Agreeing to Agree, and Disagree
I agree with the authors of a recent article that tikkun olamism, the exclusive focus by liberal Jews on repairing the world via social justice as the totality of their Judaism, evinces an existential threat to the Jewish people (“Tikkun Olam: A Return to Our True Mission,” Jan. 31). I also agree with the authors that those congregants of Beit Tikkun Olam should recognize the state of Israel for what it is — a not-perfect-but-much-better-than-average country when it comes to their secular religion’s core tenets: free speech, free press, religious freedom, women’s rights, gay rights, minority rights, an independent judiciary, public education, economic freedom and on and on.
But for us Jews who believe that there is no creator of the universe, and for our fellow Jews who at least do not believe that the God of Moses commanded the Jewish people to obey His commandments, the challenge is to figure out what in Judaism is the baby and what is the bathwater.
Unfortunately, for some of us, the closer we look, the more bathwater we see. As a result, my fellow liberal Jews have grasped onto tikkun olam as a lifesaver thrown to someone who has fallen overboard into the Sea of Reasonable Doubt.
Tikkun olamism is just a symptom of the real existential threat to the Jewish people: disbelief.
Steve Mendelsohn | Penn Valley
Searching for Jewish View
I don’t get it (“Listen Now, Rather Than Planning for the Future,” Feb. 14).
Your publication is the Jewish Exponent. But Dave Anderson’s opinion piece could easily have appeared in a general circulation publication.
It possessed no distinctive Jewish angle or content.
Why devote your precious/limited print space to information which could easily appear elsewhere?
Jesse H. Wohlberg | Philadelphia