. So now we have access to people who speak our language & understand Arabic and understand our culture. We also have access to many non-Saudi funded books, speeches, events, etc. The hard line stuff is still present, there's no denying that, it just isn't as prevalent as it used to be, nor does it go unchallenged—if we learned one thing from 9/11, it was that extremism wasn't something we could ignore.

As for exposing them, we really don't have a choice, do we? If we say nothing, then we are accused of not speaking. Even though many people have spoken out, they often aren't heard (see Gus's link to The American Muslim's web site—she has plenty of examples, starting on her home page). Not speaking out also leads people to believe that we tacitly approve of extremism and/or terrorism. (Even when we do speak out and are actually heard, we're often accused of taqqiyah by the Gellers & Spencers of the world.)

So what do we do? I dunno, I'm still working on that, but I guess one thing we do is get out there and mix in more with other (non-Muslim) Americans, let them get to know us and see that we're not all that different than they are. That's one of the main reasons I'm here, apart from the learning about politics & excellent company. ;o)

Does that answer work?

*An imam leads the prayers, but a sheikh is a scholar who is learned in Islamic jurisprudence, Qur'anic Arabic, etc. An imam can also be a sheikh and vice versa, but being one doesn't necessarily imply being the other. In everyday speech, calling someone "sheikh" can simply be a term of respect, usually reserved for an older person.

37 Bob Levin  Wed, Apr 13, 2011 9:47:17pm

re: #32 CuriousLurker


Generally, it means that even though Israel might seriously screw up, ultimately all will be forgiven.

Not explicitly said, is that we will seek forgiveness, and it will be granted.

This is usually the phrase used when refuting claims by other religions of our perfidy, and Christian claims of supercession--that the Jews have screwed up so badly that Gd has abandoned them, putting Christians in their vacated spiritual position.

But that does not negate the processes revolving around Kares.

This is the original phrase in Hebrew.

ישראל - אף על פי שחטא, ישראל הוא

38 CuriousLurker  Wed, Apr 13, 2011 9:48:15pm

re: #36 CuriousLurker

Again, please read around my typos. It's after midnight here and I'm to tired to go back and fix them.

39 CuriousLurker  Wed, Apr 13, 2011 9:50:18pm

re: #37 Bob Levin

Generally, it means that even though Israel might seriously screw up, ultimately all will be forgiven.

Not explicitly said, is that we will seek forgiveness, and it will be granted

Okay, thanks. We have that same concept.

40 CuriousLurker  Wed, Apr 13, 2011 9:52:46pm

re: #29 Bob Levin

I should add that Judaism is something that you have to want to do, with all of your heart, every day. So it's an obligation and worldview that you lovingly embrace. Especially the debates. Which is why the cultural act of studying Torah is reading about debates.

This is very nice. I like it.

41 Bob Levin  Wed, Apr 13, 2011 10:29:32pm

re: #36 CuriousLurker

Wow, yes, wonderful answer. And very appropriate with Passover coming up next week, which is about the latent power of the human spirit. This is why I asked Marjorie about the number of people--do we really need a million? And why I asked about the technology--perhaps the human spirit is stronger than smart phones? Could the smart phones be limiting, like playing baseball with a whiffle bat?

In a nutshell, here is the process of the Seder. We begin in slavery, in captivity. We are supposed to get into the mindset that we are enslaved. Culturally we're screwed, because our only definition of slavery is, for instance, Wes Montgomery in chains. However, our definition should be, Wes Montgomery not allowed to play the guitar, Wes so confused he doesn't know that he's even interested in guitar. Because that's where we are, it's still slavery.

In the second half of the Seder, we should begin to get a sense of who we are, and what we are about. We get a sense of the type of music we are capable of making, so to speak. And then, throughout the year, we try to become ourselves, we try to free ourselves from captivity, by daily facing this Nothingness that is a very tangible captor, to you, and a very tangible danger, to me.

For many people, facing this Nothingness is a terrifying concept, and rightly so. However, I suspect that the Spirit is stronger, and needs little more than the ability to stand quietly and occasionally bend. Plus a few bits of technology that are disguised as ritualistic symbols.

42 Bob Levin  Wed, Apr 13, 2011 10:45:35pm

re: #37 Bob Levin

Let me be less general about the phrase--just for accuracy.

There's a discussion about a person who might have converted to another religion, and the question is, are they still Jewish? And the answer is, yes because there is something inside of them which can never go away, and is very dear to Gd. And there are connections which cannot be severed.

So how does this reconcile with Kares ?

Too many pages to sort through. But this does not nullify Kares.

43 CuriousLurker  Fri, Apr 15, 2011 7:28:21am

re: #41 Bob Levin

What a excellent description of Passover. The way you asked questions and then made the responses analogous to the process of the Seder helped to clarify things in my mind, so thank you for giving me something to ponder and making my world a little richer.

