Religious Fundamentalist Judaism and the Reformation That Never Was
The fundamentalist brand of Judaism which permeates the American North East and Canada does not accurately reflect the way the majority of Israelis think and behave. Let us call to mind what the beloved Israeli philosopher Yeshayahu Liebowitz, who was thought of as the conscience of the nation, said over thirty years ago in reference to religious fundamentalism: "In every generation and at every time, but especially in our time, there are people who speak in the name of faith in God, and assume for themselves the authority to be zealous on God's behalf. And the question is. . . Is their personality such, and are their qualities and human and ethical levels such, that they are worthy of being men of the covenant of peace -- except that their zeal for God has forced them to carry out these severe actions? . . . If he is zealous on behalf of God without being suited for doing so, he is nothing but a murderer". In 1993 a controversy initiated by religious fundamentalists, in Israel, developed over the fact that Liebowitz won the Israel Prize for his life's work. The controversy was so heated and divisive that he eventually turned down the award and died shortly thereafter, without it.
The Haskalah which was a spiritual and literal separation from the thickness of religiosity; a Jewish intramural campaign in favor of *mixing*: assimilating, with the "host nation" against what the opponents have dubbed "the immutable laws of Torah".
It has been said that Jewish religious fundamentalism is incompatible with democracy in Israel. It must certainly also be blinded to the fact that globalization is democracy on a grand scale, and that any form of religious fundamentalism is antithetical to global peace.
We (Jews) admire and placate America so much; yet we cannot bring ourselves to emulate the fact that the reason why America is so strong is because of...