If I can put on my religious hat for the moment since most of my critics have been religious: The Temple was destroyed and the nation was exiled over 2,000 years ago because of “sinat chinam” – hatred with no cause.” The Sages of the Talmud teach that redemption can only come through restoring our unity. We were plunged into exile because of the hatred of one Jew towards another and salvation can only come through repairing ourselves in that realm. In other words, we can engage in peace negotiations, defeat our enemies in wars, and even gather en masse in the streets and tents to demonstrate against all the social injustices imaginable, but we will not succeed in creating the healthy society we all crave until, at a minimum, we learn to treat each other with respect. I can think of no greater disrespect than an unwillingness to even explore working together with other groups.
The Zionist dream will not fully materialize until we all relate to one another as brothers and sisters regardless of our countries of origin or levels of observance. We must love each other like family despite our cultural nuances, care for each other’s needs as best friends despite our ideological differences, and recognize the role that each one of us plays as pieces of the puzzle that create a “complete nation.”
We can argue with each other passionately about the critical issues of our times. However, we must never close the door on working together for common causes. Those who do advocate those notions will undermine our country. May the successes we have achieved in Bet Shemesh serve as a glowing example and may we learn to unite on the issues we agree on as to move forward as a county and achieve redemption as a nation.
About the Author: Rabbi Dov Lipman is an educator, author, and political activist based in Beit Shemesh, Israel. He has rabbinic ordination from Ner Israel Rabbinical College and a Masters in education from Johns Hopkins University. His website is www.rabbilipman.com.
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