Labels Disable

Jewish unity based on growth and understanding.

See More

Comments (26)

(26) Keith, Woking. UK, February 12, 2011 10:22 PM

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you Lori :)

Lori, I've been saying that for ages.. Stick someone in a box with a label on it, and it makes it so horribly, horribly hard to escape from it.. Not impossible, but much, much harder for them.. This applies to so many things in life.. For example: "He is a drunkard" or "He is a smoker" etc. etc.. We are all made in G-d's image & He always forgives us if we're truly trying to love and obey Him.. Ok, we fail sometimes.. We know that.. But He still goes on loving us!.. It doesn't need other people to "put a label" on us.. That only makes it so much harder to be free.. I'm so grateful that our G-d, HaShem, has the benevolence and understanding that He has.. Thanks again Lori & G-d bless.

(25) Shayna, February 6, 2011 6:35 AM

i think this may have been my favorite blog of yours EVER! thank you!

(24) sara maimon, February 4, 2011 10:53 AM

groupthinkn

Nechama, is that what you want your children to do? To dress modestly because that's what people in a particular group do??? Bottom line is, don't make your children into something they aren't. If it speaks to their soul they'll do it. If it doesn't they won't, nor should they. Specially not as the price of belonging to the group. That's oppressive.

(23) Chasity Levy, February 4, 2011 2:40 AM

Jews in exile

When I moved out West after High School, there was only one other Jew I knew. It didn't matter what our backgrounds were, we sure didn't fight over our differences, we discuss all kinds of things, and we didn't always see eye to eye, but we were friends. He was the only person to be around that I didn't feel like the odd ball. After 4 yrs he moved to Denver. I visited him there and he showed me his synagogue. It didn't matter what branch it was, I rejoiced with him to be living now where there was one. A happy shared moment, only two Jews would understand. We didn't label ourselves, we were Jews living in exile, total exile where we were. Until he finally moved to a Jewish Community, he was going home, when it wasn't his hometown. Miss ya, Stuart!

(22) Nechama, February 3, 2011 2:55 PM

Yes and No

After many years of raising children and grandchildren and working in education myself I sincerely believe that we should obliterate labels when we relate to others but keep them when we educate our children. All Jews are brothers and should love one another without the label. However, if you don't give kids a strong sense of belonging to the particular group that you identify with and stress that we observe mitzvot according to a specific Rabbi, they can be in for big trouble. If you tell your kids that everyone is right, just doing his/her own thing, your daughter could wind up not dressing according to halacha and your son could wind up not giving time for learning Torah. Of course, part of their education must be loving every Jew and not passing judgement on people by their appearances.

(21) Sidney, February 3, 2011 4:59 AM

I am all for Shalom

(Please spell my name correctly.) Let me express my point another way (in addition to my previous one about the many unique minhagim). We have Cohanim, Leviyim, and Yisraelim and the first two are called explicitly to the Torah as Cohen and Levi. Aren't these labels?

(20) billy kirwan, February 3, 2011 12:51 AM

Thanks for your comments

I enjoyed your comments on the latest AISH e-mail. Thanks. Blessings to you. billy k

(19) Melissa, February 2, 2011 10:39 PM

As usual Lori, you are right on target and I think it would be a great thing to remove the labels. We are all Jews~why promote division when we should be promoting unity? Thank you for this message.

(18) shoshana, February 2, 2011 10:35 PM

it sounds idealistic

It sound nice, but i don't thnik there is anything we can do about that. when ever there is something run by a jewish event I want to see taht it is orthodox. is that wrong? If you are not sure about a hechsher don't you go by an only orthodox rabbi? a we have plenty other labels, ashkaazim/ sephardim/charedim/mizrachim/chasidim etc.. Each group wants to identify themselves accorking to their ideology/belife. The truth is I think it would be nicer if we do recognze our differences but still have respect for one another!

(17) Michael, February 2, 2011 5:30 PM

Beautiful. However, it is up to the leaders of the Jewish people to remove the labels.

