Absolute X-O

It would stand to reason that someone formerly Orthodox would not be inclined to wax nostalgic about when the Orthodox were “really religious”; usually that’s the province of those who have a vested pedagogical interest in maintaining the lifestyle and culture, not of those who have left it.

It would stand to reason that someone formerly ultra-Orthodox who presumably left the life perceiving that the environment was unnecessarily restrictive—especially those who left because the intellectual landscape seemed to unnecessarily restrictive—might not as readily adopt another set of tenets that are almost as intellectually unforgiving as the most reactionary right wing dogmas, where one can be deemed “a dangerous and insufferable heretic propagating heresy amidst the new leftist religion –reviled like [Spinoza]”.

The ironies don’t stop there: the formerly Orthodox have now taken it upon themselves to lecture their co-religionists about their failure to follow their own ostensible tenets in not adhering to the new intersectional reality.

One such recent “schmooze” in the Forward lists a litany of such offenses, which, if the reader didn’t know better, would look like an campaign advertisement for the previous administration at the same time that it bundles a number of domestic intersectional progressive talking points—looser immigration laws, check; socialized medicine, check—with the intersectional holy of holies: the the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

While the author of the piece starts with a salient enough admonition, if true—that Orthodox Jews pressured their undocumented workers to transport their families for Passover, at great risk to the workers—that very offense ultimately undermines her premise and her attempt to bundle the charges.

While it may be indicative of a certain callousness unbecoming of anyone professing to be a Torah Jew (irrespective of how prevalent it is, which would affect how much of a straw man argument the piece is in the first place) it is hardly indicative of a pervasive “anti-immigrant” sentiment on the part of even the offenders: like the “Chamber of Commerce conservatives” who need the cheap labor afforded by a messy immigration system, why would they not want immigrants here?

Furthermore: since when is having severe misgivings about the Palestinian national project—even if that entails a “right-wing approach”— tantamount to a “failure to see Palestinians as human beings”? In fact, it might be more humanizing to hold them responsible for their movement’s use of Judeomisia that mirrors some of the worst rhetoric from WWII.  The “the tendency to group all Palestinians together” that the author decries didn’t come from her erstwhile co-Orthos: the PLO/PA is considered their “sole and legitimate representative”—under the intersectional tenets that mandates acceptance of that truism, it stands to reason that they be held accountable for their representatives’ failure to see Jews as human beings.

(The alternative would be according Hamas the label of “legitimate representative”, something one would hope the author would decline to do, even if a number of her intersectional fellow-travellers would lean in that direction. )

Finally: Also, since when do we afford lawbreakers the opportunity to keep their families together?  Since when is it an excuse to not enforce the law?  And if the adult lawbreakers are employing their own children as vehicle in breaking that law, who is really deserving of condemnation?  The OU should not have had to even issue the tweet that looked even the slightest bit apologetic.  Once again, the intersectional historical revisionists have conflated Jewish law, the Jewish immigrant experience and the Holocaust with the current legal brouhaha in the US.

The author “tried to point out that targeting these people was an act of cruelty. No one listened.”  No one listened, but not because they were callous, or because they dehumanize the “Other”, or because of “hysterical [] narrative[s]”; rather, they do not afford any credibility to those whose approach to issues affecting them is just as “absolutist”, if not more, than the tendencies they are accused of harboring.   

But in the end, it might just be that the author’s memories are faulty, or distorted by a combination of nostalgia and newfound ideology.  Like the religious accused of historical revisionism in furtherance of a spiritual ideal, the author’s memory of a community “largely dedicated to Tikkun Olam” should be a dead giveaway about a retroactive adherence to intersectional progressive tenets.

“No one listened.”

No wonder.

About the Author
Jon Taub is an ex-Upper West Sider, now-married Riverdalean who has two MA's, plays three instruments, and consults for biostartups.
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