Religion & Beliefs

A big ol’ THANK YOU to those crazy Haredim

Over at Haaretz today, I read that El Al has settled its dispute over whether or not to fly on Shabbat.  Which is nice and all… even though I didn't know it was happening.  It's always nice when agreements can … Read More

By / January 5, 2007

Over at Haaretz today, I read that El Al has settled its dispute over whether or not to fly on Shabbat.  Which is nice and all… even though I didn't know it was happening.  It's always nice when agreements can be reached.  Here's the gist:

The agreement signals an end to an unofficial boycott of El Al, which has led to losses of about NIS 1 million a day, according to an official at Israel's national carrier. The agreement stipulates that El Al will appoint a rabbi to rule on instances of a perceived need for flights on the Sabbath. El Al has also committed to adhere to its general policy of not flying on the Sabbath.

It's funny, but I never even considered this issue.  I'm such an American that when I read the headline, my reaction was, "That's CRAZY!  Religious fanatics shouldn't be able to control the world like that.  But then I got to thinking about how important the fringes are, for protecting our array of choices in the comfortable pluralistic middle we inhabit. 

I thought about how, smack-dab in the middle of the bible belt, I was able to request a kosher meal when I was in the hospital delivering my son.  About how I was then able to submit the bill for my mohel, after we had the circumcision at home, to Blue Cross. 

And I realized that those aren't issues I'd boycott or scream over…  because I don't think about them much, and if I had to eat a veggie plate instead, or eat the bill for a few hundred dollars, I'd do it, rather than making a fuss about my religious freedoms. 

But I'm grateful that the fringes care enough to fuss, and I benefit from their efforts, even though they seem a little nutso to me.  And this all makes me wonder about where I really stand…  It makes me think I'm at least as lazy and uncomitted…

as they are fanatical.

So who am I to judge?