We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The plans for the new National Museum of American Jewish History on Independence Mall in Philadelphia looked good to me. And, my friend, historian Judith Klinghoffer volunteered to be one of its first docents.
But, the newly opened reality, as Judith Klinghoffer describes, is empty of most of the American Jewish experience.As she puts it, “The architects were instructed to make sure that 'there was to be nothing religious in the Museum' and they have done just that.”
The contents of the exhibits:
Jews are indubitably free in America, but just how free do they feel? Or, to put it more precisely, how free do the museum creators feel? Do they feel free enough to assert their deep commitment to their age old religion? Do they feel free enough to acknowledge their ties to the global Jewish family? Do they feel free enough to take pride in their outsized contribution to America?
No. Instead, Judith wrote to the museum's leadership, "the museum almost seems to me an all out celebration of American Jewish radicalism."
Judith Klinghoffer has the credible background to criticize:
I have studied Jewish History at Hebrew University in Jerusalem with such eminent historians as Shmuel Ettinger and Saul Friedlander, have a PH.D. in American history, wrote numerous books and articles about a myriad of topics including on American Jewish history, my teaching experience ranges from Hebrew Day school to Graduate school and I currently write an acclaimed historical blog such eminent open minded rabbis such as Richard L. Rubinstein and Arthur Waskow deem worth reading and becoming my efriends.
Well, no - Spielberg is from a heartily proud Jewish background, and put his cachet behind explicitly Jewish projects both famous (Schindler's List) and not so (funding a Jewish film archive).
Not sure he will be happy with the result.
You reap what you sow - to get along, Jews recast Judaism as an ethnicity along the lines of the Irish and Italians with whom they shared immigrant neighborhoods. Of the two "progressive" movements adopted by suburban American Jews, one rejected the covenant outright, the other rewrote the rules as they went along.
Lotta jokes about bagels, not much talk of a binding covenant.