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My Response to a Negative Review of My Book, “Who Stole My Religion?”

Below is my response to a review of my book, “Who Stole My Religion? Revitalising Judaism and Applying Jewish Values t Halp Heal Our Imperilled Planet” by Rabbi Natan Slifkin (“The Zoo Rabbi”), with my comments interspersed (in bold font). Material starts below.

Several weeks ago, in a post entitled “How Frum Is Your Food?”, I lamented how the Orthodox Jewish community (and particularly the ultra-Orthodox community) pays very little attention to animal welfare, especially in comparison to the enormous emphasis on stringency with kashrut.

This is a major reason that I wrote “Who Stole My Religion?”

Part of the reason for this unfortunate phenomenon can be found in a book that was sent to me, provocatively titled Who Stole My Religion? (an earlier edition of which is freely available online in its entirety here).

The latest (2016 edition) can be freely read in its entirety at http://jewcology.org/2017/02/the-complete-text-of-my-latest-book-who-stole-my-religion-revitalising-judaism-and-applying-jewish-values-to-help-heal-our-imperilled-planetplease-share/ . I hope many will read it so they can make up their own minds about the value of my arguments.

The book was written by Dr. Richard H. Schwartz, and is subtitled “Revitalizing Judaism and Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal Our Imperiled Planet.” It is published by Urim and it is specifically targeted towards Orthodox Jews.

Actually I hope all kinds of Jews will read it and that non-Jews will as well. I think all kinds of people will gain from it. As I will indicate in more detail later, the book is very positive about Israel and Judaism. It argues that Judaism has many positive teachings that can and should be applied to help shift our imperilled planet onto a sustainable path.

The book has a foreword by Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz who is also listed as a co-author. Shmuly Yanklowitz is a person who has performed acts of kindness to which most of us cannot begin to aspire, such as donating a kidney to a stranger and taking in foster children. However, he has also authored numerous articles which utterly invert traditional Jewish teachings in order to make them harmonious with his contemporary liberal values. For example, he claims that the Torah itself shows a full acceptance of all sexual orientations, because since Adam and Eve were the progenitors of all mankind, they therefore contain all their descendants(?), and thus all genetic sexual proclivities reflect the Divine purpose of humanity(??). Dealing with homosexuality is indeed a problem with which Orthodox Judaism does not seem to have yet succeeded, but claiming that homosexuality is consistent with traditional Judaism hardly makes for credible theology. Yanklowitz has also claimed that it is “spiritually violent” to refer to God in the masculine, and that the Jews’ slaughter of their mortal enemies in the story of Esther is morally wrong (apparently they should have let them live, to have another opportunity to plot the murder of the Jews).

While I do not necessarily agree with all of Rabbi Yanklowitz’s arguments, he has written 8 books on Jewish values and ethics, and the one I read was very positive about Jewish teachings. He also founded and now leads two wonderful Jewish organisations: (1) Shamayim V’Aretz, which promotes veganism from positive Jewish teachings and (2) Uri L’Tzedek, which promotes social justice based on Jewish teachings. The latter group is supported by many Orthodox rabbis.

I have Known Rabbi Yanklowitz for many years and read many of his tweets and other writings. I think he is one of the most dedicated people I know and is a very proud Jew, eager to help spread Jewish teachings and to create a world consistent with Jewish values.

Then, back in April 2015 when Obama was president, Yanklowitz very sensibly wrote: “Israeli friends, I love you, but I fear you may be hurting yourselves (and all Jews) by constantly shaming the US President. Let there be no mistake: Israel is dependent upon US support. If there was G-d forbid a major crisis in Israel, the very first call would be to the US President! Responsible Zionism requires humility in imperfect partnerships.” Yet, when Trump was elected, Yanklowitz made headlines by rewriting the prayer for the government so as to condemn Trump instead of blessing him, and called for a public fast on the day of his inauguration!

Evidently Rabbi Slifkin, not being an American, is not sufficiently aware of the many negatives of President Trump, including his denial about climate change, his efforts to remove regulations designed to reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, his efforts to give tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans, at the expense of the vast majority of Americans, and to take health insurance away from millions of Americans, his many bigoted comments that have contributed in a sharp increase in anti-Semitic and other bigoted actions, and the many charges of sexual harassment made against him. Item 1 at the end of this message gives more details about his negatives.

