Saturday, August 30, 2008

Ultra-Orthodox Jews and Sarah Palin

I suspect that may be the first time the words in the title have been used together.

In today's Post an article from Israel. Briefly, a Norwegian woman converted to Judaism 15 years ago to marry an Israeli Jew. Now she's looking for a divorce, but the Ultra-Orthodox control the religious establishment in Israel and they say her conversion process wasn't exhaustive enough, so she's not a Jew, and therefore was never married, and therefore her two kids aren't Jews. The article paints the issue as between those who believe in God's covenant with the Jewish people, who must observe his commandments strictly, and those who believe that Israel must, to survive, welcome converts.

That's the same issue faced by other organizations, from car companies to countries. What is your identity, and how do you maintain it, yet survive in the world? If you're an Asian car maker, do you focus on smaller, economical cars or try to move up-market into the luxury cars and SUV's and trucks. Toyota looked to be a winner doing the latter, an example followed by Hyundai, but with today's gas prices Honda, which retained more of a small car identity and focus, is doing better. If you're a country, do you limit immigrants and require those who come in to learn English, etc. in order to maintain the country's culture as it is now, or do you gamble on opening doors and going with the flow?

That's the issue for political parties, now. How does the Republican Party, and particularly their nominee, maintain an identity and yet attract voters? In that light, Ms. Palin seems a good choice. It's a maverick, anti-establishment, anti-Washington choice for McCain, but one which mends his fences with the social conservatives of the right wing, while simultaneously perhaps attracting women. It breaks with GWB's "compassionate conservatism" by picking someone who supported/was friendly to Pat Buchanan in the 2000 convention. [Updated--additional thoughts] Assuming that McCain has the pocketbook Republicans in his hip pocket, Palin reinforces the party's appeal to working class America.

1 comment:

  1. "The article paints the issue as between those who believe in G-d's covenant with the Jewish people, who must observe His commandments strictly, and those who believe that Israel must, to survive, welcome converts."

    One of G-d's commandments to the Jewish people is to welcome the convert. Those who do not do so are violating an important precept.

    ReplyDelete