With What Shall We Enter the New Century?

Remarks by Rabbi Harold M. Schulweiss
Valley Beth Shalom, Encino, CA
Goldman Scholar-In-Residence

The Jewish Council for Public Affairs is delighted that the Aaron and Paula Goldman Scholar-In-Residence at the 1999 Plenum was Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis. The spiritual leader of Valley Beth Shalom in Encino, California, Rabbi Schulweis is vvidely-known for both his learning and his commitment to social action.

The theme of this year's plenum, "Public Affairs from Generation to Generation: 20th Century Lessons, 21st Century Challenges," afforded Rabbi Schulweis an opportunity to reflect upon the American Jewish experience in this century and its impact on our future efforts. His address, "With What Shall We Enter the New Century?" more than met that charge. He challenged American Jewry to transcend the anger and alienation that is for many a consequence of Jewish history. He calls instead for a commitment to "echad," a unity of people, ideals, and community.

The Rabbi's address launched a series of roundtable discussions on the themes he enumerated, and we have included the probing questions that the plenum delegates discussed. We believe that these could properly serve as the basis for similar small-group discussions in synagogues, organizations, and other groups.

Rabbi Schulweis's address, while always challenging, never succumbs to despair. It is at one with the prophetic tradition -cautioning us even as it urges us to aspire to a vision of ourselves, our community, our nation, and our world that embodies an authentic Jewish response to a world in search of healing.

A special thanks to the Aaron and Cecile Goldman Foundation, whose vision and generosity made the program possible.

Steven Schwarz
Chair


 

I am drawn to a profound anecdote, a tale of two Lubavich Chasidim who ask each other about the Jewish condition in our century. "Why" one asks "are we so divided, so factionalized?" The other responds: "Understand that the whole world is divided into two. For example, the world is divided between 'them' and 'us.' No point talking about 'them,' let us talk about us."

"Among us the whole world is divided between Sephardim and Ashkenazim. No point in talking about Sephardim. Among the Ashkenazim the whole world is divided between Misnagdim and Chasidim. No point talking about the Misnagdim."

"Among the Chasidim the world is divided between the Satmer and the Lubavitch. No point talking about the Satmer. Among the Lubavitch the world is divided between Farbrengen Chasidim and the Maskilim, between those who simply come to the festivities of the Rebbe and those who know the Tanyaa and the depth of Chabad. No point talking about the Farbrengen Chasidim. Among the Maskilim there are you and me. And you know how little you know."

It is an anecdote for our time. It begins with the polarization of "them" and "us," gradually proceeds with the internal factionalism between "us," and ends in a tragic solipsism in which there is no other to speak to. We are left talking to our isolated selves. Let us talk about our selves.

There is an anger in us. It is an anger much deeper than the conflicts of ideology, the territorial imperatives of denominationalism, the strain in diaspora/Israel relations, the gnawing questions of who is a rabbi and who is a Jew.

The signs of anger are pervasive. Both in Israel and in the diaspora: the rhetoric of contempt, the bitter incivility, the graffiti on the walls filled with inflammatory terms like "traitor," "enemy," "Nazi." Anger and threats strike out against Rabin and Netanyahu, Shachak and Begin. The President of the Supreme Court is now accompanied by armed guards, as are other judges. From whom do they seek protection?

Understand the anger. Respect the anger. Master the anger. That anger has deep roots and bears bitter fruit. Unmastered it will twist the twenty-first century into the tragic shape of the twentieth century.

What could be expected from a people who has lived through what Pope John Paul 11 has called "the century of the Shoah," the most terrible century in history? What can be expected of a people so humiliated, abandoned, violated and abused? There is pain and fear, shame and resentment in anger. We are angry at the world, its churches, its states and angry at ourselves. The Holocaust is our dominant psychic reality. The Shoah is our dybbuk. However, we may rationalize it, the Jewish psyche knows that we failed to protect our parents and our children. We have been shamed. The excremental assault upon our families has left the Jewish psyche dispirited, shaken our faith in God, convulsed our trust in the world and in ourselves. Should we expect normalcy from a traumatized people who have experienced the slaughter of forty percent of its people, including 1.5 million Jewish children destroyed?

After the Kishinev pogroms of 1903 the poet Bialik raged at the Jewish villagers. "They fled like mice and hid like roaches and died a dog's death." They stood by defenseless to watch the rape of their wives and daughters. If that shame is Kishinev, what can be expected of a people experiencing such a relentless attack upon the Jewish soul and body? Can we be expected to emerge unscathed after the Shoah?

