Q: Which tenets of Progressive Judaism should the main political parties adopt?
Tom Francies says…
‘Tzedek tzedek Tirdof’ (Justice, Justice you shall pursue it).
As Progressive Jews, we have a duty to pursue justice, to not only hope and pray but actively strive to make the world a more just place.
When we vote, we are empowering the political parties to act on our behalf and must do so with the Jewish ideal of justice in mind.
We must think about which party is going to do the most for the worst off in the community, who is going to stand up for minorities and who is going to speak out globally for human rights.
They say words in the Torah are never wasted, but in this phrase, tzedek (justice) is repeated. No one really knows why but one theory is not only are we meant to seek justice, but we must also do it justly.
In modern society, politics has become a dirty word. We should desire a party that will act in a way to change that – not just promising change, but actually enacting it. Politics affects every aspect of our lives.
The fact that people still have a tendency to shy away from it is worrying. A political party fighting for social and economic justice is vitally important to re-engage those who have lost faith in the system.
So as I read articles, dossiers and manifestos, and as I listen to speeches that hope to convince me to vote a certain way, there is one question I’ll ask above all others – will their policies and beliefs make my country a more just place?
• Tom Francies is a movement worker for LJY-Netzer, the youth movement of Liberal Judaism.
Tamara Schmidt says…
There is really only one guiding principle I would stress were I to have the ear of our political leaders: tikkun olam.
I believe “repairing the world” encompasses a wide range of concepts, which it often seems are missing from the political landscape.
As we know, tikkun olam means much more than environmentally-friendly policies, for which most of our leaders have begun to acknowledge the need. As Progressive Jews, we are well aware of the onus on us to do what we can to heal the world.
I hope this is something felt by all political leaders.
In a time when the news is full of stories of conflict, natural disasters and welfare service cuts, I would like to see political parties taking inspiration from the tenet of tikkun olam and committing to do all they can to help the vulnerable, ill and those in hard times.
If our political parties adopted tikkun olam, they would have to do more than pay lip service to ‘saving the NHS’.
Tikkun olam means, to me at least, that we must ensure the most vulnerable in society are able to eat without relying on food banks; that those needing medical care are seen rapidly in modern hospitals; that refugees and asylum seekers are given the help they need to start new lives in the UK; and that our schools are be among the best in the world.
I only hope this is a tenet they adopt, to some degree, over the coming months.
•Tamara Schmidt is an officer of Liberal Judaism