Universalism, Cynthia Ozick once noted, has become the particularism of the Jews. Increasingly, our most fundamental belief about ourselves is that we dare not care about ourselves any more than we can about others. Noble Jews have moved beyond difference.
This inability to distinguish ourselves from the mass of humanity, this inability to celebrate our own origins, our own People and our own homeland, I argue in my latest book, “The Promise of Israel,” is dysfunctional. Do we not care about our own children more than we care about other people’s children? And shouldn’t we? Are our own parents not our responsibility in a way that other people’s parents are not? The same is true of nations and ethnicities. The French care about the French more than they do about others. So do the Italians. So do the Spanish. It’s only this new, re-imagined Jew who is constantly seeking to transcend origins which actually make us who we are and enable us to leave our distinct fingerprints on the world.
Read the rest of the story on timesofisrael.com.
More on the compassion controversy:
- Rabbi Sharon Brous vs. Rabbi Daniel Gordis: Betrayal or compassion? by Julie Gruenbaum Fax
- Email from Rabbi Sharon Brous to IKAR
- Rabbi Daniel Gordis: When balance becomes betrayal
- A response from Rabbi Ed Feinstein
- A response from Rabbi Mordecai Finley
- A response from Danielle Berrin
- A response from Rabbi Wolpe