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Why Judaism Proves a Threat to Parochialists and Cosmopolitans Alike

Aug. 31 2017

One of the puzzles of anti-Semitism is that it has managed, in its various forms, to attract believing Christians, believing Muslims, secular racists, devotees of the far left and far right, and—in its most modern form, hatred of the Jewish state—progressives who claim to stand for tolerance. Moshe Koppel suggests an answer:

In a word, the Jews are messiah-killers. But not that messiah.

Think about the vibe the world gets from [the traditional Jewish attitude]—and from Israel. It goes something like this: we Jews have our ways. We eat differently, dress differently, pray differently. We’re a tribe with our own hierarchies and we look out for each other. In short, we have our own moral system, including restraints and loyalties. We hold you in contempt for murdering us or, in the best case, remaining indifferent to our murder, but we’re prepared to live and let live. We won’t treat you like family, but we’ll be fair if you’ll be fair. And we’ll live this way for a good long time until our messiah comes.

[Judaism thus rests on the claim that] we can live according to our own distinct moral rules and nevertheless be fair with you.

Almost nobody wants to hear that claim. Not those Christians who wish to bring salvation now through universal acceptance of Jesus. Not Muslims who wish to bring salvation now through the restoration of the caliphate. Not racists who wish to bring salvation now by eliminating inferior races. Not enlightened philosophers who wish to bring salvation now through the triumph of reason over religion. Not post-nationalists who wish to bring salvation now through world government. Not [late-20th-century leftists] who wish to bring salvation now through freedom from the persistent demands of their former communities. Not [today’s leftists] who wish to bring salvation now through liberation from the responsibility of growing up and maintaining civilization.

They all despise [the Jews] for stubbornly standing in the way of salvation. They all share an interest in denying the very possibility of reconciling particularist traditions and loyalties with fairness to others.

Read more at Judaism without Apologies

More about: Anti-Semitism, Judaism, Religion & Holidays, Universalism

The Movement to Return Jewish Worship to the Temple Mount Has Gone Mainstream

Sept. 25 2017

During the eruption of violence against Israelis in Jerusalem this summer, and the subsequent struggle over metal detectors, the Islamic authorities briefly boycotted the Temple Mount. As a result, Jewish visitors, normally prohibited from praying there, immediately began to do so. Meir Soloveichik puts the episode in context and describes its meaning:

The Temple Mount is fast becoming a pilgrimage site for religious Jews. In the past, most abstained from visiting out of concern that they might enter a sacred area in a state of ritual impurity, but many now believe that, with a knowledge of the layout, history, and religious laws pertaining to the location, it is permissible to visit certain parts of the Temple Mount plaza. They thus visit the site under religious guidance—immersing first in a ritual bath, or mikveh—and tread only in specific areas. What was once a trickle of pilgrims has become a stream, and this year they numbered in the many thousands. . . .

[Indeed, a] sea change has taken place in the past fifteen years: . . . the segment of Jews visiting the Temple Mount is becoming more and more mainstream, supported by rabbis noted for their liberalism in social or religious affairs. . . .

Visiting Jews were, for a brief and brilliant moment [this summer], able to utter several words of prayer without interference. The Israeli media published photos of a diverse group of Jews standing on the Temple Mount reciting the kaddish, so close to where their ancestors, on Yom Kippur, had once stood listening to the high priest pronounce the Name of God. Soon after this kaddish, the [status quo ante] returned; Jews again were no longer free to pray at the site toward which all Jewish prayer has been directed for thousands of years. But images of that one unimpeded kaddish remain; to study them is to look back on the miraculous and heartbreaking past half-century in Jerusalem, to celebrate what has been achieved, and to mourn what might have been.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Judaism, Palestinian terror, Religion & Holidays, Temple Mount