Virtual Talmud

Virtual Talmud

Defining a Jewish State

I understand Rabbi Grossman’s discomfort with including a person in Israel’s government who isn’t committed to the notion of Israel as a Jewish state, but I also think that the term “Jewish state” is so vague and amorphous that it makes a dangerous litmus test. If “Jewish state” means religiously Jewish, then we should kick out the Shinui Party, which is dedicated to secularism. If “Jewish state” means culturally Jewish, then we should disallow the Hadash Party, whose anti-Zionist platform derives from its Marxist anti-nationalism. And if “Jewish state” means demographically Jewish, we should disallow Arab parties like Raam and Balad – or, for that matter, right-wing parties like Yisrael Beiteinu that reject a two-state solution, leading to a majority non-Jewish country. The point is that the concept of “a Jewish state” is still very much a work in progress, and orthodoxies of any sort (to say nothing of name-calling) stifle this progression rather than further it.


I encourage anyone with thoughts along these lines to look at the relevant section of a thought-provoking document entitled Masechet Atzma’ut (“Tractate Independence”) – a Talmud-like commentary on Israel’s Declaration of Independence put out by Rabbis for Human Rights. I want a safe and secure Israel as much as anyone, and I think an important component of this goal is figuring out exactly what we mean when we say “Jewish State.”

Read the Full Debate: What’s the Place of Non-Jews in a Jewish State?

Comments Post the First Comment »
post a comment

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to and may be used by in accordance with the agreements.

Previous Posts

The Task Is Never Finished
It has been heartwarming to read the warm responses to Rabbi Waxman's post asking Beliefnet to reconsider its decision to cancel Virtual Talmud. Virtual Talmud offered an alternative model for internet communications: civil discourse pursued in ...

posted 12:31:46pm Apr. 03, 2008 | read full post »

Some Parting Reflections
Well, loyal readers, all good things must come to an end and we’ve been informed that this particular experiment in blogging as a forum for creating wide-ranging discussion on topics of interest to contemporary Jews has run its course. Maybe ...

posted 1:00:29pm Mar. 31, 2008 | read full post »

Obama's Lesson and The Jewish Community
There are few times in this blog’s history when I have felt that Rabbi Grossman was one hundred percent correct in her criticisms of my ideas. However, a few weeks ago she called me out for citing a few crack websites on Barak Obama’s ...

posted 12:09:08pm Mar. 31, 2008 | read full post »

The Future of Race Relations
As a post-baby boomer, it is interesting to me to see how much of today’s conversation about racial relations is still rooted in the 1960s experience and rhetoric of the civil rights struggle, and the disenchantment that followed. Many in the ...

posted 4:04:41pm Mar. 25, 2008 | read full post »

Wright and Wrong of Race and Jews
Years ago, as a rabbinical student, I was one of a group of rabbinical students who visited an African American seminary in Atlanta. My fellow rabbinical students and I expected an uplifting weekend of interfaith sharing like we had experienced ...

posted 12:50:11pm Mar. 24, 2008 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.