Open Thread Wednesday

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  • redlola

    co-cosign. just say no to residential development. enough is enough.

  • redlola

    shouldn’t be so quick to jump to conclusions. compared to other religions , jews hardly proselytize. kind of contradicts the whole chosen ppl thing.

  • redlola

    disagree. while telling someone to be deeper in their faith is still too much for me, it is 1000000% better than telling people to change their faith entirely to a “better” one.

  • StudioBrooklyn

    Let’s say I like the color green and you like the color blue. You try to convince me to switch to liking blue instead. That’s how you define proselytizing.

    Now, let’s say I liked blue when I was a kid because my parents told me it was the best color, but as an adult I decided that having a favorite color and using that color a lot just wasn’t important to me, and then you come along and try to get me to start liking blue a lot and wearing blue again. To me, this is basically the same thing as trying to get me to switch colors. It’s about telling someone else what color to like and how much they should like that color.

  • StudioBrooklyn

    “compared to other religions, jews hardly proselytize”

    This is true, unless like me you define proselytizing in such a way that it includes pushing religiousness on people they deem to already be members of their ethno-religious group. And let’s not forget that nobody is born a believer…

    Half my family is Jewish. In my life I’ve had religion pushed on me by Jewish people “1000000%” (to borrow your number) more than by people from any other religion.

  • redlola

    disagree again. imo, telling someone that if they choose to have a favorite color, only one color is perfect and can save your life is worse. however, from my experience with religious jews, they are not that worried about getting regular jews to become religious either.

  • redlola

    i am 100% jewish and have never had a jew ring my doorbell, yell at me on the subway and on the streets about condemnation, try to talk to me from a table in the train station, or shove a pamphlet in my hand without at least asking me if i’m jewish first. i am not aware of large, organized jewish missionary efforts in countries all over the world to teach non-jews judaism. you seem somewhat negatively pre-disposed to jews as you were quick to conclude that this pamphlet was from chabad. clearly, confusing people, including jews, for the purpose of conversion seems to be some christian group’s goal hence the pamphlets. http://crownheights.info/crown-heights-news/470170/missionary-pamphlets-disguised-as-jewish-material/

  • redlola

    even chabad has never been invasive, IMO. they don’t threaten, use scare tactics or trick you with fake pamphlets

  • StudioBrooklyn

    Your assessment of what is “worse” (proselytization from a “different” religion or not) is subjective. I’m saying it’s all forms of the same behavior and that from the standpoint of the person on the receiving end of the pitch, it crosses the same line.

  • redlola

    um your assessment of what crosses the same line for all people is subjective. don’t try to discredit what i clearly labelled as my opinion by shoving your own down my throat as some objective truth. proselytize much? we are simply exchanging opinions. no winner will be declared.

  • StudioBrooklyn

    Hah fair enough!

  • AEB

    Well, this brings up a biggie: what is identity in relation to the self–and how much of it is chosen and how much innate.

    Is a religion, practiced for millennia by one’s forebears, bound to be “part” of one? In the case of Jews, one must think tribal–which usually means choosing one’s mate from a particular community. This is often an enforced proposition. What gets passed on and what doesn’t?

    We know that all religion can be taken as a voluntary association–one can, at least in certain societies–opt out of one’s given faith. And yet….

  • StudioBrooklyn

    As I said earlier, half my family are self-identifying Jews. I’ll reveal that this half includes my mother. I don’t self-identify as a Jew, but have on countless occasions been approached in the streets by Chabad kids, and I find their initial inquiry “Excuse me, are you Jewish?” to be invasive, not because of the question itself but because of the intention I know is behind it: to get some lapsed Jew to rediscover his faith–something nobody has any business doing as much as nobody has any business trying to change someone else’s spiritual beliefs.

    But the number of times this has happened is minuscule compared to the number of times regular, Yom Kippur and Pesach Jews in my family and outside my family have tried to tell me what my identity is and what I should believe as a result of that identity. I’m not bent out of shape about it or anything, I just think it’s obnoxious. So, sorry if you interpret that as me being “negatively pre-disposed”, I just think people deserve the basic respect of being allowed to reasonably form and retain their own senses of identity, and that infringements upon that respect aren’t to be dismissed just because they’re from within the same religious identity-group.

  • CHASESGILBERT

    Respectfully, I disagree. I’m no fan of Chabad’s tactics but trying to convince a person of faith to abandon their religion for another is WRONG. I think that’s much worse. And this said about Chabad, they saved my friends life – someone who is a known and passionate atheist.

  • CHASESGILBERT

    Agreed. I think they provide a service especially to Jews traveling abroad. I’ve just had certain experiences in the orthodox community where I felt marginalized because I wasn’t “Jewish enough.” This said, Chabad never made me feel unwelcome (maybe once, lol).

  • StudioBrooklyn

    Right. Look, I can’t argue about what “tribe” I come from, but I can definitely tell you the contents of my own mind, and I can also say with a good amount of certitude that every religious person, every believer, started out as (essentially) a secular atheist at birth and was indoctrinated at some point.

    If Judaism is going to claim to be both a religion and an ethnicity, I (personally) don’t think it’s really fair (or rational) to govern the two associations according to the same set of rules.

  • StudioBrooklyn

    I’m not really sure what argument you’re making here…you stated that trying to convince someone to exchange religions is implicitly worse than trying to convince someone to increase the intensity of their ritual practice without explaining why you think this is the case, and then gave a vague anecdote about Chabad helping a friend of yours. These two points seem unconnected to me. Not trying to be argumentative, just wondering what the logical connection is here.

  • StudioBrooklyn

    Dude I’ve had those experiences in the Reform community, even the secular Jewish community.