This is why I so love teaching in story form. We can all learn something from each other's traditions when those traditions are explained in a caring way with the intent of creating bridges of identification & understanding that we can traverse to better understand one another (and ourselves). Well done!

44 Vicious Babushka  Fri, Apr 15, 2011 11:30:20am

re: #32 CuriousLurker

Can someone translate that for the rest of us?

"A Jew, even one who sins, remains a Jew"

45 CuriousLurker  Fri, Apr 15, 2011 11:32:54am

re: #44 Alouette

"A Jew, even one who sins, remains a Jew"

Thanks, Alouette.

46 Vicious Babushka  Fri, Apr 15, 2011 11:35:00am

re: #42 Bob Levin

Let me be less general about the phrase--just for accuracy.

There's a discussion about a person who might have converted to another religion, and the question is, are they still Jewish? And the answer is, yes because there is something inside of them which can never go away, and is very dear to Gd. And there are connections which cannot be severed.

So how does this reconcile with Kares ?

Too many pages to sort through. But this does not nullify Kares.

Kares really means that these sinners will eventually cut themselves off from their faith. Cherem (excommunication), which is related to the Arabic word haraam, is not practiced any more. I think the last time an official Cherem was performed was on Spinoza, in the 17th Century. There have been some oddball sects that have excommunicated some individuals with pulsa di nura and other ceremonies, but this is not the norm.

47 Bob Levin  Fri, Apr 15, 2011 12:28:38pm

re: #46 Alouette

I had this discussion with a rabbi yesterday. In Kares you are cut off from your people--meaning your ancestors, and your contemporaries. You've heard the phrase 'Gd, the Jewish people, and Israel are one', right? Well, if you cease being who you are, and the essence of who you are is in that covenant--

This is a serious consequence to our actions. If you explore the implications of this, it's fearsome. All because, for whatever reason, you cannot feel remorse over certain actions.

Like I said above, it's translated with numbness, kept away longer than arm's distance. We therefore can't feel or visualize the world that is being described--and unfortunately, we can't feel who we are. At each point where the external world is described through law, our internal universe is also being described. Our institutions have failed to hammer home this connection. And so we walk along with our pilot light turned way too low, not enough to make a bigger spark. It's a problem, to say the least.

It gets down to this question--if you view yourself a person who happens to be Jewish, then Kares ain't no big deal. But if you view yourself as a Jewish human being, then if it weren't for saving nature teshuva, you'd prefer death over Kares.

48 Bob Levin  Fri, Apr 15, 2011 12:30:49pm

re: #43 CuriousLurker

Thank you again. Couldn't have done it without your excellent and honest response.

50 CuriousLurker  Fri, Apr 15, 2011 3:07:54pm

re: #47 Bob Levin

On a side note to your discussion with Alouette, I just happened upon heresy in Orthodox Judaism on Wikipedia while looking up something else. I see the word kefira is used for this, which I assume is related to the Arabic word kafir (in much the same way cherem is related to the Arabic haraam, as Alouette also mentioned in #46).

Interesting stuff. Now I'm wondering if heresy is different in, say, Reform Judaism...but that can wait for another day as I know you guys are getting ready to break for Shabbos, with a big holiday soon to follow.

51 Bob Levin  Sat, Apr 16, 2011 6:16:00pm

re: #50 CuriousLurker

I think that Judaism is much closer to anarchy than other religions. The anarchy renders the concept of 'heresy' almost meaningless.

Nowadays, the religious focus of Judaism is in the synagogue--but there is no main synagogue, not even in Israel. You'll note that there are many synagogues around the world, which developed in two ways. One is proximity to those attending, and the other way is simply because of a profound disagreement with the other synagogues in the area.

In fact, there is an old joke about one man stranded on a deserted island for many years. On the day he is rescued it's discovered that he built two synagogues. What is that one for?, one rescuer asks. That's where I pray.
Then what's the other one for? That one?, he says, I would never go to that one.

A few months ago Barrett Brown was talking about anarchy. Barrett Brown doesn't know the first thing about anarchy. Jews have been anarchists since leaving Egypt. (But we think it's endearing.) 12 million Jews in the world, and according to all of us, every other Jew is a heretic. The concept no longer has meaning.

The term 'politically incorrect' has more meaning in popular culture than 'heresy' has in Judaism.

You're noticing a similarity between Hebrew and Arabic. Yes indeed, such a similarity does exist. Conceptually, I think Judaism is much closer to Asian philosophy, which is why there are so many Jew-Bus (Joo-Boos).

52 CuriousLurker  Sun, Apr 17, 2011 1:52:08pm

re: #51 Bob Levin

LOL, cute joke.

Thanks, once again, for your thoughts on the matter. This is like one of those "paint by numbers" pictures, where each little shape that's filled with a color gives the larger composition more depth & meaning.

53 Bob Levin  Sun, Apr 17, 2011 2:45:37pm

re: #52 CuriousLurker

And it never ends. This is feature, not a bug. ;-)


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