Religion & Beliefs

Limmud and British inferiority

On the way home from the nightly Limmud bar, this Israeli guy — I only remember his first name, Roi — heard that I was a poet and dropped a poem; I only remember the chorus:  On the London Underground, … Read More

By / December 25, 2007

On the way home from the nightly Limmud bar, this Israeli guy — I only remember his first name, Roi — heard that I was a poet and dropped a poem; I only remember the chorus:

 On the London Underground, everything is wild

On the London Underground, where Bowie was a child

Rabbi what? Rabbi who?This country has a different magic for everyone. Tonight someone was telling me how the British Jewish community has an inferiority complex, compared to all the cool countercultural Jewish stuff that's going on in the US. I told him that we should have an inferiority complex, too — this might be the only place where Jews of so many different stripes, visceral and physical, can get together and throw this many ideas at each other. It's seriously amazing how many people can get together and not get angry at each other (well, not get irreconcilably angry) and have Breslov and Chabad Chasidim jamming onstage, and then walk across the street to hear an awesome yet harmless-looking Liberal rabbi tell about her past breaking into abandoned buildings and setting up punk-rock squats, then launch into a half-hour impassioned defense of Sex Pistols impresario Malcolm McLaren. I know I keep using the word "impassioned," but it's not an accident — pretty much everything people do here feels like their lives are on the line, or that their lives are being defined.

Oh! And good old DJ Handler finally put up some pretty awesome Limmud photos over on Shemspeed. Go check 'em out and see what you're missing. (And, if you're here, check out Rabbi Raz Hartman's Chasidic minyan….7:45 am till we run out of breath.)