All my life I have referred to the U.S. as a "Christian Country".Of course what we have that makes it so special, is the fact that it is based upon "Judao-Christian Values",supplemented by a Contitution that provides for all of our freedoms,and separation of Church and State.Our American forefathers,came to this country and established religious tolerance as our way of life.Our Courts and legislatures have kept the system on an even keel.But the overwhelming majority of our population is Christian.(as have all our former Presidents).
How else could you describe this country ? Yes we are a melting pot,and every religion is present and made to feel welcome.Never before in the history of our people in the diaspora, have we had the rights and opportunities as in this great country.
Thus, I have no negative feelings toward Sen. John McCain, who is being criticized for stating the obvious.Perhaps it was expressed poorly, or did not have to be said so bluntly in a political campaign.BUT, THERE WAS NO MALICE OR BIGOTRY INTENDED.
Todays NYT ,(page 1) of the Art Section, describes Shalom Auslander,who took a NYT
reporter on a visit to Monsey on the second day of Rosh Hashonah.
My first serious problem, is the choice of a picture that features chassidic men and their children walking in the street on the holiday.To any reader,it would seem that this depicts the neighborhood where Shalom was brought up in.The obvious connection that a secular or non-orthodox reader would make is"No wonder he rebelled!"
In fact,Shalom Auslander,lived in a modern orthodox area.Men were primarily clean shaven,wore business suits of all colors,and except for a small skullcap,would be indistinguishable from any Rockland County citizen, going to Church etc.
This picture represents intellectual dishonesty!
Shalom was a classmate of my son Ari,and much of the description in this article, and in his New Yorker article a few months ago leave those who knew him with serious doubts as to their accuracy.
That he hates his parents would seem a fair conclusion.I have no personal knowledge as to why he hates with such a cutting passion,but he does come from an illustrious family.His mother worked for many years in the medical office of my neighbor ,a pediatrician.
Throughout my life,I have had friends and classmates who turned away from Orthodoxy.
Some have become totally irreligious,others are Conservative or Reform.Almost all,appreciate their religious education,even if they do not believe or abide by the traditions of our faith.They show respect to those who choose to practice the religion.
Never have I seen however, a hatred to the point that desecrationg the sanctity of Rosh Hashonah is not enough.He must take a reporter in his car to tour the old neighborhood.Perhaps, he was secretly hoping that a former friend or classmate would see him ,be shocked,and have additional spice for the article.
If his intention was to disgrace his family name.he and he alone stands disgraced.
Perhaps the next time he has professional help in analyzing his hatred,he should try to ask himelf -who did he hurt by his antics?
His writing career will surely benefit, but at what price?