Community Engagement

For Israel and Diaspora

How Can We Speak Critically about Israel to the Outside World



"And They Spread Calumnies about the Land": How Can We Speak Critically about Israel to the Outside World

״ויוציאו דיבת הארץ״- כיצד מדברים על הצדדים הפחות חיוביים של ישראל בעולם?

The goal of this Limmud is to address the question of how our critiques of Israel are perceived by those on the outside, whether that means how American ears hear Israeli complaints, how less involved members of the Jewish community hear criticism by more involved members, and how non-Jews react to critical portrayals of Israel by Jews. Starting with the text of Parashat Shlach Lecha, we will try to understand why God and Moses sent spies in the first place, given that the settlement in the land was supposed to be a foregone conclusion. What went wrong in their plan? Did the spies behave badly, or was their report a natural outcome of the task they were given? Moving from the text to our lives, what can we learn from this episode? How do we inspire our friends, our congregants, our co-religionists to join us in fighting the struggles that we believe in without causing them to give up hope? Should we in the Masorti Movement emphasize the giant forces opposing us in our fight for recognition and rights in Israel, or should we emphasize the qualities that will enable us to succeed?


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The Masorti Movement is committed to a pluralistic, egalitarian, and democratic vision of Zionism. Masorti represents a “third” way. Not secular Judaism. Not ultra-Orthodoxy. But a Jewish life that integrates secular beliefs. Halakhah with inclusion and egalitarianism. Tradition that recognizes the realities of today’s world. Masorti engages tens of thousands of Israelis each year, young and old, native born as well as olim from around the globe.
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