American Jews

Contentions blog has a short post about the Jewish vote for Obama.  I wrote a comment to that post, and share it with you here:

American Jews aren’t really Jewish anymore.  With regard to Prop. 8’s success in California (preserving male/female marriage), I told a disappointed Jewish acquaintance, who was blaming “fanatic” Christians, that most religions had male/female marriage as a fundamental tenet of the religion.  “Not my religion,” he said.  Who knew that Moses came down from the Mountain with a commandment mandating gay marriage?

In the same vein, another liberal Jew of my acquaintance, when I expressed concern that gay marriage could be used as a wedge for polygamy, assured me that this was no problem because “we always had polygamy until it became illegal.”  He was taken aback when I pointed out that the last legal polygamy in Judeo-Christian culture was at the time of the Biblical Patriarchs.

As I said, whatever American Jews are, they’re not really Jewish.

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  • BrianE

    The best friends Israel has are Evangelicals.
    The country is becoming increasingly hostile to Evangelicals and American Jews are as publically hostile to Evangelicals as any group in America.
    It will be increasingly difficult for Evangelicals to get elected to high office given this public hostility.
    Israel may soon be on its own.

  • Ymarsakar

    They are rich oligarchs fat and happy with exploiting those that can’t defend themselves.

    If they believe allying with the Left will spare them or their families in the end, they may wish to re-read history.

  • Ellie2

    Boomer Jews, children of the WWII generation, have been asserting since the 60’s that they were “cultural Jews” only i.e. they were of the race but not of the religion.

    There is no such thing as a “cultural” Christian. You are not born a Christian, it’s not in your genes. At some time (age and ritual differs among denominations) each Christian must publicly affirm his or her own faith.

    You are born a Jew (via your mother) and you are born a Muslim (via your father), but you cannot be born a Christian.

    There is no Christian equivalent of a “I’m cultural Jew.” There are those who say “I’m spiritural, but I’m not religious” but neither they nor the Christians regard such as “Christian.”

    Those that say secular Jews follow the “religion of Liberalism” speak no more than the truth. But BrianE, Israel (I and others believe) will never be on its own for “when God is for you who can be against you?”

  • Charles Martel

    Bookworm, I have to sadly agree with your conclusion.

    My wife is Jewish — I think. It turns out I, a Catholic, know more about her tradition than she does, much the same as you know more about Judaism than do your liberal Jewish friends.

    Her political positions — gay “marriage” is OK; “choice” is OK; you vote for a black man because it makes you feel good, not because he’s qualified — go totally against the grain of Judaism as it existed until the inventions and distortions of the Reform Movement.

    She believes in God, although I can never get her to describe just what it is that God made us for or would have us do.

    She has watched me over the years move from Marxism and radical politics to conservatism, a move that had an obviously profound effect on me. Yet she has never bothered to ask me why I changed. (Yes, I have politely asked her why she believes what she believes. No answer but shrugs.)

    I think in many cases when we’re talking about contemporary liberal American Jews, we’re talking about people who get a kick out of their mastery of Yiddishisms and the great urban humor of their grandparents, and maybe make some nods in the direction of vestigial traditions come the sabbath meal.

    Otherwise, God, and the commandments and the act of living as a dedicated Jew are anything from jokes to quaint relics.

    And Israel is an embarrassment.

  • Ymarsakar

    The Dems have a lock on blacks, women’s rights, Jews, and homosexuals.

    Coincidentally, all four are the ones that are going to be exterminated first when the allies of the New Democrats gain ascendancy over this world.

  • Bookworm

    Y, it is hard to imagine a more pithy way to make a very profound observation. You are absolutely right.

  • Ellie2

    PS: According to a close friend (whose parents immigrated to America in 1934, not out of fear or prescience, but because there were a lot of “Germans” in Wisconsin), upper class Jews in Germany in the 30’s & 40’s considered themselves Germans first. aka “cultural Jews.”

    I wonder if Daniel Pearl thought the same….

