Friday, July 17, 2009

Eishes Chayil
by: Schvach Yid

My thanks to Aliza Hausman of the Memoires of a Jewminicana blog site for pointing my nose to this video. I enjoy the presentations of Allison Josephs, author and creator of the Jew in the City blog site. No praise of Jewish women is sufficient, so enjoy her vid:

My appreciation of motherhood goes way back to my childhood (of course), so here is a blast from my past, the paradigm of effective mothering, and her little charge who is pretty much what I was about:

Good Shabbos, and please don't forget to sing Eishes Chayil to the Jewish women seated at your Shabbos table.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Conflicting Demands of Life
by: Schvach Yid

Aliza Hausman, author and founder of the Memoirs of a Jewminicana blog site, found at, writes about the phenomena of conversion to Judaism, racism, and ‘fittting in’, ie, can a Catholic Latina convert to Judaism find true happiness
as a Catholic Latina convert to Judaism?

It’s okay Aliza, you’re welcome as a member of the tribe – anytime, and besides, Halacha forbids referring to you, or any other convert to Judaism, as a convert because, as you certainly know, once the conversion has been achieved, the individual is no longer a convert but a Jew. I’m glad you’re in our community.

In recent blogs Aliza has tangled with the age old contest between the demands of life (Darwinian evolution) versus the demands of social comportment (Western religion), but no, she hasn’t framed the conflict in these terms, but rather has discussed her paternal lineage, and specifically the conjugation habits of her first and second generational paternal antecedents.

I suppose there exist several well established and known responses by casual observers to this disparity between established Western mores and the advantages provided by ‘nature’ (and after all, nature is G-d’s creation, isn’t it?).

The average everyday run-of-the-mill social worker type of person, undoubtedly socially and politically Liberal, will shed tears and exsanguinate love over the trials and tribulations of ‘those who just don’t know any better’. Garbage! We all know better.

The other sort of socially and politically distracted individual, let’s call this type ‘Conservative’, will call for the public immolation of any and all who dare to ‘debase’ the holy rite of human procreation to the level of sport and entertainment. More garbage!

Lastly, there are the academic Biology-inclined. Genetics calls this phenomenon ‘heterosis’. The animal husbandry crowd – you know, farmers, ranchers, horticulturists (plants, not animals) etc. – call it ‘hybrid vigor’.

The fact is that the more genetic recombination events that take place, ie., the greater number of partners with whom one generates offspring, the better the genetic health of the offspring population. Multiple combinations of parents provides for an increased diversity (I hate that pc term) of the gene pool of a given population of organism. This hold true for humans as well as for any other sexually reproducing species (I know, I know, human, ie., Homo, is a genus, not a species).

But, of course, as we all know, it makes for bad civics, at least in Western societies, and this in the face of the obvious disparity between the requirements stipulated in the Chumash concerning this matter and HaShem’s creation of a sexual reproductive system that benefits from those human behaviors that are forbidden by Halacha (but not in the case of Avraham Avenu, Yaakov Avenu, etc.).

It also makes for lousy religious communal relations. Talk about ostracization!

So, should one be miffed if one learns of such socially ‘condemnable’ behaviors by members of one’s family, or instead should one find a measure of pride in the fact that one’s generation has been genetically strengthened – that the state of health of the population has benefited, that in fact, the ‘nasty’ philanderers have behaved with a great measure of social responsibility, rather than with socially ‘condemnable’ behavior, by improving the state of health of the following generations, despite the obvious social challenges presented to the resulting children (eg., growing up in the absence of a father, the possible lack of adequate financial support for the children, etc.).

Whether it’s Darwin versus established religion, or whether it’s self-flagellation is manna for debate, but it’s okay Aliza, you know ‘better’. Just live your life as a good Jew. Your
devotion to Torah, and to Clal Yisroel and its health through genetic variation (a good Darwinian term), is much appreciated, at least by me. Besides, spice is good for everyone.