Jewish World 9:53 AM 4/16/2014
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Tamar Yonah is one of Israel's most popular English-speaking radio show hosts. She made Aliyah from Southern California and after serving in the Israeli army began a prolific career in radio, including production, news and program development. She was the original creator and producer of 'The Aliyah Show' and still works whenever she can in that field. Tamar is a political activist, wife and mother residing in Judea and Samaria and currently hosts the top-rated shows of The Weekend Edition & The Tamar Yonah Show. Her award winning blog covers current events, religion, politics and anything else that's on her mind.
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Why Isn't G-d Cool? Why is G-d considered a Square? I mean, what could be cooler than G-d? He's the ultimate artist, the ultimate scientist, the ultimate everything. Just look at a mountain, a molecule, a flower, a galaxy. What could be cooler than the physics, the system, the energy and vibes that this universe runs on? The smartest men in the world couldn't come up with such a perfect creation.
And yet, I'm sitting here reading an article in the news paper about the newest hip thing our youth are swarming to, -a new grass-roots open air bar and dance 'club' for Tel Aviv's youth. It's Friday night in Tel Aviv. The soldiers are home for Shabbat, and they want to 'party'.
This outside nightclub is free. No one cards you, and drinks don't cost an arm and a leg. The people at this outdoor impromptu nightclub are friendly, not snooty like at the expensive night clubs in Tel Aviv. This is becoming the new haven for our youth who want to find a new oasis for 'fun'.
Clubbing and trance dancing. Does it get us anywhere we really want to go?
My question is, if people are looking to 'get away' from the daily grind of work and life's challenges, and meet friendly people where they can find stimulation, why is it in a night club/dancing/drinking atmosphere? Because even in these places, you are judged on how you look, and what clothes you wear. Are you sexy and will you give out, or are you a dork? People at nigth clubs see only the facade. It isn't the real thing. So why do our youth put energies towards things that are fake and won't last?
When I first came to Israel in the late 70's, it was a lot more wholesome. If people wanted to dance and drink, they usually had to go to the big hotels to do that. And hotels were expensive, -too expensive for the average Israeli. Mostly you'd find tourists in the hotel's bars and discos. In those days, if you were an Israeli, you went to an outdoor cafe for ice cream together, and if you wanted to dance, you went Israeli folk dancing. Why is it different today? What happened to our youth? To our culture?
Israeli Folk Dancing - once a past time to express patriotic pride and fun.
I was raised that on Friday nights, it was family night. We all gathered around the table and had our Shabbat meal. Sometimes, when we were older, we'd have big 'Shabbatonim', -where you joined your youth group and celebrated Shabbat together. People sat at long tables and sang songs, had a great meal, and then had a great Dvar Torah, a lesson from the Bible. People were judged on who they were as a person, because we shared the same values... belief in G-d. If you gave a good Dvar Torah, you were respected even more. People were valued for their personalities, their talents, their kindness, and midot (character traits).
I used to live on Kibbutz for a time. One of the things that I remember was attending a wedding there. The groom was a burn victim. His face was terribly scarred and I hate to say it, but he looked like a monster. I remember thinking as I watched him standing under the Chuppah with his bride, how did he get a girl to marry him? I'm from Southern California, and growing up, it was very materialistic. Everything there was how you looked, what clothes you wore, what label you had on, what kind of car you drove, even your home address. I couldn't imagine this kibbutznik being able to find a girl from California to marry him, with his face scarred so grotesquely. On Kibbutz, people work together, eat together, and socialize together in the evenings, so people can get to know the REAL you, and accept you for who you are.
Believing in something higher than oursleves - ushering in the Shabbat.
I don't think that night clubs are the place to be appreciated for the 'real you'. Even though the free outdoor night club is more relaxed, it's still a meat market. It doesn't fill the emptiness that people are feeling... If someone is looking for friendship, companionship, and an escape from the 9-5 work jungle, the emptiness will just return as soon as the sun comes up in the morning, and the beer wears off. So then why is spending your Friday nights together at a table in wholesome, friendly, worthwhile pursuits not the 'IN' thing to do today?
Why isn't G-d cool? Why is G-d considered a square? Why does society, any society, Jewish or not, run to something that is false, which values the 'facade', and doesn't fill the hole we try to stuff with beer, music and make up?
Gathering together at a Shabbat table.
Seems to me, that we need to redirect our society to more truth, and less falsity and let downs. People who have had a real Shabbat experience, with good food, good people, songs, dancing and intellectual stimulating conversations at the Shabbat table want more and more of it. The 'feel' of Shabbos is exhilerating!
So many people who are secular, who have tasted what a real Shabbat is like, have become religious. They have felt the wonderful, joyous atmosphere of this day of rest, of rising above the material, and feeding the spiritual side of our souls. They feel the peace of Shabbat, they feel G-d and His love for us, in giving us the Sabbath day to disconnect from the rat race and phoney masks of life. People can feel valued for who they are, engage in real dialogue, and know that when they meet that 'someone special', that that person won't throw in the towel and look for comfort elsewhere when life gets a little rocky. They will know that that someone will be committed and stick to their morals see the situation through, until the good times come again. - Because they believe that Torah is G-d given, that it's a gift to mankind, and that though we won't be fulfilling our animal desires whenever we want to, we know that holding to the Laws of the Torah will ultimately be the best thing for us, as well as for society at large. Keeping the Torah and embracing the values it gives us offers so much to make our lives happier and more content. It has a lot more to offer than beer and trance dancing.
G-d, the 'Ultimate Artist' and His cool creations
Yes, Hollywood offers the glitz, but it isn't the bread and butter of life. Hollywood may LOOK cool, but G-d really IS cool, and the world that He created really isn't square. It's a scientific wonder, a mathematical miracle, an artist's masterpiece, a gourmet' chef's banquet. It's time we focused on these intellectual and fascinating gifts. Want trance? Mediate on the wonders of G-d. Share your feelings with another who can appreciate you for YOU. Invite someone to your Shabbos table. Sing, dance and discuss creation and the Torah. Laugh and enjoy the wholesome atmosphere. It's about time we told the world how cool G-d is, and that He is anything but 'square'.