Monday, December 11, 2006


ITEM ONE: Some days I am embarrassed to be a Jew. Today is one of those days.

I am watching the morning news and discover that some CHaBaD rabbi in Seattle threatened the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport with a lawsuit unless they permitted him to erect an eight-foot Hanukkah menorah next to the tallest of their eight Christmas Trees. Rather than risk the expense of a court case, the airport dismantled all eight trees. A blow for religious freedom! A blow for religious tolerance! Hooray for the Jews of Seattle, they have made their city safe for religious idiocy!

What was this guy thinking? “Hey, if I threaten to sue, I bet the airport will honor Jews with a menorah.” No, that doesn’t make sense. Maybe this is what went through his head, “We killed their god, now we take their trees—damn you goyyim!” No, that probably isn’t it either. How about this, “I bet the Christians of Seattle-Tacoma will respect their Jewish neighbors all the more if we fuck with their holy day.” No, again. Honestly, I can’t imagine what was going through this guy’s head. All I know is he probably set back Jewish-Christian relations in Seattle twenty years.

You want a menorah in the airport? Ask the airport management in January, don’t threaten them in December. But we seem to be beyond asking anymore. You want what you want and you will sue in order to get it. I don’t think there is a war on Christmas, but I do think there is a war on sanity.

If I were a rabbi in Seattle I would be appalled by my colleague’s actions. I would put a Christmas Tree on the front lawn of my synagogue with a bit sign saying, “Merry Christmas from the Jews of Seattle.” Seriously. If you know any rabbis in Seattle pass this on. It is a good idea.

ITEM TWO: Some days I am embarrassed to be a Muslim. Today is one of those days.

True, I am not technically a Muslim, but I do believe that Mohammed is a prophet of God and that the Koran does contain the same universal Truths as the Torah and New Testament, so I am a proto-Muslim.

What embarrasses me is the protest of tens of thousands of Muslims in Pakistan over the changes to rape laws instituted by the Women Protection Bill passed last month.

Under the new law a rape victim no longer has to produce four male Muslim witnesses to back up her claim. Further, if a woman fails to prove her case she is no longer convicted of adultery and sentenced to life imprisonment or death by stoning.

What embarrasses me (beside the obvious need for this law in the first place) is the idea that women could actually produce four male Muslim witnesses to prove she was raped. These men must have witnessed the crime, so why didn’t they stop it from happening?

What has religion done to our basic humanity? Some days I am embarrassed to be religious. Today is one of those days. Merry— oh, forget it.

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