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Re: Questions about Judaism

Postby Midas Burroughs » Sun Feb 09, 2014 1:48 am

What does a Jew look like?


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Re: Questions about Judaism

Postby blehblah » Sun Feb 09, 2014 4:56 pm

aviel wrote:Then that makes Oman more progressive than much of the Arab world. A 2011 poll by Pew found that Muslims in the Arab World almost universally held negative views of Jews. There's also a lot of excellent data in that poll about how Muslims and Westerners view each other in general, so it's definitely worth checking out.


It could also be that I wasn't interacting with the "man on the street". Rather, it was a business crowd who perhaps hold somewhat more enlightened and nuanced views of the world. Oman is a little unusual in GCC because you'll jump in a cab driven by an Omani (they don't have the same level of insane cash as some of the other countries where you may never actually meet a citizen, only imported workers). I don't think that I would have ventured down the same line of questioning, even if I could break-through the language barrier.

The Pew thingy is interesting. This caught my eye, "Among Israel’s minority Muslim community, however, views are divided: 48% express a positive opinion of Jews, while 49% offer a negative opinion. In contrast, only 9% of Israeli Jews have a positive view of Muslims. Christians receive somewhat higher ratings among Israeli Muslims (67% favorable) than among Israeli Jews (51%)." Meanwhile, views of Jews in Muslim countries are abysmal (not one of the surveyed countries was above 10% positive). It does seem that exposure is key - I mean, how many Jewish folks has an average Indonesian met?

For some reason, I'm picturing a guy in Indonesia saying, "But, c'mon, don't get me wrong, some of my best friends are cross-dressing, gay, Jewish-Catholics and they're really swell - totally make a mean humus, and don't get me started on their falafels - downright dreamy; really, their dinner parties are fantastic... but, yeah, death to Israel."

As with most of these things, it breaks in many directions.
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Re: Questions about Judaism

Postby aviel » Mon Feb 10, 2014 2:32 am

Yeah, in general the poll found unfriendly sentiment on both sides (though somewhat more among Muslims), but there was on matter in which there was tremendous disparity. Muslim countries hated the Jews and Western countries loved the Jews. And, according to that poll, America is the least anti-Semitic (and second or third most philo-semitic) country on Earth. So for once we're #1 in something nice, not like obesity or prison population.
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Terry Pratchett wrote:The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.

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Re: Questions about Judaism

Postby DamianaRaven » Mon Feb 10, 2014 2:17 pm

moosemaimer wrote:I believe they call that Krav Maga.


I believe that's Hebrew for "fuck a fair fight."

blehblah wrote: priest-school (?)


"Seminary" is the word you're groping for there. Jewish clergy attend Rabbinical School. One thing (among many) I admire deeply about Judaism is that they do NOT sell their faith cheaply as Christians are wont to do. Their synagogues are open to anyone (I think) but there's no "InstaJew" program. I don't even think they recruit. Anyone interested in conversion is required to know stuff about Jewish history and what their community stands for. Your motives have to be appropriately reverent, not along the lines "there's this Jewish girl I dig." It no doubt offends some people just on general principle - any kind of exclusivity is going to piss someone off but fuck 'em. I think that's awesome.
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Re: Questions about Judaism

Postby aviel » Mon Feb 10, 2014 4:19 pm

We don't recruit (though Chabad sometimes tries to recruit other Jews, which is bad given that they're extremists), and whether or not a synagogue is open to a goy probably depends on the synagogue. But yeah, it is deliberately difficult to become a Jew. We emphasize quality over quantity. On the one hand, it's lead to an interesting and influential culture, but on the other hand, it means that the number of non-Orthodox Jews has remained stable or even declined since the Holocaust, while the world population has dramatically increased. There are still fewer Jews than there were in 1939.
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Terry Pratchett wrote:The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.

Click for a Limerick
OrangeEyebrows wrote:There once was a guy, Aviel,
whose arguments no one could quell.
He tested with Turing,
his circuits fried during,
and now we'll have peace for a spell.
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Re: Questions about Judaism

Postby DamianaRaven » Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:18 pm

I have a question for you, ציפור קטנה. Given your unique perspective, I'm wondering how you feel about antisemitism. Does it piss you off or do you feel kinda proud of your people? If you ask most such bigots what they hate about Jews, (put on your Bullshit Goggles first, you don't want to get that stuff in your eyes) their list of grievances will begin to sound suspiciously like "offensively superior." The ability to rise to the upper echelons of most societies without having to hold anyone else down to get there strikes me as being clever, resourceful, and altogether civilized. To some, it's just "sneaky and greedy."

