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Orthodox Conundrum

Apr 24, 2023

In last week's episode, Episode 155, Scott spoke with Rabbi Mark Wildes of the Manhattan Jewish Experience about whether diaspora Jews have enough engagement with Israel, whether they care enough about Israel, and if they have the moral right to actively try to affect Israeli policies. They talked about whether diaspora communities have independent integrity, or if they should instead be seen as waystations on the way to encouraging all Jews to move to Israel. They addressed other issues, too, like how to increase the care that non-Israeli Jews have for Israel, whether familiarity with Israel has created a type of indifference, and more. 

Responses to this episode were mixed, to say the least. Some people agreed wholeheartedly and didn’t see anything controversial in what they suggested; others felt that the episode was condescending, shortsighted, and misguided. 

One of the many comments came from Maharat Ruth Friedman. She concluded by asking, "Do you plan to interview a diaspora Jew who shares alternate views and can shed light on how the American Jewish community viewed the tragedies in Israel in the past two weeks? There is a lot to say on these questions and I think that folks would appreciate proper representation and not being talked about by others."

To that end, Scott invited Maharat Friedman to present a very different viewpoint from the one he and Rabbi Wildes espoused last week. The conversation began with talking about a different way for religious Jews who live outside of Israel to view Israel and events in israel; but almost inevitably, they talked about Israeli politics and government, the Palestinian issue, and the meaning of religious Zionism for someone who has no intention of leaving the diaspora, and believes that  - l’katchila, as a matter of ideal religious practice - not all Jews should move to Israel.

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Music: "Happy Rock" by