Scissoring And Shunning Sheldon

by Bob Schwartz

Pay no attention, just for a moment, to the images above of billionaire Romney supporter Sheldon Adelson and to Sarah Silverman demonstrating the sexual act she would perform on him, if he agrees to instead give his money to Barack Obama.

The diversity of Jewish views on spiritual, social and political issues might be described as a crazy quilt that has never been pieced together. Or as a big tent without a ringmaster, no Pope to say what goes and what does not. This is admirable in some ways, but especially in stressed times, it can be uneasy and inconvenient.

Progressivism is a constant in Jewish thought and action, and just as constantly challenged by pragmatic and contrary considerations. The rise of Jewish neo-conservatism in America is a recent example, and the ready acceptance of Christian Evangelical support of Israel is another—paradoxical in that certain Christian eschatology clearly envisions the end of the Jewish people in Israel, at least as Jews.

Sheldon Adelson is taking this to a next step. He is using his unlimited campaign resources to target and convince Jews who may have mistakenly voted for Obama last time that only Mitt Romney and the Republicans offer a true Jewish vision of America and the world.

That’s where Sarah Silverman comes in. Having little by way of intellectual or humanistic argument to convince him, she offers to perform an exotic sex act on him,  if he will transfer to Obama the $100 million he has promised to use on behalf of Romney. We are going to hear a lot about bad taste, going too far, etc., but this is an indecent and brilliant piece of satire on many levels, worthy of tragic comic god Lenny Bruce.

Still, Sheldon Adelson is not going to take up this proposal. So here is another more decent one.

Even though Judaism has no final arbiter, outside of certain sects, this doesn’t mean that the Jewish communities are judgment-free. So while Sheldon Adelson can’t be “excommunicated” it can be made clear by other Jews that the agenda he is promoting with a tiny bit of his massive fortune does not represent Jewish ideals and that what he is doing is a schanda fur die goyim—a shame before the people and the nations.

Whether or not he gets scissored by Sarah Silverman, Sheldon Adelson should be shunned. There is no way to make it official, and even if there were the guess is that his billions could fix it. But conscience can’t be bought, any more than elections can (or that’s what we used to think anyway). Whether or not one is a Jew, let alone a “good” Jew, is something ultimately left to God and the individual. But that shouldn’t stop us from making clear that those who claim to act in the name of Judaism are not necessarily one of us.

Advertisements