Is Judaism a religion or a nationality? This is a controversial question in this controversial nation.
For me, it is only a religion. The establishment of any “religious state” contradicts principles necessary to a free society, yet claims of freedom abound in this country, as if the word’s meaning has been altered entirely. The claim that people may have different definitions of freedom is as absurd as the arbitrary proposal that some people should be more free than others.
It is unpardonable that we, as Jews and humans, should practice the faults of government that we recognize as deplorable in others; the hypocrisy is too obvious not to be seen, and–were it not a serious matter–the absurdity would be too great not to be laughed at. It is an idiotic and blasphemous rejection of God’s gift of reason to take the proponents of any religious state seriously.
We were asked about a decision of the Israeli supreme court that involved citizenship for a man whose Judaism was in question. The attempts at answering this question with pure moral conviction were amusing if not frustrating. My answer, of course, was that the law itself was a bad one. First, laws difficult to be executed generally cannot be good, and second, it is unnatural that a pure stream should flow from a foul spring.
We were also given a list of activities that Jews consider important, and asked to list them in order of importance for our group. This set the stage for an argument between myself and Joe Gatorade. For me, the most important given activity of being Jewish was reading books about Judaism. Joe believed it was to call oneself Jewish, and iterated that there was little importance in reading about Judaism. Taken to its logical end–ambitiously assuming it has a beginning–his argument is that it is most important to identify with a word that one cannot even define.
Leaving politics and religious doctrine to the criminals and feeble minds they attract, I will turn to the events of reality. We went to a pool next to the hostel yesterday. Then we discussed Judaism. Then we travelled to Afula for dinner (shwarma, falafel, or pizza). Today we leave the hostel and travel to Jerusalem.