Religious Reconciliation and Jewish Music

During Wednesday morning’s Chumash class, our teacher took a few moments to talk about the murder of Yitzhak Rabin and we delved into an interesting discussion about the religious divide in Israel. What disturbed her the most about the murder was that a religious person would do such a thing and would use the text of the Torah in such a way. It’s dangerous to look at the Torah as a how-to-book and utilize to justify one’s own political agenda. She was also disturbed by the fact that animosity towards religious Jews increased significantly after the event. People were so automatic to associate any religious person with such a heinous act.

 She said that she’s been involved in a group called Gesher, which tries to bridge (Gesher is Hebrew for bridge) the divide between religious and secular Israelis. Unfortunately after the Rabin assassination, a lot of secular Israelis pulled out because they feared that the religious folks had an agenda.

Now, she says, there are signs that things are improving. She and her husband led a Yom Kippur service at a kibbutz in the Galilee and plenty of secular Israelis flocked to it. (Interestingly the service was not held in a synagogue, which has negative connotations for some secular Israelis). Somebody told her that he/she had realized that they had thrown the baby out with the bathwater. In other words, this person realized that in completely disassociating with anything related to Judaism (because they had been turned off by the Israeli religious establishment) they had missed out.

It seems as if more chilonim are coming to this realization, see that Judaism doesn’t belong to just one group and are trying to reclaim their religion. I think it’s about time people here stopped complaining about what the religious people have done to religion and take matters into their own hands.

Speaking of religious and nonreligious, last night I went to a music party at the Hamabaada, a multi-use cultural center located on Hebron street. They showcase music, dance and sometimes theater. Last night was the launch party of Shemspeed, a Web site that (according to JPost) is “a daily updated springboard that gives users around the world instant access to DJ Handler-approved Jewish music videos; a streaming web radio station; a user-driven global events calendar; an archive of CD reviews and other prose; and even a digital download store.” Launch parties were also planned for NYC, London, Los Angeles. The event featured Jewish bands—both religions and nonreligious and it was very amusing to see the mixed crowd of religious and nonreligious. Moshe, a Pardes student was playing bass with one of the bands and a bunch of Pardes students ended up coming by later in the evening. Check out this link http://www.shemspeed.com/news_reviews.php?p=77

 I have to cut my writing short since I’ll be visiting some of Eric’s cousins in REchovot. I’m looking forward to it…

RZ

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