There is a seething resentment in us which the philosopher Max Scheler defined as "the secretion in a sealed vessel of prolonged impotence."

The anger of impotence plays havoc with our minds. One of the revealing reactions of prolonged impotence was captured in a letter sent by Prime Minister Menachem Begin to the then President of the United States, Ronald Reagan. It was sent during the shelling of Beirut when Israel was accused of causing the inadvertent death of innocent Lebanese citizens. The letter read "Now, may I tell you, dear Mr. President, how I feel these days when I turn to the Creator of my soul in deep gratitude. I feel as Prime Minister empowered to instruct a valiant army facing Berlin where among many innocent civilians, Hitler and his henchmen hid in a bunker beneath the surface. What happened to us from Berlin will never happen again."

This most revealing letter echoes a post traumatic cry of Jews haunted by the defeat and humiliation of Hider's wars against our people. In Begin's letter a subconscious transposition has taken place. Arafat is Hitler, the PLO are Nazis, the bombing of Beirut is the attack on Hitler's bunkers.

What lies behind Begin's anachronistic thinking? History is turned back. History is reversed and the tragic outcome of the last war against the Jews are, in imagination, overcome. He would replay the past. Now we can scale the walls of a Catholic convent in Auschwitz as if we are climbing the barricades of the crematoria and freeing its captives. In imagination the impotence of yesterday can be avenged, the borders of time collapse. Today is yesterday revisited. It is the retroactive revenge of the humiliated.

Who can fault the dreams of anachronism, the desperate misplacing of persons, events and times in order to alter the past?

In dreams, the tragic outcome can be overcome. In dreams there is no chronology, no negation, no logic. In dreams, the gold ripped out of broken teeth can be restored, the teeth turned back into the gums; horrific screams can be turned back into the throat and the yellow star can be thrown back into the heavens.

The anger of prolonged impotence must be understood and respected, but it must be watched carefully because unaware it affects our future and our public policy agenda. Our sages have cautioned: "Anger deprives a sage of wisdom and a prophet of vision." (Talmud Pesachim 66b) We need wisdom and lucidity to enter a century beyond the Holocaust.

I fear the anger that in fantasy turns the past into the future because it grips hold of us with the vise of "repetition compulsion," the blind impulse to repeat earlier experiences and situations irrespective of any advantage in doing so. Anger misleads our statesmanship. Arafat is not Hitler, the PLO is not the SS, Oslo is not Munich, Rabin is not Chamberlain, Pope John Paul 11 is not Pope Plus XII.

Santayana was only partially correct in his celebrated aphorism, "Those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it." The other unwritten half is that those who remember only history are doomed to repeat it. If we deal with the twenty-first century as if it were a replication of the past century we foreclose the possibilities of the future. The past then becomes both prologue and prophecy of the future. If everyone that we meet is but a reincarnation of yesterday's enemy, there will be no rapprochement, no negotiations neither with the Arab world nor with the Church nor with the nations of the world. We are doomed to the fate of "the eternal recurrence of the same."

If all roads lead to Auschwitz, Jewish statesmanship in the next century will be crippled by the paranoia, pessimism and cynicism of Ecclesiastes: "There is nothing new under the sun and whatever will be has already been." The whole world wants to destroy us, wanted to destroy us, and will ever want to destroy us.

The rabbis after the destruction of the Temple worried that the people would be weighted down by pessimism, and carefully arranged the divisions of the Torah so that every section closes with a promise of a better tomorrow. So until this day, when reading the book of Lamentations which closes with, "Wherefore do you forget us forever and forsake us for so long time," our Sages had us repeat the hopeful preceding verse, "Renew our days as of old." They were guided by the wisdom of Ecclesiastes, "Stand not in an evil thing."

As we approach the new century, we need a new stance; a new frame of reference; a new orientation.

I fear the old angry mind-set because it misses the changing present and forfeits the possibilities for a different future. I note, as but a recent example, the cool response to the Vatican's latest attempt to reflect on the Shoah and to enter into a process of mea culpa. I fear that the understandable anger of the past blinded some of our leaders from appreciating the slow but significant process of repentance and reconciliation. To view the universe only through the single lens of the Shoah is to be blind to the progress and process originating in Vatican 11 and continuing with this Pope, the first Pope in history to enter a synagogue and the first to recognize the State of Israel and the first to confront the Shoah. And this year in St. Louis, the first time at a Cathedral vesper service officiated by the Pope that a Rabbi offered a biblical reading and began a Catholic service with the sounding of a shofar. In our anger, we must not miss the opportunity for genuine rapprochement and reconciliation.