As a result of all this (and more), Yanklowitz might be a very fine teacher of contemporary liberalism, but he cannot be taken seriously as teaching any kind of Orthodox Judaism. Furthermore, this complete loss of credibility, and siding with groups and outlooks that oppose traditional Judaism and/or large sectors of the Orthodox community, means that any truly valuable struggles that he engages in with the Orthodox community are instantly undermined. I mention these problems with Rabbi Dr. Yanklowitz because they mirror the problems with Dr. Schwartz’s book.

The above paragraph seems to ignore that, as I argue in “Who Stole My Religion,” Judaism is a radical religion in the best sense of the word ‘radical.’ It is not liberalism but Judaism that teaches that we should be kind to the stranger (36 times in various formulations), pursue peace and justice, be co-workers with Hashem in protecting the environment, leave the corners of the fields and the gleanings of the harvests for the poor, and so much more.
The book roughly divides into three parts. The first part is an all-out attack on American Jews who are politically right wing. Schwartz, while admitting that the Democratic party is not perfect, makes the bold claim that Republican philosophy cannot be reconciled with Jewish values. Now, I am not American, and I don’t know that much about Republicans and Democrats. Still, it seems to me that to correlate the immensely complex array of Jewish values with a particular contemporary political party is naive. It is rather presumptuous to claim that Jews of a different political persuasion have “stolen my religion.” It does not seem to have occurred to the author that perhaps these Jews prioritize different aspects of Judaism than he does, or have a different understanding of political and social realities.

I do not associate “the immensely complex array of Jewish values” with the Democratic Party since, as Rabbi Slifkin mentions above, they also have flaws, but do seriously criticise the Republican Party because Trump and other Republicans are in denial about climate change despite the overwhelming consensus, are doing everything possible to turn back regulations that protect people and reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, supported legislation that would have caused tens of millions of Americans to lose their health insurance, and are supporting tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans and highly profitable corporations, at the expense of most Americans, and are supporting other policies that are inconsistent with basic Jewish values. To stay in power they are doing all they can to suppress the vote of people likely to vote Democratic.
I hope that Jews will read my arguments and then make up their own minds.

The second part of the book is a discussion of various aspects of the Israel/Arab conflict, where the the author laments the lack of peace, and lectures at great length about how valuable it would be to have peace with the Palestinians. You don’t say! I would venture to suggest that people who actually live in Israel, and suffer from the effects of Palestinian terrorism, feel this even more strongly than people in the US.

The author feels that the lack of peace is partially or even primarily the fault of the right-wing Israel government and is, once again, the result of his religion having been stolen. On p. 104 he insists that Israel is responsible for coming up with a solution to the conflict with the Palestinians. On p. 81, in discussing how to make peace with the Palestinians, he makes the following breathtaking statement:
“Judaism has traditionally been based on reconciling opposites. There is a basic principle of Torah interpretation that says when two verses seem to contradict each other, a third verse will come to reconcile them. Judaism teaches us to listen to all sides of an argument and then try to find a way to reconcile them.”
As with the writings of R. Dr. Yanklowitz, this makes a mockery of traditional Judaism and intellectual integrity. The principle of reconciling contradictions, mentioned here, is that of reconciling seeming contradictions between two statements of the same Divine author. This has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with conflicts with other nations. Yes, there is such a thing as creative drush, but this one is just silly. Did traditional Judaism mandate that the conflict with Amalek or the Nazis should be resolved by listening to their side and reconciling with them?!

On p. 85 the author notes that the responsibility for the lack of peace and blame does not only lie with Israel, but he issues a statement of blind faith in the resolution of these problems: “There are many obstacles to a just peace, including Arab intransigence and promotion of hatred toward Jews and Israel, but I believe these problems can be solved.” How exactly can these problems be solved? He doesn’t say. What is the basis for his faith that this is possible, after so many attempts have failed? He doesn’t say.

A common problem with the left is that they often fail to acknowledge the logical possibility that the maximum that Israel can safely cede is much less than the minimum that the Palestinians are willing to settle for (a possibility which, indeed, is supported by all available evidence). The reason why most of Israel is no longer talking about how Israel must seek peace with the Palestinians is not because they are opposed to peace. It’s due to most of Israel having woken up to the cold, harsh reality that the dominant forces among the Palestinians are not interested in peace, and the word “peace” for them is simply a politically correct euphemism for conquest. The author writes that “Instead of living in adversarial mode, we need to somehow find a way to move into a mode of conciliation and cooperation, seeking common ground and solution.” But maybe there is no common ground with them, and maybe conciliation and cooperation are less important values in their culture than conquest and victory? Furthermore, the Palestinians believe that the Jewish People have no history in the Land of Israel – why would they accept us controlling any of it today?

