Like Walder, Like Carlebach Part 4a: Pause From My Norm
Why I’ll be writing about the Will Smith-Chris Rock incident at the Oscars, in this and the next blog post. It’s not because it’s a trend.
Something about this happening with two Black men as the main characters, and seeing it discussed on so many Jewish-related feeds and FB posts, woke me to a recognition: When I became religious over 33 years ago, I had pushed down aspects of myself. Sure, I have been aware of these aspects of myself, but in a way that remained mostly within. I had not brought these parts of myself forward, front and center, to their rightful if not honorable place. I certainly hadn’t expressed these parts of myself in my blog writing, which had focused only on the need to cancel Shlomo Carlebach.
So for my own self-integrity and desire to be in alignment with my soul, including as I write these blog posts, I am taking this moment to share some about aspects of my identity which may not have shown through in my previous blog posts.
To begin with, canceling Carlebach in the Jewish community is not my raison d’être!
Rather, it is one expression of my deeper desire for a better society, a healthy, functioning, economically thriving, physically and emotionally safe world filled with kindness and compassion that brings out the best of us as individuals, and supports us in reaching our individual and collective aspirations.
When I was a child thinking how society could be made better, I wasn’t thinking at all about the Jewish community! I was not Jewish then and was being raised by my staunchly Christian Black mother and white Sefardic-looking non-Jewish father who was a proclaimed atheist (until recently). I converted to Judaism at age 23.
I’ve always cared about what happens in the Black community, but only partly because I’m mixed-race. I think my soul can’t make peace with injustice, and the Black community has suffered much injustice!
Likely also because of the educator in me, when an influential figure in the Black community sets a bad example, I am bothered. This time, I’m writing about it.
In addition to the Will Smith incident, I am prompted by responses I received in a Facebook group after I posted about some used furniture to give to refugees. They asserted that I was wrong in offering it to non-Jewish refugees and that it should only go to Jews.
In truth, when I posted, I hadn’t thought about whether the war refugees who might receive the furniture would be Jewish or not. The naysayers said I would be wrong to give it to non-Jews, even after I pointed out the particulars of their refugee status, having freshly experienced the traumas of war, leaving males aged 18-60, family, and friends behind not knowing if they will live or die, and possessing nothing. They are also in a new country where they might not know the language. One person expressed their opinion that if I gave to them, I would be stealing from local Jewish residents in the city.
With this blog post, I’m openly declaring that I care what happens to non-Jewish refugees in our country and all people in the world, even as I maintain my Jewish identity and halachic (according to Jewish law) lifestyle. I am unabashedly proclaiming that for me, there is no contradiction.
For some reading this, you may be thinking, “Of course, what’s new here?” – this is what Judaism is about. I, however, over the years have been exposed to a few outlooks that for my taste are excessively Jew-centric. I am uncomfortable, that in my silence when these views were expressed, I had given the impression I agreed.
Google reports that the percentage of the world population that identifies as Jewish (not necessarily halachically Jewish) is 0.19%. G-d doesn’t want us to care about over 99% of the world’s population?! What of Avraham’s pleading and praying for Sodom? Enough said.
To be clear, bli-neder (without promising) I am resuming writing about Shlomo Carlebach as a serial sexual abuser, in my next blog post. It’s just that I felt it important to stop to present a more holistic picture of who I am and what matters to me. In line with this, when it’s relevant, I plan to also allow some of my knowledge and experience in my profession as an energy healer and medical intuitive to show.
To be continued imH in just a few days.