Writing calls on the light of my soul, and keeps me human...

Thursday, December 1, 2011

State of the Jew-nion. I mean... Union...?

"Shma Israel, Shma We are One." - Shir Neshama Chavurah

A few more words on this Jewish state we're in...

Jewish favoritism in Israeli policy and rhetoric may or may not be justified, but the reality is that it is just no match for the greater forces of globalization, mobilization, and love between peoples. While a Jewish state was once a noble (and, I'd argue, successful idea) , to try to preserve a Jewish majority in the state of Israeli today via discriminatory immigration policies, expansive building beyond the green line in the West Bank, and withholding civil rights from non-Jewish peoples living, working, and seeking asylum within Israel's borders in order to discourage further diversification is neither ethical nor realistic. It's denial-politics.

Similarly, intermarriage between Jews and non Jews, (or American Jews and Israelis) does not have to be viewed as a threat. Rather, as Jeffrey Goldberg eloquently puts it, "intermarriage can also be understood as an opportunity." Not just in the sense of freedom to choose whom we marry, love, and raise children with, but also as an opportunity for better understanding between people and countries. To enter into a committed and loving relationship with someone from a different culture or value system is challenging, yes, but also ripe for growth and spiritual reawakening on both parts.

It could even be the missing piece to Peace, as shown in this video that suggests Israelis and Palestinians might no longer be able to hate one another if their own blood was running through the veins of the other. Or in this article, where Natalia Simonovsky suggests that Arab-Israelis can use their in-between-ness to help foster "people based" cooperation between Israeli civil society and the civil societies of its Arab neighbors. Or in the case of my grandmother, who grew up believing that Jews were Jesus-killers to be avoided at all costs, but ended up marrying my Jewish grandfather which led to her current belief that the essence of most monotheistic religions are the same and that the Jews are an upstanding and moral people who serve as a model for the rest of the world.

Israel does itself (and Jewry worldwide) no favors by alienating its friends and dependents through the language and practice of discrimination and Jewish-favoritism. It will only keep out the people who most want to learn about, or even take part in, the beautiful and rich traditions of Judaism in less orthodox ways, and may pose one of the greatest threats to the vitality of the Jewish people worldwide. In truth, Jews or non-Jews, we are all interconnected and interdependent on this planet, and cannot waste time building boxes that confine us. Because I believe it's not only the environment that stands to benefit from hybrids...






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