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Rabbi's Week In Review- 10/20/2020

10/20/2020 05:41:35 PM

Oct20

Last week, we read in our Torah about the Tree of Knowledge. While the common assumption and/or interpretation is that Adam and Eve committed a sin by partaking of the Tree of Knowledge, Judaism has always placed the acquisition of knowledge amongst our highest priorities. The knowledge acquired by Adam and Eve in that moment was the most basic level of self-awareness. From that point forward, we have chosen to continue to read, to study, to know more.

This past week, another in what has been too long a stream of conspiracy theories (I think describing these conspiracies as theories gives them too much credit) became a prominent part of the news. There was a time not too long ago when the conspiracy fraud perpetrated by QAnon could have been easily passed off as just a lot of meshugas. But it has now made its way into the main of political discourse and into the White House.

QAnon is not just about wacky ideas. There is a persistent anti-Semitic strain running through its propaganda. “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” that atrocious piece of anti-Jewish garbage going back to the anti-Semitic Henry Ford, has been cited with approval in QAnon postings on social media.

What we are seeing here is a direct correlation between virulent anti-Semitism and a diminution of knowledge by way of conspiracy theories. There are many, many issues to weigh and consider as we enter the voting booth — the ongoing scourge of racism, the crisis of climate change, economic disparity and injustice, immigration rights, rights for women, rights for the LGBTQ community.  

But we also need to think about our safety and survival as Jews. We must support candidates for elected office who have our backs. We need elected officials who speak out clearly and without hesitation against those who attack us for merely being Jews and who would do us harm. As we fulfill our obligation to protect all those who are marginalized, we also must protect ourselves. There is no space between these two obligations. 

Mon, November 30 2020 14 Kislev 5781