September 23, 2016: Goofy Kippot

Kudos to professor Gil Troy for his succinct and articulate defense of traditional Jewry.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Goofy kippot
Kudos to professor Gil Troy for his succinct and articulate defense of traditional Jewry (“Why do serious American Jews wear such goofy kippot?” September 21).
To quote professor Troy: “Just as rules enhance games like football and baseball – and music can be played only after a certain minimum of mastery is acquired, Judaism has survived thanks to Jewish rigor, Jewish law. A Judaism with no imperatives, no commandments, no seriousness, is a Judaism no more lasting than the latest trend, and no more meaningful than the silly symbols invading our sacred spaces.
“This New Year,” he continues, “let’s learn the power of limits, of discipline, of boundaries. Let’s enhance our objects and practices, not debase them.... And let’s see how much more satisfying it is to engage with an authentic Judaism that challenges rather than a faddish Judaism that only entertains.”
There it is. Game, set and match. Would that the Reconstructionist, Reform, Conservative and other “streams” of Judaism took these words to heart. They cannot possibly have any rebuttal to Troy’s eloquent declaration.
It’s time that all Jews recognized and accepted the fact that there is only one authentic Judaism – the Judaism practiced throughout the ages – rather than the more recently created “pluralistic” versions. This is the best, and only, way to unite the Jewish people.
Gil Troy is right on the money.
It’s safe to assume that the logos of companies and sports teams, and the movie and cartoon characters emblazoned on some of the kippot he mentions, aren’t licensed. This is trademark infringement. This is theft of intellectual property.
Unfortunately, many American religious Jews, in their desire to look cool and hip, don’t think they are abetting illegal kippot makers who are breaking the law.
Would they buy stolen merchandise? Highly unlikely. Don’t they know that the theft of intellectual property is also theft? Apparently, they don’t.
Ma’aleh Adumim
New dimension
There are those who deem mathematics and other secular studies to be of far greater importance than delving into Jewish education, and there are those like Naftali Bennett (“Liberal Orthodox rabbis, haredi MK back Bennett on Jewish study,” September 14) and reader Sharon Lindenbaum (“Setting priorities,” Letters, September 16) who say otherwise. I would like to add a new dimension that negates the question altogether.
Our forefather, Abraham, at a young age, imbued with observing the wonders of nature, came to the conclusion of the oneness of God.
The great purveyor of Jewish law, Maimonides, stated that this awareness had the power to inspire belief in a creator of the universe.
This revelation was brought home to me after seeing the 2015 film The Man Who Knew Infinity, depicting the true story of Srinivasa Ramanujan, an uneducated mathematical genius raised in Madras, India, during the early part of the last century.
In a scene portraying an earnest conversation with his atheist mentor, G.H. Hardy, of Trinity House, Cambridge, the young Indian, speaking from deep inside his heart, exclaims the core from where his gift originates: “An equation has no meaning to me unless it expresses a thought of God.”
The marvels pertaining to the sciences and languages, complimented by the seemingly infinite complexities of a Jewish education, can potentially take the student to unparalleled levels of understanding.
Course suggestion
In response to “UC Berkeley reinstates course advocating Israel’s destruction” (September 21), the course in question, “Palestine: A Settler Colonial Analysis,” elicited some sound advice from political science professor Wendy Brown, who advocated on its behalf.
Brown said that students could introduce courses with alternative perspectives. My suggestion: “Fake Narratives: Palestine and Palestinians in the Context of Historical Reality.”
Camden, New Jersey
The writer is emerita professor of political science at Rutgers University in New Jersey.