Jorde M. Nathan

Tikun Olam is not the full credit answer

I had a dream. I dreamed the most lucid dream I ever dreamed. I was speaking at the JFNA rally in Washington. I was to follow President Trump. “I love the Jews. There has never been a better friend of the Jews in the White House…trust me on that. I love the Jews. You have a very important job in repairing the world. If only you would not be so timid and slow to recognize. I love the Jews.” Yes sir…thank you Mr. President.

I went up to the podium…”Shemah Y’Israel…Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Echad.” Join me: “Shemah Y’Israel…Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Echad.  Shemah Y’Israel…Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Echad.” I repeated the words three times, and the crowd was crazy in a frenzy. The volume was piercing. The spirit was penetrating, rising up to Heaven. This thrice repetition is the final tefillah of Yom Kippur. And so I continued…

“We Jews have led the modern world in chesed. We are liberal lovers of peace and harmony, first to help every cause of modern day progressives. We support BLM and protest for abortion rights. We march with Dr. King and lead rejection of Chinese occupation of Tibet. We stand with the homeless and lead efforts for rent control and food banks. We modern, liberal Jews champion open borders and welcome any and all to share. We have been the pioneers of diversity, equity and inclusion, as we walked in a way of God…in doing chesed and acts of loving kindness.

But my friends, this is the Elohim Eloheinu aspect of Hashem. God is kind and merciful, sharing, caring and giving. And it feels so good for us to march on behalf of this holy attribute. But my friends there is more to God than just blanket kindness.  There is more to being a Jew than doing Tikun Olam.

God is also Adonai Adoneinu…the God of justice. This aspect of Hashem reveals it is not enough just to care and share. There is more to being a Jew than tikun olam.  Justice. We stand for kindness and fairness BUT we also seek and demand justice. We also stand for justice. And justice and kindness, chesed and din, are the two attributes of God that must be lived together as ONE. We the Jews must follow in both aspects to walk in the way of the Lord. Excessive chesed taking the air out of justice is out of wack.

10/7 is a wake up call. It is a call to justice. In light of the Hamas atrocities, we must wake up from our woke slumber of blind chesed. We have to wake up and pursue and demand justice. In justice, there is no moral equivalency. There is no “both sides.”  There is only truth. There is only accountability. There is justice.

And as the world watches us, as the world watches the Jews, what will we show them? Will we be manifest in balance and “fairness” and equity, blind to the rape and murder of our very own innocents? Or, will we reject the appeal of Public Radio and the United Nations, knowing that the genocide is directed at us not from us?  Are we able to break away from unrelenting protest and support for the “underdog,” to advocate for ourselves? Can we move beyond chesed?

We have to become One. In so doing, we become more than voices for peace and unconditional compromise. We move from faith and trust in the other to reliance and demands of ourselves. And we demand justice. And justice is the way of the Lord. Now is that time. God is not chesed alone; God is not justice alone. As the God of lovingkindness and truth is One, so must we be. Shemah Y’Israel…Hear Oh Israel…truth AND justice are calling.

About the Author
Jorde M. Nathan is a former Managing Director at Barclays Capital responsible for distributing and sourcing par and distressed loans. Prior to Barclays, Mr. Nathan joined Lehman Brothers in 1994 to launch a loan origination and trading business. He has an MBA from the University of Chicago and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Amherst College with a major in Chinese. Jorde has lived in London, Hong Kong and Beijing and speaks Spanish and Mandarin Chinese and limited Hebrew. Nathan is past President of the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces Midwest Region and serves on the National Board. Mr. Nathan has served on the Board of Directors of Solomon Schechter Day Schools and on the Endowment Committee of the Jewish Federation. He is an alumnus of the Wexner Heritage Foundation and a former member of the United Jewish Communities National Young Leadership Cabinet. Jorde is a Zionist and has visited Israel nearly 20 times…leading missions, bringing first-timers, leading the annual “Nathan Family trip” and participating in the Nachshon missions. The Nathan Family consists of Jorde, wife of 33 years Helene Diamond Nathan from Vancouver, British Columbia, and four day school children Reeven Earl (30), Sophie Charlat Diamond (28), Chase Chaiim Tzvi (27) and Levy Yitzchak (23). Jorde is an avid fly tier and fly fisherman and spends his days learning Talmud at the Hebrew Theological College and leading opinion regarding the US/Israel relationship. The Nathans live in Chicago and Park City.
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