Are Orthodox Jews ‘Rednecks’ In Their Attitude To Obama?

Canadian Orthodox rabbi Reuven Tradburks writes:

The point of my article was only tangentially about Obama. It was more about the tone and texture of differences.

Once a person is identified as not being on my team – because he is black or not frum or not jewish or is modern or is haredi – once he is not on my team, I check my civility at the door and proceed to level whatever types of criticisms i like. This is what i meant by redneck. Having lived in Alabama, there is a colloquial use of that term – people who lack subtlety, lack nuance, are heavily opinionated, and discriminate based on religion, color or “team” affiliation.

The “team” syndrome permeates political discussion. There is plenty to criticize Obama on in his platform – or in the paucity of his platform. But the discussion should be in the realm of ideas. Not in calling him evil or categorizing him into some box or other. I was not really that interested in an American political discussion, though we have 5 American voters in my family.

I would like to see a broadening of our ability to identify the goodness in the world that is beyond our “team”. The goodness in the haredi world, in the modern world, in the non frum Jewish world, in the non Jewish world. We must be vigilant in identifying things we disagree with, which we reject on principle. And we must be vigilant in acknowledging the goodness in the world beyond our team.


Regrettably, the phenomenon that Rabbi Tradburks laments can be supported by other evidence. He notes, to take but one example, the use of the term “shvartzer” by a significant number of English speaking Orthodox Jews. Let me add to this an account of an experience that I had at a wedding this week, which is the real stimulus for my writing this comment. A young man came to me in my capacity as a historian, and in the context of Obama’s victory, asked whether German Jews before the Nazi period were as confident of their security as American Jews are today. I told him that I would respond in the abstract, but that he needs to know that I consider the analogy completely misplaced.
A wedding was not the appropriate setting for an expression of my full concern about this question. But I wondered to myself if people who make this analogy ask themselves whether anyone expected Hitler to appoint a Jew who belongs to an Orthodox shul as his closest aide. I did not vote for Obama, and I worry about his position on Israel. But Rabbi Tradburks has ample reason to be concerned about bigotry toward blacks in particular and non-Jews in general in too large a segment of the Orthodox community.

DOVID WRITES: "As a pulpit rabbi, i think Rabbi Tradburks can appreciate the power of the position, as well as the impact a charismatic spiritual leader can have on his congregants over a long period of time. This alone is enough to cause great concern for any thinking Jew … for Barack Obama has been sitting in Pastor Wright’s congregation and listening to his vitriolic, hate-filled – and, yes, anti-semitic – “derashos” for many years. My only hope is that Mr. Obama was talking during the “davening” and speeches, and none of the Pastor’s “torah” sunk in. G-d help us."


palestine4ever:  Hey Luke
palestine4ever:  I need my daily dose of screeching yenta banshee hysterics, where’s the faux NJG?
palestine4ever:  Their fear is like sweet sweet nectar to me and my kind
palestine4ever:  Soon America will be a carmel-colored Brazil of miscegenation
palestine4ever:  even the Chosen will be a lil more cafe au lait
palestine4ever:  as old Hilda has grandchildren named Shaneequa and Carlo
palestine4ever:  The only ones immune to the darkening of America, naturally, will be the Mormons
palestine4ever:  I hope you keep your Utah connections lively
palestine4ever:  that’ll be the last patch of whiteness
palestine4ever:  but, of course, they’re mormons
palestine4ever:  Do you fear an Obamanation, Luke?
YourMoralLeader:  not sure
YourMoralLeader:  a bit
palestine4ever:  In reality it’ll mean a few pointless but short wars in godforsaken places
palestine4ever:  Liberals love short and righteous war
palestine4ever:  This of course is preferable to Sarah Palin making membership in your local PTA mandatory
palestine4ever:  and compulsory
palestine4ever:  I think you should balance your Life Artist portraits with Rebbe Gafni with some sit-downs with Prof. Kevin MacDonald
palestine4ever:  Naturally he walks a tightrope
palestine4ever:  but some of his comments about self-segregation are similar to what you’ve written
palestine4ever:  of course in his thinking it’s a subconscious plot to torture the gentiles
palestine4ever:  I read most of the Culture of Critique
palestine4ever:  It was pretty dreary to be honest with you
palestine4ever:  white power s**t is really only interesting when there’s some redneck fireworks
palestine4ever:  i’m more of a fan of Glenn Miller’s
palestine4ever:  that’s got peckerwoods marching in camouflage uniforms
palestine4ever:  guys getting drunk and declaring war on "ZOG"
palestine4ever:  riveting stuff for the genre
palestine4ever:  when the Feds caught up to Glenn
palestine4ever:  he was in a trailor, hung over, and without pants
palestine4ever:  that’s just good reading
palestine4ever:  david duke just burned crosses, this guy would piss on them for giggles

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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