Sarah Emily made a recent facebook post commenting on the new social justice-themed Passover haggadahs coming out. Her immediate comment was about how backward it is. And her explanation below is strikingly on point. I only wish the generation of young Jews who identify themselves as social justice warriors would listen to Sarah Emily’s words. Otherwise, they are throwing their Jewish identity to the wind, because their “social justice” identity honestly has no connection to their Jewish identity.
On Passover, during any Seder, we collectively reflect on what it’s like to be slave so that we may empathize with others and value treating others with kindness – this much is true. But Passover is supposed to emphasize how we became the Jewish nation which embodies these values, thanking G-d for taking us out of slavery in order to become the people we are today. The more that this type of liberalism seeps into Jewish traditions, the more they stray away from their intended meanings. Why is it that more and more Jews are too afraid to practice our own faith without trying to appease another group? Who is doing this for US?? No one.
If we cannot take even a week to put the focus on who we are and where we came from and where we are going as a nation, then what are we becoming?? We have only survived this long by staying true to who we are, not by trying to please others because we are afraid to be strong in our identity.
Rabbi Hillel said “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, who am I?” It is unfortunate that many Jews these days are solely focused on the latter – but the reality is, the latter is only possible when we live unapologetically and wholeheartedly as Jews FIRST.
The Sad Truth – Nothing Makes Them Jews Anymore
These progressive Jews have no reason to be Jews. Their religion is their progressive values which are not unique to Judaism. Yes, Judaism includes making the world a better place, aka “Tikun Olam”. But that is one concept part of a greater system of daily lifestyle to remain part of the Jewish people. Living a life of practicing tikun olam alone, without following the other unqie aspects of the Jewish people that allow us to pass over our heritage one generation to another, strips these Jews of being Jews. They turn themselves into good people with no tools to remain part of the Jewish collective.
They are then sadly left with nothing in their life that is authentically Jewish with nothing to feel a part of the greater Jewish collective and no tools to pass on Judaism to their children and grandchildren.
Little by little, these Jews who live as “social justice warriors”, are leaving behind any and all aspects of Judaism and are disconnecting from the Jewish collective and Israel. It is very sad to witness this process happening in real time, right in front of our eyes and on our Facebook/Twitter/Instagram feeds.
Progressive values are not Judaism and practicing them alone as ones “Judaism” definitely is not enough for one to remain part of the Jewish people. They sadly remain Jews in name only.