The Jewish unity challenge is a personal call to Jews, to all Jews, including yourself, to start reaching out across the aisle, to create one united nation.
The Jewish Unity Challenge is a project whose sole purpose is to develop a forum where Jews can join together in the bonds of love and unity. We realize that this is a challenge because Jews come from many different backgrounds and beliefs. However, we believe that our diverse types, colors, and traditions should not be a threat to one another, but a strength to finally realize the dream of Ahavat Yisrael, the unconditional love of our fellow Jews. The lack of this love and unity was considered by our sages to be the root cause of the destruction of the second Temple. If we can re-introduce ourselves and start the process of accepting one another, in the spirit of Ahavat Yisrael, we can again grow as individuals and as a collective nation.
- We aspire to create a forum where Jews can unite and support one another as one – “Echad”.
- We understand that Jews can come from different streams, looks, locale, and traditions. We aim to use this diversity to unite us, not to further divide us. We feel that when people are established in their “denomination,” they can use it to help solidify their commitment to practicing their expression of Judaism.
Consider this, Jews today are just as divided as we were before the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash (The Temple). The infighting and name calling hasn’t changed since antiquity. On our national mourning days of Tisha B’Av and Tzom Gedaliah (The Fast of Gedaliah), we mourn the loss of our sovereignty and and of our ancestral homeland because of this baseless hatred and infighting. These commemorations are sadly empty acts if not followed by changes in the way that we think and view one another from a kinder more loving perspective. A conversation between the diverse types of Jews is being started with this movement so that we can ultimately merit the future salvation. That salvation starts with the re-creation of national unity.
The Jewish Unity movement believes:
- When Jews are united, or are One (Echad), they are stronger than when divided.
- Jews can be united and yet still keep to their traditions, particular practices, and lifestyles without feeling threatened or reactionary. This ability to accept diversity requires a secure and dedicated Jew. A Jew personally confident with self-love, and dedicated to his/her people to love them unconditionally.
- Jews, working together, can form better networking opportunities, and can truly develop community cohesion that cannot be achieved individually. In the spirit of the verses found in Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 where it states, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up, but pity anyone who calls and has no one to help them up.”
- Jews can form bonds based upon emphasizing the attribute of love (“Ahavah”) for our nation and do so by appreciating the things that we have in common and the tradition that binds us together rather than emphasizing the things that divide us.
- We do not promote a certain denominational agenda, we want people who are sick of the infighting and can see beyond their own group’s interests, to come out and work with one another in unity.
- We run different types of events where we can meet like-minded Jewish people, discuss hot-button issues, and celebrate our being Jewish.
The challenge to treat all Jews with respect and, beyond that, accept each other is under emphasized in the contemporary Jewish world. While many of us may discuss the topic on Tisha B’Av, shortly after and for lack of an outlet to affect this change, we continue to perpetuate the apathy and division.
The purpose of the Jewish Unity Project is to provide this outlet to unite Jews from all streams. Our people have been held back from uniting collectively, and it is believed that this lack of unity caused by baseless hatred (Sinat Chinam) in the second Temple period that caused our national destruction and exile. We need to give up on our hatred/dislike of others and seek ways to foster a love for other Jews; for all Jews.
Since the exile from our homeland, anti-Semitic persecution has served as one of the only unifying factors of the Jewish national experience. In this vein, anti-Semitism’s alarming contemporary resurgence is sadly the sole motivation that drives many Jews to respond collectively. Many have joked that G-D put anti-Semitism in the world so that the Jews would have something to talk about. The positive cause of unity, the truly meaningful reason for Jews to unify has never been explored and pursued. Our enemies are better united, more organized, than we are. They have money ear marked for our destruction.To them we are all the same!
People have become apathetic to the events unfolding in the international stage. Many Jews feel that there is nothing to connect to, and that any form of religion is devoid of value. Many feel disconnected to major Jewish organizations that are supposed to represent us. Many Jews feel isolated. It is this lack of inclusive representation that causes apathy within the Jewish community. After speaking with Jews from across the spectrum of Jewish expression, it is clear to us that our people want something different. With the large group of people that I have spoken to, this is endemic to all groups. So instead of waiting for our Synagogues, Shul’s, Temples, and organizations to take the first steps towards each other, the Jewish Unity Challenge aims to take our destiny into our own hands.
It’s time that you put aside your differences with other Jews, and focus on the things that unite us as Jews. This is your individual challenge. This is our collective challenge as a community.
Would you be open to developing love for your fellow Jew? We are all part of the nation that has been dispersed to different lands, with different customs, different cultures, and even different ethnicities. But, we are still one nation which all of us can part be of. Jews from all streams and denominations need to see that they are all part of the very fabric that weaves the cloth of this nation.
What we are talking about is simple. This is basic common sense and now is the time to do this!
When it comes down to it, many of us have a knee-jerk reaction to leaving our comfort zone. That is why it is called a challenge. It is time to look at the bigger picture, to let go a little, and to reach across the table.
I invite you to join us in this challenge. Click here to join our Facebook page and sign our petition for Jewish Unity.
Together we can foster a more positive and a non-judgmental environment and declare that we are Am Ehad, one nation.
The Jewish Unity Challenge is a project sponsored by Herut North America, a Jewish Zionist movement under the umbrella of the World Zionist Organization.
Watch this video below for information about the uniting of Ethiopian Jews and their Aliyah.