Judaism as a Fashion Accessory

© litton51@hotmail.com

As one of the small number of politically conservative Jews in the United States I frequently am forced to try and figure-out why so many of my fellow American Jews consistently vote against their own best interests. I may have figured it out.

I was raised in the pink embrace of Boston liberal Judaism in the 1950s and 1960s:

Everyone is beautiful in their own way. There are no bad people; only people society has failed. Prisons are cruel and should be closed. Anyone who owns a gun should be sent to jail (this includes anyone from a southern or western state). Negroes just aren’t very smart or capable, poor dears, so we have an obligation to hold them to a lesser standard. It is ok to make or have money as long as you spend it in ways of which we approve. There is no meaningful difference between the Soviet Union and the United States (see that icon of Liberal thought, “The Butter Battle Book,” by the late Dr. Seuss, who was arguably brain-dead for the last 25 years of his life). Republicans are racist, gun-totin’ scoundrels of low intelligence who are plotting to reinstitute slavery and put Jews back in the ghetto. In fact, most Christians are, deep down, anti-Semitic, and if you marry one, she’ll put a crucifix over the bed and then you’re done for! It’s not a Christmas tree, it’s a Chanukah Bush! Do we have to go to services during The High Holy Days? Vacation in Tel Aviv? I’d rather go to Cancun. And on and on and on…

Which brings us to the just completed presidential election. Despite Mr. Obama’s life-long embrace of the worst Jew-haters the U.S. has to offer, 78% of American Jews still voted for him. You have to step back, take a deep breath of disbelief, and look at this for a minute. This is just like 78% of black Americans voting to bring-back the plantation system of agriculture.

Most American Jews – probably the most over-educated group in the U.S. -- show a continual, stubborn stream of stupidity that just amazes. Comfortable here in the U.S. by virtue of our military strength (in which, sadly, Jews rarely participate) and our democratic form of government, they continue to vote against their own best interests, the country’s best interests, and the best interests of the ancestral home, Israel. If I had not joined the Navy and spent over 20 years seeing the real world I might never have escaped from the cult of Liberal Judaism. Yes, Liberal Judaism is a cult in its iron-clad resistance to any ideas from without and its sense of infallibility from within. I had to completely rebuild my beliefs based upon my new experiences. My good fortune.

And the best way to explain the disconnect between liberal Jewish belief and the real world is to understand that, for most American Jews, Judaism has become a fashion statement rather than their religion. In the late 1960s it was said that Barbra Streisand had made being Jewish “in.” That may have been a sign of the beginning of Judaism among liberal Jews as a nice piece of bling, something to be worn and flashed but of no more importance than any other glittery object, and easily replaced with something else if lost (or simply discarded). So not only Ms. Streisand, but other mega-rich Jewish-last-name celebrities can turn without hesitation to giving hundreds of millions of dollars (some of it even legally) to Mr. Obama, a man whose past actually screams “I’m a smooth-talking, vacuous opportunist who has spent his life kissing-up to anti-Semitic hatemongers!” while using Putz Sulzberger’s dominant news media to gut Sarah Palin, that (ugh!) gun-toting redneck who hunts! (why doesn’t she just buy processed meat like us sophisticated Jews?) and actually believes in G-d and family and country and must be destroyed by any means possible.

I belonged to a particular synagogue for years. It was a strange and disappointing experience. When I joined, the rabbi was excellent and the congregation small. But then it began an uncontrolled growth as big city Jews moved out of the cities they had helped destroy --through affirmative action and busing and banning all weapons of self-defense (except when owned by thugs and professional criminals) and the politics of smallness and self-aggrandizement -- and settled in rural Massachusetts. They looked about them for a congregation to which to accessorize and found the uneducated Jewish hayseeds who had lived quietly and well without them for over a century. And so it began. The new people just had to have a huge, impressive, expensive synagogue like the ones they’d abandoned in the decaying and increasingly dangerous big cities. So they joined ours and began building one, with several rich new congregants paying the freight. But, that wasn’t fair, was it? I mean, why shouldn’t everyone pay for the desires of a few (“From each according to their skills, to each according to their needs). So all congregants were called in to speak to the new building committee fund-raiser, an arm-twister who would have made Jimmy Hoffa sweat. I was one of the few who refused to be bullied, so I was let out of the meeting to an unfriendly silence to ponder my poverty and selfishness. Then the accounting papers started showing-up at membership renewal time. What had been a small congregation of people who paid what they could afford became a large, expensive congregation that sent to each member at renewal time a set of financial statements. Members were instructed to complete both a personal balance sheet and income statement/source and application of funds statement and return them with membership renewal forms. The temple officers would then review then and decide how much you could afford to pay for the next year. Sort of a Five Year Plan for G-d. Full membership increased to a punishing $6,000/year for one person. Yes, the congregation was doing many things, including running a daily Hebrew school for kids and creating a number of new programs for adults. But whatever they were offering clearly excluded anything outside of the small, pinched, Boston liberal Jewish universe. I tried to get the congregation interested in the EAA Young Eagles Program – which offers free airplane rides to kids who had never flown before and might like the thrill of going up in a program member’s small airplane. Of a congregation of over 400 families, there was not one response to the chance to (ugh!) fly an airplane. I was the first – and only – person in my family to ever want to fly an aircraft. Most of my relatives remained puzzled that I actually volunteered to join the Navy – let alone fly in it for over 20 years. Real Jews don’t fly, you know. Instead, they join Whale Kissers International or Planned Abortionhood or become part of Mr. Obama’s presidential campaign, which has aptly and openly demonstrated its hatred of Israel in particular and Jews in general. I thought briefly about offering to teach firearms safety to members in my capacity as a certified instructor but decided that would also be futile.

Today, the transformation to accessorizing with Judaism is complete. To most Americans with Jewish mothers, Judaism is a fashion statement, like a Rolex watch or Lexus automobile, and has no more visceral meaning than either. It's just nice to be able to pretend to actually practice Judaism without having to actually do it. It's the culture thing, stupid. Mr. Obama has been elected President of the United States with the help of nearly four out of five Americans who call themselves Jewish. This week, peace-loving Muslims have shot to death American Jews in India, including a 13-year-old girl, a rabbi, and his wife, having taken the time to specifically target a Jewish Chabad house and in doing so make Jews the only religious-specific target in a show of the murderous, animalistic hatred we have come to expect from these monsters. But back here in the States, most Americans with Jewish mothers sit, blind and willfully ignorant, self-satisfied and self-congratulatory, sure that their support for a man who has willingly spent his life among anti-Semitic haters of Israel and the United States is not anything of which they should be concerned or ashamed. And if Judaism comes under greater attack here at home, well, they can take-off their Jew bracelets and quietly hide them in the bedroom until things calm down. I mean, when have Jews ever had to fear for their safety under a government that was freely elected?

Return to The Nav Log