Silencing of the Liberal American Jew

The Nathan Cummings Foundation

 

Silencing of the Liberal American Jew

By J.J. Goldberg

Published June 05, 2012, issue of June 08, 2012.

When Miami’s Temple Israel canceled a scheduled Memorial Day talk by local Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, following a protest by a wealthy Republican donor, it did more than just insult an elected official. It laid down a significant new marker in the gradual silencing of American Jewry as a moral voice in the broader society.

The silencing has been so gradual, and so thorough, that few even notice it anymore. There was a time — for about a half-century after World War II — when the Jewish community’s main representative bodies played a leading role in national struggles for tolerance and equal rights, fighting for Jews and non-Jews alike. Combining organizational savvy, generous donors, a motivated base and the moral authority of history’s victims, the community gained a standing and clout beyond its numbers. And the nation was better for it.

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