Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Uproar Over Gwyneth Paltrow

26 of the Fourth Month 5771
YNET News: Paltrow To Raise Her Kids Jewish
Ashley Baylen, July 27, 2011

American actress and her husband, Coldplay front man Chris Martin, make decision following Paltrow's recent discovery that her family comes from long line of influential East European rabbis

Some people were very upset by this story.

Eliyokim Cohen , for example, makes a few good points.

However, I think Gwyneth Paltrow made herself look worse than her intended target of "hated religion." In other words, her statements against religion will probably backfire.

This was certainly not the first time a celebrity's silly statement has made the news, and will not probably not be the last.

The fate of Gwyneth Paltrow will probably be one of the following:
1. Paltrow will continue to live in ignorance, and neither she nor her children will ever learn anything about Judaism.

2. Paltrow will do further research, realize her misconceptions of Judaism and incorporate some Jewish ideas and values she happens to find compelling into her approach to child rearing.

3. Paltrow will be duped into entering the process of a pseudo-conversion by some charlatan, calling him (her?) self a "rabbi" and praying on her ignorance.

4. Paltrow's research will lead her, her children, and her children's father to Torah and to a kosher conversion to Judaism.

What control do I have over the fate of Gwyneth Paltrow?

What caught my attention in YNET News version of the story was something which diverges a little from the main point of the story:
"Gwyneth, daughter of Jewish film producer Bruce Paltrow, was raised with both Jewish and Christian values."
YNET, intentionally or unintentionally, acknowledges here that Jewish values and Christian values are NOT one and the same.

Israel National News (Arutz 7) could take a lesson from YNET.

There are no such things as Judeo-Christian values.

But, I digress...

Gwyneth Paltrow is not the only one ignorant of Judaism. There are massive numbers of Jews out there (as well as non-Jews who have been duped into thinking they are Jewish) who are ignorant, too.

Paltrow has a valid excuse, though. She is not Jewish. Say what you will about Paltrow. At least she has shown some interest in her heritage, and has taken the initiative to do some research,...silly statements picked up by the news media aside.

To those of you Jews out there with countless questions, issues, and even resentments toward Judaism, or more likely what you thought was Judaism, there are plenty of great places to start your research on the web, such as

Even Birthright, which does not have a religious approach, can get you to Israel, the birthplace of Judaism. There are several independently run Birthright trips which are organized, including "clean and sober" recovery trips. There may even be cycling trips, or trips based on various interests. Check it! Once here, there are countless study opportunities, with countless Jews willing to answer your questions without those old feelings of stupidity and embarrassment.

You are not stupid! You just have not had the right opportunities to get the answers to your questions. And remember, as long as you have questions, you showing that you are interested and that you care about your Jewish heritage and culture.

You just need some support.

There are short-term study programs such as is Isralight, yeshivas such as Machon Meir whose staff knows exactly where you are coming from, and independent rabbis who can quench your curiosity, without the double talk you are afraid you are going to end up getting from them.

There are also several blogs out there, such as Jew In The City (especially good for women!) which can also begin to answer those questions who have always wanted to ask, but were embarrassed to.

Sure, it can be difficult to weed through what is really Jewish, and what is not. Also, be wary of the countless so-called "messianic" site out there as well, ready to pounce on you, and prey on your soul.

But, you will not find any answers, if you do not begin the your search.

Who knows? Maybe Gwyneth Paltrow will never find out what it means to be Jewish, but maybe her story will inadvertently inspire others to do so.

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