  • BrianE

    Cultural Jews sound a lot like Preacher’s Kids. They grow up with everyone in the church looking at them and are often held up as examples of how a young person should act.
    PK’s as they are called are often some of the most rebelious kids there are.
    And Ellie 2, you are certainly correct, I believe that God still has a special place for his chosen people.
    I suppose that phrase makes cultural Jews cringe.
    Isn’t it odd though, that American Jews have quickly forgotten why Israel was founded. I suppose they assume they are safe here. But surely they recognize their family members in the middle east aren’t so safe.
    And any peace with the Arabs would require a right of return, as I understand it, which would be suicidal.
    Y’s comment, I’m afraid, represents reality.

  • Zhombre

    I’m lapsed Catholic but went to a bar mitzvah recently for the son of an old friend. The synagogue was in Palm Beach. The rabbi there is orthodox. He’s young and dynamic. It was related to me that he has attracted young people there, who are now more devout than their worldly and liberal parents (this is Palm Beach, after all, where money is a substantive deity and you can buy shirts of tie silk and Armani suits at the Goodwill store in West Palm Beach). But I will corroborate, if anecdotally, what BW has written. I met Jews there, my age, so-called Boomers, whose Judaism now is vestigial, ceremonial. They are affluent, middle class and complacent; reflexively liberal, and smug towards and contemptuous of Republicans and conservatism and of evangelical Christians like Sarah Palin, a particular object of contempt. They less relationship to the Biblical Patriarchs as they do to the Beatles. Frankly, I felt revulsion, as much revulsion as I felt awe listening during the service to the ancient prayers in Hebrew. There are things that remain constant over time. The ancient faith is one. The superficiality and spiritual anemia that people fall into is another.

  • 1Lulu

    This is what happens when 2 generations of Jews grow up ignorant of Judaism. Progressive Judaism (Reform) has become about social action. Many have no clue at all about basic Jewish precepts, values, and core beliefs. They react against tradition, but they don’t know what the traditions are that they are reacting against. Jewish Orthodoxy is Conservative.

    Z, it is interesting that you were moved by an Orthodox service which is not watered down, not feel-good, or socially progressive. You can’t stay Jewish from eating bagels and telling Jewish jokes. The folks you describe have embraced secular values. They are Jewish by descent but many know much more about Christmas and Easter than they do about any of the Jewish holidays.

    I assure you, the Orthodox Jews overwhelmingly voted for McCain.

  • 1Lulu

    When I volunteered at my local Republican HQ, a lot of Jews came by, several of them describing how their families were mad at them for voting Republican. I’m actually surprised that the percentages are this bad.

    Besides the Orthodox, most secular Russian Jewish immigrants and many secular Israeli immigrants voted McCain.

  • Ymarsakar

    Glad you liked it, Book. I’m not usually inspired (driven by the writing impulse) to write pithy or concise comments. I prefer longer term and more in depth analysis or initial probes that seek out raw data for process later (numerous of my initial impressions of Oz required more raw data which required questions and scouting expeditions)

    Y’s comment, I’m afraid, represents reality.

    First step to fixing a problem is to recognize its reality in all the ways it can be viewed in context. When I say “fixing”, however, I am of course, dare I say it, talking about counter-propaganda, psychological warfare, kinetic military operations, and humanitarian+counter-insurgency+anti-org crime pushes as well.

    THe Jewish community, whether American, Polish, or Israeli disaspora, seems to be politically guilt ridden. They were the bankers and lenders of the days of feudalism, which made them very convenient targets for pogroms when the aristocrats needed to focus the mob rage from the aristocrats to the tax men and moneylenders (Jews). As such, the Jewish history is very clannish in terms of ethnic identity. The threats from foreigners, foreign culture, and various other political or cultural differences tended to create Jewish ghettoes that the Jews themselves preferred to live in. This is completely different from the American philosophy that says unity and religious freedom comes from the melting pot ruled by law and secured by a central and common military.

    As for what this means for Jews specifically and in general, I simply point to the example of Olmert and speak of what he has taught me (along with Israel’s entire history in the Levant). Jews hate killing the children of Palestinians more than the Jews hate the Palestinians killing the children of Jews. Jews are clannish but they are also wealthy and prosperous, which tends to decay (through decadence) certain inbuilt survival mechanisms and instincts like what drove Ameri-Indian tribes and what currently drives Sunni tribes: the reflexive urge to band together to annihilate external enemies.

