Judgement on the Merits
Volume 2 , Issue 1 (Sept, 1988 | Tishrei, 5749)
Swaztikas appear on the walls of Synagogues in suburban New
York. A black Muslim minister with a national audience refers to Judaism as a
?gutter religion?. A former Nazi is elected president of
It is certainly a hopeful sign that Jews of our own generation, perhaps more than at any time in the past, have stood up in the face of would-be oppression and repeatedly called these and other anti-Semitic developments to the attention of the world community. We have mounted the forces of ours and others outrage against such bigotry and hatred.
Still, as Jews we must be aware that those who fear the oppressor more than occasionally take on some of the characteristics of potential oppressors themselves -- the bigotry and prejudice which one cannot help but note inside our own Jewish community. Bigotry occurs when a Jewish store owner throws an inquiring black woman out of his store for no other reason than the color of her skin. Bigotry occurs when a new generation of young Jews smugly adopts the language and mentality which derogatorily refers to ?schvartzes? and ?goyim? instead of ?blacks? and ?non-Jews?. Prejudice occurs when Jews refuse to vote for any minority candidate or for a political party which vocally defends the rights of blacks and other minorities because we imagine an association with anti-semi tic views. Finally, bigotry and prejudice occur most insidiously and tragically when Jews act against each other. It is bigotry when Jews, as can be repeatedly observed, attempt to block the erection of an eruv or the construction of a mikvah because they don't want those kind of people (Orthodox Jews and Chasidim) entering their midst.
Our bigotry against others (and even against ourselves) may be no match for the bigotry that continues to be leveled against us by others. Still we cannot pretend to fight effectively against bigotry on the outside unless we fight against it on the inside as well. During these days when God judges each of us on our own individual merits, let us each vow to make those changes in behavior, attitude and speech which will enable us to judge our fellow human beings on their individual merits as well.