We have entered a unique three weeks period of our calendar ending on August 14, the day that corresponds to the 9th of the Hebrew month of Av. As we reflect on the various calamities that befell the Jewish people in this particular period of our history, we are confronted with two opposing dimensions of our peoplehood. On one hand, we find unrelenting anti-Semitism from whatever source that somehow tends to strengthen the feeling of belonging to the Jewish people. On the other, we encounter the tendency to engage in internal strife that results in fractured peoplehood. Tragically, both can occur simultaneously as happened during the revolt against Rome in 66 BCE.
Today, we face a similar situation. On one hand, there is the BDS movement and its campaigns throughout the world that target not only Israel but also Jewish students on campus walking to their next class. On the other, U.S. and Israeli Jewry are on diverging paths along moral, political and religious lines to an extent that could fragment the Jewish people. In the US, this phenomenon has led to polarization within local communities, including our own in Seattle and the Puget Sound.
This problem is a major focus of the Project for Applied Peoplehood and Jewish Unity. As part of our educational mission and our focus on understanding the causes of divisiveness, we are beginning this week to highlight books, articles, and thoughts on the Israel-American Jewry divide on our website and Facebook page. Be part of the conversation by adding your own comments and questions here and on our Facebook page: facebook.com/