Thursday, June 07, 2012

JJ Goldberg's Wrong-Headedness

Seth Mandell does not like what, in The Forward, JJ Goldberg writes:

...Goldberg says that integrating non-leftist concerns into the community, thereby diluting the social action efforts of America’s Jews, presents us with the following threat:

We are in danger of becoming, in classic Seinfeld fashion, a religion about nothing. Goldberg’s telling, integrating observant Jews into the conversation will risk American Judaism being “about nothing.”...the idea that traditional Judaism would destroy American Judaism is a shockingly poisonous concept, as is the implication that those who observe Judaism’s laws and traditions and those who have gravitated toward political movements and parties that respect those traditions–instead of, for example, those who write columns attacking them–haven’t the same right to be heard.

I went back to JJ's piece.  He asserts that his concept of American Jewry is

as a moral voice in the broader society

He sees the Jewish civil rights agencies which previously fought for a broad spectrum of progressive policies as now devoting resources narrowly to pro-Israel and anti-terrorism advocacy. And he recognizes that protests against government officials speaking at public institutions [I presume he means persons like Ambassador Oren] have become all too commonplace, a sign of broadly declining respect for the institutions of democracy. But he can't put all these elements together into a framework of the correct agenda for American Jewry.

In other words, his Judaism concept is a product not of his Jewish history and culture but of his American heritage.

And that's a wrong-headed way of looking at things Jewish.


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