2021 Annual Assessment

Ninety rabbinical and cantorial students from schools affiliated with the liberal streams of American Judaism signed a letter entitled Sha’arei Dma’ot (“Gates of Tears” – per Bava Metzia 59a), in which they accused the US Jewish leadership of supporting Israel’s suppression of human rights and its apartheid regime in Judea and Samaria (the “Occupied Territories”). The signatories, who express solidarity with Palestinian suffering, note that they are “future leaders” of the American Jewish community, and that their views are rooted in Jewish ethics and tradition. The letter drew criticism from the dean of rabbinical studies at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles, and from other prominent figures, who called it one-sided, lacking in empathy for Israel, and marked by an absence of ahavat Yisrael, or love for one’s fellow Jews. However, the letter appears to represent a position commonly held by young American Jews who are involved in their community and invested in their Judaism.

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