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Subject: Something to Think About in these Times of Peril to Israel and the Rise of AntiSemitism
swhitebull    10/25/2007 9:53:45 PM
I wrote this several years ago, and out family has been using it at our Seders. I you like, please feel free to pass it around your friends: WHO ARE WE? Who Are We? We are Jews - born in Hardship, formed by History, strengthened by Adversity, molded by Tradition, armed with Torah, tempered by Knowledge, clad in Scholarship, made invincible by Freedom. We are a tribe of the city and of the field, of the desert and of the battleground. We are a people whose sons and daughters will endure as long as the spirit of the Lord and of Freedom beats in our hearts. Who Are We? We are Jews. To be a Jew is to throw off the shackles and chains of slavery, and to let your mind run free and naked wherever it would go. To be a Jew is to stand ALONE against the everpresent and overwhelming forces of Hatred, and to know you will NEVER let that HATRED pass. To be a Jew is to hold your youngest child in your arms, and to unashamedly let tears of Joy and Beauty course down your cheeks. To be a Jew is to live life to its fullest during the day, then to walk in fear and wonder along the paths of Tradition set forth by our forebears to touch the Lord at our sacred times. Who Are We? We are Jews. We were born of the Lord's Thunder at Sinai, and like the winds, have scattered to the four corners of the Earth. We are a proud people, descendants of Abraham and Sarah, children of Jacob, oath-takers of Moses, who delivered us from bondage and brought us Torah. We make mistakes, but we are always responsible for our actions, and we never give up. If we cause harm, we fix it, because that is the Lord's way. Who Are We? We are Jews . We are a FREE people - leader and follower, teacher and student, merchant and artisan, builder and creator, from the lowest to the highest. We seek knowledge, wisdom, justice, generosity, honor, courage and, above all - Freedom. We live by the strength of our wits and our arms in a hostile World, and succeed by the blessings of our family and community. Who Are We? We are Jews. We are all naked at birth, and we follow our fate as the winds of Sinai blow, whether that be philosopher or king, lover or warrior. We all have mud between our toes, and even a king must sweat and groan before the plow. Who Are We? We Are Jews - born in Hardship, formed by History, strengthened by Adversity, molded by Tradition, armed with Torah, tempered by Knowledge, clad in Scholarship, made invincible by Freedom. We are a tribe of the city and of the field, of the desert and of the battleground. We are a people whose sons and daughters will endure as long as the spirit of the Lord and of Freedom beats in our hearts Who are We? We are Jews. And we will endure. swhitebull
 
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jastayme3       12/27/2007 10:35:08 PM




The "Who are we" bit reminded me of a discussion I once heard on a radio phone in program. A caller was going on about whether citizens consider themselves Jews first, and Israelis second, or vice versa. The host said to the caller, "go on, ask me if I am  a Jew or an Israeli first". The caller asked. The host said, "first and foremost, I am a fellow human being". The implication, I think, was that the most important things in life go beyond religion and nationality.




Ha Battar! One of the reasons I love you so much is that you're so wrong so often. If we weren't wrong at an acceptable frequency, there would be nothing left to discuss.
I agree that there are many things in life that transcend religion, ethnicity, nationality and conviction. Most of these are important, however, because they're vital, that is, they're not meant to reach higher than the thalamic level of consciousness.
Discarding one's religious or national identity in favor of a species identity (that "we're all human beings" bullcrap) is wrong for the very simple reason that it can't work. With the current status of mankind as Earth's unchallenged dominant species, and at the present and foreseeable level of the human population density, there's really no benefit in stopping to hate each other. When we were a few scattered groups of small, hairy, and rather prognathous bipedal primates hunted by 600 pounds hyenas in the savannas, there was some survival value in singing kumbaya around the campfire. Nowadays, there are no more hyenas, leopards keep to themselves, and the enemy is us. Ecology's a bitch, ain't it?
It is implausible to assume that one's general loyalty to mankind in general completely  supersedes  specific
loyalty to-whatever.  But be that as it may, it is impractical as a persons "specific loyalties" are more pressing to him at any
given time and even when showing "general loyalty" it is often supported by ones peculiar tribal loyalties. In "The Altruistic Personality" by the Olinger couple, a considerable number of the "Righteous Gentiles" were motivated by such things as their interpretation of religion and patriotism as well as general benevolence. For instance a Polish Catholic might say, "We didn't get along in the past but we have the same enemy now...". And in fact some did just that.
Tribal loyalty(and religious loyalty is at least that, whether or not it is more, which is another subject) is like fire. It's effects are good or bad depending on the situation. It is a natural part of humanity and despising it is Gnostic. The question is how to apply it in a positive manner, for those who try to remove it never succeed. Often what they do is simply create another tribe.


 
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jastayme3       12/27/2007 10:59:07 PM










The "Who are we" bit reminded me of a discussion I once heard on a radio phone in program. A caller was going on about whether citizens consider themselves Jews first, and Israelis second, or vice versa. The host said to the caller, "go on, ask me if I am  a Jew or an Israeli first". The caller asked. The host said, "first and foremost, I am a fellow human being". The implication, I think, was that the most important things in life go beyond religion and nationality.