(16) Jack, February 2, 2011 1:23 AM

Yes, we are all Jews

When in Israel in 2009 our Jewish guide was asked How many negrew jews are there? How many Russian Jews are there? His answer to all of the qauestions was "We are All Jews!"

(15) Mordechai Shuali, February 2, 2011 12:27 AM

A Heart or a Man

To Sydney and all "members of the tribe": It is true that each of Yaakov's sons had traits and each make their unique contribution to "the Klall," but they function as one unit, one "klall Yisroel." Just as we don't describe ourselves bodies by their parts (unless G-d forbid) it cease to function as one unit and something is need of repair or replacement, so too Jews function as one unit. They express their oneness to the world and for the world as HaShem expresses His oneness through the Jews and for the Jews. The tabernacle, whose component parts correspond to the organs and systems of the Man which it connects to G-d, likewise is related to in its completeness and not as separate parts. If we are to express HaShem's oneness, we must relate to that oneness. SHALOM - complete perfect harmony - is the only way. Shalom is NOT simply the opposite of war. During the cold war there was no war, but there certainly was no peace. Harmony. Symbiosis. Just like if the smallest part (the kotz) of the smallest letter (the Yud) is missing from a Torah scroll, the entire scroll is invalid, so too, the human Torah scroll - The Jewish People - must not be missing even one Yid (Jew). Once we label, we in essence remove him/her from the scroll. I believe that was Rebbetzin Palatnik's lesson. A great one indeed.

(14) Paul, February 1, 2011 9:27 PM

Good point Lori

Good point Lori

(13) mordi, February 1, 2011 6:54 PM

Great article !

Labels do disable. It is a way of profiling us. We are far more than what some acquaintance label us. Labels are annoying, a turnoff. That is my comments. Now, my question is : Is there a list i can get on so that i can read other comments that are made on this article that are not here already, but that will be made in the days to come ?

(12) ruth housman, February 1, 2011 6:27 PM

a celebration of the diversity within, ONE itself

What's WON in your beautiful commentary, is a feeling of kinship that extends to all Jews. To embrace this feeling it would be important to drop judgmental ways of being, as in Orthodoxy saying this is HOW we must celebrate our traditions, the Torah, etc. There could be a recognition, that we do it this way, but you do it that way, and all are valid forms of worship within the umbrella word: Judaism. Then we would be part way there. Arrogance and a non listening stance is part of the problem, particularly among those who think they have a more "direct pipeline" to G_d. Then, we must recognize, surely, that we are part of a vast cosmos, a world that contains many other ways of worshipping, and we must embrace those ways of worship, because ONE G_D, means deeply that we are part of something very large, that is the Creative Diversity that Powers This World. Torah has to be, everywhere, if this is THE WORD, and it must then be absorbed and translated differently, within a cultural diversity of ONE. Learn about other cultures, what they think, about the well we're drawing from that is universal, that is spiritual.

(11) Anonymous, February 1, 2011 5:31 PM

Never forget

Born a Jew, Die a Jew. Did Hitler care what type of Jew you were, no.. Neither do any of the anti-semetic leaders of radical countries.. WE MUST STAND TOGETHER AS ONE TO SURVIVE, WE ARE ALL JEWS!! Especially in todays society.. May HaShem bring peace to His Holy city Jerusalem..

(10) JR, February 1, 2011 5:16 PM

labels are for shirts

The Rebbe said: "Labels are for Shirts"

(9) Debbie Rothschild, February 1, 2011 3:57 PM

Thank you

Thank you for this explanation of how labels disable. I just had this conversation with my daughter when she asked "What is Aish HaTorah? and What is our shul?" I certainly don't want our family to have to live in a box!!!

(8) Mike baker, February 1, 2011 2:51 PM

Such wisdom

I look forward to your little talks for they are alwyas filled with such wisdom. But today your pithy comments really resonated with me. Thank you.

(7) Anonymous, February 1, 2011 2:39 PM

Lori, You said it! Go, girl!

