Words of the Week

“It took me a long time to realize this, but I feel I have learned that the key to living with the flu is not to let my Jewish identity be defined by anti-Semitism. A Jewish life defined only by anti-Semitism, even the righteous fight against anti-Semitism, is a curse.

For Jews confronting the disease, the most important thing to remember and to share is the beauty of Judaism. Tweet a recipe, a book, a novel, not just your fury. Attend a Shabbat dinner, host one, light the Sabbath candles. Don’t just sit there seething; slip into the morning prayers, if only to meditate; say a blessing over a glass of water, as a point of mindfulness; or do whatever it is that you most identify with from Jewish culture or tradition. A bagel, an old song, even a joke. It all has healing power.”

Source: Ben Judah, “Europe’s Ubiquitous Anti-Semitism” (The Atlantic)

Words of the Week

“Omar is not the only one for whom some clarity would have been useful before she chose to take to Twitter without the requisite historical depth and sensitivity. The entire episode demonstrates that some clarity around issues of anti-Semitism, Israel, public discourse, and why public policy looks like it does is sorely lacking across the board. Between the defense of anti-Semitic comments as simply questioning Israel, the insistence that Omar must be intentionally dog whistling, the allegations that the big bad Israel lobby is shutting down discourse, and the arguments over who gets to define anti-Semitism and what constitutes an acceptable form of Judaism, the only thing that seems clear is that many people aren’t clear on how to talk about these issues.”

Michael Koplow, “Ilhan Omar and the Power of Clarity” (Israel Policy Forum)

Words of the Week

“When it comes to Hillel’s famous quote, selective memories prevail. The Jewish left has a tendency to forget the first clause—if we don’t stand up for ourselves, no one else will. And the right tends to ignore the second—if we’re only concerned about our own needs, what happened to our essential human empathy? Hillel knew that living in tension with these two values was the jumping-off point for much of Jewish ethics.

This tension surfaced on Thursday evening, as the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston voted to prohibit Council member-organizations from partnering with or co-sponsoring events with ‘self-identified Jewish organizations…that declare themselves to be anti-Zionist’. This is a good and proper decision.”

Source: Neal Gold, “Saying No to the Neturei Karta of the Left”