Time to stop the in-fighting | AJN Letters

8 Jul 2011
The Australian Jewish News Melbourne edition

Time to stop the in-fighting

JUDAISM on gay marriage – yes or no – can wait; I’m fascinated with Peter Cohen’s implicit support for all things natural – “Could God be behind such a cruel joke?” ( AJN 24/06).

Science also points to genes that naturally predispose humans to anger or violence. If proven, the implications are many. Yet, since when does humankind decide right and wrong based on what the penguin fraternity are up to? Are we merely animals or something more?

As for his swipe at Orthodoxy, and praise for Progressives – let’s for a moment drop the term thrust upon traditional Jews by Reform 250 years ago to make everyone else look irredeemably anachronistic. Judaism was inherently progressive, inclusive, innovative and societally savvy. Just that we’ve seen less and less of this Judaism for oh – about 300 years (except, curiously, in the Sephardi world). What Judaism has neglected to explain is that Jewish laws are like formulae: the inputs to variables change with the times; only the formulae are rigid.

As Judaism gradually stops Woody Allening over slippery slopes and competing movements, we will again occupy ourselves as to how to keep members of the community “in”, rather than “bad” people “out” – and words like Orthodox and Progressive can all safely go the way of the dodo.

MICHAEL SASSOON
Bondi, NSW

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