Are we guilty? Are we traitors?

Collective guilt and the roots of Israeli solidarity.

By YEDIDIA STERN
September 6, 2018 17:32
3 minute read.
Men pray at the Western Wall in Jerusalem

Men pray at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

 
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ISRAEL'S NATIONAL clock is about to strike on the Days of Awe, a time of soul-searching and reckoning.

This is most clearly expressed in the classic confession, “We have been guilty, we have betrayed, we have robbed, we have slandered” – the main theme of the Yom Kippur service. The confession, a deliberate self-criticism, is based on two thought-provoking assumptions: First, that this self-criticism will not end well and will not result in our receiving high marks for our behavior over the year. Indeed, the text assumes that we are guilty, having betrayed, robbed, you name it.

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