Sunday, March 15, 2015

An Eruv in the Hamptons

Lest you thought that the "Jews call everything anti-Semitic" defense of obvious anti-Semitism was limited to the Israel context, check out these remarks by an activist opposing the construction of an eruv in the Hamptons:
The Forward felt compelled to ask whether [anti-eruv activist Jack] O'Dwyer thought some of his more inflammatory comments might get construed as anti-Semitic.

“I’m not going to fall for that,” he said. “I don’t feel like answering questions about whether I’m a bigot against Jews. That’s like asking, ‘When did you stop beating your wife?’ They throw it [the anti-Semitic charge] around too much. Nobody believes it anymore.”

With that in mind, Jack, any final words for your Orthodox Jewish neighbors?

“This is America. This is not Israel. This is a rotten thing, for religion to lie its head off and sue a town. Get that stuff off our telephone poles. Go back to where you belong. You don’t belong in the Hamptons with that illogical superstition. That’s my message.”
Also, while I have often joked that half of Orthodox Jewish scholarship is imposing atextual onerous burdens on the community and the other coming up with increasingly clever loopholes to get around them, it really doesn't make sense to me this narrative that the eruv allows Orthodox Jews to "break" Jewish law. Obviously it doesn't -- Jewish law restricts certain activities (on the Sabbath) in locations which are not enclosed by the eruv. It's part of the law, it's not a breach of it (which is why it's probably a good idea for non-Jews not to tell Jews what their religious obligations are, but that ship has long since sailed).

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