Wednesday, July 07, 2004

The Jewishness Question

I thank my comments section for expanding my earlier Marlon Brando discussion. I do think that much of the "How does it effect the Jews?" attitude by even younger people is a hold-over from an earlier generation who themselves inherited it from their own parents (Mochassid) who actually experienced real antisemism (James).

However, I would like to suggest that the issue is more complex. I had a friend who once spent a Shabbos meal at a Hamptons sharehouse. Now this Sharehouse, though nominally Orthodox & Kosher was mainly housed by Jews who were very ethnic but largely poorly educated. After fish they made a toast (on some very good scotch) to the "downfall of the goyim, but only the bad ones (i.e. anti-Jewish)". Now, this was clearly meant as a joke, as an expression of Jewishness/connection to each other. But this expression was primarily as support against our foes.
This is similiar to those who use anti-semitism or the Holocaust as the basis of their Jewishness, connection, or community.
By asking "How does this affect the Jews?" they are asking skipping the aesthetic (which, in the case of Brando, is universal) for the particularistic communal. My problem with this is that one should maintain the aesthetic in its own sphere & not compromise it for the use of the particularistic/communal.

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