Thursday, 5 November 2015

New RBH shiur on Koshertube: Universalism within Judaism: The Syrian Refugee Problem

Balancing universalism and Jewish nationalism is a significant issue within Jewish thought. Its importance is, perhaps, somewhat indicated in the placement of Maftir Yonah on Yom Kippur. This issue has also recently become a most practical concern because of the present Syrian Refugee Problem. How are we, as Jews, to respond?

In his latest Koshertube shiur, Nishma's Rabbi Hecht discusses the issue both theoretically and practically. We invite you to view Universalism with Judaism: The Syrian Refugee Problem at

1 comment:

Micha Berger said...

The dialectic between universalism and particularism is pretty central to davening. R/Dr/Lord Jonathan Sacks notes in his siddur contrasts like the theme of universal praise of G-d in Yotzeir Or (the 1st berakahah before Shema) vs the particularlist relationship with Him in Ahavah Rabba (the 2nd). Or the particularist element of the first paragraph of Aleinu which is made into a univeralist message in the second -- "and because we worship you, we hope... to establish/repair the world as a kingdom of Shakai, and all of humanity call in your name..." We open going from the particular to the universal, and close by going from the universal to the particular.

Things became much easier when the US, and by influence the rest of the West followed (more or less), stopped using the self-image of a melting pot and switched to thinking of integration as a glorious mosaic. (Which I think was first used in a speech by then-mayor of NY, David Dinkins. E.g. ) As Jews, we contribute our tile the greater whole.

This fits Rav Hirsch's worldview well; The Jewish People as the priest caste which contributes the moral and spiritual voice to a global humanity. Which we have been doing, largely without conscious intent, since our creation as a nation.