Tuesday, July 14, 2009

To What Extent Is Race an Issue in the Jewish World?

As a follow up on this post... HT to Mark Creeker.

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Unknown said...

I wholeheartedly agree with Yoseph Robinson. As painful as it is to admit and recognize, race is undeniably an issue that must be addressed within the frum community. It shouldn't be the case that only the Reform and Conservative movements are more tolerant and receptive of other cultures, races, and religions. Orthodox Judaism and respect for all humanity are not inconsistent and should never be viewed as such. Let the conversation begin and let us demonstrate that true Torah Judaism or Orthodox Judaism promotes tolerance, respect, and love for all of mankind.

Anonymous said...

I think the dialogue has to be shifted into a Torah context. I have found, as a Jew who also happens to be black, that when a racial issue needs to be addressed, that the distortion that is political correctness (PC) gets in the way. I think people need to know that as Jews we don't need PC, we have l'havdil, kavod habriyos, v'ahavta lereacha k'mocha, halachta b'drachav, v'ahavta es hager. And, baruch Hashem, the mitzvos go on. Often these conversations revolve around all the wrong things. I don't think the goal here is tolerance. I think its returning to Torah true hashkafas. Despite the color of the President in the White House, the secular culture around us has a big problem with race and this treif has unfortunately crepted into the frum world. And we must separate from these values. Its not for us. The discussion has got to be about how these are foundational points to Yiddishkite and to being a Yiras Shamayim. Because that is the truth.

DixieYid (يهودي جنوبي) said...

As the author of Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh has pointed out in his peirush al haTorah, ahava and chesed toward all of Hashem's creation is something that flows from a connection with the Unity behind everything, the Cause of all causes. And that feeling would extend no less to other human beings than it would to other parts of creation. Perhaps this is why the idea of pluralism and equality have become much more accepted as we come closer to yemos haMoshiach. (Which of course brings with it distorted forms of that awareness, such as political correctness, as anon #2 pointed out, and feminism).

Rabbeinu Yona also teaches in Sha'arei Teshuva that it is vital to use clean and respectful language. He points out, based on the gemara in Pesachim, that Hashem used the term "asher einenah tehora" ("which is not pure") rather than the more concise "temeiah" ("defiled/impure") to refer to non-kosher animals in Parshas Noach. If Hashem said that we cannot use even slightly not-nice language about animals, which are eaten by people, than how much more so should we never use derogatory language about other human beings by using the "N word," calling someone a shiktza, or the like.