Unmastered, the anger spreads its contagion.

I fear the indiscriminate rage that equates the atrocity of the Holocaust with the whole of western civilization.

A prominent and influential rabbi and theologian responded to the indifference in neutrality of the Christian world and the unspeakable murder of 1.5 million Jewish children with these words, "All we want of Christians is that they keep their hands off our children." Addressing Christians, the Rabbi continued: "We have nothing to learn from you and your ethos. Your interests are not ours. How dare you lecture us about morality, freedom of conscience, the treatment of minorities, the mandate of pluralism; after Dachau, Treblinka, after the White Paper, after the Bermuda Conference, after the Struma and the St. Louis? After Buchenwald, you and western civilization have forfeited all claims to moral credibility. We are exempt from your hypocritical double standard."

I respect his pain but I fear a sacred anger that ends in nihilism and isolationism and imperils our future. We need a new way of thinking.

As we prepare the policy agenda for the next century, the question is not whether but what to remember of the Shoah. What have we learned from the Holocaust century to prepare us for the next century? There are right and wrong lessons to be learned from the Holocaust. One wrong lesson has been to interpret the Holocaust as confirming the belief that there is a primordial fission in the human species, an ineradicable split between "them" and "us," between the children of darkness - Esau, and the children of light Jacob; between Ishmael the wild one and Isaac the perpetual victim bound to the altar. While this dualism is pronounced as if it were derived from the evidence of history, it is in fact a dangerous mythic metaphysics. It is a Manichean view of life that transmogrifies history into an eternal hatred between "them" and "us." Hatred precludes dialogue, hope and any suggestion of reconciliation. "Never again" has been transmuted to "ever again."

The schismatic reading of the fated relations between "them" and "us" threatens us internally. As the Midrash (Ecclesiastes Rabbah 7:9) observed: "When the kettle boils over, the boiling waters spill over all its sides." Unmastered anger scalds us. As our sages added: "If a man spits in the air, it will fall on his face." The sages were aware of the self-destructiveness of anger. Listen to their remarkable story as told in the Talmud Shabbat (33b).

Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai is disgusted with Roman culture and Roman civilization. While the other rabbis praise Roman civilization and are impressed with the art, roads, aqueducts, bridges of Rome, Rabbi Shimon dismisses those achievements as only for the sake of taxes and harlotry. He and his son Eleazer will I have nothing to do with civilization. They escape to a cave and dig themselves into the sand so that their clothes will not wear out. In the cave they pursue eternal life. They study Torah and immerse themselves in prayer for twelve years. Only when they learn that the Roman emperor has died do they leave the cave. They look around and see people plowing fields and sowing the seeds. They are outraged "How dare they forsake eternal life for worldly activity." Wherever their angry eyes gaze and whatever they see is consumed and burned up. Whereupon a voice from heaven declares ... Did you come to destroy My world? Go back to the cave."

We are these days living through that ancient choice between the voice from heaven and the cave dwellers in our time. That is the choice we confront today.

Either back to the cave or into the world. Contemporary cave dwellers, disgusted with the betrayal of the world, find solace and security and the promise of salvation in the insulation of an exclusive enclave. From within, they look out with contempt at those Jews who engage in worldly activities: "plow the field and sow the seeds," outside the cave. When the cave dwellers leave their enclave, their eyes consume with fire those who live in the contaminating world. The cave dwellers bear a "contemptus mundi" - a contempt of the world. Jews and the movements outside the cave are suspected as carriers of the virus of assimilation to be quarantined, excommunicated, expelled for the protection of a vulnerable people. For the Jews outside the cave are not merely different, they are collaborators with the enemy. They and their institution are not Jews, nor rabbis. They are not one of us.

The religious right wing in the cave is joined by political right wing neo-conservatives. In common they trace the roots of assimilation to the Enlightenment of the 18th and 19th centuries. They accuse the dreaded Enlightenment, for having seduced our people with the false promises of universalism, humanism, secularism, pluralism, liberalism. The corrosive acids of modernity they charge, are sugar coated with the quotations of "prophetic Judaism," the Judaism of social activism and social reform. But "prophetic Judaism" only drains the energies of Jews for liberal causes such as social and economic Justice, the separation of church and state, and pro-life projects.

