Worthwhile article about Rabbi Dr. Daniel Tropper who is retiring as head of Gesher (Bridge) an organization espousing secular-religious dialogue.
He is especially frustrated with the fact that after all these years the camps have only become more distant from one another.
“Religious Zionism has sidelined himself,” says Tropper. “We have become so radical that no one needs to relate to us at all. At the same time, the secular camp has reached the status of what French-Jewish sociologist Georges Friedman calls ‘Hebrew-speaking gentiles.’ Not only can most of them not read ancient Jewish texts, they cannot even understand the language of literature by Shai Agnon or Isaac Leib Peretz. When I immigrated to Israel in 1969, it was clear that this was a Jewish state, and the whole debate was over the character of her Jewishness. Today the intellectuals are developing a concept of ‘a state of all its citizens,’ and that means the loss of our common nucleus.”
Tropper’s most difficult moment throughout all the years of dialogue was “without a doubt” the murder of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin:
“It was a terrible trauma for both sides, which we have not overcome to this day. Part of the secular alienation from Judaism stems from that event. True, a refined minority of secular Israelis realized that if something like this happened, it was a sign that they needed to contend with their Jewish identity, which prompted the secular-Jewish quest, but this is an elitist minority. I believe that for the overwhelming majority, the murder reinforced a feeling that they already had, that Judaism is something unethical and therefore not for them.”
Read it, it’s important to hear what he is saying: both sides are to blame, but in the end the divide is growing.