This OpEd in the Washington Post is eye-opening. Winston Churchill propagated the famine in India. He was far more racist than hero.
Today, we have a madman at the helm in America and a Republican Congress that sits on their hands when they should impeach him for dereliction of duty. Israel’s leadership has sustained misogyny, relied on racism, and is not coincidentally, steeped in corruption.
But one good thing is happening in the world. We are starting to see history and cultural current events through the lens of the victim rather than the vanquisher.
If Trump was the backlash against a first black male President and a less Patriarchal, racist control over our values…#Metoo #BlackLivesMatter, #TimesUp, #NeverAgain and so much more are the backlash against Trump’s evil and the dumb, often heinous ideas and people supporting him. But most importantly, these movements exist because there is a genuine change in our culture and their momentum is inexorable.
We are starting to judge history from the perspective of those harmed rather than merely the narration of power. This has been the premise of feminist ‘herstory’ for the last half century. This speaks of a significant shift in power. A crack in the crevice where light is emerging. This is where we take heart and hope.
And if religions – in my case, Judaism, expect to continue forward, it will not be through the mechanism of Orthodoxy, or extremism. It will be through the conscious letting go of Patriarchy, and of recreating text and scripture and commentary that reflects the thoughts and spiritual experiences of those marginalized and exiled and yes, victimized, throughout most of time.
The controversial Women’s March organizers were not capable of creating new, more enlightened insights. By following in the footsteps of a misogynistic anti-Semite, they chose a tired, old, patriarchal path when they should have provided a new vision. They do not represent feminism, nor are they up to the task of feminist leadership. Theirs was a failure of imagination, as much as it was beliefs.
My teenage daughter said she finds it intolerable to watch old movies because of the level of mysogyny and racism that they implicitly accepted and celebrated. She finds these films hold no value.
How long before this generation and the next turn their eyes to what the majority of my generation has been frustrated by, but have accepted nonetheless?
We need to meaningfully, profoundly change Judaism, to move it away from a Patriarchal narrative. This is the central problem. We do not and should not emulate the mistakes of the past. We must do this because it’s what Judaism teaches us, and for our survival. The Shechinah must emerge from the shadows.
America and modern day Israel are countries both founded on the notions of progress, freedom, and haven for those victimized. It’s time they fulfill their true potential.
#TimesUp for Judaism itself to throw off the shackles of its slavery, and write a more feminist-spiritual story to study, learn from, and live by.
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