Rabbinical history has been made

Rabbinical history has been made.


I love history. I am not a “history buff” by any stretch of the imagination, but to see something done that nobody has ever done before is exciting.

I find baseball colossally boring (spare me the hate mail, I’m right), but still found the home run chase between Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa to be exciting. The taint notwithstanding, when Mark McGuire hit his last home run on the last day of the season, and the announcer yelled, “70 is now a reality,” it was significant.

Regardless of what one feels about President Obama’s policies, his election is socially and culturally significant. I personally prefer Michael Steele, and his ascendancy to the head of the Republican National Committee should be a nationwide source of pride.

From Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walking on the Moon to the inventions of the automobile and the internet, American exceptionalism has led to a greater world.

On June 6th, a small Jewish congregation in North Carolina will have a new Rabbi.

For the first time ever, the Rabbi is a black woman.

She was not given any special treatment. She went through the rigorous process that it takes to become a Rabbi. She excelled because she is special.

I have never met Alysa Stanton, but I am rooting for her.

While I really do not like making assumptions, I am going to assume that she is politically liberal. She is black, female, and Jewish. Reform Judaism is quite liberal (unlike their Orthodox counterparts that are often right of center).

I hope that she does not teach liberalism in her Synagogue because I want to root for her. I hope she remains apolitical, because from a Jewish standpoint, she is a treasure.

I have a deep respect for those that convert to Judaism, because it is an agonizingly long process. It truly is a test of faith. I am glad I was born into the religion, because I am not sure I would have made it through the Rabbinical equivalent of boot camp. The Sacramento Queen is going through it, and I am trying to be supportive of her efforts.

While Judaism does not proselytize (it is forbidden), I think it would be wonderful if her role in the community leads to more black Americans learning about my faith. There is tension in this country in sme areas between blacks and Jews, and she could be a unifying figure.

One mistake I do not want to make is to expect too much of her. In the same way people have unrealistic expectations for the very mortal President Obama, some people may project their desires of saving the world onto Ms. Stanton. Tiger Woods, for example, has no interest in leading social causes. He simply wants to get rich and play golf. This is his America. We have the right to not only be activists, but stay quietly on the sidelines.

While Judaism, and being a Rabbi, does have political overtones, there are so many other responsibilities.

There are marriages, childbirths, and Bar-Mitzvahs, but too often there are divorces and deaths. Clergy people are doctors for our souls. They have to sometimes help people cope with impossible situations. When the cancer patient in the hospital is lonely, the Rabbi cannot just turn away.

Ms. Stanton will have a tough job ahead of her, but for now I hope she enjoys every moment of adulation thrown her way.

Congratulations Rabbi Stanton. You have made history.



2 Responses to “Rabbinical history has been made”

  1. Ahem… The automobile was not invented in the United States.

    This is wonderful news, though! It is such a terrible shame to see the split between blacks and Jews in recent years. The two worked together so closely during the Civil Rights era. Of all people, the Jews truly understood the plight of black Americans, of being outsiders inside a society, to be scapegoated, targets of attack. Too many blacks have fallen for the myth that somehow “the Jews” are too blame for many of their problems today, and too many Jews, having assimilated into American society, have forgotten how much they once had in common with black people. I hope this more than symbolically helps to bring these two groups back together – for both their sakes.


  2. Dav Lev says:

    This is a most interesting commentary by Eric I have to admit.

    Judaism is floundering, it’s people are going the way of the ancient
    peoples, disappearing.

    We had 17 to 19m souls prior to WW2, and 6m less afterwards
    thanks to the Germans and their allies. There are an estimated 13.3m
    Jews worldwide now, mostly in Israel and the US. The Germans needed
    “space” for their future populations. They wanted only blond, blue eyed
    people to populate the planet (except for the Japanese of course).
    The Germans wanted superior people, ( they forgot about Einstein and

    The Jews in Israel are the most threatened, even though the Zionist
    state was to be a haven, a refuge.

    But that is another matter.

    I favor trying to convert as many people as possible to my faith.
    As one Christian told me years ago, “When you have something to
    offer, you offer it to others”. ( I gave her the benefit of the doubt that
    she was not trying to sell me her religion, but I could have been wrong).

    I want more Jews in the world, lots more Jews. I tell Jews to be role
    models always..to live up to G-ds commandments, especially the 613
    that are applicable today.

    When I look at what is going on in the Muslim world, I appreciate
    how they have distorted religion and should go back to THEIR roots.

    But there are Jewish clergy who are an abomination, to be frank, and
    there are Jews that have strayed ( Bernie Madoff ).

    A local Reform Rabbi (female) is going around promoting same sex marriages, which the Torah (bible) forbids without equivocation.
    Sleeping with one’s father or mother is also prohibited.

    G-d had his reasons for the above laws, given on Mt. Sinai to Moses
    They are not to be questioned, they are absolute. Civil rights
    and civil wrongs have nothing to do with the laws on sexuality rabbi.

    Judaism also has 3 pillars, one of them being charity.

    Giving charity and helping other’s are not sins.

    So, if the rabbi is slightly liberal, let’s not get carried away.
    The question is of excessive charity, like the bail-out’s of
    AIG, Bank of America or GM (buy American folks) and taxing the successful
    unfairly to aid those that won’t work.

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