Tzipi Livni, former Israeli Foreign Minister and current leader of the opposition Kadima Party, published an Op-Ed in the Jerusalem Post on September 21st that essentially asks the question made famous by Rodney King: “Can’t we all just get along?” However, she was not talking about the Israelis and the Palestinians… she was referring to the Jews.
Speaking of Israel, Livni says:
Within this country, identity is increasingly pulled between two poles: one, a secular Israeli identity centered around army service and the Hebrew language; the other a growing but narrowly defined Orthodox or haredi Jewish existence. In the process, a common commitment to the ideas and values that unite us as a people and that can resonate with Jews here and around the world seems increasingly tenuous. These trends should alarm anyone who cares about the unity and future of the Jewish people. They not only threaten to fragment the Jewish people, but they place the Jewish communities here and in the Diaspora on radically different trajectories which undermine and weaken both.
This state of affairs requires a dramatic reframing of the role of Israel in Jewish life and the nature of the relationship between it and world Jewry that should be built around four key principles: First, if Israel is to realize its mission as the national home of the Jewish people, it must act like one. It must find ways to welcome rather than alienate Jews regardless of their opinions or the stream of Judaism with which they are affiliated. It must embrace an inclusive and pluralistic Jewish agenda that respects our traditions without denying the legitimacy of difference.”
This first principle doesn’t apply just to Israel, but to the Diaspora and every Jewish community in it. I happen to think that the Jewish community in Boulder is somewhat ahead of the curve when it comes to universal acceptance, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a long way to go yet in making “non-mainstream” Jews — Jews by choice; intermarried Jews and their children who have decided to make a Jewish family, home and life; secular and humanist Jews; and GLBT Jews; to name a few groups — feel welcomed and part of the broader fabric of Jewish life here in the so-called “Boulder Bubble.” All of us should try to add being more accepting and inclusive to our goals of better behavior for 5771.
Oh, and for Livni’s other three key principles, read the rest of the article here. I’m interested in hearing what you think about this topic, both for Israel and for Boulder, so comment away.