Friday, January 18, 2008

Shabbat or Vote? A couple thoughts...

Caucus deals Shabbat blow to Vegas rabbi | Jerusalem Post

The Nevada caucuses to determine the presidential nominee for Democrats and Republicans had been scheduled for January 19, this Saturday.

I have a couple thoughts about this...

  • If it is an important contribution to be made to the community, family, continued subsistence... then you have to decide if for you it rises to the level of being important enough to set Shabbat aside.  For instance, I converted AFTER having accepted a job wherein I agreed at the outset to work any hours given. That means Friday and Saturday are on the menu. The essence of Judaism for me is to recognize ethics and morals as actually existing and mattering and to attempt to live in accord with that recognition. I gave my word. I will work as I agreed until I can create a new agreement which is freely accepted by all parties.
  • Las Vegas is a "twenty-four seven" city like New York and more than New York is predicated on an irreligious secular basis where the calendar is nothing more than a way of arranging our events ongoing. The only reason Sunday isn't chosen is because the majority of the nation are ostensibly one variety of Christian or another. Had the history of Christianity been a little different, it might have been Judaism that was in the majority but that's not what happened. We work around that and maintain our faith that sets us apart as well as the ties that bind us to our fellow countrymen.

Besides all that, major league football is played on Sunday and the betting businesses in Las Vegas thrive on that at this time of year. Football knows no observance of anything but football.

This quote is exactly correct:

"In Las Vegas, every day is a workday. Every day is also going to have some significance. So Saturday was the day when the least number of people went to work, so we could encourage participation," said party spokesman Jamal Simmons.


Steve Wark, the communications director for the Nevada Republican caucus, also expressed regret that certain voters would be excluded from the process, pointing out that Seventh-Day Adventists and residents who couldn't be in town - including overseas servicemen - would also not be able to participate.

The realities of the world are that we must always face some sort of hardship in observing spiritual matters versus secular physical matters. While over thousands of years Jews have gotten very good at working the outer world into the inner world, sometimes things don't go the way we want. We then have to do away with the CNC Spirituality and use our hearts and minds to weigh various ideas and options ourselves. Then again, G-d must have made us able to do so for a reason. Maybe so important a thing is why.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Ethnic, religious, national...

Palestinians Who Prefer Israel - article by Daniel Pipes

I am of various ethnic backgrounds. Italian, Irish, Polish, and many others.

I was born to Christianity and am now a Jew by choice.

I am an American.

Maybe there are more Palestinians who are cognizant of the differences between those things than the press likes to tell us. Palestinian by ethnicity, Muslim (or Christian or Druse or other) by religion, Israeli by nationality?

Like I said, on a purely secular, realistic, and functional basis, I favor a one state solution. Not a religious state like Saudi Arabia has become, not a Jewish state, but a state that is inherently safe and sound for Jews.  Better a single state where no matter what the religion of the citizens, they are as one under that nationality much as we Americans are when the chips truly fall, where Jews can know their neighbors rise and fall with them and have that inherent interdependent relationship.

Please oh please G-d let this sanity be infectious. We're getting down to a dangerous time on this planet and a glorious future sits perched on a sharp precipice of our own making.

Does it matter if Barack Obama was a Muslim, practicing or not?

Daniel Pipes seems to think so...

All this matters, for if Obama once was a Muslim, he is now what Islamic law calls a murtadd (apostate), an ex-Muslim converted to another religion who must be executed. Were he elected president of the United States, this status, clearly, would have large potential implications for his relationship with the Muslim world.

...but I don't.

In fact, I cannot see this as an issue other than as perhaps the radicals like Al Queda might see him as an even more legitimate target than they already see our president, and perhaps that Saudi Arabia and Iran might be put in a tight theological spot in being forced to deal with an elected leader who under their (allegedly) literalist interpretation is a heretic.

However, that very thing would probably work in our favor by forcing the point into sharp relief, that extremist orthodoxy in religion does not mix with intra- and inter- national governance.

Personally, I am not voting for Obama, but it is strictly because of his politics and the party he is representing that is trying to put a new and more conservative face on an infrastructure that remains unchanged from the previously revealed hyperdelusional leftism we saw with the Dean campaign. It's like putting a new paint job on a wreck and thinking that is enough. It's a pretty wreck, but the Democratic Party is still a wreck nonetheless.