Montana Rabbis, Isaac Asimov
& the Earth’s Future
Here’s a must read for the day — http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/05/us/05religion.html?_r=1&ref=todayspaper
“Miky…was born in an animal shelter in Holland and shipped as a puppy to Israel, where he was trained by the Israeli Defense Forces to sniff out explosives. Then one day, Miky got a plane ticket to America. Rather than spend the standard $20,000 on a bomb dog, the Helena Police Department had shopped around and discovered that it could import a surplus bomb dog from the Israeli forces for the price of the flight. So Miky came to his new home in Helena, to join the police force.
“The problem, the officer explained, was that Miky had been trained entirely in Hebrew.
“When Officer Fosket got Miky, he was handed a list of a dozen Hebrew commands … He made flashcards and tried practicing with Miky. But poor Miky didn’t respond.
“Officer Fosket…tried a Hebrew instructional audio-book from the local library, but no luck. The dog didn’t always understand what he was being ordered to do. Or maybe Miky was just using his owner’s bad pronunciation as an excuse to ignore him. Either way, the policeman needed a rabbi.
“And now he had found one. They worked through a few pronunciations, and the rabbi, Chaim Bruk, is now on call to work with Miky and his owner as needed. Officer Fosket has since learned to pronounce the tricky Israeli “ch” sound, and Miky has become a new star on the police force.”
Copyright 2009 New York Times
OUR FUTURE IS UP TO US
& THAT’S NOT A BAD THING
I think we all need a rabbi, even – or especially – those of us who were raised in that Jewish variant, Christianity that was started in the life a devout First Century Jewish male (rev. Rabbi Jesus, by Bruce Chilton — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruce_Chilton ).
Why? You ask. Because the core message of Judaism is profoundly human-centered. As many of us despair about the condition of the planet, of Western civilization and of the USA, I am reminded of Isaac Asimov’s perspective. My Sci-fi nourished mind was raised in Isaac Asimov’s vision –We humans will populate the entire universe. In his novels – all self consistent – our species did that so well that we lost track of our planet of origin.
Asimov was a secular Jew, a deep thinker, a polymath (he taught biochemistry in Boston before he moved back to his native New York). There were no aliens in his fiction, just us. This view is, at core, a biblical one, if you think about it. And it is my core view of humanity as well.
This is why my litmus test for realistic, morally centered liberals and intelligent, future-aimed conservatives, is the same life affirming, humanity affirming, forward-aimed affirmation, captured in the popular culture as: (a) “Space, the final frontier” and (b) “Live long and prosper”. As a rabbi from Hungary told me, that Spock salutation from Star Trek by Leonard Nimoy and the Vulcan hand-salute is quintessentially Jewish (based on the priestly blessing – see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vulcan_salute).
Today, I celebrate our humanity and the joy of a Hebrew-trained police dog in Montana.
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