How the Desire to “Repair the World” Came to Undermine Jewish Particularism

During the second half of the 20th century, the kabbalistic concept of tikkun olam—literally adjusting or “repairing” the world—was transformed in some American Jewish circles into a religious obligation incumbent upon Jews to make the world a better place. This imperative quickly became indistinguishable from the causes of the American left, so that tikkun olam is now synonymous with “social justice.” In his recent book To Heal the World?, Jonathan Neumann argues that this new understanding of tikkun olam has distorted much of American Judaism and undermined the rationale for preserving Judaism and the Jewish people. He discusses the book with Jonathan Silver. (Audio, 31 minutes. Options for download and streaming are available at the link below.)

Read more at Jewish Leadership Conference

More about: American Judaism, Judaism, Religion & Holidays, Tikkun Olam

Israel Just Sent Iran a Clear Message

Early Friday morning, Israel attacked military installations near the Iranian cities of Isfahan and nearby Natanz, the latter being one of the hubs of the country’s nuclear program. Jerusalem is not taking credit for the attack, and none of the details are too certain, but it seems that the attack involved multiple drones, likely launched from within Iran, as well as one or more missiles fired from Syrian or Iraqi airspace. Strikes on Syrian radar systems shortly beforehand probably helped make the attack possible, and there were reportedly strikes on Iraq as well.

Iran itself is downplaying the attack, but the S-300 air-defense batteries in Isfahan appear to have been destroyed or damaged. This is a sophisticated Russian-made system positioned to protect the Natanz nuclear installation. In other words, Israel has demonstrated that Iran’s best technology can’t protect the country’s skies from the IDF. As Yossi Kuperwasser puts it, the attack, combined with the response to the assault on April 13,

clarified to the Iranians that whereas we [Israelis] are not as vulnerable as they thought, they are more vulnerable than they thought. They have difficulty hitting us, but we have no difficulty hitting them.

Nobody knows exactly how the operation was carried out. . . . It is good that a question mark hovers over . . . what exactly Israel did. Let’s keep them wondering. It is good for deniability and good for keeping the enemy uncertain.

The fact that we chose targets that were in the vicinity of a major nuclear facility but were linked to the Iranian missile and air forces was a good message. It communicated that we can reach other targets as well but, as we don’t want escalation, we chose targets nearby that were involved in the attack against Israel. I think it sends the message that if we want to, we can send a stronger message. Israel is not seeking escalation at the moment.

Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: Iran, Israeli Security