What Does Biblical Faith Have to Do with Political Freedom? https://mosaicmagazine.com/picks/religion-holidays/2017/12/what-does-biblical-faith-have-to-do-with-political-freedom/

December 11, 2017 | Peter Berkowitz
About the author: Peter Berkowitz is the Tad and Dianne Taube Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. In 2019 and 2020, he served as Director of Policy Planning at the U.S. State Department. His writings are posted at www.PeterBerkowitz.com.

Reporting on the recent “Inaugural Conference on Jews and Conservatism” in New York City, sponsored by the Jewish Leadership Conference (JLC), Peter Berkowitz sums up its highlights:

The one-day event attracted some 400 participants from around the country and from Canada, Mexico, and Israel. It featured prominent scholars, educators, policy professionals, and leaders from religion and politics, along with a rousing concluding keynote address by the Israeli ambassador Ron Dermer.

The conference was part of the JLC’s ambitious effort to fortify American Judaism and American conservatism by forging an alliance between them. It is a welcome undertaking since Judaism and conservatism share a fundamental interest in reconciling faith and liberty. It is also fraught with perplexities because both Judaism and conservatism are simultaneously riding high and suffering from an identity crisis. . . .

The conference [organizers] are acutely aware of the challenge. They believe, however, that the ties that bind the traditions present a golden opportunity. As Eric Cohen and Aylana Meisel argued in a 12,000-word manifesto in Commentary that launched the initiative, “Like Judaism itself, conservatism still honors the importance of fidelity to tradition, communal obligation, and the role of religion in sustaining a moral society.”

The conference’s major speeches and policy breakout sessions reflected [certain] core principles. These include the embrace of individual freedom, human equality, and civic responsibility along with dedication to the preservation of a distinctively Jewish way of life and the celebration of the achievements of Jewish civilization. In addition, the JLC seeks to protect religious liberty for all. It aims to defend parents’ right to educate their children in schools that reflect their religious beliefs. It undertakes to bolster enduring marriages and strong families built around the gift and responsibilities of raising children. And it champions Israel as the sovereign nation-state of the Jewish people and as America’s strategic and moral ally. . . .

Ron Dermer closed the conference with trenchant remarks on the enduring bonds linking America and Israel. . . . He also cautioned conference participants to respect the difference between Judaism and conservatism. “Judaism promises a holy life that brings individuals closer to God,” he said. In contrast, “politics can be inspired by faith, but politics can never replace faith.” Amid the current political tumult, not the least advantage of the alliance between Judaism and conservatism is the prospect of restoring a better understanding of that which links, and that which distinguishes, biblical faith and political freedom.

Read more on RealClearPolitics: https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2017/12/08/exploring_the_bonds_of_judaism_and_conservatism_135727.html