It has been a tough past week, as once again we (Progressive Jews) have been at it again with our so called „orthodox“ counterparts in South Africa, see this week’s Jewish Report for more on this.
While I am not from SA it is rather obvious that my (Progressive) community constantly feels put down or made to feel „less than“ by our fellow Jews in this country. I think as such that it is important for us to take a step back and think deeply about this from a broader or higher vantage point.
Today progressively thinking or „Progressive Jews“ (to me there is no material difference) have become a force to be reckoned with on the international stage. In the US and the world over we now number in the millions. It is not just the number, but the sheer influence that we wheeled the world over. Not only this, but the state of Israel is (as it has no choice) moving in a progressive direction – note my Column last week, on the Israeli Supreme Court’s decision re: „women of the wall.“
There is naturally resistance to this, but to those who have any depth of thought and or observation – The world (& Israel hauled along with it) is unequivocally moving in this direction. It is high time that the so-called „Orthodox mentality,“ come to realise that there is indeed more than one way, to (be) express one’s self as a Jew, or Christian for that matter.
This „holier than thou“ attitude or mentality (we know better than you/ or any other community, for that matter) so prevalent amongst our orthodox brothers and sisters – MUST FALL – it is this PRECISE thinking, “one communities G-d given superiority“ over another’s, that lead DIRECTLY to our very own holocaust! – Indeed a wake-up call to many within the orthodox community, if they have the depth or wherewithal to see this (kind of thinking) plainly, for what it is.
This brings me to my point, how many of you are aware that the next president of the United States – which is beginning to look more likely every day – may VERY well be, not just a progressive thinker, but a „progressive Jew!“ WE are a force to be reckoned with, we (as a community) are becoming more powerful, and wheedling more influence by the day – The next time an „Orthodox individual“ looks or talks down to you – I SAY TO YOU – WALK WITH YOUR HEAD HELD HIGH.
Love and Blessings – Shabbat Shalom – Rabbi Julia Margolis
PS: Senator Bernie Sanders was born 74 years ago, and raised in Brooklyn New York. On the (very rare) occasions that he has mentioned that he is Jewish, he has done so with great pride. It is clear from his life story that while being a proud Jew, he has aspired to be much more than just this, this being one of the fundamental tenants (differences) between orthodox and Progressive thinking. We are proud to call ourselves Jews, but our entire existence does not revolve around this, there is more to us.
If we as Jews wish to make a difference on the world stage – to our own lives, our safety, our well-being and generational future – we need to move away from a dark and antiquated way of thinking, and into the light of a progressive mind set. If we can do this, we both individually and collectively, will be able to accomplish things „as S. Sanders is,“ literally unthinkable (to ANY member in our Jewish community) just a single generation ago – such is the power of the progressive mind!