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April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘outrage’

Exacting Vengeance on the Gentiles?

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Once again we are treated to the sight of very religious looking Jews acting like a street gang. A statue of a cross with a figure of Jesus on it was defaced by a group of Breslover Chasidim in Uman. The cross was recently erected opposite the grave of the founder of this Chasidus, Rav Nachman of Breslov – located in the Ukrainian city of Uman. From JTA:

“To exact vengeance on the gentiles,” reads the message, which was scrawled across the torso of a figure of Jesus. A further inscription on Jesus’ leg reads, “Stop desecrating the name of God.”

This kind of thing would not surprise me if it were being done by extremists from a community that embraces an isolationist lifestyle. But although they are hardcore Chasidim who dress and look much the same as Satmar Chasidim – Breslovers do a lot of outreach. I would expect them to know how to behave in a more civilized manner. They must have had a socialization process that taught them that or they could not do outreach. And yet here they have acted in a completely uncivilized way.

So it comes as a bit of a surprise that a Christian symbol near their venerated Rebbe’s grave site was desecrated with graffiti. I guess their socialization process goes just so far. A statue of Jesus so close to their Rebbe’s grave site was too much to handle.

I don’t know why the Ukrainian Government chose that site for its statue. I don’t think it was a wise decision. But at the same time, I don’t think it was necessarily meant to ‘stick it’ to the Breslovers either. It was probably just not a well thought out plan.

I can understand why these Chasidim felt outrage. They consider the Breslover Rebbe’s gravesite to be so holy that make annual pilgrimages to it. Tens of thousands of Jews (mostly Breslover Chasidim) from all over the world visit it during Rosh Hashanah – one of the holiest times of the year. It is almost as though they were making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem’s Holy Temple. Seeing the sight of Jesus on a cross must have made them feel like they were seeing Avodah Zara in the Beis HaMikdash.

The outrage is understandable. But their expression of it is inexcusable. It is the kind of behavior that can bring tragedy upon the Jewish people. Uman is not Jerusalem. R. Nachman’s gravesite is not the Beis HaMikdash. The citizens of Uman are their hosts. Breslovers are guests. And the guests have just defaced the image of the god their hosts worship.

The more responsible Breslover leadership has apologized. Sort of. From JTA:

“We respect other religions, and don’t wish to damage symbols of other religions. But, unfortunately, not all of our coreligionists understand this. They could break or destroy the cross. That would lead to a genuine war between hasidim and Christians. We cannot allow that, so we request that the cross be moved to a different location,” said Shimon Busquila, a representative of the Rabbi Nachman International Fund…

It may have been a legitimate request. But it was made too late. If made at all it should have been made politely before the statue was vandalized. Nonetheless the deputy mayor of Uman agreed with it.

On the other hand the citizens of Uman were so outraged by the vandalism – that they will have no part of moving the statue. They promised retaliation against Rav Nachman’s grave if it is moved. I can’t say that I blame them.

I think the point to be made here is contained in the response made by Shimon Busquila: ‘…not all of our coreligionists understand this’.

That is exactly the problem. Why don’t they understand this? It is not enough for a leader to simply say that some of their co-religionists do not understand the consequences of being uncivilized – thereby damaging the property of their hosts.  Especially their religious symbols. No matter how upsetting it is to them.

The Chasidim who did this are taught to hate non Jewish religious symbols much more than they are taught to behave in civilized ways when encountering them. So when they get upset at the sight of one of those hated symbols, they react in ways that bring ill repute upon – and ill will against – our people. They do so without thinking or perhaps even caring about the consequences.

Feminist German Minister Retooling the Creator’s Gender

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

Germany’s Christian Democratic party member and Family Minister Kristina Schröder caused quite a bit of rage, followed by a contentious debate over the proper way of addressing God’s gender, according to Der Spiegel.

It began with discussion of gender roles in children’s literature, during an interview Schröder gave the weekly Die Zeit. Next, Schröder also took on God’s gender, to the chagrin of fellow Christian Democrats and their Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union.

The German language has three definite articles to indicate the gender nouns: der (masculine), die (feminine) and das (neuter). The noun der Gott, or God, is masculine. Schröder told Die Zeit that the article for God “doesn’t mean anything.” It could just as easily be the gender-neutral das Gott, she said.

Actually, that’s consistent with one of Maimonides’ 13 principles that suggests “God does not have a body nor the shape of a body.”

To many Germans Christians, however, especially within Schröder’s party, such a suggestion was an outrage.

“This overly cerebral nonsense leaves me speechless,” Bavarian Social Minister and CSU member Christine Haderthauer told the popular daily Bild. “I find it sad when our children, due to blatant insecurity and political correctness, have the strong images that are so important to their imaginations taken away.”

The CSU’s party whip in the federal parliament, Stefan Müller, also expressed his annoyance over the idea of God who does not show up in a proper, masculine attire. “Independent of the fact that it’s Christmastime, I find it improper and am a bit astonished,” he said.

Norbert Geis, also a CSU member of Germany’s parliament, the Bundestag, also demanded pants and boots for the deity. “God is revealed to us as the father of Christ, and it ought to stay that way,” he said.

Besides God’s gender, Schröder also criticized the sexist gender roles in classic children’s books. The fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm, which last week celebrated the 200th anniversary of their original publication, “are often sexist,” she said. “There are seldom positive female figures there.”

Boo hoo to you, Snow White, Cinderella, and Goldilocks..

Schröder, who’s been criticized plenty for her gender-related policies as family minister, also criticized racist content in children’s literature as well. If she were to read one of Astrid Lindgren’s Pippi Longstocking books, called “Pippi in Taka Tuka Land” in German, she would avoid the word “negro” in the text when reading aloud, “to protect my child from taking on such expressions,” she said.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/yoris-news-clips/feminist-german-minister-retooling-the-creators-gender/2013/01/02/

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