Sunday, August 14, 2005

The Trouble With Anglo-Jewry: Introduction

I decided to write The Trouble With Anglo-Jewry whilst on a trip to Berlin to see my friend Eric, who had asked me to buy him a copy of The Trouble With Islam by Irshad Manji (Irshad, we’ve never met and it’s a shame you’re Canadian, Muslim and lesbian because you're dead cute, and as they say, a fatwa shared is a fatwa halved). I read it in two sittings in the days before I flew out, and I thoroughly recommend it.

The first thing to point out is that unlike Irshad, I have no problem with my religion. Well, that’s not true. What kind of Jew would I be if I agreed with and – worse – adhered to the status quo? What I mean is, the basic tenets of Judaism that we adhere to today seem to be like the ones we've always used, and are more or less fine by me. So I'm not proposing some massive overhaul of the core concepts here. What I have a problem with is the institutional framework that has squelched innovative thought and created a robo-religion that for the most part seems devoid of a spirituality that speaks to our generation.

Originally this was going to take the form of a book, but I have neither the discipline nor the wish to be dogmatic if a decent argument trumps mine, to put something into print. So over the coming months, I shall be posting regularly on the subject of The Trouble With Anglo-Jewry. Please feel free to chip in with advice, gripes, arguments etc, and with any ideas on areas to cover in my quest for the big answers.


Anonymous said...

But why do you see the core concepts as distinct from the institutional framework? - doesnt the latter originate in the former, i.e do you not think religious institutions are products of what is collectively understood to be the 'core concepts' - maybe could you explain your terms abit better,

freedmanslife said...

Valid question, but actually my big gripe here is exactly because I think the institutions of Anglo-Jewry, which are the product of their age (19th century or so), and so have little to no relation with the core concepts of Judaism, or indeed 21st century life. There's plenty more to come on the subject...