I indicate several times in the book that resolving the Israeli/Palestinian conflict will be difficult and also indicate that much of the blame is on the Palestinians. There is common agreement that most MKs of the Likud party and other right wing parties do not favour a 2-state solution.

My main questions is: Without a comprehensive, sustainable, just resolution of the conflict, how will Israel avert continued and possibly increased conflict and diplomatic criticism, effectively respond to her economic, environmental, and other domestic problems, and remain both a Jewish and democratic state? Without such a resolution, VERY unfortunately, Israel is in for a very bleak future, so it should make pursuing a resolution a priority. Perhaps they should put a peace agreement on the table so that the world can see that Israel is committed to peace and if the Palestinians refuse to negotiate based on it, then the world would see that it is the Palestinians who deserve the blame for the failure to reach a settlement. Now, many analysts believe that both sides are more interested in averting blame than in actively pursuing peace.

In any case, even if someone disagrees with the right-wing approach, it’s certainly a reasonable and understandable approach to take, in light of repeated Palestinian rejections of the Jewish People having any historical presence or right to any of Israel. The notion that being right-wing is an example of having “stolen Judaism” from traditional, authentic religious values is absurd and offensive.

Once again, the right wing positions on climate change, environmental sustainability, a fair tax system, proper health care for as many people as possible, and so much more seem inconsistent with basic Jewish values and I believe deserve to be challenged. I again urge people to read my book freely online and make up their own minds.

In the third part of the book, the author moves to environmentalism and animal welfare, in which he raises some very important issues that are, tragically, not taken seriously in the Orthodox community.

This is among the most important reasons that I wrote “Who Stole My Religion? Before its publication, I had written 2 other Judaica books, “Judaism and Vegetarianism” (3 editions) and “Judaism and Global Survival<“ which focused on these issues and did not discuss the issues that Rabbi Slifkin is critical of me for, but they clearly had limited success in making changes.

But of course, by now he has already lost all but the most left-wing of readers, so he is preaching to the choir. If there are any Jews in the mainstream Orthodox community that he hasn’t yet alienated, he does so on page 206, in which, after discussing the very real problems of factory farming, he writes “I believe that Jews should seriously consider becoming vegetarians, and preferably vegans, to be most consistent with basic Jewish teachings.” This statement is utterly wrong, not to mention completely counterproductive. Basic Jewish teachings, over the last few thousand years, have made it clear that it is perfectly legitimate to eat meat. All the problems that he names with factory farming can be solved by eating animals that are not developed and farmed in such a way; it does not require a person to become vegetarian. (See, for example, the excellent animal welfare work of the Jewish Initiative For Animals – which is run by a shochet!) Claiming that good Jews have to be vegetarians simply turns off most Jews to anything that you have to say about animal welfare.

I do not argue that Jews have to be vegetarians but that they should be, based on fundamental Jewish teachings. Jews clearly have a choice in their diets, and shouldn’t that choice be based on how it impinges on fundamental Jewish teachings.

Rabbi Slifkin argues in a previous article that farmed animals are treated very cruely on factory farms, very inconsistent with Jewish teachings on treating animals compassionately..Yet he continues to eat animals raised on such farms. He has indicated to me that he is not interested in considering how the production and consumption of meat and other animal products violate basic Jewish teachings on preserving human health, protecting the environment, conserving natural resources, helping hungry people, and other issues. Item 2 at the end of this message discusses this in more detail. I wonder if Rabbi Slifkin can disagree with any of the points raised there.
I repeat my request made to Rabbi Slifkin many years ago that we engage in a respectful dialogue/debate on “Should Jews be Vegetarians?”
Rather than addressing such issus, Rabbi Slifkin seems more interested in having events teaching Jews what exotic animals they can eat, ignoring the great harm that animal-based diets have on human health, the environment, and much more.
The author discusses turning Rosh Chodesh Elul, the Rosh HaShanah for behemot (domestic animals), into a festival that celebrates respect for the animal kingdom. The problem is that this festival, mentioned in the Mishnah, was traditionally no such thing; instead, it was simply a date for counting newborn animals for tithing purposes. The author, to his credit, acknowledges that this is a conscious effort to transform the original date into something else entirely (just as happened with Tu B’Shvat). The same cannot be said for R. Dr. Yanklowitz, who, in his article about this celebration, claims that celebrating it in this way was God’s Intent, and that “the holiday was a means to celebrate the special bond between humanity and the other creations of the Earth.” No, it wasn’t! Not that such would not be a nice thing to celebrate; it certainly is (and both Shabbos and Rosh Chodesh include aspects of celebrating the natural world). But this is simply not what Rosh HaShanah LeBehemah was about, and to claim otherwise looks intellectually dishonest and silly.

