Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Strings Attached

I like the red string bracelets.

I don't like Pop Kabbalah. I don't like celebrities posing with their red strings. I think the guys at the Kabbalah Center should be--I don't know--is there a Jewish equivalent of getting pied? Maybe they could be smushed in the face with sufganiot. Or stoned with matzo balls. I have no patience with this stuff. It's exploitative, of real Jewish tradition, of Jewish experience, of the people who come to this nonsense trying to find something good for themselves.

Also, the news that Madonna's children are attending Kabbalah religious school freaked me out.

But I like the red string bracelets.

I have a friend who's actually very frightened these people are going to cause serious harm to themselves or others through working Kabbalistic magic without having the slightest clue what they're doing. My feeling is that this is like giving people who failed high school chemistry the directions to make a nuclear power plant. They won't do it. Don't worry. I think she feels it's more like letting those same people poke the buttons at the power plant randomly.

Did I mention I don't believe in this nonsense? Ignore anything above that implies differently.

Anyway, the red string bracelets are pretty, and there is a basic simplicity of symbolism about them that I find really appealing. I like the (original) association with Rachel. I like the fancy-schmancy additions with the silver chains and the little charms, like the one above.

I find that I sort of want one. But I absolutely won't wear one, since even with outfits like ChosenCouture carrying them, they are just SO Pop Kabbalah, unless you actually live in a stone-floored apartment in Safed.

I'm trying to think of some way to reclaim red strings, a way of announcing "This used to be MY culture, and it ain't New Age. Give it back!"

But maybe that's silly. Not like anyone in my neighborhood used to wear them anyway. The Jewish stuff I actually grew up with is STILL not chic.

Any ideas?


Barefoot Jewess said...

I actually am drooling over a black leather string bracelet with a silver magen David threaded thru it; it's on my list for future purchase when the money rolls in. I really don't care to wear necklaces. You can also get it in blue thread or red thread. I would have to look up the URL.

Considering the bendel fad, right now I feel that real Jews don't wear red threads. It's a shame. Madonna and her ilk have taken all the fun out of it.

Rebeljew said...

Sadly, the current trend is to outmagic the New Age crowd. The more magic, the more chic. The Jewish community can now boast deep involvement in oriental mysticism and healing (feng shui, acupuncture, yoga), early American mysticism (AmerIndian healing, homeopathy, straight Palmerian chiropractic), and so why should pop Kabala be any different?

If we want to reclaim what is Jewish, we need to start by talking some sense into our own leaders.

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Little Wolf said...

How about sueing the Kabbalah Center for lots of money. That seems to be the modern American solution to all problems. If nothing else it would probably make a lot of news and at least get the message out. (Plus then you'd be the new face of Judaism.