Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sacramental... Beer?


It's so hard to keep young people interested in religion these days. Got any ideas?
Legislation allowing underage Jews to drink beer during religious ceremonies has sparked widespread support in the Arkansas Legislature and puzzlement, even laughter, in the Jewish community.
The official explanation:
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Dan Greenberg, R-Little Rock, says he drafted the bill on behalf of an Orthodox Jewish rabbi so that underage Arkansas Jewish youths would be able to drink at religious dinners and other events during the first nine days of the Jewish month of Av....

The legislation, primarily, would allow underage Jews to drink beer at post-circumcision celebrations on those rare occasions when a baby boy is born before the Ninth of Av, Ciment said.
Next up, hard liquor?
Some rabbis allow the havdalah to be performed with whiskey. Others accept rum.
And some, I'm sure, offer an open bar. Needless to say, there are some spoilsports out there:
“It’s possible to use grape juice. It’s possible to use milk,” said Jonathan D. Sarna, a professor of American Jewish history at Brandeis University near Boston.

“I am familiar with no Jewish law that requires drinking of beer at any time,” he said.
The bill's sponsor responds,
...I do think it’s quite important to make sure that state government never interferes with traditional religious practices.
(Yet for some reason I'm not holding my breath, waiting for his "religious freedom" bill to legalize polygamy and ritual sacrifice.)

1 comment:

  1. Beer? WTF? I can see some Jews insisting on wine - though really grape juice is fine - but I can't think of a single religious ceremony requiring beer. Not even Purim.

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