(first appearance 11.15.09)
One often hears the constant refrain of the USA being a מדינה של חסד= a Country of Loving-kindness and that our Gilded Golus in this sanctuary of Church-State separation has been a Golden Age Diaspora unparalleled in Jewish History. And while it's undeniable that there is much to be grateful for, everything from penicillin to kosher sushi, there are many unprecedented ways in which the United States of America has been "bad for the Jews". Below I submit a heartfelt, but by no means comprehensive, list
We offer no thanks to a country and culture- that has served as an enabler for the most rampant intermarriage rate in Jewish History.
We offer no thanks to a country and culture- that has caused more Jews to assimilate and at a rapider pace than at any other time in Jewish History.
We offer no thanks to a country and culture- that has provided the most fertile soil in which so-called Jewish movements (Reconstructionist and HumanistJudaism to name a few) antithetical to Torah Judaism have taken root and flourished.
We offer no thanks to a country and culture-that is so sex-saturated that people have been reduced to walking, talking libidos and where the sexualization of children rages unabated. This causes overcompensation among Shlomei Emunahmanifesting itself in increased actual and cultural ghettoization and onerous andabsurd chumras.
We offer no thanks to a country and culture-that so glorifies conspicuous consumption that the culture, including Jewish subculture, grows ever more selfish, narcissistic, tasteless, showy and grotesque.
We offer no thanks to a country and culture-that is more secular than a supermarket . Whose intellectual elite broadcasts explicit and implicit messages that ALL deists of any stripe are, by definition, abject, ignorant morons unfit to partake in society or in dialogues that concern public policy
We offer no thanks to a country and culture-that lionizes and aggrandizesempty-headed and soulless entertainers, mafiosi and sports figures and marginalizes teachers, Doctors and soldiers.
We offer no thanks to a country and culture-that eats drinks and abuses drugs way too much and that has created legions of the obese and the addicted while draining the resources of third world countries, over-fished and treatedfood-source animals inhumanely in the process.
We offer no thanks to a country and culture- that is addicted to fossil fuels and stubbornly refuses to develop alternative energy sources thus strengthening the hands of Israel's worst enemies.
We offer no thanks to a country and culture- that has created a culture of entitlement providing social welfare programs that rob our youth of initiative and industry and that tempts them with lives of indolence and fraud .
We offer no thanks to a country and culture- who's credo is "You are what you owe" and who's easy access to credit coupled with the above mentioned conspicuous consumerism has contributed mightily to a generation of Jews saddled with crushing debt and faced with the sad dilemma of deciding whether it is nobler to be פושט יד= schnorring for handouts or פושט רגל= absconding from fiscal responsibility by declaring bankrupcty.
We offer no thanks to a country and culture-that insists on having the perennially awful Detroit Lions be one of the two permanent host teams for it's Turkey Day NFL Football offerings. The games are NEVER competitive and this is bad for the football fans, Jewish and non-Jewish alike!
While I am no Reverend Wright shouting an angry "G-d D**n America" I think it is high-time that we reassess this land and it's culture as an unmixed, unmitigated blessing. While it is a land and culture abounding in eclectic blessings it is our historical job as Jews to make holy havdala and distill the pure good from the bad dross currently mixed into it.
Of course the USA is an undeniable מדינה של חסד= a Country of Loving-kindness, but maybe it's time for us to recognize another level of meaning and translation of the word " חסד= as in the following passage:יז וְאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר-יִקַּח אֶת-אֲחֹתוֹ בַּת-אָבִיו אוֹ בַת-אִמּוֹ וְרָאָה אֶת-עֶרְוָתָהּ וְהִיא-תִרְאֶה אֶת-עֶרְוָתוֹ,חֶסֶד הוּא--וְנִכְרְתוּ, לְעֵינֵי בְּנֵי עַמָּם; עֶרְוַת אֲחֹתוֹ גִּלָּה, עֲוֹנוֹ יִשָּׂא." And if a man shall take his sister, his father's daughter, or his mother's daughter, and see her nakedness, and she see his nakedness: it is a shameful thing; and they shall be cut off in the sight of the children of their people: he hath uncovered his sister's nakedness; he shall bear his iniquity. "
Sometimes love and kindness misdirected to targets one is too closely related to can have disastrous results. The resulting children are afflicted with anAppalachian imbecility. Odd that this nation that is so tolerant and embracing of it's Jews has produced the most illiterate, imbecilic, havdala/qedusha oblivious Jewry of all time.
Qedusha-Havdala-Have you had YOURS today? Hmmm???