Jeremy Golan
Registered wedding officiant, chaplain, and educator.

Ben Shapiro and Bernie Sanders

Navigating Diversity: Reflections on Ben Shapiro and Bernie Sanders

“Do not separate yourself from the community. — Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers) 2:4

In a world where antisemitism is gaining a chilling foothold, the challenges faced by the Jewish community are both disheartening and complex. The rising tide of hatred has forced synagogues to fortify their security, while tensions run high among many Jews who feel cornered as they confront this newfound wave of adversity. Yet, amidst the chaos, the Jewish identity itself becomes an enigma.

A Dissonance Within the Fold

“Judge every person favorably.” — Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers) 1:6

The Jewish experience is rich, complex, and often paradoxical. Straddling the divide between unity and diversity, Jews have become the target of multifaceted allegations. In the eyes of the world, Jews can be both architects of communism and zealous capitalists, creating a cognitive dissonance that amplifies our challenge.

Take the case of Ben Shapiro and his progressive cousin, the actress who played Matilda. These two share blood, yet are divided by ideological chasms. Similarly, Israel’s political spectrum showcases divisions as stark as the left and right wings. As a community, the glue that once bound us appears to be losing its potency.

Exploring Disparate Paths

“Educate a child according to his way.” — Proverbs 22:6

While Judaism has historically united us, our paths today diverge. Orthodox and Haredi Jews view abortion as a last resort, while reform movements passionately advocate for reproductive rights. As Zionists seek to fulfill ancestral promises, the Reconstructionist movement calls for the unraveling of religious-state ties. It’s as if we are prioritizing different segments of our heritage, straining the unity we so desperately need.

The Call for Reflection

“In a place where there are no men, strive to be a man.” — Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers) 2:6

As we grapple with our identity, history’s echoes resound. The fragmentation in 1st-century Judea mirrors our contemporary landscape – Essenes, Pharisees, Sadducees, each group emphasizing a distinct aspect of our legacy. Today, the divisions reflect priorities – reformers questioning gender norms, conservatives focused on resilient family structures.

Amidst the turbulence, we must pause and reflect. Are we merely a social club, embracing only those who share our views? Are we ready to stand united despite differences? The shift in Toronto’s Jewish community dynamics poses pressing questions – should synagogues welcome the young, singles, and married couples? What is the essence of being Jewish in the modern era?

Fostering Unity in Diversity

“Do not separate yourself from the community.” — Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers) 2:4

The prevailing upper-middle-class social club model seems insufficient. Embracing diversity and different viewpoints demands radical openness. Our children deserve a vibrant, inclusive community that not only welcomes but celebrates a variety of narratives. In a world where polarization reigns, unity becomes our defiance.

As we ponder the role of Jews and Judaism in this evolving world, we must remember that our collective history is one of adaptation. Like our forebearers, we navigate shifting landscapes while upholding our values and heritage. Only by bridging divides can we hope to create a future where our children thrive, our identity remains strong, and our unity becomes our most powerful defense.

#NavigatingDiversity #UnityInAdversity #JewishIdentity

About the Author
Jeremy Golan is a registered officiant, school chaplain, and teacher living in Toronto Canada. A staunch supporter of the Jewish State, he is interested in creating peace through dialogue.
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