Yes, to heal the world

  • point of Judaism = tasked with mission > Judaism antidote to many of the greatest problems we face in the 21st Century.
  • religion gives a sense of community, purpose + meaning.
  • why progressive Judaism = our way forward
  • Progressive Judaism has come under attack.
  • Jonathan Neumann’s book entitled ‘To Heal the World?’ its subtitle – ‘How the Jewish Left Corrupts Judaism and Endangers Israel’ – tells everything you need to know about this book. = argues that progressive Jews distorted Judaism + created their own denomination, completely divorced from tradition.
  • Jewish mysticism > world in which we live = broken => through pursuit of social justice > begin to heal it => (for Neumann) idea = innovation = ideology of American New Left + Jewish theology.
  •  ‘tikkun olam’ new development= rallying cry to bring together many of  issues on which Jewish community in America was campaigning, particularly black civil rights, women’s liberation + international peace.
  • idea > Judaism’s core = one of social justice = integral to progressive Judaism since its inception.
  • Rabbi Abraham Geiger in 19th Century Germany, argued > soul of Judaism =/= in its laws > = in its prophetic texts.
  • Reformers repositioned Judaism from its narrow focus on ritual to universalist message of justice.
  • Prophet Elijah harbinger of messianic redemption = first among our prophets to promise that messianic age is coming.
  • promise of liberation = built into very understanding of what it means to live a Jewish life => must participate in building it through pursuit of justice, by following consciences, + by seeking to make the world a more loving place.
  • tikkun olam’ message can be found throughout the Tanakh, rabbinic literature, + our liturgy = core of what Judaism calls on us to do.
  • Neumann argues deviation from traditional Judaism > progressive Judaism must be contrasted with ‘traditional’ Judaism => seems not to understand  Orthodox Judaism = a modern innovation = response to modern world, that takes a conservative approach to life + a dogmatic approach to commandments.
  • at our most Jewish when we are sharing food with others.
  • Neumann’s idea of traditional Judaism = narrow + limiting
  • progressives, halachic observance + social justice are not competitors = complement each other.
  • food laws help > force to think ethically about consumption.
  • Shabbat = joy > teaches value of rest + holiness of God.
  • All rules + rituals have value > turn us into disciplined, conscientious people, who will seek out justice when it is necessary.
  • Progressive Judaism > point of Judaism =/= rules in themselves => = pursuit of better world through rules
  • message = clear > short time on earth + here with a mission => tasked with a sacred purpose of perfecting the world, demanding justice and pursuing peace = point of Judaism +> Let us work to heal the world together.

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Preceding

To Heal the World? | Book Review

Sim Lev

What is the point of Judaism?

Last night, I gave a defence of Judaism for the disengaged. I argued that religion gives us a sense of community, purpose and meaning. I talked about how Judaism is an antidote to many of the greatest problems we face in the 21st Century.

This morning, I want to talk about why progressive Judaism, specifically, ought to be our way forward. Progressive Judaism has, in recent years, come under attack. Last year, Jonathan Neumann released a book entitled ‘To Heal the World?’. Its subtitle – ‘How the Jewish Left Corrupts Judaism and Endangers Israel’ – probably tells you everything you need to know about this book.

In it, he argues that progressive Jews have distorted Judaism and created their own denomination, completely divorced from tradition. He pours scorn on one idea in particular, that of ‘tikkun olam’. The basic premise of this…

View original post 1,082 more words

To Heal the World? | Book Review

To remember

  • Tikkun olam = Hebrew for “to heal or to repair the world.” = popular catchphrase among left wing American Jewish rabbis + social activists >  ancient teaching of Judaism =>religious foundation for their politics.
  • Jonathan Neumann concludes in To Heal the World that it isn’t = argues  tikkun olam provides a religious covering for a political ideology: “social justice” arrived via non-religious means.
  • “Social justice = political philosophy advocating redistribution of income + wealth + other property in order to achieve economic egalitarianism
  • social justice includes an agenda of permissive social policies that leave lifestyle questions to the discretion of individual + promotes gender diversity
  • attitudes + policies associated predominantly with today’s left-wing political parties
  • perceive social justice through prism of intersectionality
  • To Heal the World doesn’t offer a comprehensive critique of social-justice policies => deconstructs notion that tikkun-olam-as-social-justice bears any necessary relationship to Judaism = social justice scheme promulgated by the Jewish left “corrupts Judaism + endangers Israel”
  • 18th + 19nth centuries, European Jews began to experience increasing freedom from legal restraints + social prejudices that had hitherto been placed on their communities by Christian states. => shed particularistic rituals of traditional Judaism + emphasize Judaism’s universalistic ethics (Kantian)
  • postwar America > commitment to universalistic ethics > expressed as tikkun olam.
  • Reform Judaism’s relationship to traditional Judaism critical from the beginning > at its inception to distance itself from Judaism as it had been practiced historically.  + universalizing mode rendered Jewish particularism highly problematic, including its longings for Zion.
  • In early to mid-twentieth century, Reform Judaism rethought both these points, + sought to root its thinking in Tanakh + to give qualified support to the nascent Jewish state.
  • Jewish Left’s use of tikkun olam = problematic. > tikkun olam itself “never meant what American Jews now understand the term to mean.”
  • tikkun olam/social justice Judaism problematizes very existence of Jewish identity > moral themes derived from sources other than the Bible.
  • Social justice has no need for Jews > involves their very dissolution into rest of humanity.
  • Jews ancient heritage something unique to say = particularism for sake of universalism, > precedent deep in Bible + Jewish tradition = through  Abraham’s offspring all nations on earth will be blessed
  • leftwing Judaism and tikkun olam parallel with liberal Protestantism + “Social Gospel.”
  • Reform Judaism drew part of its inspiration from Social Gospel movement. => question whether relationship between Social Gospel + traditional Christianity is as biblically + theologically problematic as th relationship between tikkun olam + traditional Judaism.