The contemporary cave dwellers declare their rage against us: "Have these people not learned anything from the Holocaust? After the feigned paralysis and amnesia during the Shoah, should we now exert our Jewish energies to improve 'their' inner cities? Do they not realize that 'prophetic Judaism' is the slippery path to assimilation, mixed marriage and the perilous imitation of the Gentile world. After what 'they' did to 'us,' should we now argue with God for 'them'? Should we defend the descendants of Sodom and Gomorrah? Should we send our prophets to preach to the descendants of Ninveh?"

"In 1967, a popular Israeli song rang out, 'Kol ha olam negdaynu' - the whole world is against us. If so, we don't give a damn. If the whole world is against us, let the whole world go to hell." But beware, that world consigned to hell includes us.

I understand my people's hurt, the rage of prolonged impotence, the escape into the cave. But the cave is not our place. The cave is not the place of Judaism. Our place is in the world because the God we bless will not be segregated. The God we worship is "Melech Ha-olam," King of the Cosmos not King of the cave. The cave is not our security, it is our sepulchre. What a tragic irony if the memory of Jewish martyrdom would result in turning our back to history.

Indifference to history is the wrong lesson to be learned from the Shoah. From our small people was covenanted a grand vision. Judaism from its inception means involvement in the world and inclusion of the disinherited. Listen to the Jewish prophet: "Hear this, you who trample the heads of the poor into the dust of the ground, you who buy up the land of the poor, you who deal deceitfully with false scales and sell the needy for a pair of shoes."

It would be sacrilege to learn a perverse logic from the Shoah. Because "they" closed their doors should we hide in our caves? Because "they" shut their mouths, should ours be muted? Because of "their" passive complicity, should we join the citizens of apathy? To the contrary, I would hope the memory of the Shoah and the apathy of the onlookers would sensitize us to the abandoned, forgotten children of God, to the chronically under-nourished one billion people, one quarter of the world's population; I would hope that we who recall the Shoah slaughter of our innocent children, would not pretend not knowing that ten million children die each year due to malnutrition. Of all things, the Shoah memory teaches us the universal relevance of the biblical imperative: "Thou shalt not stand idly by the blood of thy neighbor." (Leviticus 19:16)

Do we lessen the Jewish uniqueness of the Shoah by universalizing its meaning?

Ell Wiesel has said, "Not all victims were Jews, but all Jews were victims."

While the Holocaust is our particular experience, its meaning extends beyond us. Much like our particular experience of slavery in Egypt, the particular Jewish experience of the Shoah addresses all of humanity. To deny the Shoah's applicability to the contemporary world is not to defend its Jewish uniqueness, but to trivialize its universal significance.

We abuse the Holocaust when it becomes a cudgel against others who have their claims of suffering. The Shoah must not be misused in the contest of one-downsmanship with other victims of brutality. It does not credit our uniqueness; it only is perceived as callousness. That is not the informed heart of our memory to enter the 21st century with a new heart and a new spirit. For decades the justification for our fidelity to Judaism has leaned entirely on the Shoah. The Shoah has become our instant raison d'etre, the short-cut answer to the penetrating questions of our children: "Why should I not marry out of the faith? Why should I join a synagogue? Why should I support Israel? Why should I be Jewish?" We have relied on a singular imperative: "Thou shalt not give Hitler a posthumous victory." That answer will not work. TO live in spite, to say "no" to Hitler is a far cry from living "yes" to Judaism. Judaism in spite - whether against David Duke, Louis Farrakan or Jerry Falwell offers no serious sustaining rationale for our identity and continuity. It is a far call from offering a superordinate purpose that affirms Jewish life. Judaism to many has assumed the posture of anti-anti-semitism. anti-anti-semitism can only produce a reactionary Judaism. The double negation of anti-anti-semitism reduces the depth of Jewish culture to a shallow and weak defensive Posture.

Do you believe in God? No.

Are you an atheist? No.

Do you observe the Sabbath? No.

Are you opposed to observing the Sabbath? No.

Are you a Zionist? No.

Are you an anti-Zionist? No.

This is the Jew by double negation. A hybrid cross between a rooster and a rabbit: "Nisht ahin un nisht aher." We need a theology of affirmation.

The psychologist Will Maslow once observed: "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world looks like nails." That is a pathological outlook. The whole world is not a bed of nails.

