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Editorial Article

Indiana University - Shaul Magid's (Dept of Jewish Studies) Dilution of the Jewish Faith and Backing of the Irredentist Terror Supporting Arabs

Indiana U: Jewish studies Professor Shaul Magid thinks Judaism should Consist of New Age Paganism and Lots of Good Dope

By Lee Kaplan, www.IsraCampus.org.il
3/12/2013

At first glance, Shaul Magid sounds like a serious scholar of Judaica. He is a professor of religious studies and the Jay and Jeannie Schottenstein Chair of Jewish Studies in Modern Judaism at Indiana University, Bloomington. Magid recevied his semicha (rabbinical ordination) in Jerusalem in 1984. He then became a candidate Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute and a graduate student in Medieval and Modem Jewish Thought at Hebrew University, where he completed his MA in 1989. He obtained his Ph.D. in Jewish thought from Brandeis University in 1994. Magid served as a visiting professor at University of Massachusetts - Amherst, Clark University and Boston University. He was the Anna Smith Fine Chair in Jewish Thought at Rice University from 19941996 and then joined the faculty of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America before leaving for Indiana University. Magid has also served as the rabbi of the Fire Island Synagogue since 1997 and has served as a rabbi at other synagogues over the years.

Despite what might seem a background in a love and promotion of the history of Judaism, Magid sees traditional Judaism, at least in America, as archaic and out of date. As a member of the far-leftist anti-Israel splinter group Americans for Peace Now, he talks of "post-ethnic Judaism." He is beloved by the Israel hating leftist Peter Beinart and his Open Zion website, which calls for the end of the Zionist Jewish state. I personally had a run-in with one of Beinart's crew when he tried to defend an ISM liar's speech circuit against Israel in US churches and universities, promoting tales of blood libel. The same woman who supports the terrorists of the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade and the BDS movement of economic warfare against the Jews uses her Jewish ancestry to claim what she does is in the name of her Judaism. Sound familiar? Magid is in some ways her clone.

As might be expected, Magid is a big promoter of the "Jewish Renewal Movement," a touchy-feely drugs-cum-Marxism movement of pseudo-Jewish liberation theology. Magid is an acolyte of and a contributor to pseudo-rabbi Michael Lerner's Tikkun magazine, which considers LSD use the highest value of Judaism. It's interesting to note that most of the "rabbinical" circle to which he belongs claim to have been ordained by those very same two "Jewish intellectuals," the anti-Semitic "Rabbi" Brent Rosen and "Rabbi" Lynn Gottlieb. These two JVP stooges and pseudo-theological imposters openly support and excuse terrorist violence against Israelis. Shaul Magid is their intimate soul mate.

In Magid's case, the hippie Jewish teenie-bopper started his path to become a hippie rabbi when he turned 20 and took an interest in his Jewish background. He became Baal Teshuvah, superficially embracing Orthodox Judaism. But over the years he detached his Judaism from Israel and Jews, and began to see Judaism in a supposed "post-ethnic" mode. His theology had no room for Zionism and Jewish self-defense, only for New Age paganism, a concept of Jewish brotherhood or Ahavat Yisrael that gets replaced by touchy-feely wackiness.

Magid's "theological" opinions are that the Palestinians are victimized by us archaic-thinking Jews, the ones who actually practice Judaism. "Renewal Jews" develop a model of worship that includes "progressive" (Marxist?) American political activism and environmentalism. And lots of good dope.

Magid reminds me of some comments made by a "Jewish" girl at a demonstration calling for the end of Israel and support for Hamas at UC Berkeley. She was a member of the Students for Justice in Palestine. She explained she was proof the SJP is not anti-Semitic; after all, she reasoned, she was Jewish because her parents ate lox and bagels every weekend and used a smattering of yiddish words like "shlep" when they talked. Magid could define her as part of the Renewal Movement, a "post-ethnic Jew"; I define her as a simple ignorant fool.

Quoting Magid:

"The most interesting thing about Jewish Renewal is that it is decidedly non-Orthodox Judaism built on the pretense and ritualism of classical Jewish mysticism and Hasdism. It translates these insular forms of Judaism through the lens of the American counterculture designed to program pieties, global concerns, ecumenism, equality of the sexes and humanitarian universalism." He goes on to credit the pseudo-theologian Zalman Schachter for creating 'A Judaism that is an outgrowth of American counterculture.'

Magid laments that some of his fellow hippie olim in Israel still wear tie dyed shirts and longhair and listen to the same music yet support Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state:

"Many of the American counter-cultural immigrants came to Judaism through New Age religion and disassimilation (sic) born in part by identity politics in 1960s America. Figures such as Shlomo Carlebach and Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, and institutions such as The House of Love and Prayer and the Aquarian Minyan in San Francisco and Berkeley, the Havurah movement in the Northeast, and Habad, were instrumental in making the 'sidduch' between the counter-culture and Judaism. Here Hasidism and neo-Hasidism played an important role. In my experience, while still in the US (in the 1970s and early 1980s) many of these newly religious people maintained a commitment to leftist ideas, including peaceful coexistence with the Palestinians. A good example of this tolerant new Jewish romanticism can be seen in the three volumes of 'Jewish Catalogues,' published in the early to mid-1970s and modeled after the progressive 'Whole Earth Catalogue' of the late 1960s. At that time, American counter-cultural Jews had not met the settlers (whose movement was just getting under way in Israel); nor had they been introduced to the romantic Zionism of Rav Kook that was being forged in various yeshivot and religious kibbutzim. Many of the counter-cultural American immigrants from this period were inspired by a New Age spirituality that contained its own distinct form of Orientalism. The Jewish version of this outlook was easy prey for an emerging settler spirituality that institutionalized a 'divine connection to the land' that had little tolerance for coexistence if it meant sharing said land. While these American counter culturalists sympathized with the subaltern in principle, as they became more integrated into this new Zionist romanticism of the settler movement, the divine connection to the land began to take precedence."

Magid also insists that Israel's support of the settlers is based on a phony hasbara (public relations) for American consumption. He uses leftist buzz words like "the other" when referring to the Palestinians and never mentions the very way Arabs and Muslims treat their "Others." His hippy-dippy New Age Renewal Judaism incorporates liturgies of Christian, Islamic and Buddhist practices in synagogue prayer, while supporting the Jew killers among the Palestinians or, at minimum, simply ignoring them. And, oh, yes, he accuses Israel of apartheid, even though it's the only state in the Middle East that doesn't practice apartheid.

Magid's is a dilution of the Jewish faith and its deconstruction to support the irredentist and terror supporting Palestinians.

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Op-Ed articles appearing on IsraCampus.Org.il are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinion of IsraCampus.Org.il