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Preceding

Where our life journey begins and inheritance of offices of parents

Second core value of Conservative Judaism opposite use of native tongue in Reform Judaism

A Secret of our Enemy :Inter-Ethnic Fault Lines Among the Jews

Marranism or the Invisibles

Surprise: Ashkenazi Jews Are Genetically European

Advocacy is Fundamental to Reform Judaism

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GeorgePWood.com

Tikkun olamis Hebrew for “to heal the world.” It has become a popular catchphrase among leftwing American Jewish rabbis and social activists. According to them, it is an ancient teaching of Judaism, and therefore a religious foundation for their politics.

The only problem is that it isn’t. At least that’s what Jonathan Neumann concludes in To Heal the World. He argues that tikkun olamprovides a religious covering for a political ideology that has been arrived at via nonreligious means. And that political ideology is “social justice.”

Here’s how Neumann defines that political ideology:

“Social justice is a political philosophy that advocates the redistribution of income—and sometimes even wealth and other property—in order to achieve economic egalitarianism…. In more recent decades, social justice has also come to include an agenda of permissive social policies that leave lifestyle questions to the discretion of the individual and promote gender diversity…

View original post 1,096 more words

Advocacy is Fundamental to Reform Judaism

To remember

  • Social justice = vital factor of Reform Judaism.
  • Reform Jew need to hear spoken word pertaining to the prophets => tikkun olam = to make attempt to enhance world for which we all live.
  • Reform Jew = God’s partners in taking a stand > voiceless + shattered in our culture
  • Reform Jews pushed by extreme amount of concerns > fundamental to Jewish awareness of the prophetic communication of Jewish faith
  • Reform Jews proclaim that maintaining a strong safety net for those who are most vulnerable = modern manifestation of our obligation to “leave the corners of our fields for the poor and needy” (Leviticus 19:9).
  • family values include supporting
  • Reform Judaism stands for certain principles
  • Reform Jews take pride in their long history of “speaking truth to power.”
  • Active commitment to social justice =  hallmark of Reform Judaism => commitment inspires Reform congregations across North America to pursue a wide range of activities designed to l’taken et ha’olam, to mend the world.
  • key tenet of Reform Judaism = openness to the “other” => Social Action Judaism > speak out on behalf of the vulnerable
  • Reform Jews make collective effort to bring progressive, values to bear in the community at large.

+

Preceding

Where our life journey begins and inheritance of offices of parents

Second core value of Conservative Judaism opposite use of native tongue in Reform Judaism

A Secret of our Enemy :Inter-Ethnic Fault Lines Among the Jews

Marranism or the Invisibles

Surprise: Ashkenazi Jews Are Genetically European

Join the Movement!

Social justice is a vital factor of Reform Judaism. The Reform Jew need to hear the spoken word pertaining to the prophets within our mind; to become interested in the continual services of tikkun olam; to make an attempt to enhance the world for which we all live. A Reform Jew is one who is God’s partners in taking a stand when it comes to voiceless and taking care of what is shattered in our culture.

Reform Jews are pushed by an extreme amount of concerns, every single one fundamental to Jewish awareness of the prophetic communication of Jewish faith and imperative to producing the kind of environment all people prefer to bequeath to individuals who follow us. Reform Jews are also presented by those who maintain to communicate in the identity of religious beliefs nonetheless who offer a distinctive interpretation of what God desires of for all people and…

View original post 27 more words

Second core value of Conservative Judaism opposite use of native tongue in Reform Judaism

Hebrew as the irreplaceable language of Jewish expression is the second core value of Conservative Judaism. According to them its existence is coterminous with that of the Jewish people and the many layers of the language mirror the cultures in which Jews perpetuated Judaism. It was never merely a vehicle of communication, but part of [...]

Where our life journey begins and inheritance of offices of parents

"Our own life journeys begin where the previous generation's journey ends, and this is the case throughout all the generations. This means that our own personal journeys began long ago, "along the Jordan from Beit Yeshimot to Avel Shittim, in the plains of Moav," (ibid 33:49) Israel's final point of departure in the wilderness. Together [...]

Expectations for kashrut to meet individual and contemporary norms

At the origin of man the Divine Creator provided a world full of plants useful as food. Man was not so happy with it and wanted more variation and meat. God allowed such things but warned them about the good and bad meat or fish. God also gave man mitzvoth so that they could measure their wrong goings and should have a guide for their life. In his effort to play for God man has tried to muddle with genes and to create new hybrids. The understanding on genes and genomes, and ways to manipulate them has given many scientists extreme ideas, tending to distort and exaggerate the results or waving away the possible dangers for the next generations of plants and animals. Different kinds of risks, real benefits, aims and control systems are complicated and genuine discussion between people with different backgrounds is essential and should have to think very cautiously, wondering if we are not going to far. Not only genetic manipulation but also transporting food all over the world and producing it on industrial level should worry us and should make us to take the proper choice to protect the environment. Let us not forget that the Elohim wants us to be healthy – inside and out, living in a healthy clean environment always to know that a person is that what he eats.