The world has changed and we need to accommodate our weltanschauung accordingly. The character of our public policy agenda cannot be the same. The churches, for example, are not the same. We and our constituents have not paid attention to the revolutionary changes in the churches of the world since Vatican 11 - and Nostra Aetate in 1965. The changes involve not only the explicit rejection of anti-semitism and unwanted conversion; it includes the internal cleansing of the anti-Judaism features in the church's pedagogy, exegesis and liturgy.

We have not reported nor assimilated the revolutionary change in the Methodist Church, the Churches of Christ, and the Lutheran Church in their historic confession of the church's passive complicity with Nazi totalitarianism. We should seize the opportunity now to overcome the tragic history of the church's contempt of Jews and Judaism. That must be high on the agenda of the 21st century.

Today's cave dwellers have unearthed attitudes and judgments that are obsolete and dangerous.

We must teach our people the profound Jewish religious tolerance of Christians taught by great Orthodox Talmudists such as Rabbi Menachem Ha-Meiri who in the 14th century boldly declared that those segregationist laws in the Talmud refer to the immoral conduct of pagans and are inapplicable to Christians whose laws and conduct are moral. We must resurrect the buried lessons of interfaith tolerance in the Orthodox thought of Moses Maimonides, Samuel David Luzzatto and Rabbi Elijah Ben Amozeg and Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook.

To stay for a moment with our relations with non-Jews, there are significant events that have not filtered down to the constituency of either the church or the synagogue. For example, their children and our children do not know of the heroism of Christian rescuers who risked life and limb to save Jews pursued by the predators and informers during the hell of the Shoah. They know about the killers of the dream; but they do not know about the altruism and love of pastor Andre Trocme or Aristedes DeSousa Mendes or Sempo Sugihara or Mother Maria of Paris or the role of the Bulgarian church and Parliament or of that of the Italian army in Croatia, during the Holocaust years. Why is this vital knowledge buried? Is it anger that causes us to ignore the evidence of goodness? We have a double mandate: to remember the evil and not to forget the good.

For the sake of healing, our children need and we need to spread the empirical evidence of non-Jewish rescue behavior which involved between 50 thousand to 500 thousand extraordinarily decent non-Jews. Why should our children only know the stories of the predators and not those stories of ordinary men and women from all walks of life who turned their lives into hiding places for the pursued and persecuted people? Why should our children know only the curses and not the benedictions of life?

We owe our children more than a stone of despair placed on their heart. Why should their spirit not be enlightened with the sparks of decency penetrating the darkness? The next century for them and us must be aimed at mastering our anger and at healing so that we and they can begin again, to hope again, to build again, to love again.

The bifurcating mind that begins with "them" and "us" does not end there. See what our anger has done to our own children?

Jewish young people, even those affiliated with our synagogues and temples such as the USY, NFTY, NCSY, the youth of our Conservative, Reform and Orthodox institutions are segregated from each other. They do not play together and they do not pray together. They do not learn together and they do not sing together and they do not dance together. They are separated in all things, and when they visit Israel, they remain within their own denominational groups and do not meet with their peers from other schools of thought. We adults are responsible for having created for them a de facto apartheid. There is a tragic irony in this. We who wring our hands over the rate of mixed marriages may not succeed in stemming the tide, but we will surely succeed in preventing Jewish young people from _meeting other Jewish young people from other Jewish denominational affiliations. A small people is made smaller yet because of our smallness. Through our denominational factionalism, we have further shriveled the critical mass so necessary for companionship and marriage.

In the 22nd chapter in the Book of Joshua we read of the consequences of the alienation of the adult population of the biblical tribes. The book of Joshua warns that our division will lead to a time when "your children will say to our children: 'What have you to do with the Lord God is Israel?' You have no share in the Lord." We must today summon the will and wisdom of our leaders, our educators, our youth directors and our rabbis to form interdenominational Jewish youth choirs and joint Jewish youth drama societies, to celebrate their lives together in the presence of our adult community.

Our anger has led to a delegitimizing culture. But our sages (Tosefta Sotah) urged: "Build yourself a heart with many rooms - placing in one room the words of those who say it is pure and in another the words of those who say it is impure." We must encourage rabbis and instructors to join together in outreach programs to the community, programs that will be taught by Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionists. I have for two years implemented a pluralistic outreach to the community and a pluralistic in reach with Rabbis of all denominations in Los Angeles. It includes a program for unsynagogued Jews and unchurched Christians, those who would be Jews by choice - with this unique character, that the spiritual seekers who come to us are encouraged to choose the Beth Din and identify with the movement compatible with their beliefs and convictions. God did not create denominations.