As Rabbi Slifkin acknowledges, my objective is to transform the holiday, just as Tu B’Shvat was transformed. Re Rabbi Yanklowitz, I wonder if Rabbi Slifkin is taking a few of his statements out of context while ignoring the many positive things he has written.

In this forum I have often criticized revisionism of traditional Judaism by the religious right, but the far left is equally guilty of this. Of course, Judaism does evolve. The contemporary celebrations of the chagim bear little similarity to their ancient agricultural forms. In Israel, the traditional festival of Shemini Atzeret has completely disappeared and been replaced by the much more recent festival of Simchat Torah (if you don’t believe me, ask Israeli kids what the name of that day is). And we have seen the creation of new festivals, such as the one celebrating pyromania and the reformation of classical Judaism by a medieval forgery. However, there is a difference between the natural, organic evolution of Judaism, and the cavalier dismissal of millennia of tradition and blatant rewriting of Judaism to make it conform with the contemporary liberal left-wing zeitgeist.

It is important to increase awareness of Judaism’s beautiful and powerful teachings on compassion to animals and how far current realities about the treatment of animals is from these teachings. I think Rabbi Slifkin should be more interested in condemning the way animals are treated today, so inconsistent with basic Jewish values. than criticising efforts to change that treatment. What would be the harm of efforts to increase awareness of Judaism’s beautiful teachings about animals and to reduce violations of these teachings? I think many alienated Jews might be attracted back to Judaism by such efforts.

The author expresses wonder and dismay at how the Orthodox Jewish community denies climate change and displays little regard for the welfare of animals and the environment. He doesn’t seem to realize that he himself, and the people and organizations that he endorses in his book, are partially the cause of this. Issuing blatantly spurious revisionism of Torah and siding with those hostile to Orthodox values are not only going to decrease the effectiveness of your important messages; they will actually cause people to reject those messages, due to presumptions of guilt by association. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned with the banning of my books on Torah and science, and the success of The Biblical Museum of Natural History at reaching the full spectrum of the population (except those that I alienated with my books), it’s that you have to respect people’s communal values and beliefs, and educate within that framework.

Perhaps Rabbi Slifkin is not fully aware of just how serious climate change is and how little time there is, according to climate scientists, to make the changes essential to avert a climate catastrophe. My book tries to apply basic Jewish values to this and other critical issues, not to side with people hostile to Orthodox values. Point 3 below gives ten reasons why Jews and everyone else should be VERY concerned about climate change.

Judaism is a complex system that has been developing over many thousands of years. Yes, there are many problems in contemporary Orthodox society that need to be fixed, and which demonstrate it falling out of step with certain traditional Torah values, as I have written about on many, many occasions. But to reduce Judaism to certain left-wing liberal views of the first decades of the 21st century is no less dishonest (and perhaps quite a bit more so) than defining Judaism as charedism or as rationalism.

Once again, it is Judaism that has such powerful teachings about compassion, sharing, justice, peace, and so much more, and it is these Jewish teachings that are needed perhaps as never before to help shift our imperilled planet onto a sustainable path. he fact that these teachings are consistent with many liberal arguments should not keep us from teaching and applying them. Many Jews are alienated today because of the failure of so many Orthodox Jews to be on the side of climate deniers and politicians more interested in benefits of the already super wealthy rather than average people.

The book’s title asks, “Who Stole My Religion?” Well, the obvious response from most of the author’s desired target audience will be, “You did!”

Of course I disagree, as I am arguing that Judaism is a beautiful religion with teachings that can help heal the world.

Rabbi Slifkin also ignore the many positive statements I make in the book about Judaism. Some are indicated in item 4 below.

Once gain I urge people to freely read all or parts of my book and form their own judgments.

I would welcome Rabbi Slifkin’s response to my arguments below as well as dialogues/debates with him on some of the issues in my book.

The four supplementary items I mention above are below.

