Wednesday, June 6, 2007

American Jews and the Six Day War

Rabbi Marc Gellman -

Another spiritual consequence of the Six Day War was that it took Judaism to the streets. In his poem “Hakitzah Ami,” the poet Yehudah Leib Gordon recounted the deal made by Jews from the Enlightenment through the French Revolution right on through the founding of America. The deal was, “To be a Jew at home and a man in the streets.” Judaism was to be privatized in return for social acceptance and assimilation. The Six Day War changed all that, at least for a while. Suddenly, Jews who were already used to bringing their politics to the streets to protest segregation or the Vietnam War became energized by Israel's victory, and the swelling up of Jewish pride it birthed in us changed American Jewry and America utterly. ...

Paradoxically, both left-wing and neocon Jews are linked by a shared belief that Judaism is not just something to be practiced at home. Judaism is not just about lighting candles and blessing bread. Judaism is about speaking the truth to power and about confronting evil in the streets of our broken world. Liberal and conservative Jews have very different ideas of what it means to repair the world, but if it were not for the Six Day War, the kind of street Judaism that takes these things seriously would never have been born. We would still just be Jews in our homes and the streets would be empty of our passion.

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