    What the Jews do share with clannish and tribal cultures and regions is the inbuilt bickering and disunity. Caesar, for example, pitted the Gauls against the Gauls. That’s how you can win easily in invasions when you can use locals to fight locals for you. What this means for the Jews is that the Left and the Arabs can get Jews to fight Jews in the propaganda war. THey can get Jews to support the future requirements for a new Holocaust by convincing the Jews that other Jews are doing bad things and need to be stopped from doing more harm to the world or to themselves. Since Jews have money and wealth, this urge to Build a Better World is pretty irresistible. Combine this with guilt over the Holocaust (George Soros is an interesting example, although it is debatable whether he even feels guilt anymore) and the tendency of many Jews to join Communist movements to fight against Hitler, and you have an interesting setup. For those Jews that don’t feel guilt over the Holocaust there are plenty of other things for them to feel guilty over: Israel’s domination of Palestine, Israeli killing of Palestinian civilians, Israeli living conditions vis a vis Hamas living conditions, and the disparity of wealth between Israelis and Arabs. All the reasons why Hollywood liberals try to destroy America is present in the Jewish history and cultural traditions as well.

    Jews, interestingly enough, also have a strong warrior culture but it seems to go in spurts and fits more consistent with individual leadership than national or ethnic traits (the Kurds and the Gurkhas both have the natural traits of discipline and warrior preferences). THey did come from Moses, after all, and he led a military march with his clan and rag tag remnants of others from Egypt to the Levant. David and Goliath is another example. The Jewish military advantages in the Six Day War and Yom Kippur are another two examples. THe Jewish warriors, soldiers, and fighters are what keeps the fat cat oligarchy Jewish banker stereotype free to assuage their guilt by supporting enemies of Jews. In Israel, it is the Israeli military and the draftees that do so, often at horrendous VIetnam type quagmires like the one in Lebanon. In America, it is the US military that protects Jews.

    There is actually a reason why Jews get targeted so many times for extermination in world history. The Jews tend to develop a decadent and wealthy class of bankers and prosperous folks but they don’t tend to develop the ruthless warrior killers that most other nations needed to secure themselves (like America in our wars). They are the low hanging fruit and when you are a pirate or mass murderer, you tend to go for the low hanging fruit. Once you got that, then you can start in on slaughtering the hogs in Europe and America.

    In America, Jews are very safe. Not only are they protected by the US military but they are also protected by civilian gentiles carrying firearms and otherwise being more capable of violence and death than the goons in Krystallnacht. Jews in America thus get great liberty to do what people usually do when they are fat and wealthy, but feeling really guilty over having things that they didn’t earn.

    That’s free will for ya. Some people choose the good while most choose the path of least resistance. It is why humans tend to have one leader over many many others. It is in our condition both genetically and socially.

    Here’s an example of how justice is pursued in a Southern state. Boyo had the youth arrogance but lacked the actual wisdom to choose a state like California or Indiana for his shenanigans.


    If you can access this short story, I recommend you do so

    ABSTRACT: Berl, an old man in his 80’s, & his wife Berlcha(which means wife of Berl), live in a tiny hut in the Polish village of Lentshin. Old Berl was one of the Jews who had been driven out of their villages in Russia & had settled in Poland. He was short & broad-shouldered with a small white beard. Berl & his wife had a son Samuel who had gone to America 40 yrs. before at the age of 15. It was said in Lentshin that he was a millionaire. Every month he sent a letter & a money order. No one could read the letter because many of the words were in English. 3 times a year Berl & his wife went on foot to Zakroczym & cashed the money orders there. But they never seemed to use the money. They had a garden, a cow, & a goat. Berlcha sold chickens & eggs for money for flour. They wanted for nothing. One Friday morning a nobleman came to their hut. It was Samuel who had come to visit from America. Berl & his wife did not recognize him & had trouble understanding his Yiddish which was mixed with foreign words. Samuel stayed for the Sabbath with them He asked what they did with the money & Berl showed him it was stuffed in a boot. On the Sabbath Samuel went for a walk. He had come here with big plans. He had presents for his parents & money of his own & from the Lentshin Society in New York which had given a ball to raise money for the village. But the village needed nothing. He could hear chanting from the synagogue & his mother saying the holy rhymes inherited from mothers & grandmothers.

    Berl and Bercha (wife of Berl) would be orthodox Jews while the son would be more of an American Jew. Still Jewish but the cultural and identity differences have changed a few things.