Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Evangelists of Chelm
by: Schvach Yid

By now it’s widely known among those who surf the ‘Jewish internet’ (sorry) that various book sellers now offer for sale, and in preparation for Passover, a ‘Passover Family Pack’. Well…, that’s its title. The web page for this ditty describes it as Passover Family Pack: Everything You Need to Enjoy a Passover Seder Dinner (Boxed Set: 2 Haggadahs, Preparation Guide, Music & Blessings Cassette, Seder Plate, Kiddush Cup, and Passover Curriculum) (Paperback).

That’s right jadies and jents, a ‘Passover curriculum’. And Rashi thought he had a commentary on the Pesach Haggadah (it used to be available from Kehot, and it was immense). Perhaps it’s a curriculum fit for the Tierra Del Fuego Community College, but undoubtedly, no Jewish home should be with one.

My local Bible Belt Barnes and Noble bookstore has a skinny book stack labeled ‘Judaism’; it’s preceded by a book stack labeled ‘Religious Fiction’, and followed by a stack that displays books on Hinduism and Buddhism. The Borders Bookstore across the road has its Judaism book offerings sandwiched between a book stack labeled ‘Atheism’ and one on Islam. Nice!

Each of these bookstores has several aisles ‘devoted’ to Christian literature, arranged under several different headings. There is, after all, a considerable customer demand for such literature in the geographic location where I reside, but my fellow local Yiddin don’t appear to spend much cash on Jewish-oriented literature in these stores, so in one sense we’re asking for this short shrift (but not for the rudeness appended to it).

But what gets my goad is the appearance of books on Christianity, and books about Christian-oriented Jewish subjects, that are found interspersed among the books about ‘legitimate’ Jewish topics. The message is clear. It’s called proselytizing; after all, ‘they’ think Judaism is next to religious fiction and atheism.

Oh yeah, a nearby church has recently erected a 150 foot-tall cross (thank G-d there's no body
displayed on it). It's white; at night it's illuminated with floodlamps, and it's surrounded by a
pedestrian path garnished with water fountains. It's situated next to an interstate highway.
It's tough to miss. I prefer to daven to HaShem - in private.

Perhaps this very public monument has been established as a reply to the recent influx of hijab-wearing Moslem women (the Moslem men seem to travel incognito) who now populate the local stores.

I'm dizzy; I think I'll take a nap now. Bye.


Chaviva Gordon-Bennett said...

You know, there's an infamous gigantic cross along the highway in Waterbury, CT, and most are completely unaware that there's a huge and growing Jewish population there. A bunch of Orthodox families got together, decided to move there, and have had massive success. It's one of the fastest growing orthodox communities in the U.S. actually.

So, I say to hell with such flagrancy! We shall overcome? :)

Schvach said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Schvach said...

Chavi: That, unfortunately, has not been the response of the Jewish community in my area. Those of us who are here keep a low profile. When I was last called to jury duty at the local Justice of the Peace (yeah), I was flabbergasted to find two additional Jews in the jury panel. I thought I was the only one in the immediate area.

rutimizrachi said...

Sigh. I guess "Come Home, Shtark," isn't the response you were looking for? That's okay. I'll keep inviting you to a meal; and one of these days, you'll show up.

Thanks for the link. You are a gute mensh.

Schvach said...

Ruti: The image displayed on your blog is a bull's eye - I think every blog site should display it. Thanks for the 'Gute mensch' remark; at my bar mitzvah, 'my' rabbi called me a 'scheine yeet', so I'll just add your comment to the list. The meal sounds great, but not aliyah. Be well.