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Quote of the Day: On “Gonzo Judaism”

From Rabbi Niles Goldstein, founding rabbi of The New Shul in Manhattan, in his new book Gonzo Judaism. Who in their right mind would want to be part of a religious community whose motto, based on its past behavior, might … Read More

By / September 28, 2006

From Rabbi Niles Goldstein, founding rabbi of The New Shul in Manhattan, in his new book Gonzo Judaism.

Who in their right mind would want to be part of a religious community whose motto, based on its past behavior, might as well be "Come Survive With Us"? Let's get the hell over our fears and anxieties about anti-Semitism, assimilation, and intermarriage. Let's get out from under the shadow of the Holocaust.

I refuse to look cautiously over my shoulder; I'm staring straight ahead. And what I see is possibility. Wonderful possibility.

Amen to that, brother.

As you saw if you rolled over the above Gonzo Judaism link, I think his book–though worthy in many respects–has some real problems. There's a tribalism and religious particularism that I found surprising and unappetizing–particularly in a "New Jewish" book such as this one. But on the above sentiments, we're perfectly in sync. American Jews' souls should be alight with all the privileges and historically unprecedented opportunities of American life. The "fears and anxieties" he's describing stink of the ghetto, and we need to retire them.

Perhaps, as an internet guru once prophecied when a web enthusiast complained that not enough people were using the web, "[Our] problems will be solved actuarially."

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