SYMPOSIUM: CONFRONTING ‘CHOSENNESS’

Is rejection of the idea of Jewish “chosenness” something that we can share with others? How can we engage other Jews, including those more traditional, on the risks of “Jewish superiority”? There are parts of Torah, including the “chosen people” passages, which many of us find incompatible with our values. How do we share engagement with difficult texts?

Rabbi Toba Spitzer: Kaplan, Chosenness and Us

Rabbi Elyse Wechterman: Our Choice Against Chosenness Fights Jewish (and White) Supremacy

Rabbi James Greene: Confronting Chosenness

Rabbi Carl Choper: Chosenness Is a Dangerous Belief

Rabbi Amy Klein: Jewish Superiority in Israel

Rabbi Laurie Zimmerman: Against Jewish Supremacism

Rabbi Robert Tabak: Challenging Chosenness: Beyond the Reconstructionist Movement

Rabbi Bob Gluck: Embracing, Not Choosing: From Humanity to All Species

One Response

  1. I agree that for the Ultra-Orthodox variant of Judaism, the concept of the Chosen People is taken to mean that they are essentially superior to all other peoples and religions, and thus they have the justification for their patriarchial sexism, xenophobia, and racism. This, of course, should be condemned. I also blame the attitudes and concepts within Christianity and Islam that justify their own world-conquering theologies and their attempts at trying to impose their theologies globally, often through force. However, for me, the concept of ‘The Chosen People’ is not a matter of cultural superiority but merely a historical fact that this legend and concept is part of the history of how we imagined that our relationship with the Divine was to be a people chosen for this purpose to have a covenantal relationship with the Divine. We as a theology and culture ultimately came to create Rabbinic Judaism, a remarkable and unique cultural conception. Our culture is unique and different, but so is every other culture on this planet and in its history. Global and historical diversity is a fact, and humanity is the richer for it.

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