These are deeply challenging times for liberal American Jews vis a vis our humanistic values and our particular relationship to the Jewish people, to Zionism, and to the State of Israel. Anyone who cares about the health and stability of the American Jewish community ought to be worried in light of so many American Jews seeming to turn their backs on or against the Jewish state because of the frequent wars fought between Israel and Hamas, the unresolved inequities in Israeli society vis a vis Arab-Israeli citizens, and the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Liberal American Jews who are turning away from the Jewish people and State of Israel is, I believe, a substantive threat to our American Jewish identity, to our being part of the Jewish people as a whole, and to our understanding of the meaning of the State of Israel in Jewish history.
My friend Rabbi Ammi Hirsch of the Stephen S. Wise Free Synagogue in New York City is as eloquent a proponent of what Liberal Zionism is and means to Reform American Jews as there is. In his sermon last Erev Shabbat, May 21, 2021, he spoke to what he called “The Fracturing of Liberal Judaism.” I ask you to watch and listen and, if you have children or grandchildren in high school or college, to forward this sermon to them as Rabbi Hirsch addresses the challenges they face on campuses today and how they ought to respond and position themselves.