Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Passing Down History

This is one of the best and most moving pieces I've ever read on a blog. Fudge, I wish I'd had a chance to read this before Shabbos. Excerpt:
and besides for that, i thought as i scrolled the remainder of the article, the point contradicted something deep inside of me - some deeply held belief that until now had anchored me, at least in a sense, to the extremely orthodox world in which i was raised. i grew up in a family and a community that prized itself on its complex and complete appreciation of each individual, in a household where my mother spoke with pride about how well the rabbi knew her, how well the rabbi knew her parents, how well she knew the rabbi's children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and how important - how vital for my development as a person - it was for the rabbi to know me. ...

but then i would attend the night rebbe's class, us six girls in a dark classroom, picking with as much enthusiasm as we could muster at stern's thursday night dinner while the rebbe gleamed at us from the tops of his bridged fingers. "what your generation is missing," he pronounced one night, "is a little history. you do not know the people who came before you, and there are no such people in existence today. for this you lack. you do not know the story of your own people." he turned to all of us individually, peering down at us with that slight smile. "you have learned books," he continued. "you have learned words. but you don't know the stories! you know nothing of judaism. can it be that you have been so neglected?"