Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Argumentation II

One of the most fruitful traditions of Judaism is argumentation. The Talmud can be read as a gigantic series of arguments, and, at least in some places, rabbinical students study in pairs, the better to sharpen their argumentation skills. The analytic abilities honed by this kind of culture have been put to good use in the larger world - helping Jews reach the top of nearly every occupation.

Even in the arguments over Israel, the sharpest points of each side are frequently made by Jews. The following curious anecdote was published in the Jewish Journal:

On a JetBlue flight from Florida to New York on July 7, just before the IDF launched its Operation Protective Edge, an argument over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict broke out between two passengers that got one of them, a Jewish doctor from Queens named Lisa Rosenberg, kicked off the flight before takeoff. Later it emerged that the passenger with whom Rosenberg argued, who on the plane had identified herself as a Palestinian, was in fact Jewish.

Jews also have a tradition of defending the underdog.