Friday, April 18, 2014


While my usual comments analyze the vagaries of Jewish life or the world of a doctor paddling the medical streams, there are times for some political comments, which by their very nature are not always well received.  In the Facebook discourse, an old acquaintance with a very consistent left-leaning bent took offense to my backhand assessment of President Carter as an inducement to vote Republican, which I did for one of the very few times in 1980.  This individual no longer appeared on my news screen or chat presence over the next few days and disappeared from my friends list at about the same time.  A modern day expression of what I think much of organized Judaism has been doing for some time.  There are opinions that fit in and those that do not.  Hillel International hastily Unfriended some very bright, inquisitive students at Swarthmore College for a political position on Israeli foreign relations, even though neither Hillel or Swarthmore has any standing in creating Israeli foreign policy.  In my own era, not having a decent enough time at Ramah one summer to justify a return there next summer got me Unfriended by the our Rabbi where the view was there must be something amiss about me for what the Freudians would call a negative transeference reaction.  Ironically the Conservative organizations, for all the efforts that their dedicated honchos put into development, paid very dearly for this view of people as the insidious attrition figures over a generation would suggest.

Attempts to disconnect people, other than those who really mean you harm, has a way of backfiring.  Many a small USY clique reassembled at Hillel a few years later, with those external to the clique never really becoming part of Hillel in college and often not part of Judaism beyond college.  In a more contemporary expression, we have Facebook Friends, for me high school friends, most not particularly close at the time,  assembling decades later in a way that pays back a fundamentally good experience when no payback was ever anticipated or solicited.  Some have passions about their guns, which I find abhorrent.  Some would expand Romney's 47% to 100% Pirke Avot style with Mine is Yours and Yours is Mine--Am HaAretz [5:13].  Most have developed a passion for something.  It might be their work, or you might not be able to figure out what their work is.  It might be their memories of good times.  It might be their dogs.  Their enjoyment should be part of my enjoyment.  A real bond, formed on valid common ground, should be able to withstand the temptation of a click of the mouse on the Unfriend option.

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