(6) Shani Silverstien, January 31, 2011 8:19 AM

Psychiatric Labels Disable

Thank you for a wonderful, inspirational message. I will take the liberty of extending this crucial message to people diagnosed with psychiatry's invented labels, if I may. Too many people today walk around with a "diagnostic" label as part of their identity. There are those with Bipolar, ADHD, Shcizophrenia, Borderline Personality Disorder, Psychopathic or Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Dysthmia, Claustriphobia etc., etc (consult the latest version of the DSM for more). These categories are of some value for treatment, understanding, support etc. But, essentially, there is no such thing as a Bipolar Person or a Borderline or....There are only elements of the descriptions listed under these labels that can be potentially recongnized within people. Each person is unique. Each person is individual. And each person has unlimited potential. This potential can be discouraged or snuffed out because of the chains of labels, or the coffin that the label can put a person is, as Lori so aptly describes it. Each person has a name, a unique identity, a soul. Each person has the god given gift of free choice. Each person can grow and change, heal and become increasingly happier and healthier. Psychiatric labels place people in closed boxes. Boxes that tell them who they are, where they belong, and what the limits of their expectations should be. Psychiatric labels dehumanize and disempower all too frequently. If you were told you are Shcizoaffective or Anaroxic or Depressive - take what good you can from these broad generalizations and then - take back your name. Just as labels to describe what type of Jew one is potentially put chain the person; mind, body, soul and spirit, so too do other ungodly labels.

(5) Anonymous, January 31, 2011 5:59 AM

Lori, your talk was soothing.

(4) Sidney (proud to have a label), January 31, 2011 3:31 AM

The 12 Tribes of Yisrael Had Labels & Attributes

I understand your point in terms of not using labels to stereotype levels of observance (or the lack thereof). However one cannot negate labels completely. There were the 12 sons Ya`akov/Yisra'el (Jacob/Israel) which became the 12 Tribes of Yisrael. Each tribe had different customs and attributes. Indeed Jacob and Moshe (Moses) enumerated them. In our day Jews coming from various countries, often proudly, retaining the Minhagim (customs) of their ancestors. While this should never be used to knock a fellow Jew we should neither negate our unique Minhagim and create one monolithic melting pot.

(3) smb, January 31, 2011 12:26 AM

unity and growth

Lables only limit us to fit within a box. Hashem however, wants us to just be Jews, who grow in our heritage and go forward in our growth. This is how we should look at each other, only as Jews. Some believe less and some more. Some do less and some more. I feel there are a couple things we need to do. Unify and help fellow Jews and ourselves reach the potential we can and should reach. We can disagree with each other but still be friends. During this, we can both grow as we go forward together in our heritage.

(2) TMay, January 30, 2011 6:49 PM

You're right and you're right.

People who don't hyphenate their Judaism are right, and people who use labels are right too, since labels summarize a whole bunch of answers to questions like kosher or not kosher, like the music, like an organ in the sanctuary, like a chazan or a choir.

(1) Mordechai Shuali, January 30, 2011 1:58 PM

One Man with One Heart

An old-world, old-time Rabbi, involved in kiruv in an out-of-town community long before kiruv was in our lexicons, answers the "what are you" question as follows, "I am an orthodox Rabbi, of a conservative congregation, with a reform membership." It says it all, and, as a result, has done it all - brought many people to hear the beating of their communal heart and join the endless, eternal, label-free circle of Jews and Judaism. A great man once put it this way. "We are all part of one collective Jewish body (as we are part of one Jewish soul). Some of us are feet, arms, or heads. Some are livers, hearts, or brains. But we are all pert of one Jewish body and soul. Another important figure in the Jewish world of education - all ages and all levels - puts it this way. A screw can be purchased for pennies or less. If one, being used in a carburetor, breaks, the repair will cost hundreds of dollars. We can be a screw, or we can be a car. We can be orthodox, conservative, reform, reconstructionist, or we can be Jewish. You decide which one you will be. But you also decide which one your neighbor is as well.

 

Submit Your Comment:

  • Display my name?

  • Your email address is kept private. Our editor needs it in case we have a question about your comment.


  • * required field 2000
Submit Comment
stub

Receive the Aish.com Weekly Email

Sign up to our Aish Weekly Update Jewsletter.

Our privacy policy