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Old 02-04-2014, 07:19 AM
 
Location: Chicago
5,890 posts, read 6,535,124 times
Reputation: 5356

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i want to share my paradigm, highly simplified with great generalization, on the jewish people to see how others see what i am saying (for the record: i'm jewish):

the jewish people did not begin as the jewish people. the off spring of abraham were hebrews. the hebrews of canaan, of the holy land, were tribal people in a tribal world. though other migrations from the core existed before, their ultimate expulsion from the holy land created the true diaspora (though many had spread to other lands permanently before it).

the people of canaan were hebrews; the people we speak of as jews were not. jews are the people of the diaspora. judaism as a true religion began in exile from the holy land. judaism is not merely the torah, but the talmud, and the talmud was a product of the diaspora.

jews, the people of the diaspora, were still tribal. and they still lived in a tribal world. some chose to integrate in with the larger tribes, which generally was rejected. tribal worlds are unwelcoming places for people of other tribes. so generally jews circled the tent, clung to their jewishness, to their separateness. and as such, were highly persecuted by the majority tribes in the lands in which they lived.

the diaspora itself can be looked at as the open-ended time (since to some it exists today) that began with the expulsion. i choose to look at it differently. to me, the diaspora was a 2000 year (give or take) phenominum that existed mainly in Europe, north Africa, and the middle east.

to me, against conventional wisdom here, the diaspora did not include the large movement of Jews outside those portions of the old world mentioned above. and, by that, i am thinking largely and mostly about a move to the United States of America.

In many respects, I don't see the movement of Jews to the US as being the diaspora.

and, for that, and now i am truly becoming simplified and overly generalizing, i see a separation from Euorpe and America because I don't see America as a tribal land. Yes, it is, of course, in its own way, very much a land of tribes. but the american world was (is) vastly different from the lands of the diaspora.

for in the United States, there was no native tribe in the majority, its true natives reduced to insignificant numbers that could easily challenge any jewish claim to being the poster child of prejudice, discrimination, and bigotry. the american mix that overwhelmed the native population was just that: a mix. and jews were in so many ways no different from all the rest: strangers in a strange land, a land removed from all their roots.

not that jews had an easy time in america. antisemitism existed here as elsewhere. but in this non-tribal land, the narrative became different. in this non-tribal lag, jews arguably obtained a degree of acceptance, of being a part of the whole, of having it better than they had anywhere in their history. but this freedom came with a price. it has been said that america has loved jews to death. and here it becomes clear of what i am asserting about america not being the diaspora. for here in the land of assimilation, the land of the melting pot, the american jewish narrative differed little from that of Irish americans or Italian americans or Polish americans. the melting pot was just that….it melted slowly, generation by generation, and with it the sense of peoplehood shrank because peoplehood was ethnicity and that ethnicity had crossed the atlantic, strong and defined by years of ghetto and shetl. each american jewish generation got further and further from those roots. and the degree of intermarriage grew exponentially. the jews of america, for better (for we are all one, aren't we?) or worse (because this was a sweet, meaningful story with a sense of belonging, a sense of being part of something bigger than we), are fading in to the whole. there is no diaspora here.

what of israel? as i said before, the hebrews (in biblical terms) "begot" the jews, the people of the diaspora, the religion and the ethnicity that emerged in the diaspora. it is the jews of the diaspora begot israel. so in that view, my paradigm, Israel is not core and the diaspora is not periphery for a periphery cannot create a core. Israel, Israeli Jews, are a new experience and, as such, live a different life from Jews in other lands. in some regards, this is a story similar to the british colonies who, in the century and a half between jamestown and concord/lexington, evolved from being englishmen to being americans, people who would, taxation or not, have created their own land for in that time frame, they had already ceased to be englishmen.

israel, israeli jews, were never as close to the jews of other lands as in 1948 (given the givens, how could it have been otherwise?). but even 50 years plus is a long time and to a degree, american jews and israeli jews may well be more like distant cousins today as our experiences and the way we live have diverged. this is neither good or bad, but the type of reality that exists with movements of people.

as is said, this is highly simplified and generalized, but i would be interested in how others would critique it.
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Old 02-04-2014, 11:02 AM
 
Location: Florida
4,103 posts, read 4,275,654 times
Reputation: 10055
I find your use of the shift key to be intriguing.
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Old 02-04-2014, 03:08 PM
 
Location: Chicago
5,890 posts, read 6,535,124 times
Reputation: 5356
Quote:
Originally Posted by thatguydownsouth View Post
I find your use of the shift key to be intriguing.
well, i can only hope that isn't a reference to shifty jews
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Old 02-04-2014, 09:33 PM
 
Location: Eretz Yisrael
21,364 posts, read 24,104,739 times
Reputation: 8869
Quote:
judaism as a true religion began in exile from the holy land. judaism is not merely the torah, but the talmud, and the talmud was a product of the diaspora.
If you look at Judaism as a whole, you'll see that the three versions (Ashkenazi, Sephardi, Mizrahi) have certain things in common which would have only come from its tribal foundation in the Levant. Thus it was a true religion before its exile. Thus in diaspora many of those customs changed to fit the environment they were in. Hence there are two Talmuds and not one.
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