Summary Lesson 44: “Being Good Citizens”
- Two Reasons for Involvement: One of the traditional aspects of Judaism is to be involved in community and governmental affairs. This may have a two-fold purpose, one to serve the community and another to preserve its own rights and identity.
- Ethics: Whether establishing themselves within or part of a community, Jewish ethics and hospitality are an important life style. “Ethics are the principles by which man can live a good life in relation to his fellow man. The ethical life is basic to Jewish religious observance: ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself: I am the Lord’ (Leviticus 19:18). Love of God is incomplete without love of man. This precept underlies the rules of conduct which the Torah prescribes . . .” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
- Hospitality: “Hospitality is considered by Judaism to be one of the most important virtues that a person can develop . . . true since the time of ancient Israel . . . not merely a question of good manners, but a moral institution which grew out of the . . . nomadic existence of the people of Israel. The biblical customs of welcoming the weary traveler and receiving the stranger in one’s midst developed into an important Jewish virtue. Isaiah states that one of the duties of the pious is to ‘deal thy bread to the hungry’ and to ‘bring the poor that are cast out to thy house.’ (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
- Jews Opposed to Modern Israeli State: Some self-proclaimed Jewish leaders contend that gathering to Israel or being “assimilated” in governmental communities was not part of Jewish life because the system was not established by the Messiah. The “Satmar Rabbi” argued that the establishment of Israel as a modern nation was wrong. “Satmar (is the) name of a small, contemporary Hasidic sect, distinguished by its fanatical opposition to Zionism and the State of Israel. It takes its name from the hometown of its leader, Joel Teitelbaum of Satmar (1888–1979), and most of its adherents reside in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, New York.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
- Anticipated Theocracy: The efforts of the modern Jewish state to bring biblical theocracy together with democracy gives some noteworthy comparisons. Nowadays, the religious Jews, Bahais and Latter-day Saints anticipate an eventual theocracy. This is in stark contrast to the secularism and materialism so prevalent in modern society.