Tuesday, May 31, 2011

On the heroism of the New Square burn victim

Unfortunately, I can't understand a word of this. A little help please?

By my lights, this man, Aaron Rottenberg, is a hero in the tradition of Pharaoh's daughter who disregarded her father's evil decree and saved the baby Moses. Society said let the child drown. She chose to follow her conscious and save him instead. He is also a hero in the way Matisyahu the 2nd century BCE Jewish priest was a hero. Rather then bow to the pressure of authorities who insisted on conformity, Rottenberg went his own way, consequences be damned. Matisyahu started a revolt. The daughter of Phraoah raised a son who fearlessly spoke truth to power. If Rottenberg is unable to ferment a Macabbee-style rebellion against the corrupt powers of New Square, let his example at least inspire a new wave of civil resisters who refuse to be bullied into choosing between their ideals and their community.

What Rottenberg wanted was simply to live as he saw fit, in his own home, in his own neighborhood,  surrounded by his family and friends. The monsters of New Square said he couldn't have both. They said he had to live by rules enforced by a mob, or uproot himself and his family and move to another neighborhood. This is an unconscionable choice, and one no one should be forced to make. I hope other Rottenbergs are waiting in the wings, ready to pick up his baton, and ready to say this isn't Judaism or Hasidut and that we refuse to accept it.

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