The Zionist Conspiracy
Thursday, January 29, 2004
Stupid Column Of The Week
I'm very relieved to report that my Jewish Press column has avoided the dubious SCOTW award. Instead, this week's honor goes to Darren S. Levine's column in the Jewish Week.
Levine, a young Reform rabbi, has an interesting piece about the Abuyadaya, a sect in Uganda seeking to practice Judaism.
Levine reports that in 1992, "Conservative rabbis traveled to Uganda to perform a mass conversion" of the group. Others have helped with funds, Torah scrolls, and prayer books.
Yet Levine is upset that in 1992, "an American Orthodox rabbi told them that according to Jewish law, guitar music violates Shabbat," that the Abuyadaya "have adopted near-observant synagogue practices using Orthodox prayerbooks, and, "to make matters worse, a group of Abuyadaya recently broke away to start their own group called Shearit Yisrael" in response to another Orthodox rabbi.
According to Levine, instead of encouraging people in Uganda interested in Judaism to observe the religion in its traditional form, "the Abuyadaya need a voice that will help them return to a vibrant religious life that is deeply Jewish and ethnically African," who will "leave the religious and spiritual direction to the only people that know what it means to be Jewish in Uganda, the Abuyadaya."
It is interesting that Levine writes approvingly of the Conservative movement's mass conversion, and is only upset by the Orthodox "religious colonialism."
Ultimately, Levine is uninterested whether the form of "Judaism" practiced by the Abuyadaya is in any way authentic. More important to him is that it be ethnically African. This wouldn't be stupid if not for the fact that his piece never suggests that the group has any problem with the Orthodox teachers who have advised them. If anything, the indication is that contrary to Levine's goals, many of the Abuyadaya are seeking to learn how to properly observe Judaism, and eagerly welcome their observant teachers.