If love it too hard, start with respect – Harvey Jackins
Christian animosity against all Jews is still alive in many churches, sermons, and individuals. No, not all of them. But it began as infighting when the Romans occupied our Land and ruled with an iron first. Easier than trying to fight the colonial, racist occupier was to fight each other.
Now, this is why secular Jews must honor the religious, and vice versa. Us disrespecting each other is the main power of Jew-haters. It is so terrible when G^d needs to agree to another bloody war threat just to unite us.
In buses and on the street, I meet strangers in secular ‘dress’ who look at me with hatred. Sometimes they even say something negative. The hatred is palpable. Because I look religious and they hate them all. It feels no different than the Antisemitism that I felt from Antisemites.
That is against the secular norm of equality. ‘Them thinking’ is a form of discrimination and oppression. We all have more in common than whatever makes us different. We are all entitled to equal treatment.
‘Yes, but the religious hate us’ is just an example of them thinking. To hate any individual because of the group s/he belongs to is the antithesis of fairness, justice, and democracy. And those are the religions of the secular.
I’d have some more tolerance for hateful seculars who were expelled from their religious community, but I still must find the first LGBTQIA+ secular Jew who hates me. Also, inside the largely secular anti-judicial reform demonstrations, I got a lot of applause and smiles and not one frown.
Many secular people who only know the religious from a distance assume that we hate the secular. If some of us do, it’s a grave mistake. Our rabbis teach us that we are one People. If anyone could be ‘guilty’ for not being religious, they are the religious. We know what they are missing. We have failed to teach them. Every secular Jew says: the religious have failed me.
One mistake religious Jews sometimes make is assuming that we need to teach the secular and bring them closer to Judaism. They don’t see that they often have something to teach us too. They often have specialized themselves in respect for everyone but don’t know that’s part of Judaism. Secular Jews are often unaware of how Jewish and how religious they are.
This issue keeps confusing even the brightest. It is a democratic must to exclude anti-democrats. That isn’t anti-democratic. That’s pro-democracy. Democracy demands we oppose haters participating in democratic rights to further their bigotry. Those rights are only for democrats.
Yet, while we must oppose ideologies and groups opposing equality, we must be very careful not to oppose individuals. No one should be rejected for what groups they come from or belong to. Maybe, they’re fighting the bigotry in their group. Maybe, they are victimized in their group. Attack ideology, not people. It must not be personal. Going after people is the work of the police and courts, not activists, or we besmirch our activism!
Politically inciting the religious or secular is the worst attack on all Jews.
Not So Divided
Meanwhile, there are fewer and fewer Jewish families that are 100% secular or 100% religious. So many secular families have one or more who have become religious. So many religious families have one or more who have become secular.
Also, the divide between secular and religious is a total exaggeration. Most Israeli Jews consider themselves traditional: somewhere in between. Almost all celebrate Shabbat with family or friends, light the Chanukkiah on Chanukah, hold a Pesach Seder, and fast on Yom Kippur in some way. Some way goes a long way compared to doing nothing. Oh, they may claim that they don’t believe properly, but neither do many of the religious.