You wanna have some real fun with these assholes sometime, bring up the Israeli Palestinian brouhaha and watch 'em start biting themselves in confusion. Of course they can't just give it a "meh" and say nothing - minding their own business is just crazy talk. They'll start with the obvious, "I'm just glad they're killing each other," but eventually they'll get around to somebody's eventually going to win and who should it be? That's when the hilarity will ensue.
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Re: Questions about Judaism

Postby OrangeEyebrows » Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:29 pm

Actually that's a really interesting point about anti-semitism. It seems to come from a place where Jewish people are seen as, if not superior, at least very clever. You know how av and Eric control the world economy and Hollywood and so on? Racism usually goes the inferior/animal route. Is it a "chosen people" thing or what?

Vast apologies if any of the above comes across as racist. Hopefully you guys know me well enough to know that's not my intention.

Fun fact. Our spell check doesn't recognise "anti-semitism" and suggest "anti-anti-semitism" as an alternative. Go home, spell check, you're drunk.
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Re: Questions about Judaism

Postby DamianaRaven » Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:46 pm

OrangeEyebrows wrote:Go home, spell check, you're drunk.


That made me laugh so hard I started coughing up a lung! *puts out cigarette* Y'all have seen me have issues with Firefox and its damn dictionary.

Personally, I hate racism to the point of playing mind games with certain overly-vocal douchecanoes. Among the list of antisemitic rationale is "they stick together like rats." Wait a minute, isn't that what they're "supposed" to do? You'll hear right quick how black people would be fine if they'd just "keep to their own kind." Whenever I bring this inconsistency to light, most bigots are smart enough to see they've been had and so walk away muttering about "Jew-lovers." (They're not wrong, either. I love all kinds of people.) However, one time, in a rare stroke of retarded genius, one of them fired right back, "yeah, but you can't pick them out of a crowd." I had to give the devil his due on that one and just walk away laughing.
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Re: Questions about Judaism

Postby aviel » Wed Feb 12, 2014 9:33 pm

OrangeEyebrows wrote:Actually that's a really interesting point about anti-semitism. It seems to come from a place where Jewish people are seen as, if not superior, at least very clever. You know how av and Eric control the world economy and Hollywood and so on? Racism usually goes the inferior/animal route. Is it a "chosen people" thing or what?

It's hard to say, but Jews have often held somewhat high-profile professions like Doctor or Lawyer. That itself is likely due to the fact that Jewish property rights were often restricted in Europe hundreds of years ago, so Jews became educated and help professions that didn't require the ownership of property, even when most people were farmers. So if you notice that a small minority tends to be in positions of power or do reasonably well for itself, it's easier to insult them as malicious than dumb.

It's funny, because many anti-Semitic stereotypes are actually kind of flattering. Were it not for the hate attached I'm sure I'd be flattered if a person just assumed I were rich and powerful. That said, the Nazis were kind of all over the place. Jews were powerful enough to secretly cause Germany's defeat in WWI, yet at the same time were 'vermin' and therefore worthy of extermination, but also controlled the media.

But if we take a look at what Google thinks of Jews:
Image

We notice that, for Christians and Muslims, only negative adjectives appear. For Jews, we have "successful", "smart", "rich", "funny", and "liberal", which are either positive or neutral. (Testing now, I got "rude", "rich", and "smart").
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Terry Pratchett wrote:The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.

Click for a Limerick
OrangeEyebrows wrote:There once was a guy, Aviel,
whose arguments no one could quell.
He tested with Turing,
his circuits fried during,
and now we'll have peace for a spell.
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Re: Questions about Judaism

Postby blehblah » Thu Feb 13, 2014 2:40 pm

aviel wrote:And, according to that poll, America is the least anti-Semitic (and second or third most philo-semitic) country on Earth. So for once we're #1 in something nice, not like obesity or prison population.


Least anti-Semitic country polled... *harrumphs in a very Canadian-like manner*
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Re: Questions about Judaism

Postby blehblah » Thu Feb 13, 2014 2:56 pm

I've got one - a question, I mean. Bacon. Well, more pork, really. What gives? A Muslim friend of mine told me that he figures it's because pigs were unsuitable for the Mid-East climate, unlike in Europe. So, goats became the go-to animal because after slaughter, the meat lasted much longer.

Of course, I've also heard about trichinosis; maybe it's more problematic in warmer climates?

Anywho - what's the history of the aversion to piggies, and is it the same back-story as with Muslims?

Also, dairy. A Jewish acquaintance of mine had two dishwashers, two sets of dishes, and the whole deal, to keep dairy separate from everything else (if memory serves). I wouldn't describe him as Orthodox, but going that far struck me as pretty strict (and I'm likely mixing "Orthodox" and "strict" a little too easily; on that note, is it like Catholicism where Orthodox is practically a different religion?). What's the back story on that?

