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Time to Affirm Jewish Pride

9 26 7

Surveys reveal a disturbingly large number of American Jews who feel disconnected from their Jewish identity. How painfully sad! In response, let me share the essence of what being Jewish means to me.

It means championing what is arguably the single most revolutionary concept in the annals of human civilization — monotheism — and its corollary, the inherent belief that we are all created in the image of God (in Hebrew, B’tzelem Elohim).

It means embracing the deep symbolic meaning the rabbis gave to the story of Adam and Eve. Since all of humanity descends from the “original” couple, each of us, whatever our race, religion, or ethnicity, shares the same family tree. No one can claim superiority over anyone else.

It means entering into a partnership with the Divine for the repair of our broken world (in Hebrew, Tikkun Olam), and recognizing that this work is not to be outsourced to a higher authority, or to “fate,” or to other people, but that it’s my responsibility during my lifetime.

It means affirming life — “I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse, therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live” (Hebrew Bible) — and the moral choice that lies in the hands of each of us to bring a little closer the Jewish prophetic vision of a world at peace and in harmony.

It means celebrating the fact that Jews were early dissidents, among the very first to challenge the status quo and insist on the right to worship differently than the majority. Today, we call this pluralism, and it is a bedrock principle of democratic societies. It also ought to be an essential component of Jewish communities everywhere.

It means welcoming the pioneering Jewish effort to establish a universal........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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