Rethinking Jewish Life: ‘For the Sake of Heaven’?

29.12.2012                      16.Tewet. 5773                      Wajechi

Judentum:

Rethinking Jewish Life: ‘For the Sake of Heaven’?

The debate on the Women of the Wall is about the collective future of the Jewish democratic state and of the Jewish people.

Are these debates for the “sake of Heaven”? (Pirkei Avot 5:20) The debates raging in the press and throughout the Jewish world about whether or not Jewish women should have equal access the Western Wall as men do are not only about the Women of the Wall. The arrests and debates have gained so much attention (in The Jerusalem Post, The New York Times, Haaretz, the LA Jewish Journal and the New York Daily Forward, some of which were in response to my piece with Yossi Klein Halevi in the New York Jewish Week and our ensuing debate) precisely because, at its core, this debate is about the collective future of the Jewish democratic state and of the Jewish people. The legal and political issues being discussed are really about the meeting of modern Jewish values – egalitarianism, pluralism and democracy – with the realities of Israeli politics and the pre-modern views of some ultra-Orthodox leaders. These encounters represent the deepest challenges of Judaism and modern life….