Israel’s secular Judaism

29.09.2011                      01.Tischrei. 5772                      Rosch Haschanah 1

Judentum:

Israel’s secular Judaism

The most problematic aspect of “Israeli secular Jewishness” is that it has become detached from its deep Jewish roots.

As we approach Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, it is appropriate to consider how traditional Jewish learning can be made meaningful to Israelis who are predominantly secular in their outlook and behavior. The most problematic aspect of “Israeli secular Jewishness” is that it has become detached from its deep Jewish roots, and can no longer be considered to be an attempt to promote a continuation of Jewish civilization and culture in a modern manner.
This was not always so. The motto of Habonim Dror Labor Zionist youth movement, “Do not call us your sons, but rather your builders,” is taken from the Talmud (BT Brachot 64a). Likewise, the credo of the organization is termed “The 13 Principles of Habonim Dror,” with the intention that it replace the Maimonidean “13 Principles of Faith.” (In a similar vein, the statement of philosophical principles of another Labor Zionist youth movement, Hashomer Hatza’ir, is named “The Ten Commandments of Hashomer Hatza’ir.”) The youth group’s Passover Seder, traditionally held on the third night of the festival, which would use the blueprint of the narrative of the liberation of the ancient Israelites from bondage in Egypt to promote feminism, refugee rights, abolition of slavery and so forth, is no longer held. Members no longer realize that the Zionist culture that they celebrate has its basis in Jewish tradition, for example, the singing of “Ufaratzta” (from Genesis 28:14) or the performing of the Israeli folk dance “Tzadik Katamar” (Psalm 92)….