JUDAISM IS FLOURISHING, both in Israel, where 43% of the world’s Jews now live, and throughout the Jewish diaspora. The Jews as a nation are flourishing too. Israelis, for all their problems, are the 14th-happiest people in the world, happier than the British or the French, according to a recent global happiness report commissioned by the UN. In the diaspora Jewish life has never been so free, so prosperous, so unthreatened.Well, that's sure good to know. The writer duly treats of the Jewish experience in America and elsewhere; of Hitler's program of extermination that wiped out one-third of the world's Jews, and of Zionism, which after the experience of Nazi Germany "was vindicated, at least in its own eyes".
Then there is Landau's visit to "a non-Orthodox synagogue in suburban Connecticut", no doubt not far different from the one I attended as a young person. Landau surmises that its members
like most Israelis and diaspora Jews, would tell pollsters that they support peace and two states. The atmosphere there on a recent Sunday could hardly have been more civilised. Jews, Christians and Muslims munched hot dogs and coleslaw together before setting out to clean up the neighbourhood park. The rabbi spoke words of appropriate interfaith inspiration. In the library the synagogue staff had spread carpets on the floor for the Muslims to pray.Landau's account of the interfaith event (not much different, I expect, from the one I attended in Oregon a few years ago) is short on details. What was said by the speakers? How many of the Muslim attendees called for recognition of Israel by the Muslim world? What was the map, exactly, and what did the boys' comments mean?
In the corridor outside this temporary mosque, two Muslim schoolboys read the Israeli declaration of independence: “We extend our hand of peace and unity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples.” It was displayed alongside a map of the region. “No Gaza,” one noted. “No West Bank either,” his brother added. A synagogue warden explained later that the map was “biblical, not political”.
Never mind, let's get back to the Jews.
The prevailing political sentiment in Jewry today is of aggressive defensiveness, a curious amalgam of victimhood and intolerance. Dissent about Israel is discouraged and often gagged outright. Among British Jewry, some 300,000 strong, “a positively McCarthyite atmosphere has been created,” says Jonathan Freedland, a political columnist. “People are frightened to say what they feel.” In America “honest discussion about Israel is largely shut down,” notes Arnold Eisen, a historian and chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary, a rabbinical school in New York. “Some rabbis will speak their minds…but people don’t want to fight and there is a disinclination to argue about Israel. The right says you’re giving aid and comfort to the enemy if you say anything critical about any Israeli policy.” Given Israel’s power and diaspora Jewry’s strength and influence, that seems paradoxical.Well, I'm sure I can manage an intelligent comment on this, if only I can get past my aggressive defensiveness, victimhood and intolerance, nationalism and xenophobia.
Resurgent religious faith is deeply caught up in this. Nationalism, xenophobia and Judaism blur and merge. Jews find themselves out of step with most of world opinion, which heightens a widespread sense of apprehensiveness. Iran’s threats and nuclear pretensions provide a focus for these feelings. Diaspora Jewish leaders insist that Israel is misunderstood. They attribute criticism to anti-Semitism, which is rising again.
But wait - did Landau say something about "anti-Semitism, which is rising again"? But I feel so free, prosperous, and unthreatened!
Maybe a look at the comments will help clear things up:
The real disgrace is the existence of "israel". "israel " is in fact the apex of colonisation , founded on a myth of a peopless land perpetuated in an ever increasing occupation. ... The similarities between "israel" and Nazi Germany are startling.Alive and well, indeed.
Judaism is enjoying an unexpected revival.Is this good news or bad one?In advanced scientific era people are returning to religion that mean some thing wrong with scientific advance.I have on objection Jews are embarrassing again to religion.My only request to Jews please abandoned your old psyche which teach you " An eye for eye and tooth for tooth'"this revengeful motto poured too much blood in the world. ...
Im not even gonna bother commenting on this "hebrew appreciation piece" since everything critically to orientals would be deleted.