For context, I’m an adult now, but I grew up in a Reform Jewish household with Israeli parents. My mother once told our Rabbi she was an Atheist Jew. He accepted this and told her Judaism can be practiced in many different forms and ultimately it is defined by one’s character over his or her beliefs. This is the Judaism I have always known.
Judaism taught me that we are all created equal – that we must love thy neighbor and that we must treat others the way we want to be treated. It taught me that we never forget what has happened to us and that we also have an obligation to speak out and reject injustice and inequality for others. It has taught me that we will always continue our fight for survival, but it has also taught me that we shall never take pleasure in another person’s pain or suffering.
The reason I bring this up is because I was disturbed by some videos I saw from the Jerusalem Flag March. The people in these videos appeared to be Ultra-Orthodox, but their hateful and taunting words did not align with my understanding of Judaism. After doing some research I learned that Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox all have many different interpretations of how the teachings in the Torah are applied to non-Jews. In Reform Judaism, we apply them based on interpretations from the Talmud, which says we are all descendants of one person and no one can say their ancestor is better than someone else’s.
I’m not familiar with other interpretations, but can anyone provide some insight? I’m a bit perplexed on how one can claim to follow the words of the Tanakh so strictly, yet be so hateful to an entire group of people.
Are these just bad people? Or do they also have a different interpretation of Judaism than I do?