New York is blessed with several historic shuls and houses of worship. Temple Emanu-El is a historic landmark and center of Reform Judaism. The majestic Fifth Avenue shul felt like an intimate living room gathered around to hear a modern day teacher and journalist discuss How to Fight Anti-Semitism. The diverse crowd included Jews from every spectrum of Judaism. I sat next to members from Lincoln Square Synagogue, Sutton Place Synagogue, Central Synagogue and Temple Emanu-El. Liberals, conservatives, religious, nonreligious, and every flavor of the tribe were represented Monday evening, February 25th in the High Holy Day sized crowd.
The evening started with a warm introduction from Dr. Gady Levy and my friend, Rabbi Joshua Davidson. Bari Weiss shared her insights on modern thought and Anti-Semitism followed by a lively Q & A moderated by Alana Newhouse. Ms. Weiss called our community to stand up against the voices of intolerance on the right and left. We are called to share our commitment to Zionism and Judaism with the next generation of Jews and beyond. We are responsible for creating a better world and society. Here are a few of her thoughts:
“We are a kingdom of priests and a holy nation, the only question is if we can believe it.”
“Practice a Judaism of affirmation, not a Judaism of defensiveness.”
“There are two types of Anti-Semitism: Hanukkah Anti-Semitism, and Purim Anti-Semitism. Hanukkah Anti-Semitism belongs to the Left, Purim Anti-Semitism to the Right.”
The Streicker Center strives to engage the community with the richness of Jewish tradition. The forums and classes touch various topics including politics, comedy, literature, culinary arts, religious texts, music, theater and more. For more information about Temple Emanu-El or Streicker Center events: www.emanuelnyc.org. How to Fight Anti-Semitism by Bari Weiss will be out in Fall 2019.