“Everything we do, everything we are, rests on our personal power. If we have enough of it, one word uttered to us might be sufficient to change the course of our lives. But if we don’t have enough personal power, the most magnificent piece of wisdom can be revealed to us and that revelation won’t make a damn bit of difference.”
Carlos Castaneda

Tales of Power

Slaughtery: A Cornerstone of Every Jewish Community


I came across this Israeli news article (I could not find an English translation). It speaks about a supposed legal struggle taking place between the state of Poland (being instigated by animal rights organizations) and its Jewish community on the subject of kosher slaughter. According to the article Polish law prohibits slaughter of animals that are conscious, but that exemptions were made for Jewish and Muslim communities. The supposed animal rights organizations involved demand that these exemptions (effecting both Jewish and Muslim communities) be removed.

The article, is as typical of most commercial journalism, is very poorly written and informed so there is are not many facts on what constitutes kosher butchery, what practices are actually being used, are these practices perhaps compromised due to industrialized mentalities, what actual practices are being criticized in Poland, etc. So there isn’t much to go on to relate to the subject intellectually.

However the article does include a reply quoted from one Rabbi Arie Goldberg who heads the Jerusalem branch of something called the Rabbinical Centre of Europe. His words are published within quotation marks so I take them to be his (unless he was seriously misquoted). In it are two gems of insight into the sad state of institutionalized religion. The original is in Hebrew, the translations mine:

“השחיטה היהודית היא אבן יסוד של כל קהילה יהודית בעולם, באירופה וגם בפולין.”

“The Jewish slaughter is a cornerstone of every Jewish community in the world, in Europe and also in Poland”

If that is true, then Jewish communities all around the world, in Europe and in Poland have very fragile foundations. As a mostly non-meat eating, born-into-Judaism human being who has recently begun to slaughter chickens and ducks which make up a small part of my life-partner’s diet,  I weep for any community where this is a cornerstone issue. Humane slaughtering is an obvious and insignificant stepping stone because our cornerstones have a much broader life view.

And then there is the ultimate fear-festering argument that Jews can always fall back to if all else fails:

“באם הנושא לא יטופל במהירות ובתכליתיות, הרי שהמצב הנוכחי יכול להזכיר לנו תקופות אפלות בהיסטוריה של האיזור בכלל ופולין בפרט, תקופות שכולנו רוצים לשכוח”

“If the subject is not handled quickly and concisely, then the current situation may remind us of better forgotten dark times in the history of the area, especially Poland”.

The Jewish argument against a request to improve slaughtering practices is … you got it … the Holocaust.

That pretty much exemplifies the capacity of social/political debate in Israel too. It is a fear-induced, fear-inducing, intellectually degenerate mentality. If you really want to get your head around the middle-east (it may take a serious stretch) then you may want to take into consideration that this degenerate social mentality is the most advanced one in that part of the world.

The quote also has in it a majestic lie. The Holocaust “slogan” in Israeli society is “we shall not forget”. Teenagers are flown every year to tour concentration camps so that they “don’t forget”. And yet this superficial man-of-god, making an idiotic argument on a superficial matter speaks of a period “better forgotten”. Give me a fucking break.

If I had to deal with this mentality on a day-to-day basis I’d want to kick some ass … oh … but I did have to deal with it every fucking day when I was living in Israel … and so I left. But I often wonder:

  • What if I was living in some … oh … lets say Polish village and I liked my life and my village and my community?
  • And what if such an annoying (but not really intrusive) mentality kept popping up in my community?
  • What if it wasn’t really a problem, since these people mostly kept to themselves … except when they came to collect taxes?
  • What if similar stories came up in the pub when speaking to people from other villages?
  • What if my entire country (if not continent) went through a difficult time where we were driven to cope with something as basic as daily hunger?
  • How would my own moral fabric respond to such challenges?
  • What if extremists came and made an actual difference … if nothing else than on the hunger front?
  • What if those extremists pointed an irrelevant yet sharp blaming finger at those eccentric people, diddling with their oh-so-special-high-and-mighty needs?
  • What if those extremists actually lashed out against those eccentric people?
  • Would I mind? Would I object? Would I do something about it? Would I be relieved? Would I feel guilty? Would I simply wait for the extremist storm to pass by?

My father’s parents were both Holocaust survivors. My mothers parents escaped Germany/Poland before the Holocaust. It is not my intention in any way to justify the horrors of the Holocaust. I made a continuous and conscious effort (both within my family and within “my” country) not to allow myself to be be engulfed in the poisonous mentality that still ripples out from the Holocaust. I do want to make the point that if you behave like an asshole towards your fellow human beings then you shouldn’t be surprised when you get slapped in the face or shot down. Communities that indulge in bitching about how their animals are slaughtered while they abuse their fellow-humans are dysfunctional communities. They either evolve & mature or disappear altogether. This isn’t a call to action … I have faith in Mother Nature 🙂









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