Friday, June 24, 2005

Thank you Ms. Katz!

The concept of "Conservative Apikorus" is, of course, something of a joke. I'm not sure that Ms. Toby Katz, "Live Frei, or Die!" Special Commentator, quite understands that, but she has really helped me shape what I am trying to say. Of course that wasn't her intent, I think she just wanted to score cheap debating points.

But I acknowlege any help I get from whatever the source.

Here is my response to her comment on my last post:

Ms. Katz:

I was joking about how hard it is for a Conservative to be an apikorus. Of course Conservative Judaism has standards. They happen to be more reasonable standards than those of the Orthodox.

Our main problem is that too many of our rabbis (like Rabbi Rank, the president of the RA) see us as a sort of "Orthodox Lite." Most of us laity are "religious secularists," we don't believe in a personal God, and we believe that the mitzvot are for our benefit, not God's. I am in opposition to Rabbis like Rabbi Rank, and I think that Conservative rabbis need to come to terms with religious secularism. Unfortunately, most of the rabbis willing to do so are radical feminists who are more interested in the feminist agenda than in leading a community of religious secularists.

Thus, I am alienated from a lot of what's going on in the Conservative movement. The halachic side, which attracts me, because I find value in Jewish ritual, is dominated by the "Orthodox Lite. " The other side is dominated by PC identity politics. Leaders (rabbinic and lay) on both sides are more interested in their ideology and career goals than in the needs of actual Conservative Jews, and I've seen them ride roughshod over people. I complain, but I might as well be pissing into the wind. So what else is there to do, but become a Conservative Apikorus?

Ms. Katz, it's apparent that you find the UO version of halacha meets your needs very well. That's fine. Kol HaKavod lach! But not for me. I refuse to suspend my belief in reality. I know that the UO halacha is not the one and only Word of God, becuase no halacha is the Word of God. It's only our best approximation of what we think God wants.

By the way, don't you have better things to do with your time than engage in fruitless debates with an obscure anonymous blogger?

Shabbat Shalom,



Blogger Toby Katz said...

And where do you see TK demonize people rather than ideas?

She criticises "liberals," not "liberlaism." --CA

This is a childish level of argument. If I said about liberals that they are ugly or smell bad, you might be able to say "she criticizes liberals, not liberalism."

But since I criticize the IDEAS held by liberals--e.g., their willingness to kill brain-damaged women but not murderers--it is clear that your supposed distinction between "liberals" and "the ideas believed in by liberals" collapses under the weight of its own incoherence.

"I certainly know more about Orthodoxy than you know about liberal Judaism."--CA

I certainly know more about liberal Judaism than you know about Orthodoxy. In fact, I certainly know more about liberal Judaism than you do.

You are basing your assumptions about what I know on one sentence I wrote which you claimed was inaccurate but in fact was HIGHLY accurate.

I will repeat it in real simple English: there is nothing you are required to do or to believe in order to be considered a Conservative Jew in good standing. The only exception is that you can't be a Christian.

I read Emet V'Emunah very, very carefully, I have had EXTENSIVE experience with Conservative rabbis and congregants and I know very well whereof I speak.

I also studied modern Jewish history in graduate school with Dr. David Berger and I'm confident that I know more about the history of your own movement than you do.

However, since you yourself are disaffected with your own movement, there is no need for me to debate you on the subject.

1:11 AM  
Blogger Confusadox said...

It truly saddens me to read Toby's postings. She seems to thrive on encouranging arguments instead of open discussion. It's a relief to know that she isn't the Rabbi, merely his baby machine as she likes to imply is the proper role of women in Orthodoxy.

5:10 AM  
Blogger Conservative Apikoris said...

I give up. There's no point in attempting answer nonsense. I've been accused of advocating murder and being ignorant of my own religious denomination, of which I've been an active member for over 40 years.

By the way, it about my opposing capital punishment howed that Ms. Katz isn't even reading my posts, as I've never addressed the topic. She has apparently pigeonholed my as "libera;" so I must care more about murderers than any other type of human life.

For the record, I believe that capital punishment might be appropriate for a very small number of particularly heinous crimes, but I don't think that our criminal justice system is capable of making the judgemetns fairly and properly. And having sat on juries, I think I know something about the criminal justice system.

8:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It truly saddens me to read Toby's postings. She seems to thrive on encouranging arguments instead of open discussion. It's a relief to know that she isn't the Rabbi, merely his baby machine as she likes to imply is the proper role of women in Orthodoxy.

She also pays no attention to what other people are saying. She pparently has a list of "talking points" that totally distort the issue. She is an embarrassment to Orthodoxy, and I think that someone should write to her husband and get him to shut her up.

That is, of course, if this "Toby Katz" is really an Orthodox rebbetzin and not some dorky Young Republican nerd who works for Karl Rove.

8:52 AM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

Mr. CA, I'd like to address one point you made - that while I have a lot of problems with the Conservative movement (I belong to a C. shul, by the way), I do believe in a personal God. I think I am one of those "radical feminists" you so decry (what do you mean by that, by the way?) and I agree with you about the tendency of some of the leaders of the movement to want it to be "Orthodox Lite." I personally think that one of the reasons for the decline of the movement is how out of touch the leaders are with the reality of the lives of Conservative Jews. I don't mean the pulpit rabbis - I think they're doing their best, depending on their own skills and personalities - but the leaders of the RA, the United Synagogue, and the seminary. They seem to think that the way to strengthen Conservative Judaism is to make us all observe in the Orthodox way, but with slight changes towards rationality, and with an egalitarian minyan and female rabbis. I think they're dead wrong. (Have you read the statement that came out several years ago about sexuality? Totally out of touch with the reality of people's lives). Personally, what I think is lacking in the Conservative movement is any real, live sense of spirituality - that when we pray we are engaging with the divine. (See Barefoot Jewess for part of what I mean).

12:32 PM  
Anonymous Delurking Girl said...

'there is nothing you are required to do or to believe in order to be considered a Conservative Jew in good standing.'

Toby - there's this thing called google, and you can search, online, in the comfort of your own home or office, for information about nearly anything. Type the phrase "Conservative Judaism" and see what you find, honey.

This is what I found:
a simple basic introduction.
good luck!

7:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Again, what's your deal with Rabbi Rank? It's almost like you only talk about Rabbi Rank on this blog. It's an amazing compliment to him that you feel that he actually defines Conservative Judaism though.

Also, your whole premise is again entirely wrong.

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