Ha Battar! One of the reasons I love you so much is that you're so wrong so often. If we weren't wrong at an acceptable frequency, there would be nothing left to discuss.
I agree that there are many things in life that transcend religion, ethnicity, nationality and conviction. Most of these are important, however, because they're vital, that is, they're not meant to reach higher than the thalamic level of consciousness.
Discarding one's religious or national identity in favor of a species identity (that "we're all human beings" bullcrap) is wrong for the very simple reason that it can't work. With the current status of mankind as Earth's unchallenged dominant species, and at the present and foreseeable level of the human population density, there's really no benefit in stopping to hate each other. When we were a few scattered groups of small, hairy, and rather prognathous bipedal primates hunted by 600 pounds hyenas in the savannas, there was some survival value in singing kumbaya around the campfire. Nowadays, there are no more hyenas, leopards keep to themselves, and the enemy is us. Ecology's a bitch, ain't it?

It is implausible to assume that one's general loyalty to mankind in general completely  supersedes  specific
loyalty to-whatever.  But be that as it may, it is impractical as a persons "specific loyalties" are more pressing to him at any
given time and even when showing "general loyalty" it is often supported by ones peculiar tribal loyalties. In "The Altruistic Personality" by the Olinger couple, a considerable number of the "Righteous Gentiles" were motivated by such things as their interpretation of religion and patriotism as well as general benevolence. For instance a Polish Catholic might say, "We didn't get along in the past but we have the same enemy now...". And in fact some did just that.
Tribal loyalty(and religious loyalty is at least that, whether or not it is more, which is another subject) is like fire. It's effects are good or bad depending on the situation. It is a natural part of humanity and despising it is Gnostic. The question is how to apply it in a positive manner, for those who try to remove it never succeed. Often what they do is simply create another tribe.


Another way to put it is saying the most important things go beyond religion and nationality and one must be a human
being first is limited, because religion and nationality and family and friends and etc and etc are part of what makes you
human. One's culture is part of him. Even those who say they are rebelling against their upbringing are simply making that
rebellion their self-identity and in so doing are reflecting how they were raised. Saying we improve by trying to eliminate that is like saying we get new leaves by killing the roots.

 
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Herald12345    Philosophical reply to all of the above.   12/28/2007 1:47:28 AM
One more time........

A TIGER- a 200 kilogram kitty cat with TEETH and CLAWS broke out of the San Francisco Zoo yesterday and ATE  one of US.

Try to stuff the Olinger and bring this discussion down to Earth.

If we don't understand how we got here, then we won't understand why we need to improve the type of ANIMAL we are in a big hurry or face an extinction event..

Herald

 
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Shirrush       12/28/2007 5:01:05 AM
Jastayme, you're a scholar and a gentleman!
As to the person Kitty ate yesterday, it's a genuine tragedy, but face it, Herald, he wasn't one of US, he was a Californian!
BTW, Kitty got herself shot. Bad, bad Kitty!

 
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battar    The metric system   12/28/2007 10:19:08 AM
Shirrush,
                 The phrase "first and foremost a human being", in the context I mentioned, means that religion and nationality are not a ruler which you use to measure the value of human beings. I'm not saying the while world is one happy family We expect a certain level of crime and competition to keep a proper social balance - there are statistical theories about that. (No crime = no locks, no justice system = single criminals flourish = increase in crime = new locks etc, eventually it reaches a stable balance. If it doesn't, society collapses.) I don't have a problem with looking at some people through the sights of a weapon system, but not merely because of where they live or what they believe, but how they behave.
I find it impossible to get that idea through the heads of the majority of the Jews I've met.
 
 
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Shirrush       12/28/2007 10:50:12 AM
Battar, you may be willing to concede that "where they live" and "what they believe" might be a quite good predictor of "how they behave", or, in any case, pretty good approximations to get your aforementioned sighting system on target...
 
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Shirrush       12/28/2007 11:10:49 AM

Shirrush,

                 The phrase "first and foremost a human being", in the context I mentioned, means that religion and nationality are not a ruler which you use to measure the value of human beings....

...I find it impossible to get that idea through the heads of the majority of the Jews I've met. 

According to all the principles on which you and me have been brought up, "measuring the value of human beings" is simply not permissible. The ethical context of any value judgment is exceedingly questionable, especially for a person like you who values reason and observation as the only true path.
That said, it is perfectly reasonable to use religion and nationality as parameters for a threat assessment.
People are dangerous, and this fact as well as their faith or their ethnicity has nothing to do with their value, which Jews as well as most other civilized ethnic groups are encouraged to consider as constant, invariable, and way too high to be even talked about.

I would like you, however, to clarify, by clearly enunciating it, that idea that you find impossible to get through our heads, and to consider, just for a minute, that the reason it won't go in is that it's simply...wrong.

 
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FJV    The collective versus the individual   12/28/2007 11:42:49 AM
What I read of Palestinians as a collective, makes me say Palestinians are bad, however if I were to meet a Palistinian individual that is a nice guy, then I consider him as a nice guy regardless of what I think of the Palestinians as a collective.






 
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jastayme3       12/28/2007 12:34:44 PM
I suppose you can say the same of Californians.
 
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jastayme3       12/28/2007 12:38:47 PM
Thank you Shirrush.
I am glad to be a scholar and a gentleman.
Or at least I am an "academically inclined person" even if I am not a "member of the minor English nobility"

 
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