Saturday, August 28, 2010

Stealth Jew does not approve

Some almost ten years ago, when I was in college (yes I'm old shaddup), the big thing in online Christian circles was a type of Amish fetishism. There were even a bunch of novels, Christian lit, published about Amish situations. A whole bunch of blogs appeared about being "plain" and "plain-living."

Fine, some Christians like Amish people. So what, Stealth Jew? Can we go back to talking about how you screwed up your kids this year?

I'm going somewhere with this.

Now the trend is Jewish fetishism. Everyone and his uncle is eating challah, wearing tzitzit, and blowing shofars.

It's Jews for Jesus writ large.

Does Jews for Jesus still exist?

Stealth Jew in principle supports the right of all people to practice their wacky religion in any wacky way they want, as her own practice involves wearing a wig over perfectly good hair, and thus she lives in the proverbial glass house. But in practice I have a powerful negative reaction to the, what's the lefty term, "cultural appropriation" of Jewish traditions by Christians. Those are ours. There are a lot fewer of us than there are of them, and I don't want to be drowned out. In addition, this kind of cultural soup has been used to aggressively seek Jews for conversion.

Plus it's a theological mess, profoundly un-Jewish, un-Hebrew. Judaism is not about you, a Bible, and a high-speed connection. It is by its nature experienced in community. Not a virtual community. A real community, one where people show up unannounced and observe what a mess your house is. One where people are up in your business all the time and you're limited in what you can do by what people will think. Further, Judaism involves submission to an authority. Everyone is to make himself a rabbi (that doesn't mean 'become a rabbi'; it means to find one).

I hope they all move on to something new soon. How about Catholicism? I think rosaries are pretty nifty.


  1. They are actively sending out DVDs to the religious in Brooklyn and visiting nursing homes.

  2. They are actively sending out DVDs to the religious in Brooklyn and visiting nursing homes.

  3. I am not too fond of these people. I really dislike how they explain what they are doing by saying "I am just following the traditions and observations as Jesus did"

  4. This is why interfaith seders are a gateway drug.

  5. Hmm.

    Our church puts on a Seder each year with the local Jewish community. But that's about the extent of my Jewish interaction.

    There are definitely plenty of people who seem to think that rosaries, chaplets, and mantilla-like head coverings are a fashion statement, so the Catholic Church isn't immune to such treatment either. :)

  6. There is still a Jews for Jesus bus that drives around the Bay Area. I've seen it on the freeway a few times and my blood boils! I do agree with you on this. The tying factor to Judaism is the community. We are feeling this especially now that I am pregnant and in the midst of a huge Jewish community. Half is Conservative, half reform, and a sprinkle of Chabad. It makes for a very interesting week for the holidays that is for sure.

  7. I'm Catholic and please don't send them our way! ;)

    What I find most, well, something, about this phenomenon is when you try to discuss with them how Jews understand the Torah to mean this rather than that and they take the time to inform you that Jews are doing it all wrong, because Jews aren't Sola Scriptura, so they're really doing it the correct way.

    I can kind of understand how using some of these traditions can enrich their understanding of their own faith, but to say that Jews are being Jewish wrong is just galling!

  8. Wow, all I notice in this blog post is a whole lot of bitterness. Now, you are welcome to try and hoard all the Jewish blessing to yourself, it is certainly an option- albeit a foolish one.

  9. I totally agree. (And I don't see bitterness -- I see you pointing out a real problem with all kinds of theological wackiness and practical weirdness.)