I tend to believe that there are practices, traditions, and elements of religion that have practical origins. I'm wondering, then, if pork and dairy have an accepted practical origin.

Okay - so I guess I had more than one question.
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Re: Questions about Judaism

Postby aviel » Thu Feb 13, 2014 11:41 pm

blehblah wrote:I've got one - a question, I mean. Bacon. Well, more pork, really. What gives? A Muslim friend of mine told me that he figures it's because pigs were unsuitable for the Mid-East climate, unlike in Europe. So, goats became the go-to animal because after slaughter, the meat lasted much longer.

Of course, I've also heard about trichinosis; maybe it's more problematic in warmer climates?

Anywho - what's the history of the aversion to piggies, and is it the same back-story as with Muslims?

Who knows? Rabbis of hypothesized that it had something to do with health, but the laws of Kashrut do not clearly indicate any healthy diet. Cracked hypothesized something along the lines of what your Muslim friend did, so it might be that. Or it could be that some nut 3000 years ago thought it would be a good idea to ban pigs.

Also, dairy. A Jewish acquaintance of mine had two dishwashers, two sets of dishes, and the whole deal, to keep dairy separate from everything else (if memory serves). I wouldn't describe him as Orthodox, but going that far struck me as pretty strict (and I'm likely mixing "Orthodox" and "strict" a little too easily; on that note, is it like Catholicism where Orthodox is practically a different religion?). What's the back story on that?

I tend to believe that there are practices, traditions, and elements of religion that have practical origins. I'm wondering, then, if pork and dairy have an accepted practical origin.

Okay - so I guess I had more than one question.

The separation of meat and dairy isn't exactly in the Torah. It's a Talmudic extrapolation. The Torah only says "do not seethe a kid in its mother's milk", but it says it three times. The Talmudic scholars tried to figure out why it was repeated and came up with a bunch of weird laws surrounding the mixing of meat and dairy. So these laws we can pretty much chalk up to religious craziness.

Orthodox Jews tend to have substantially different practices from more mainstream Jews, but that's largely because mainstream Jews (especially in America) aren't very religious at all. About half of Israeli Jews describe themselves as secular and about half of American Jews say they doubt the existence of God, and even many of the American Jews who do believe in God aren't really observant. The thing about Orthodox Jews is that they really try to follow all the laws, and follow them via unreasonably strict interpretations. And they're usually Ashkenaz, meaning they'll also incorporate traditions that came from eastern European Jewry, so they'll often be easily identifiable because, aside from wearing tzitzit and covering their heads, they may also be wearing peyot and the black clothing you associate with Haredi.

Some more religious Conservative Jews might also have behaviours and practices more similar to modern Orthodox Jews, but the extremists form really distinct and often insular groups. You can read My Name is Asher Lev for a good fictionalization of one such community in Brooklyn.
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Terry Pratchett wrote:The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.

Click for a Limerick
OrangeEyebrows wrote:There once was a guy, Aviel,
whose arguments no one could quell.
He tested with Turing,
his circuits fried during,
and now we'll have peace for a spell.
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Re: Questions about Judaism

Postby Andropov4 » Sat Feb 15, 2014 2:16 am

aviel wrote:For somewhat more detail than Eric's response, with a lot of my own perspective:

DamianaRaven wrote:What's the deal with the yarmulke?

See Eric's response: it's a reminder about God or something silly like that.


Not that anyone seems to have had an issue with it, but in the future, in the interest of civility you might avoid calling the beliefs of others silly.
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Re: Questions about Judaism

Postby aviel » Sat Feb 15, 2014 2:29 am

Andropov4 wrote:Not that anyone seems to have had an issue with it, but in the future, in the interest of civility you might avoid calling the beliefs of others silly.

Eh, then they can avoid having silly beliefs. Anyways, in this case they're getting off easy. Normally I call the beliefs of exceptionally observant Jews 'harmful'.
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Terry Pratchett wrote:The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.

Click for a Limerick
OrangeEyebrows wrote:There once was a guy, Aviel,
whose arguments no one could quell.
He tested with Turing,
his circuits fried during,
and now we'll have peace for a spell.
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Re: Questions about Judaism

Postby Andropov4 » Sat Feb 15, 2014 2:31 am

aviel wrote:
Andropov4 wrote:Not that anyone seems to have had an issue with it, but in the future, in the interest of civility you might avoid calling the beliefs of others silly.

Eh, then they can avoid having silly beliefs. Anyways, in this case they're getting off easy. Normally I call the beliefs of exceptionally observant Jews 'harmful'.


Aviel, please stop, Being disrespectful of others does nothing to strengthen your case, and frankly makes you appear childish. If you can't be respectful of others in the debate forum, than you need to consider not visiting it.
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