January 9th, 2009


At the rally

A good pill against professional politics.

Also a chance to compare rich synagogues for lawyers and such and poor Habad synagogues for everyone.

Update. Now that I am back at my computer, I will try to explain.

1. There were hundreds of Israel-supporting mostly Jews in the audience. Politicians and, uh, community leaders (politicians too) were getting up the scene and saying how they stay by Israel and praising themselves for having visited Sderot. It's all very nice of them, but what am I supposed to do? Just clap and sign petitions?

There was an anti-anti-Israel counter-demonstration in Boston a few days ago, too bad I was not aware of it. Going there would be useful.

2. A synagogue is primarily a religious institution, but I am not a religious person. A synagogue is also a community center. How much does it cost to be a member of a Reform or Conservative synagogue in an affluent neighborhood? And how does it compare to Habad?

Now, I am not a member of any synagogue. I do not need their religious services, but I support their community building efforts. Habad has a strong reputation in this respect. The others, depends.

When Katrina hurricane destroyed New Orleans, two reputable charity groups were at the place collecting donation and immediately doing something to the victims: American Red Cross and Habad. I donated to both.

I regularly visit a Habad synagogue joining a group of people who sing Russian bard songs (you know the type). It has nothing to do with religion and nothing, or very little, to do with being Jewish. But it helps to keep the community together, and I am thankful to the rabbi for letting us use the room for free. And, as far as I know, this is consistent with the spirit. As far as the religious and political issues, Habadniks do not question me; all they ask is that we respect the place as a Jewish institution (do not eat nonkosher food etc), which is normal.