Thursday, November 09, 2006

Society Of Members

Few of my Chassidic friends approve when I am seen socializing with friends who are not religious. The goyim I am seen with pose fewer problems because the possibility of considering one a friend is so remote to a Chassidic Hiller. Eric is a very non-observant Jew. A highly extrovert and deliberately provocative man, he is the one that challenged me most on my journey to here. More than the philosophers and the Rabbis, the societies of thinkers and the earnest helpers, he is the one who asked the awkward questions that I always avoided asking myself. Would you? Why wouldn’t you? Do you? How do you know you do? Strangely enough his skepticism has reinforced my beliefs more than much earnest discourse.

His lifestyle was much more shocking to me than I ever admitted. I have had my morals doing flip-flops in their bathrobes as I, for instance, debated behind a fascinated gaze whether to soon to say ‘bon appetite’ to a yid I was watching frying his treife quail thighs in butter? I have learned along the way that there are rules that have to be adhered to in society and when religion is taken out of the equation what we are left with is respect. I do not have to approve of what he eats and I may believe he will suffer eternal damnation for doing it but I do not actively stop him from doing as he pleases. That is his right I have to respect just as he must understand that I won’t taste. I further believe that once my disapproval has been noted it is neither polite nor helpful to keep mentioning it again.

So when he dropped into my kitchen on barbecue-night with a bundle wrapped in newspaper I was faintly amused and expected some large salmon he would propose we bung on the barbeque or a dead snake for me to use as a doorstop. Instead the damp paper proved to contain a raspy mound of fresh whelks. Eric knows I don’t eat seafood and a colony of live sea snails in my kitchen really was not welcome. Of course I enjoy a joke as much as the next man and I am well aware that my irreligious friends do eat all the creepy crawlies they can lay their hands on. But I have to draw the line somewhere and with fruits-de-mer in my sink you needed a binoculars to look back for it, despite assurances as to how delicious they taste in garlic butter and his gleeful anticipation of what some of the more religious guests might say when they were produced.

To be fair, as soon as he realised that I really was bothered by his gastropod snack surprise he beat a hasty retreat with them and apologised profusely. After my wife had stopped hyperventilating (and poured a few gallons of bleach down the plughole) normality returned and this little episode was duly forgotten until this week’s hullabaloo in Jerusalem with the Pride Parade reminded me of it. I was trying to explain to a colleague that although I do believe the act is a sin, I am not anti-gay. Still, I do not feel that a Pride Parade should be held in Jerusalem. As I had said to Eric, “What you do in your own space is your business but it is disrespectful to me when you wave your perwinkle around in my kitchen.”

I have never quite figured out why a group of people who complain they are discriminated against find it helpful in gaining respect to flaunt their sexuality around in public. Indeed if the gay community wanted to prove they are just another part of society they would do better to march neatly attired through the town and let everybody see how normal they are. Instead they prance along semi-naked, flashing references to every kind of depravity they can think of in a demonstration that tries to force their hedonistic lifestyle down the throats of everybody watching, only to go all bitchy when the Rabbis don’t get aroused. Or are they hoping that seeing them semi-naked all oiled up in black leather thongs we will be reminded of our tefillin and take a sudden liking to them?

The Pride Parade is not about gaining acceptance for homosexuals to live their lives as they see fit. It is a celebration of homosexuality and as such its place is not in Jerusalem. The promoters would know that if they weren’t so intent on becoming identified with their organs. Indeed I suppose they can hardly disagree with me when I suggest that instead of getting themselves accepted as members of society they have turned themselves into a society of members; what you’d call in simpler English a bunch of pricks!