If you have read parts One and Two of my rant against the Big Idea contest sponsored by the Bronfman Foundation you know that I think the idea is well meaning and doomed. There is no Big Idea that will transform American Jewry because American Jews just don’t care about Judaism all that much. Sure it’s nice to know that we’re The Chosen, but if the Bid Idea is to get us to be more Jewish, it just isn’t going to happen.
But, once again, I seem to have blogged too soon, and I want to formally apologize to the Bronfmans and their Foundation for not thinking this through more carefully. I now believe that there is a Big Idea out there that can rekindle the Jewish passions and ethnic identity of American Jews. It’s called anti-Semitism.
Think about it. If the Greco-Syrians hadn’t demanded Jews bow down to their god we wouldn’t have had the Maccabean War. If American medical centers had hired Jewish doctors, we wouldn’t have so many Sinai Hospitals.
When the Southern Baptists declared that God doesn’t hear the prayer of Jews, we Jews went ballistic. The fact that most of us don’t pray or even believe in a God who listens to prayer, was irrelevant. The great Satan of Christian anti-Semitism had reared his ugly head, and we would rise to destroy him. Or at least get him to be quiet.
Similarly, the recent statement of the godly Ann Coulter that Jews need to be “perfected,” that is we need to become Christians, got us hot and bothered.
We may not know how to get Jews excited about Judaism, but we do know how to get them feeling Jewish: anti-Semitism works. The Big Idea that the Bronfman Foundation needs to fund, the one sure fire way to get Jews focused on their Jewishness is an all out revival of American anti-Semitism.
We don’t need a messiah, we need an anti-messiah. The Bronfman Foundation should secretly fund a charismatic Christian Rightist who will get America declared a Christian Nation, and set a Christian litmus test for political office holders. He or she will hold public burnings of the Talmud, and lobby Congress to outlaw circumcision, kosher food (I would add Chinese food as well just to be safe), and Seinfeld reruns.
Of course they would have to funnel money into Jewish organizations fighting this puppet madman so that Jews could rally and fight for their religion and ethnic pride. I am certain this would work. I am also certain nothing else can.