Thursday, June 29, 2006


Recently a bunch of German visitors in Meah She'arim in Jerusalem were "persuaded" that they were not entirely welcome. I shall not dwell upon the different interpretations of the event - unless you live in a cave, you've already seen both sides in a number of different versions.
[If you DO live in a cave, WELCOME! Please share your wisdom - shut up.]

But I will say one thing: Orange T-shirts!

We can assume that these visitors were not Dutch monarchists. Or soccer fans.

The colour was not an accident.

Entirely aside from the deliberate statement behind the choice of hue, there is something, dare I say it, disturbing about a bunch of Germans all wearing identical shirts.........

The most positive spin on this is that it was a clumsy attempt at interfaith dialogue.

Much as I love the idea of communication and co-operation among groups, and feel that the more we know about what makes the other guy tick the more we'll all be able to get along, I am ambivalent about interfaith dialogue. And this is despite knowing that many of the people involved in the endeavor are estimable indeed, and much more intelligent and knowledgeable than myself.

Interfaith is precisely what it isn't. It's just two sides talking to each other.

Which is a good thing, to be sure, but forevvinsake leave the almighty out of it.

The understanding of the nature of G_d is explicitly different on the two sides of the Judeo-Christian divide; one cannot say that they share the same deity but differ on details - the difference is one of fundamentals.
Even claiming that they have some source-texts and traditions in common is debatable. Once man's relation to existence comes into play the differences become even more glaring.

Necessarily any discussion between the two sides would have to avoid theological debate.
Or even statements of differing opinions on certain fundamentals - to define the differences is already to disagree and evaluate the other.

Calling it interfaith-dialogue is somewhat misleading, as it suggests that only mere details differ.
As if the various faiths are little more than menu choices at a Taco-Bell: same ingredients in similar proportions, only varying in how long they were in the deep-fryer.

I have no faith in a Fry-o-later. Do you?

PS. I could've also used the group-grope metaphor, but Dov said to keep it clean.
So I'll just bite my own tongue.

Instead of yours.

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Cross posted on my own blog at 6:48 Pacific Summer Time, precisely and approximately.

See here:

That's cross-POSTED. Not that other thing.


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Anonymous said...

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