‘Social Justice’ Rabbinic Students Betray The Jewish People In Time Of War
While the young men and women of Israel are putting their lives on the line defending their homes and family, here in America we have a comfortable and self-indulgent group of rabbinical students verbally attacking Israel and giving moral support to the Hamas and Palestinian Arabs trying to destroy Israeli families. Most are from the Boston Hebrew College, the Reconstructionist Jewish Seminary, and Hebrew Union College, and they are trying to influence world opinion against Israel, which enhances the ability of the terrorists to murder more Jews.
It is a despicable act of betrayal and cowardice and should not be construed as coming from people with a higher moral standard. Sitting in their protected ivory towers – never being forced into a draft for either the American or Israeli army – they announce with detached pontification how much better they are than those “warmongering” Israelis who man their tanks, pilot fighter bombers, and raise their rifles while soldiering forward into danger.
By now, it is obvious that Hamas and other jihadists, unlike Israel, are not interested in peace and, instead, represent the most barbaric actions and attitudes, even to their own people – in contrast to Israel which tries exceedingly hard to defend itself in the least harmful and most humane way possible. Whereas, for example, Israel protects its civilians by placing women and children behind soldiers, the jihadists put their women and children in front of their men to protect the men and disarm their opponents. Whereas Israel has forfeited vast segments of its land and made other sacrificial peace offers, no P.L.O or Hamas leader has ever agreed to any formula for peace except to brazenly announce his intention that a Muslim Palestine will replace all of Israel.
But these rabbinical students seem so immersed in self-righteousness and virtue signaling, so intoxicated by a feeling that they know better than those “morally inferior” to them, they do not seem able to see the obvious Jewish side of the conflict. Rather, they identify totally with those who would gleefully murder their brothers and sisters, not because they are Israelis but precisely because they are Jews.
What they think is social justice is actually injustice and ignorance. Worse, it is an indifference to the plight of the Jewish people they hope one day to lead. They are not to be admired for “idealism;” instead, they should be scorned for taking the easy way out and masking their cowardice in lofty sounding principles of “social justice.”
In the left-wing world they inhabit, the act of courage would be to defy the intersectional “woke” campaign against Israel and, instead, defend her. They don’t. They have joined the bullies. They are marching among those who use “social justice” to cover their anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism. They are embarrassed to defend a strong, non-self-effacing Israel. They care more about their ranking in their leftwing circles and causes than the lives of their own people.
They boast of their “compassion,” yet these rabbinic students support Hamas and other Islamist terrorist groups known for their cruelty. The Talmud appropriately teaches: “Those obsessed with giving compassion to those who are cruel will soon become indifferent to the suffering of the righteous.”
Left-wing Jews have for so long championed and made their identity dependent on Black Lives Matter and Muslim/Palestinian causes, that now they have cruelly taken the side of Israel’s enemies and appear unbothered by attacks on Jews on the streets of America coming from BLM and Muslims. These rabbis-in-training speak of the urgency of redirecting tzedakah, Jewish charity, from that which makes Israel strong to other venues and causes. But that should no longer be called “tzedakah;” rather, political financing of dangerous leftwing causes.
These aspiring Jewish leaders need to learn that Jewish peoplehood is a paramount Jewish concern and that the first priority of a rabbi is to save Jewish life…not down the road but immediately, in the here and now. The first mitzvah is to ensure that Jews physically survive. When given two narratives, a rabbi should try to identify with Jewish destiny as opposed to trashing it in the name of universalism. As rabbis, they need to know that settling the land of Israel represents God’s covenant with the Jewish people and is a commandment mentioned more often than any other.
Brotherhood and fairness are worthy quests but virtue signaling and a sense of moral superiority over one’s own tribe in the name of universalism is condescending smugness. It is outward-brotherhood taking precedence over the need for inner-brotherhood. They profess a “tikkun o’lam,” repairing the world at the expense of what is for them the “mere ‘tribalism” of Jewish need and survival.
As Rosa Luxemburg, a famed Jewish universalist and communist, said a century ago when Jews were suffering: “Don’t bother me with mere Jewish survival when I have a whole world to save.” But she wasn’t a Jewish rabbi.
Indeed, taking the side during the time of war of those wishing to destroy your people is not a rabbinic quality, it is traitorous. These are not individuals acting like shepherds over a flock. Instead, they are those sending the sheep into the jaws of the wolves. Heaven help us from such leadership! Many enter the rabbinate primarily and first as social justice warriors who see the pulpit as their way to preach the neo-Marxism that is their true calling.
But often people get the leadership they want. After all, these “rabbinic” students did not arrive at this warped and craven worldview by themselves. They were guided and taught by their Rabbinic Seminary teachers and by the rabbis and sermons they listened to as youngsters growing up in their community temples and synagogues.
This has become, sad to say, the state of Twenty-First Century American Jewishness. It is not Judaism but a Jewishness that sees itself as a conduit for “woke” social justice and a community that cares more about perpetuating fashionable left/liberal ideals much more than Jewish peoplehood and even survival. It has become a Jewishness in which leftist ideas take precedence over Jewish life. It is unnatural and inexplicably psychotic.
Its religion is not Judaism but left-wing politics and values. It fools itself into thinking that “Jewish” equals left/liberalism, class struggle, and universalism, reducing all of Judaism to the Democrat party platform while ignoring, rejecting, and twisting vast amounts of Scripture in service to its new, true god. For multitudes of them, Judaism is but a subservient tool for leftism and even moral relativism. Moral relativism is the “avodah zara” (strange ideology) that biblical Judaism repeatedly warned against.
In its self-righteous neo-Marxism as religion, it has become haughty. For many, being Jewish has no definition except that “it is not Christian” and thus its attitudes and positions must be the opposite of what Christian Americans cherish. And that is tragic, for much of American Christianity believes in God, the Old Testament, wholesome values, love of America, and Israel. The more Christians have become fans of Israel, the more liberal Jewish denominations have become less faithful to Israel, as seen in their temples, among their rabbis and seminaries, and now their future rabbinic leaders.
This is the unfortunate present state of American Jewishness as an ethnic group. But Judaism it is not. The perfidy of these rabbinic students should be a wake-up call to America’s Jewish community. The hubristic, immodest rabbinic students have announced: “We are the future leaders of the Jewish community.” If that God forbid happens, there will be no future Jewish community.
Rabbi Spero is president of the Conference of Jewish Affairs and author of Push Back: The Battle to Save Our American Judeo-Christian Heritage.
IMAGE: Hebrew College screengrab.
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