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Re Rabbi Yanklowitzcs prayer about President Trump:

What is being ignored is that the revised prayer asks for the success of the U.S. government in doing many positive things, consistent with basic American values and Jewish values in terms of justice, compassion, environmental and treating all people as created in God’s image, contrary to many statements by President Trump.
Can we pray for success of a President Trump who:
1. wants to tear up a climate change agreement signed by leaders of all of the 195 nations, including Israel, that met at the December 2015 Paris climate change conference;
2. has removed all references to climate change from the White House website, despite the almost unanimous agreement of climate experts that climate change is a major change to humanity;
3. has appointed someone to head the EPA who has worked to oppose the EPA regulations that would reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions;
4. wanted to repeal a health plan that has given many more people health insurance without a plan to replace it.
5. has made many hateful and bigoted statements that arguably have encouraged anti-Semites and other bigots and led to many recent acts of anti-Semitism and bigotry;
6. has appointed someone to be Secretary of State who led a company that hid its research showing that its product, oil, was a major contributor to climate change;
7. sent out his press secretary to tell many easily proven lies about the size of his inauguration and other inaugurations and the size of the recent protest demonstrations;
8. has argued that Muslims should not be allowed to enter the U.S. and that there should be a registry of Muslims;
9. wants to increase the use of coal and oil rather than solar and wind to generate energy, despite the urgency of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
10. supported a tax proposal that gives major tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans and highly profitable corporations, at the expense of the vast majority of Americans.

I am sure that many people wiser than me could give additional examples and express them better, but I hope this is enough to argue that we should pray for the success of the U.S,, but not for many of the things that Trump wishes to do.

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2. Meat consumption and the ways in which meat is produced today conflict with Judaism in at least six important areas:
1. While Judaism mandates that people should be very careful about preserving their health and their lives, numerous scientific studies have linked animal-based diets directly to heart disease, stroke, many forms of cancer, and other chronic degenerative diseases.
2. While Judaism forbids tsa’ar ba’alei chayim, inflicting unnecessary pain on animals, most farm animals — including those raised for kosher consumers — are raised on “factory farms” where they live in cramped, confined spaces, and are often drugged, mutilated, and denied fresh air, sunlight, exercise, and any enjoyment of life, before they are slaughtered and eaten.
3. While Judaism teaches that “the earth is the Lord’s” (Psalm 24:1) and that we are to be God’s partners and co-workers in preserving the world, modern intensive livestock agriculture contributes substantially to soil erosion and depletion, air and water pollution, overuse of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, the destruction of tropical rain forests and other habitats, global warming, and other environmental damage.
4 While Judaism mandates bal tashchit, that we are not to waste or unnecessarily destroy anything of value, and that we are not to use more than is needed to accomplish a purpose, animal agriculture requires the wasteful use of grain, land, water, energy, and other resources.
5. While Judaism stresses that we are to assist the poor and share our bread with hungry people, over 70% of the grain grown in the United States is fed to animals destined for slaughter, while an estimated 20 million people worldwide die because of hunger and its effects each year.
6. While Judaism stresses that we must seek and pursue peace and that violence results from unjust conditions, animal-centered diets, by wasting valuable resources, help to perpetuate the widespread hunger and poverty that eventually lead to instability and war.
In view of these important Jewish mandates to preserve human health, attend to the welfare of animals, protect the environment, conserve resources, help feed hungry people, and pursue peace, and since animal-centered diets violate and contradict each of these responsibilities, committed Jews (and others) should sharply reduce or eliminate their consumption of animal products.    
One could say “dayenu” (it would be enough) after any of the arguments above, because each one constitutes by itself a serious conflict between Jewish values and current practice that should impel Jews to seriously consider a plant-based diet. Combined, they make an urgently compelling case for the Jewish community to address these issues.

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3. Hare ten important reasons Jews and everyone else should be very concerned about climate change:

