One of the truly influential rabbis (LRJS) just very recently has defined Judaism in the following way:
What is Judaism? A religion? A faith? A way of life? A set of beliefs? A collection of commands? A culture? A civilization? It is all these, but it is emphatically something more. It is a way of thinking, a constellation of ideas: a way of understanding the world and our place within it. Judaism contains life-changing ideas.

I have been exploring this concept in my publications under the title “Intellectual Judaism” for the last 25-30 years. A descriptor “intellectual” does not mean that there is an unintellectual Judaism – the intellectual Jewish religious authorities advanced Judaism as a religion for the last three millenniums. However, they applied their intellectuality for interpreting the Torah guidance within the walls of isolated Jewish communities, separated from the entire world, with no spiritual competition within isolated communities. The challenge of defining yourself as truly Jewish was easily addressed – mainly, to “treat your neighbor as yourself” and to follow your rabbi directives.

In the course of the last two centuries in the Western civilization, the walls of Jewish isolation were broken and the Jews have become “normalized” citizens of the residence countries with the ability for different Jewish groups to compete openly with each other and with gentile communities in all spheres of human activities – moral, political, social, economic, scientific, etc. The new much more serious challenges of defining yourself as truly Jewish had to be addressed.

What are the challenges in the “normalized” Jewish life in the Western world that require the intellectual (as opposed to ritual/prayer) Torah guidance?

The challenge of understanding the Torah/Bible-guided mission of the Jews as the Chosen in building the better world for everybody together with everybody.
The belief that the Jews are chosen by the Supreme Power above us the humans to perform a special, unique only for the Jews among all human tribes, mission in creating the better world for everybody together with everybody is what make the Jewish tribe a unique one among the other tribes. The Reform and Orthodox rabbis address this challenge differently.

The Reform rabbis are practically dismissing the belief in the Jews as the Chosen. They think it is arrogant for the Jews to regard ourselves as the Chosen People. In essence, most of the Reform rabbis consider the mission of the Jews not to be the Chosen by God for a special role in building the better world along the lines of Torah/Bible ideas but rather to be a leader in promoting the government-enforced policies of “human rights” and “social justice”.

The Orthodox rabbis confine this belief only to special unique relations between God and the Jews. They say – we the Jews may be a distinctive people but we do not pretend to be intrinsically superior to others. They say – we the Jews do not claim exclusive rights to salvation and we teach that the righteous of all peoples have a share in the World to Come.

Thus, neither Reform of Orthodox rabbis address the contemporary challenge of transforming the belief in the Jews as the Chosen into moral, political, social, economic and scientific actions. The Jews who are trying to be truly Jewish are trying to figure out what does it mean for them to be “Chosen” in their own life. The new Torah/Bible-guided ideas are needed.

The challenge of creating a Torah/Bible-guided blueprint of the better world for all components of this world - moral, political, social, economic.

How this challenge is addressed by the Reform rabbis was described by one of the Jewish new-media outlets which adheres to the Reform Judaism worldviews, Forward, in a title of one its articles: How do we be Jewish after a year of Trump’s America? The real meaning of this title is clear: only the Hilary Clinton/Barak Obama blueprint for America’s better world is acceptable.

How the Orthodox rabbis address this challenge was described by Former Israeli Chief Rabbi Meir Lau who called on American Jews to immigrate to Israel presumably to build the better world only for the Jews and only for Israel.

However, both Reform and Orthodox blueprint concepts for the better world are not what the contemporary American Jews may be interested in. What is needed is a Torah/Bible-guided blueprint for the better world for everybody, not only for the Jews and for Israel and not based on the anti-Bible ideas legislated by the big government. The Jews who are trying to be truly Jewish are trying to figure out what kind of the “better world for everybody” they should promote in their own life circumstances. The new Torah/Bible-guided ideas for the better world blueprint are needed.

The challenge of understanding the nation’s Torah/Bible-guided Judeo-Christian morality as the moral foundation for the better world.
The challenge is clear. The big government is forcing you to follow its legislative politically correct commands in building a “human-rights paradise” while you believe you have to follow the Bible guidance in creating the better world for everybody working together with everybody.

In non-religious terms, this challenge forces you to select between the Torah/Bible guidance, which empowers you as an individual to take care of yourself, your family and community, and relinquishing your power to the government, which promises to take care of everybody. The first Torah/Bible choice would let you have most of the earned money for yourself to enable you to take care of yourself, your family and community – with the second choice, the government expropriates most of your earnings with the promise to take care of you, your family and community.

Unfortunately, the rabbinical community is silent on this challenge although they should fight, together with the priestly Christian community, against the big government playing the role of god in violation of the Ten Commandments. Unfortunately, many Jews and Christians do not understand as well that the fight for the Judeo-Christian America is not one more theology battle – this is a battle for the individual freedoms against the government despotism.

The challenge of understanding the fight against anti-Semites while building the better world together with many of them.
The challenge of understanding the fight against the anti-Semitism is in revising the well-accepted definition of anti-Semitism that it is hostility to, prejudice, or discrimination against Jews. Following this definition, the Jews (and the true Christians) treat the anti-Semitism as a sort of incurable disease that should be restricted by publicizing and condemning all anti-Semitic actions in the public arena.

However, many Gentiles, especially in the Western Judeo-Christian world, who dislike the Jews, may be “cured”. Their dislike is a sort of protective shield against the Torah-guided push to adjust the Gentile’s common traits of “the better world for everybody” to the Jewish common traits of this world.

The challenge is to put together a group of influential Jewish and Christian intellectuals who clearly understand the challenge and are prepared to work together in search for Judeo-Christian fundamentals of the Torah/Bible-guided better world on this earth.
 

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