November 9, 2006
L.A.‘s Jews and other minorities: oh, how we’ve danced!
(Page 4 - Previous Page)As more and more Jews live in gated communities, send their kids to private schools and subscribe to private "protection services" -- it's too easy to disconnect from the tough issues that society faces. It is our leadership's role to promote the community's involvement in society -- not animated by a fear or concern about us; but motivated by a genuine desire for tikkun olam.
As Leon Wieseltier recently observed: "By the standards of Jewish history...the Jewish attainment in America is truly an embarrassment of riches. We must not permit the collective memory of our people to inhibit us from the imagination of happiness. We -- I refer to most of world Jewry -- may finally be living in the sun.
"The analysis of anti-Semitism must take place somewhere between indifference and hysteria. The most loyal Jew is not the most hysterical Jew.... The cult of victimization is no more attractive, and no less coarsening, when it is the cult of our victimization."
We need to, as Wieseltier writes, "imagine our happiness" by engaging with our fellow citizens as empowered Americans, secure in our position and determined to make ours a better, more just and more civil society for all.
David A. Lehrer is the president of Community Advocates Inc., a Los Angeles human relations organization chaired by former L.A. Mayor Richard J. Riordan.