Jew in the suburbs

Shabbos Dinner Debate
November 17, 2008, 3:03 am
Filed under: Books, Hashem, Jewish, Judaism, Shabbat, Shabbos, Torah | Tags: , ,




Dear Blog Readers,


Is unity a negative or a positive thing? This question was the subject of debate at Friday night’s Shabbat dinner.  You see, a friend of mine’s son is reading a book in which the characters in the society are all groomed to be the same.  They do not have the luxury of choice.  They are told where to live, what career they must take, and exactly who they should marry (I gather that who they marry in the society of the book is not based on compatibility).  Decisions are given to one person to make and the memory of the whole community is held by this person, the community calls a receiver.  The receiver holds all the memories of the community and when the receiver can no longer do the job, another is trained.  If a person cannot handle the sameness of the community, that person is kicked out.  I believe that the point the author of this book is making is that unity is bad and individuality is good.


I don’t think the answer is that simple.  Judaism teaches us that the house of Yisrael   should be unified; it teaches us that the actions of one Jew affect the entire House of Yisrael   and yet we all have differences.  Differences in interests, differences in politics, differences in taste, and differences in the kind of person we choose for a mate. 


During the debate, at the dinner table, my friend told a story about an Orthodox woman with her five children in a store, the woman was looking at some items in an isle, her children were nearby, a man in seeing them shouted at her something like “all of you Jews”.  Yes, this man is an anti-Semite; he is an anti-Semite who sees us Jews all as one people.  The bottom line is that every one of us is an individual blessed with certain talents and different obstacles to contend with.  We are all individuals; our individuality is something to be proud of.  We are also all family and that unity should be acknowledged, respected and celebrated just as much as our individuality.  When I go into the workplace, or in another public arena, I am very much aware that I am a representative of the Jewish people.  I am a Bas Yisrael   and I need to try to behave correctly at all times.  My behavior, I realize has an affect on the way others in the world perceive other Jews.  I want to live Kiddush Hashem, for the sanctification of G-d’s name.  I don’t want any of my actions to reflect badly on the Jewish people as a whole. I would love to hear what you have to say. What do you think?  Is unity a bad thing, is individuality a bad thing or are both unity and individuality good in moderation

2 Comments so far
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Hi there!

First I just have to plug your writing skills- you are very talented and I always look forward to reading your new chapters and such!

Second, I just wanted to say that there are many types of unity, as a Norwegian I feel unity with my fellow-Norwegians, as a woman I feel unity with my fellow sisters, and as a protestand I may feel unity with my fellow protestants. Probably because we share experiences or cultural ideas so it is easier to commuicate. But, at the same time you are right when you say that we are all individuals as well- I may have more to talk about with my English Jewish friend Ben than my Norwegian friend Kirsti because we share more interests and have spent a lot more time together.

Ideally I would hope that we could all feel a unity in the sense that we all want to live in peace and prosperity, whatever prosperity is to the individual. Former horrors like the holocaust or persecutions done by Christians in the midt-19th century partly happened because anything that was different was also seen as bad, or a nuicanse to society. I don’t know about you, but some of my best times have been spent with people from completely different places and cultures, learning about their ways and how they are different or similar to ours.

And, to end this whole post I have to tell you that my mother and me are both Norwegians who according to our family history should not have any ties to Norwegian Jewish families. Still, my Jewish friends have often commented that we are the most stereo-typical Jewish family they have seen, think Fran Drescher and her mother- there you have us.:-)) My mum also likes to add that I would sing Hebrew when I was just a baby- because I liked a lot of Israeli songs. Go figure. 🙂

Wish you all good things- just keep writing kid!

xx Kari

Comment by mrsdorough

Thank-you so very much for coming to my blog.

Comment by jewinthesuburbs

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