Tuesday, March 17, 2009

At least he can still wear his yarmulke!

Read the following JTA dispatch and then ask yourself why so many people hate us.

It is not appropriate for the pope to wear a cross at the Western Wall, the rabbi in charge of the holy site said (for more, click here).

See also this response from our Masorti representative: The Rabbi, The Pope and the Western Wall.

Funny thing is, when I dressed as a priest last week for Purim, I consciously decided not to wear a cross, which came as part of the costume. It was less because I would be in a synagogue, however, as that might confuse the children.

The cross is one of those "I'm-from-Mars, You-are-from-Venus" symbols, or like a dog and cat wagging tails. For each party, it means a totally different thing. For Christians it is a symbol of hope and love, for some Jews (and thankfully, fewer and fewer all the time) it connotes intolerance, persecution and death.

But when a pope comes to visit our Jewish state in a gesture of humility, putting a stamp on a profound change of doctrine that has enabled the church to finally recognize and even embrace that state, what chutzpah it takes for someone to tell the pope that he can't wear the very symbol of his position.

It is comforting, though, to know that you don't have to be a Conservative Jew to be so profoundly humiliated at the Kotel (see my prior essay, The Wall and the Mall). Join the club, Pope!

It's also another reason why Israel needs to begin to question the degree to which they've given a few rabbis the power to make the entire state look foolish.

Well, at least the Israeli leadership didn't do something REALLY stupid, like, say, ask the Catholic clergy to give up monetary control of their parish coffers.

1 comment:

Ronnie said...

What happens to other visitors to the Wall who might be wearing some religious symbol of their own? Are they "refused entry?" Are we so afraid of the cross that we pretend it doesn't exist by refusing its admittance? Seems to me we present a stronger voice when we recognize the otherness and still feel pride and pleasure in who we are. The refusal to let the Pope wear his cross is very weak thinking.