Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Don't Die For Me

I am deeply uncomfortable with the incipient martyrization of the Mumbai rabbi and his wife.

Chabad House Lubavitcher rabbis are not harmless builders of community; they are proselytizers--which I consider distinctly un-Jewish--for a form of Judaism which I consider distinctly pernicious.

The zealotry of this particular Chabad House Lubavitcher rabbi and his wife is visible in the fact that they had left a child ill with Tay-Sachs in a hospital in Israel, while they pursued their calling, not to mention the fact that, after giving birth to at least two children with Tay-Sachs, one of whom has already died, she was pregnant again, which I consider hugely irresponsible.

Beyond my personal disgust, the danger of their martyrization lies in the support it offers to the belief held by many Jews (of a certain persuasion) that Islamist terrorism is a consequence of the essential bloodthirstiness of all Islam which is bent on destroying Israel and the Jews. I do not think that this belief is as much of a problem as Islamist terrorism, but I do believe it a serious problem in itself.

There, I said it. And I'm not even going to qualify it with disclaimers about them surely being nice, intelligent, beloved people who will be sorely missed, which surely they were, but nice, intelligent, beloved, and missed have nothing to do with it.


Elizabeth said...

Proselytizers? If you mean to other differently-observant Jews, I guess so. I've never seen anyone from Chabad express any interest in converting someone who wasn't already self-identified as Jewish.

Phantom Scribbler said...

Mmmm, did you get the invite to the memorial service at Fancy Pants Chabad? Not that I don't understand the impulse behind it, I guess, but I'd be just as likely (or unlikely, really) to attend a memorial service for the kitchen staff at the Taj, or the rickshaw-wallah, or any of the other victims. It made *me* deeply uncomfortable that the Lubavitchers are clearly going to use these murders as a handle to hook to the larger Jewish community. Which, besides the proselytizing element of it, is just plain unsavory.