I love opinionated non-PC people. This blog is to vent my opinions on life, the universe and everything. Which is 42 which in gematria is "My Heart" (LBY) according to Rabbi Abulafia. The Divine Heart is the centre of everything.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Mixed or Mutiple Identity: A Hebrew Catholic Reflection

 Miriam Margolyes

I was watching an old panel discussion on Q and A in which Miriam Margolyes the British Jewish actress was promoting a return to Dickens and Shakespeare to Australian schools. I don't normally agree with Miriam as she is an extremely left-wing, anti-Israel, Lesbian activist but on this point I certainly agreed with her and the Australians Germaine Greer and Barry Humphreys who were also supporting this.  As an English and History teacher and of Anglo-Jewish and Anglo-Gaelic ancestry I certainly think Australian school children should learn the great classics of English literature and British history which have formed our culture.

This caused me to reflect on multiple or mixed identities. I primarily saw myself as a traditional Anglo-Australian with deep roots in Australian history and culture.  However unlike some other Australians I saw no conflict with also feeling a great attachment to British culture and history and feeling a deep connection to the cultures of my English, Irish and Scottish ancestors. However through my Anglo-Jewish ancestry I felt also a very deep connection to not only Anglo-Jewry and its culture and way of life but through that to all Jewish cultures and to a great love of Israel and the Israelis. I am like a modern day Australian version of Daniel Deronda. 

As I relate to Dickens and Shakespeare and the other greats of English literature I feel an attachment to Arthurian literature as I do to Biblical and Jewish literature. I have a great love and devotion to the British Royal Family and the Queen but I also have a similar feeling towards the Czars of Russia and Russian culture and literature. I also have some kind of attraction to all things Sefardi and through my Spanish Jewish ancestry to all things Spanish. While I love Norse, Greek and Roman mythology I do not feel such a connection with their modern versions in Scandinavia, Greece and Italy. Why? Why does a Russian Orthodox service touch my heart in a way the Greek Orthodox service doesn't? Is it in our genes these tendencies or is it environment? Or a mixture?

 Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill

All I know is that I have these multiple identities which seem to work for me just as such multiple identities work for others.  At the age of 24 I became a Catholic and in a sense a whole new identity was brought into formation within me. I can see elements of my spiritual identity as being drawn from Anglican, Catholic, Jewish, Russian Orthodox and Evangelical and Charismatic sources. Am I mixed up and confused? Probably but I am now so used to it that I have integrated it all which makes up the person I am today. Probably more confusing to others than myself. 

 Banjo Paterson

I can enjoy reading the Zohar or Rebbe Nachman of Breslov in the morning and then reading the poetry of Lord Byron or Banjo Paterson in the afternoon and then the Dark Night of the Soul by St John of the Cross in the evening. Is this being all things to all men as advocated by St Paul? Paul or Rabbi Shaul certainly had some mixed identity as a devout Pharisee Jew, a Christian apostle and a Roman citizen who was obviously well educated in Jewish, Roman and Greek culture and literature. Even those who identify as Hebrew Catholics or Catholic Jews have our own unique mix as background and foreground identities. Will this lead to multiple personalities like in the "Threes faces of Eve" or the "United States of Tara"? I hope not!

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