To enter the next century with a new heart of wisdom we must learn to think differently, and particularly to break with the split thinking that has overtaken us. We have allowed others to frame the questions of Jewish living in terms of hard disjunctives, either/or.

• either love of my people or love of humanity

• either Jewish particularism or universalism

• either glatt kosher or glatt treif

• either ritual or ethics

• either legal, halachic Judaism or moral prophetic Judaism

• either Israel or diaspora

• either secular or religious

• either fealty to my denomination or to klal Yisrael

These dichotomizational either/or formulations force Ise options on us. To succumb to the either/or ind-set is to see with a one-eyed vision. The authentic Jewish response to such stubborn either/or bifurcations is found in the final prolonged word of the Shma: "echad." Either/or rips us apart. Either/orism is the way of idolatry, for it is the essence f idolatry to worship a part as if it were the whole. t declares this and only this is authentic, this and only this is true and certain, and all other alternatives re false and heretical. But the life goal of Judaism is entered on the last word of the Shma, the "echad,' he nexus that unites people, movements, and ideals and searches for blessed communion of commonality; "or "echad," the wholeness and unity of the universe. Both either/or should be the driving force of our thinking and acting in our post-Holocaust agenda. Who is a Jew? Our liturgy defines us as "hamiyachadim sh'mo" - the unifiers of God's name on earth.

The Jewish belief in "echad" has as one of its practical consequences the embrace of inclusiveness. The predictable globalization of the 21st century is more than compatible with the Jewish passion for Oneness. The rising ecological conscience, particularly among our youth, resonates with our commitment to live engaged in this world, to treasure and protect the heavens and the earth, the water and the seed, the fish and fowl and beasts with which our Torah begins. Judaism is a global faith that affirms the sanctity of life in a broken universe. And the circle of Judaism must be enlarged to include the pariahs of our community, the spiritual seekers born of other faiths who still find resistance from our faith community to those who seek to be Jewish; resistance to Jewish women whose gains are grudgingly acknowledged and qualified; and resistance to members of the gay community who remain the contemporary lepers of our society.

I know the complexity and multiple challenges we face tomorrow. If I have focused on the mastery of anger as our basic task it is partly because of the witness of my eyes and ears and the testimony of our sages who were concerned with the suicidal powers of anger during and after the destruction of the Temple.

Mastering the anger of prolonged impotence is the internal spiritual challenge of our generation.

In a remarkable passage in the Talmud the rabbis wonder whether God prays. And they answer God indeed does pray. And what does God pray? "May it be My will that My mercy prevails over My anger, that My mercy may prevail over My other attributes so that I may deal with My children in the attribute of mercy and on their behalf stop short of strict justice." May we adopt the wisdom of that prayer as we enter a new century of healing. May the memory of love and wisdom control our anger, that we may deal with each other and the world around us with compassion and respect.

Discussion Questions

The growing schism between the Jewish religious movements in our country mirrors the conflict between the religious establishment and secular Jews in Israel. What is the JCPA's responsibility with regard to (a) bridging the gulf between the movements in the United States and (b) relating to issues of religion and state in Israel? What is the potential impact of these divisions on Jewish unity in the United States and Israel-Diaspora relations?

Is there is a Jewish imperative to fight prejudice against homosexuals and lesbians? Does this have consequences regarding how the Jewish tradition views homosexuality?

How do we embrace the efforts of non-Jews to come to grips with their responsibility for the Shoah? What significance should we put on the mounting revelations of Christian rescuers of Jews during the Holocaust? Is Rabbi Schulweis correct in warning against a view of the Holocaust that separates Jews from non-Jews?

Is Rabbi Schulweis correct in arguing that anti-anti-Semitism is an inadequate basis for shaping one's vision of Judaism, the Jewish people, and the world in which we live?

Has the emerging debate over 'Jewish continuity" resulted in a diminished Jewish commitment to social justice in the broader community? What is the responsibility of the JCPA to overcome this perception/ reality? In terms of Rabbi Schulweis's warning against succumbing to an "either/or" viewpoint, should we assert that our commitments to "Jewish continuity" and "social justice" are not in conflict?

Return to top of this page