Monday, January 03, 2005

Two Jews, three opinions—“Stiff-necked” is an understatement

I didn’t get a single nomination for the Jewish/Israeli Blog awards. :(

Mumble, mumble, kvetch and grumble
Stumble, pride , and ego crumble

Oh, well, there are always next year’s JIB awards.

Ego aside, I would be remiss in my responsibility as a member in good standing of the Jewish blogosphere if I didn’t refer you, forthwith, to, sponsor of the JIB awards, if for no other reason than that the links to the nominated blogs help let me off the hook for not knowing how to set up my own blogroll. Some pretty interesting blogs have been nominated.

On the other hand, as in the old jokes about two Jews having three opinions and every Jew having two synagogues, namely, his/hers and the one he/she won’t set foot in, I did encounter in some of the linked blogs some ideas that didn’t sit too well with me. For example, one blogger proposed making the Internet safe for the Orthodox not only by making filtered Internet Service Providers (ISPs) more readily available, but also by creating an electronic reporting system to report “web sites visited by each user and perhaps e-mail addresses for a spot check review by a reliable and close mouthed individual or committee chosen by of the respective Rav of each community. If something inappropriate is found, the Rav can then decide how to approach the issue in a dignified manner.” Hasn’t this guy ever read 1984? The “Big Brother is Watching You” approach to the Internet advocated at gives me the creeps.

Speaking of ideas that don’t sit well with me, my rabbi got me really upset this past Shabbat by suggesting that, since, according to his interpretation of halachah, Jews should come first when we give charity, and since the U.S. government is already providing millions in aid, it’s not really necessary for us to contribute to funds aiding the tsunami victims. Apparently, I’m naïve and lacking experience in the ways of the Orthodox rabbinate—this is the first time in my life that I’ve ever heard any rabbi come out against giving tzedakah. (For further comment on this issue, I strongly recommend that you visit, and don’t forget to read the comments.) What makes this even worse is that some of the congregants agree with him. Frankly, I’m in shock.


Blogger M-n said...

That frumnet blog sure is creepy, all the more so for being so apparently unselfconscious.

Mon Jan 03, 10:10:00 PM 2005  
Blogger Noam S said...

Your rabbi is half right. There are levels of obligation for tzedakah. Your family comes first, then your town, then out of town. In our city, there has been a big push by the leaders to keep tzedakkah in town, witht the schools, and other projects that really need it, and not to send it to yeshivot in Israel and other places. And, Jewish needy come before non-Jewish needy. That does not mean that you are allowed to ignore a starving non-Jewish person on your doorstep.

On the other hand, we also have an obligation to help the poor and needy as much as we can, and just because the govt is sending funds to southeast Asia, does not relieve us of the obligation of helping. I think your rabbi is very wrong on that point.

Wed Jan 05, 09:12:00 PM 2005  
Blogger Aussie Dave said...

You are being premature, since nominations only close in a week.

And you can always nominate yourself.

Sun Jan 09, 06:02:00 AM 2005  
Blogger Leapa said...

Yes, Mr. Aronowitz tells me he's read 1984. So have I. And anyone truly familiar with Orwell understands that a creeping control is what's he's talking about, not an assist in self control.

And misnagid, one would think that with all the induhviduals dying to rid their gut of every last leftover emotion in the Jewish blogosphere, an unselfconscious fellow would be a welcome change.

Of course, you may not be one of open thinkers who like change.

Sun Jan 09, 03:17:00 PM 2005  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Sorry, Leapa, but I find it difficult to understand why anyone would *volunteer* to undergo the functional equivalent of having their phone tapped and their mail opened. Personally, I see no good reason to sacrifice privacy and confidentiality unless there's a possible threat to someone's life or health.

Wed Jan 12, 12:32:00 AM 2005  

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