Sunday, August 29, 2004

Faux Mitzvahs

Like Joe Jackson, I always learn something in the Sunday paper. In today's Tribune, I read about "faux mitzvahs." Apparently Gentile kids in areas with large Jewish populations feel left out when their friends are having bar and bat mitzvahs, so their parents throw elaborate parties for them. Of course, they strip out all the religious elements.

Americans have bastardized most Christian celebrations already; it's all market-driven rather than spiritual. Heck, it was a big revelation for me to figure out that Easter is actually more important than Christmas, as far as spiritual significance goes. Since I got a lot more gifts for Christmas than Easter, I grew up with the opposite impression.

Now it is Judaism's turn to be fully assimilated by the American marketing juggernaut, which is creating a new pseudo-religion that keeps the fun stuff and downplays the serious, religious, moral, historical, and spiritual aspects. For another example, look at all of the Buddha statues that adorn American gardens (a friend says people only get away with that because Buddhists are non-violent). I think this makes a mockery of religion. On the other hand, one could argue that this sort of religious evolution has been happening forever, just not at hyper-speed.

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