Any self respecting Jew who is a reader of the Maccabean should be outraged by the article in this weeks Did you Know Column.
The column notes its own disclaimer “I too would like to alert my fellow Jews that some of the material contained in the article may differ from the belief in Torah MiTzion in the belief that the Torah was given to G-d on Mount Zion (sic) a little less than 5769 years ago.Â Judaism has always accomodated various and sometimes even oppposing Jewish ideas and so I feel justified in assuming mutual respect for our doctrinal differences is still a hallmark of Judaism in the 21st century”.
Maybe Judaism has accomodated various and opposing Jewish ideas.Â But Ken, the problem is that your ideas are not Jewish.Â And no, they are not mutually respected when they pollute the pages of the Maccabean masquerading as Jewish expression.
Here are some of the supposed “facts of Jewish history”Â that Ken asks us to respect:
“In approximately 1,200 BCE Moses united a number of nomadic tribes in preparation for the occupation of Canaan”
“Historians assume that the earliest written recording of the Torah text dates back to 950 BCE and that the compilation of the document was concluded in 400 BCE”
“The book of Dueteronomy was probably written in 550 BCE”
“The book of Leviticus is a Charter of Judaism that is written with great dogmatic faith that totally disregards reality”
“Jews are the oly people who still pay homage to the godess Fria, by using on Friday, bread in the shape of her plaits that are covered with poppy seed, hoping to receive her fertility blessing”
“We still use Esther and Moredechai, forgetting that these names are echoes of the Babylonian deities Ishtar and Marduk”
“The Torah is a treasure trove, regardless of whether one perceives it as a God given document and ignores all its claims that are irreconcialble with current scientific world views…..”
The irony of some of the text about the history of Moses being sourced from Midrash, which the author probably both does not realiase or does not believe in, is amusing in itself.Â But why should we have to put up with this continual insult of the Jewish faith?
On a factual level the ideas expressed are not referenced, sourced, explained or contextualised.Â Therefore approaching this on an academic level is pointless.Â Similarly, in a historical context, there is no evidence to discern.
In an idealistic sense there is much to be said.Â Firstly, it lacks maturity to attempt to define the geological age of the earth asÂ a conflict to the biblical narrative of creation.Â Torah and science are two compatable fields, and using the Torah text in a literal sense, without its Rabbinic tradition, debases all prospect of Jewish expression.
Secondly, Judaism is a beautiful and rich set of ideas, supported by texts that are as poetic and allegorical as they are legalistic and prescriptive.Â Attempting to factualise a moral set of values according to theological preference is also not a Jewish interpretive system.Â All the time this column produces dry and droll negative expressions.Â It takes Jewish values and attempts to discredit and debase them.Â It takes Jewish tradition and realigns it to non-Jewish origin.Â It takes religious ideas and turns them into historical mantra that is then cast as being irrelevant to Jewish study.
I’m not sure what religion Ken Arkwright subscribes to, but whatever it is, he is kidding himself if he thinks its Jewish.Â
Let’s reclaim for the Maccabean content that is Jewish and relevant to our week.Â It’s not just about yesterday (as the article concludes); its also about today and tomorrow.Â Its not about humanism, its about a divinely inspired mission to bring spirituality to the world.Â Its also not about the ideas, traditions and theology of other societies; its about the Jewish nation and its own exclusive tradition.
Let’s see more of the beauty of Judaism.Â Lets see more of the positive impact that Torah imbues on our day to day living.Â Let’s take the the word of Hashem and respect it as being holy and divine.Â At least Torah MiTzion gives us that, instead of telling us about all that is wrong with classical ideas and sources.
Once again, shame on the Maccabean for choosing to insult the Jewish community of Perth, and shame on Ken Arkwright for writing such provocative and uninspiring revisionist bulldust.
If you are a reader of the Maccabean and agree that thisÂ content in our paper is an intolerable insult, please make sure to make the editor aware of your dissatisfaction.