By Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Once upon a time, religion in general and Judaism in particular represented the cutting edge of human progress. Abraham, Moses & Rabbi Akiva were trailblazers who challenged the laws of the jungle with the Laws of Moses. However, things have changed considerably. Orthodox Jews have become followers – defensive and conservative.
Spinoza, Marx, Herzl, Freud, Einstein, Feynman, Wiesenthal, Wiesel – all put their stamp on modernity, but were not committed religious Jews, when they were busy generating ideas that conquered the world.
- Yearly, millions of people unnecessarily get brain damage & starve while the globe holds plenty of food.
- Africa is in danger of extinction from a preventable virus & partially treatable disease, but little is done.
- We continue to ruin nature for the greed and profit of the few, to the point of endangering the survival of all.
- Violent lies and terrorist world views again produce the threat of a nuclear holocaust for mankind.
- Wars and military conflict take badly-needed resources away from real problems that need solving.
And what do the most committed Jews undertake as a group?
We pray, we eat kosher, we celebrate Shabbat, and we wait and see. Trapped by the trivialities of daily life and personal timidity, between hope and despair, in a state of denial and procrastination, we are cautious and passive.
When will our leaders act again? Are we too waiting for them to do something? Or are we forming a grassroots mass movement to force them to do their job? We might end up leaders ourselves, against our will, utterly inadequate and completely incapable. But perhaps we are nonetheless the best people available for the job?
How much longer will we put our proud tradition to shame?
How much longer will we wait for a Redeemer before we decide to bring him?
How much longer will we leave global thought and action to God?
That is not religion; that is opium for the masses.
We need speak up – all of us. We need to act up – every one of us. Today.
About Nathan Lopes Cardozo
Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo is the Founder and Dean of the David Cardozo Academy and the Bet Midrash of Avraham Avinu in Jerusalem. A sought-after lecturer on the international stage for both Jewish and non-Jewish audiences, Rabbi Cardozo is the author of 13 books and numerous articles in both English and Hebrew. He heads a Think Tank focused on finding new Halachic and philosophical approaches to dealing with the crisis of religion and identity amongst Jews and the Jewish State of Israel. Hailing from the Netherlands, Rabbi Cardozo is known for his original and often fearlessly controversial insights into Judaism. His ideas are widely debated on an international level on social media, blogs, books and other forums.
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