    Chabad aren’t in the business of making people feel unwelcome, that’s totally not their M.O. and not something I’d accuse them of.

  • StudioBrooklyn

    In order to be a doctor, you have to practice medicine. If you come from a family that have practiced medicine for 5,000 years and you decide to fly planes, you’re not a doctor, you’re a pilot.

    In order to be a Jew, you have to practice Judaism…or so the logic should go. The reason I personally reject the “tribe” identity is that I see no good reason for it. The arguments for keeping an identity intact, with our without an attached belief system, are simply not arguments I accept as being valid in the time and place where I live. I’m content with being a human being.

  • CHASESGILBERT

    The difference is one is trying to convince the other to abandon their faith – which naturally devalues their original faith. It’s insulting to hear “your religion is wrong. You should join mine.”

    Chabad telling me I should be more of my own faith is just far less offensive because they’re saying “you’re one of us. We’d like to see more of you.”

    The point of my anecdote: although I also have issues with “internal prostelyzing” like Chabad does, they also do amazing work in helping people, regardless of whether or not they even believe in God.

  • StudioBrooklyn

    We’ll have to agree to disagree about which one is worse; that’s clearly subjective.

    I have neither doubt nor experience that they help people, but I see that as a separate thing, not a canceling out of whatever invasive things they do.

  • AEB

    I think–I may be wrong–that studies have been done to determine the relation of genes and religiousity. (I understand that this isn’t the same thing as genes and religious identity.)

    In any case, it’s been determined that religious people share certain personality traits with one another.

    I’m Jewish–though I haven’t really decided what that means, as I’m non-practicing. Yet I certainly feel that I share a cultural heritage and identity, (and maybe a physiognomy) with other Jews. Hmmmm.

  • CHASESGILBERT

    We all speak from experience. I’ve NEVER experienced this from the reform community (in which I was raised).

    And in my original comment, I blamed the Orthodox community – much more so than Chabad. That’s one reason I mentioned Chabad and my friend – because Chabad seems entirely different from their orthodox counterparts for the most part.

    My very first experience of being called “not Jewish enough,” was not until 23 years old. An orthodox rabbi refused to teach me the rules of Shabbat because my mother was not born Jewish – although I was raised Jewish myself. This felt wrong.

    Chabad is by far the least guilty of them all. Didn’t mean to infer otherwise. I think we can agree on that ; ))

  • ColumbiaHeightster

    What could you possibly be basing that on?

  • redlola

    what goes on in your family is not apples to oranges in terms of the proselytizing that is implied when you talk about complete strangers leaving pamphlets at your door without knowing anything about you. the ratio of chabad efforts i have experienced as like 1:50 compared to what other religions subject me to daily. the JW’s with their station set-ups shoving pamphlets in my hand and bell ringing, the subway and street preachers hollering about jesus christ at all hours of day and night…i can go on. the like 2 times a year (around holidays) that i have been approached by chabad kids, i actually appreciate their question of whether i am jewish cause i interpret it as them not trying to force judaism on people who are not jewish. i have the option to tell the truth or lie but even when i have told the truth followed by “not interested,” nobody harassed me, followed me or told me i wasn’t going to the promised land. they just moved on.

  • Concerned

    At 6:20 p.m. a 29-year-old man was shot in the head outside of the Farragut Houses at the corner of Sands and Gold Streets in DUMBO. The Daily News reports that the man was shot by a woman who escaped by fleeing into an apartment building on Bridge Street.
    http://gothamist.com/2016/06/16/brooklyn_shootings.php

  • StudioBrooklyn

    I think the crux of it for me, and I suppose this is applicable as a response to Chase and AEB as well, is that if someone disagrees with my beliefs, or tries to tell me what to believe, that’s an intellectual conflict I can deal with and it doesn’t really penetrate my skin. I can walk away, ignore it, etc. I’m not bothered by what happens after I tell the Chabad kids I’m not Jewish: they walk away. However, I am somewhat bothered by the fact that they place me in a position where I have to answer the question; I find the question a bit invasive, like going up to a random stranger and asking them how sexually active they are. Deciding whether ‘Jew’ is part of one’s identity is an extremely personal thing, as we’ve established.

    So when someone–especially someone in my family, let’s say, or someone I’m close to–tries to tell me how my identity is formed, that’s what I have a problem with. This isn’t something that even the most annoying subway preacher has ever done, even though I encounter their prattling on on a more routine basis.

    What I’m bothered by is the following conversation, which I seem to only ever have with Jewish people, often the ones I’m related to:
    “You come from a family of doctors. You may deny it but you, too, are a doctor.”
    “Um, no, I’m pretty sure I’m a pilot. I fly planes.”
    “Then you’re a self-hating doctor. See? Your last name is Emdee.”
    “Right, Flight Captain Steve Emdee. I didn’t choose my last name. I did earn the ‘Flight Captain’ part though.”
    “One day, Steve, you’re going to realize that this whole time you’ve been flying planes you’ve actually been operating on patients.”
    “No, I’m pretty sure I’ve been flying planes.”
    “It saddens me that you’re participating in this anti-doctor rhetoric that has threatened doctors for thousands of years!”
    “But I didn’t say anything about how I feel about doctors, except that I don’t practice medicine.”
    Et cetera.

  • StudioBrooklyn

    Voluntary self-reporting. Generally not a sound polling tactic.

  • ColumbiaHeightster

    Sorry, I misunderstood your last post. Mistakenly thought that you were saying this forum IS an accurate representation of the ‘hood at large. So…sorry and I agree!

  • blorg

    So you’re a self-hating Jew who supports Palestinian terrorism. We get it.