Archive | February, 2013

The Guilty Party

13 Feb

As someone who grew up in good old North London, I do think it is time to stop feeling the good old Jewish guilt. In Israel they have thrown it off their shoulders like last season’s party line, venue empty, the lights turned out. In the UK though, the guilty club is always open, pumping out its blame like a broken smoke machine, infiltrating lungs until you’re coughing bile and blacking out. In England we binge on our Jewishness, taking trips to Israel and diving into the clear blue sea of Tel Aviv, swallowing sea water and lying on the surface of the land which we swear belongs to us over anyone else. Then we fly back, sated, throwing up our views and opinions all over England self-righteously. We cram in the shul sessions, racking it up over the high holy days, breathing a deep sigh of relief as they pass. In Israel the faithful go slowly, nothing to prove, they’re already here, the result of the twists and turns of faith, fights and breeding to create some sort of super race of beautiful people, unbeatable and willing to fight to live how they want to live, where they want to live. They’ll chill out vertically for hours, chain smoking cigarettes, shisha and hashish, but they’ll jump up to fight for what they believe in, (or what their ancestors believed in).

The Judaism here may have Rashi turning in his grave, but all things must progress before they stagnate – and so there’s no point arguing against it – all those Orthodox right-wingers rudely shouting down the Women of the Wall for taking a stand against a deeply patriarchal and outdated system of prayer should know that change is happening, as it always does, and some sort of wavering sexual equality will come whether they like it or not. Equality is not a crime, and prosecuting people for using their voices is an issue of human rights more than it is one of religious significance.  Whether is it is in a few years (doubtful), or a few decades, the party that’s never over will pause for thought while the turntables stop for a minute, before restarting with a different tune.


For info on Women of the Wall see: