Monday, August 20, 2007


Seventeen-year-old New Yorker Hava Aaronson, a self-consciously observant Jew, is nonetheless unorthodox in many ways. She has spiked hair, loves punk culture, and punctuates her colorful, rebellious language with four-letter words (though she is reverently careful to refer to the Supreme Being as "G-d"). Her best friends are her confidant Ian, who is gay and not Jewish, and her platonic soul mate Moishe, who makes offbeat films and practices a kind of countercultural Orthodox Judaism.

In its original nature, the punk culture has been primarily concerned with individual freedom, which tends to create beliefs in concepts such as individualism, anti-authoritarianism, anarchism and free thought. Punk ideologies have often included a critical view of the world; seeing modern day societies as placing extensive limits on humanity.

"Never Mind the Goldbergs" is fiction, so I don't know if there are Orthodox punks - but if they do exist, I don't understand how they rationalize their existence. Of course, everyone is free to believe what they choose, but it seems to me that these people are confused about their beliefs since they appear self-contradictory.


Blogger Miri said...

First of all, yes, there are many frum punks out there. I don't know if you've actually read the novel, but one of the things I found to be non-realistic is that she's the only one of her kind in a Manhattan MO community. There are frum punks who go to Bais Yaakovs from one-horse towns in Yahuppitseville Midwest, and they find each other. There may be only three, but still, they definitely exist..

Secondly, modern punk culture is not the hardcore ideological movement it was in the late seventies-early eighties. It's gotten gentrified like every other counter-culture movement before it, and now most of the people who are ideological are into other things. This isn't universally true, of course; but it's gotten to be much more about listening to Something Corporate and wearing dog-collar bracelets, and not much else. Since these people aren't really worrying about ideologies, they probably aren't worrying about how these non-existent ideologies conflict with their religous life-style.

August 20, 2007 10:35 AM  
Blogger The back of the hill said...

Can't.... bend.... mind..... around.... concept!

Head..... about...... to.... explo..... ..... ..



August 22, 2007 2:50 PM  

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