1. Science academies worldwide, 97% of climate scientists, and 99.9% of peer-reviewed papers on the issue in respected scientific journals argue that climate change is real, is largely caused by human activities, and poses great threats to humanity. All 195 nations at the December 2015 Paris climate change conference agreed that immediate steps must be taken to combat climate change.
2.Every decade since the 1970s has been warmer than the previous decade and all of the 17 warmest years since temperature records were kept in 1880 have been since 1998. 2016 is the warmest year globally since 1880, when temperature records were first kept, breaking the record held before by 2015 and previously by 2014, meaning we now have had three consecutive years of record temperatures..
3. Polar icecaps and glaciers worldwide have been melting rapidly, faster than scientific projections. This has caused an increase elevation in oceans worldwide with the potential for major flooding.
4. There has been an increase in the number and severity of droughts, wildfires, storms, and floods.
5. California has been subjected to so many severe climate events (heat waves, droughts, wildfires, and mudslides when heavy rains occur) recently that its governor, Jerry Brown, stated that, “Humanity is on a collision course with nature.” California serves as an example of how climate change can wreak havoc.
6. Many climates experts believe that we are close to a tipping point due to positive feedback loops,when climate change will spiral out of control, with disastrous consequences, unless major positive changes soon occur.
7. While many climate scientists think that 350 parts per million (ppm) of atmospheric CO2 is a threshold value for climate stability, the world reached 400 ppm in 2014, and the amount is increasing by 2 – 3 ppm per year.
8. While climate scientists hope that temperature increases can be limited to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), largely because that is the best that can be hoped for with current trends and momentum,  the world is now on track for an average increase of 4 – 6 degrees Celsius, which would result in great human suffering and significant threats to human civilization.]
9. The Pentagon and other military groups think that climate change will increase the potential for instability, terrorism, and war by reducing access to food and clean water and by causing tens of millions of desperate refuges fleeing from droughts, wildfire, floods, storms, and other effects of climate change. 
10. The conservative group ConservAmerica (www.ConservAmerica.org), formerly known as ‘Republicans for Environmental Protection,’ is very concerned about climate change threats. They are working to end the denial about climate threats and the urgency of working to avert them on the part of the vast majority of Republicans, but so far with very limited success.
Given the above, averting a potential climate catastrophe should be a central focus of civilisation today, in order to leave a lovable world for future generations. Every aspect of life should be considered. We have to shift to renewable forms of energy, improve our transportation systems, produce more efficient cars and other means of transportation, and do everything else possible to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).

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4. Among the many positive things I say about Judaism in ?Who Stole My Religion?” is the following:
What A Wonderful Path Judaism Is!

1. Judaism proclaims a God who is the Creator of all life, whose attributes of kindness,
compassion, and justice are to serve as examples for all our actions.
2. Judaism stresses that every person is created in God’s image and therefore is of supreme value.
3. Judaism teaches that people are to be co-workers with God in preserving and improving the world. We are mandated to serve as stewards of the world’s resources to see that God’s bounties are used for the benefit of all.
4. Judaism asserts that nothing that has value may be wasted or unnecessarily destroyed (bal tashchit).
5. Judaism stresses that we are to love other people as ourselves, to be kind to strangers, “for we were strangers in the land of Egypt,” and to act with compassion toward the homeless, the poor, the orphan, the widow, and all of God’s creatures.
6. Judaism urges efforts to reduce hunger. A Jew who helps to feed a hungry person is
considered, in effect, to have “fed” God.
7. Judaism mandates that we must seek and pursue peace. Great is peace, for it is one of God’s names, all God’s blessings are contained in it, it must be sought even in times of war, and it will be the Messiah’s first blessing.
8. Judaism exhorts us to pursue justice, to work for a society in which each person has the ability to obtain, through creative labor, the means to lead a dignified life.
9. Judaism teaches that God’s compassion is over all of God’s works, that the righteous individual considers the well-being of animals, and that Jews should avoid tsa’ar ba’alei chayim, causing pain to animals.
10. Judaism stresses involvement, nonconformity, resistance to oppression and injustice, and a constant struggle against idolatry.

Member since 2011
1 Comment
1 Reply
  • Yavoy
    December 25, 2017 (5:47 pm)

    “Once again, it is Judaism that has such powerful teachings about compassion, sharing, justice, peace, and so much more… ”
    Indeed it does. Alas it also has extremely powerful teachings advocating cruelty, genocide, injustice, war, intolerance and much more beside.
    The problem is that there is no such thing as “The Jewish View”. Judaism is such a vast body of ideas, people and philosophies that almost any view you want to find can be sourced from somewhere in Jewish works.
    I therefore consider any attempt to pigeonhole Judaism into any particular philosophy or theology as fundamentally dishonest (perhaps misguided is fairer) .
    I am a Liberal. But I am a Liberal not because of my religion, nor in spite of my religion but simply because I believe in Liberalism. I therefore choose to keep those parts of Judaism that fit into such a worldview, and ignore the others. But I make no claims that my beliefs are the true beliefs of Judaism.


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