JUDAISM ON THE ROAD TO RECOVERY | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


JUDAISM ON THE ROAD TO RECOVERY

“Do you think Judaism will ever recover from having been hijacked by Zionism?” a friend recently asked me.

I have wrestled with a similar question for many years: how can the ethical precepts of Judaism—pursue justice, love your neighbor, love the stranger, repair the world—be reconciled with Zionism? Any Judaism I can believe in is at odds with this nationalist ideology, which claims that only a state controlled by Jews and privileging them over non-Jews can protect them against anti-Semitism and the threat of another Holocaust.

I did not always realize this. When I was growing up in Tokyo, Japan, in the 1950s, I thought Judaism consisted only of rituals performed with Hebrew prayers and allegiance to the newly established state of Israel. Our small Jewish community, made up mainly of Ashkenazi emigres from Siberia like my father’s family and of Sephardi emigres from Syria and Lebanon, together with Israeli Embassy staff and American businesspeople, did not have a rabbi.

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