Thursday, October 6, 2011

The New Jews

Within the organized Jewish community, Zionism equals Judaism. Synagogues and other public Jewish spaces broadly advertize their identification with Zionism. For many Jews, Zionism is the only principle of Judaism. For them, not only does Zionism = Judaism but the reverse is true too: Judaism = Zionism.

Consequently, those Jews who are not Zionist are not accepted as full Jews by the mainstream community. Along with Jews for Jesus,  anti-Zionists are barred from Jewish communal life.

Yet, within the non- and anti-Zionist camps, there is a growing identification of young Jews with their  Judaism. Young, Jewish and Proud is a self-evident example.

And now, the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Alliance (IJAN) has embraced the ritual fast of Yom Kippur in its struggle for Palestinian liberty. 

Both these cases are comprised predominantly of young Jews. They see their activism as an authentic expression of their Jewish heritage. This trend will only grow in numbers and significance.

When will the mainstream Jewish community admit these dedicated, young Jews into the camp?

(A note on the IJAN fast: For some reason, IJAN has declared a 48 hour fast beginning tomorrow, Thursday, October 6 through Saturday, October 8. I expect folks are invited to choose when to fast during this period. For those of you considering the entire fast, you might be interested to know that early Rabbinic literature considered a requirement to fast for two days in observance of Yom Kippur, and ruled that this would be hazardous. They explained, paradoxically perhaps, that if one eats well on the day before Yom Kippur, that counts as a second day of fasting. The logic: it's that much harder to fast after feasting.)

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