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Mama Deb
mamadeb
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Mama Deb [userpic]
Meme - gacked from browngirl

List 5 things which are basic common knowledge in your culture, which people outside are unfamiliar with. This is not about obscurity, but something everyday to you, that others go "bzuh?" at.

Some of this is Orthodox, some is culturally Jewish.

1. Even if you don't keep kosher, drinking milk with a meat dinner is slightly gross.
2. Shrimp are NOT kosher. Neither are Reuben sandwiches.
3. Single people do not bring dates to weddings. If they do (after asking if they can), everyone will assume there will be another wedding in the near future. Consequently, you don't see "and guest" on invitations.
4. "The Holidays" happen in the early fall.
5. Your mother makes the best chicken soup ever.

Comments

Not much of a paper trail. But the midrashim are the *old* way of organizing ideas, by parsha in the Torah coupled with free association by similar words. Rebbi's revolution in the Mishnah was to organize things topically.

As for Qumran, 4QMMT indicates that the Pharisaic view of history, where the Rabbis had the upper hand in deciding how things would be done in the Temple, is accurate, because the Qumran people, who seem to be Sadducees (per Lawrence Schiffman), argue on positions taken in the Mishna and Baraitot - which were composed by the Pharisees and their successors the Rabbis.

So there's indirect evidence that the body of knowledge that we call the "Oral Torah", which became the Mishna and Talmud, existed at least 100-150 years before the Common Era, in that the Qumranites were arguing against it.

The halachic midrashim are often considered to have originated before the Mishna.

Chicken and milk being Rabbinic legislation is in Mishnah Chullin ch. 8, explained on p116a in the Talmud. Potential explanations for the three repetitions of "thou shalt not seethe" are in one of the halachic midrashim, I don't remember which, brought in English (where I saw it) in Neusner's "Introduction to the Midrash". The final one, that the ban is on cooking, eating and benefiting, is brought down in the Gemara Chullin 115b. Even so, they found alternate derivations for cooking and benefiting in isolation.

And there are too few Reform schools. I know the elementary-school librarian at Rodeph Sholom - he goes to my Orthodox synagogue in Flatbush. A former neighbor went through Reform Hebrew school and Hebrew High School for 10 years, and realized at the end that she had learned nothing. So she started going to Orthodox sources & schools, to try to find out about Judaism. She's about my age, early 40s, so maybe things have changed, but my impression from the debates over trying to introduce more "traditional" practice (in the early drafts of the 1999 Pittsburgh Principles) is that too many Reform Jews complained "you're trying to make us Orthodox".

Looking at that list, from what, about 10 years ago, of more traditional things to introduce, well, they weren't Orthodox readings of those practices. Which shows simply that lots of Jews don't even know about the reality of other groups within Judaism, only the picture painted by their own leaders with their own agendas. I see similar ignorance among Orthodox Jews, myself included.

We're all age-mates. The state of Conservative Jewish Education was similarly dreadful when I grew up in the Conservative movement. I spent some time in an Orthodox youth group as a teen, but it just didn't work for me. I found a home in Reform Judaism as an adult. I am consistently blown away by what the Reform religious school at my shul puts out in the way of knowledgable young Jews; It blows what I grew up with in Conservative and what my Friend Scott grew up with in Reform right out of the water.

If the movement decides its going to adopt stuff and the adults don't want to do it? The movement implements it in the Religious schools and camps. Its created quite a lot of generational tension in the movement, but the kids coming up can hold their own among Conservative and even MO peers. I envy them for getting a better education than I did, but I'm proud too that its happening.