US Orthodox Rabbis’ Group finds common ground with Christians, is frequently at odds with secular Jews
A group of Orthodox rabbis is acting as the solitary voice of Torah Judaism in the social arena. Its Biblical-based positions have put it at odds with the plethora of liberal Jewish organizations and allied it with many Christian political organizations, its head explains.
The Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV) brings together over 2,000 Orthodox rabbis to advocate for classical Jewish ideas and standards in matters of American public policy. Rabbi Yaakov Menken, the Managing director of the CJV, said that the organization was founded to counter the proliferation of organizations claiming to be Jewish.
“The problem that we recognized was that there was no Jewish rabbinic Torah organization willing to speak out on public policy issues,” he said to Israel365 News. “It was a situation where liberal organizations were proclaiming that they represent not only Jewish values but that they represented all the Jews. We had to step forward since silence is acquiescence. This was not only problematic socially and politically, but it was a massive desecration of God’s name, emboldening our enemies and disheartening our friends.”
“The left-wing ‘Jewish’ groups flooded the public spotlight,” he said. “While they claim to be Jewish, they represent the antithesis of Torah values. They are frequently anti-Israel and many times, they don’t even represent the majority of Jews.”
The rabbi emphasized that many issues that are being debated in the political forum today have actually been decided explicitly in Jewish sources.
“We are about policy; not politics. Issues like transgender and abortion are dealt with in Torah sources,” Rabbi Menken said. “The real Jewish position based in Torah is clear. These other liberal groups claim to represent Judaism but they absolutely do not.”
In one such case, a group of “rabbis and faith leaders” brought a lawsuit against the state of Missouri, protesting the state’s “Right to Life of the Unborn Child Act,” which barred abortions except due to a medical emergency. The faith leaders claimed that “religious views are being enshrined into laws in Missouri.”
CJV contested this claim, issuing a statement that the pro-abortion stance was “without basis in either Jewish or secular law.”
“[The case] was filed by people calling themselves ‘rabbis’ is simply outrageous,” the CJV said. “Their manifest ignorance of Jewish history and the sacred value of human life is in line with their ignorance of Jewish belief. Their efforts to distort core Jewish values constitutes a desecration of G-d’s name that is simply beyond words, and they should be ashamed.”
In the case of advocating for the removal of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) from the powerful House Foreign Affairs Committee, the actions of CJV were decidedly political, putting the Orthodox rabbis at odds with many left-wing Jewish groups.
“Our position was entirely based on moral considerations based in the Jewish thought and was not about politics,” Rabbi Menken explained, citing their official letter which stated, that the removal of Omar was “the only morally responsible choice for a Member of Congress who opposes racism, bigotry, and antisemitism.”
Rabbi Menken emphasized that the left wing camp is also transforming into a haven for antisemitism. He noted that the right wing used to pose a threat to Jews, harboring at its extremity white supremacists.
“There is still hate from the right-wing extremists but there is now hate from the extreme left-wing,” Rabbi Menken said. “The difference is in the responses from the mainstream. On the right, antisemitism is loudly condemned. Left-wing antisemitism is given a tacit pass from the mainstream, even in the political party.”
Rabbi Menken emphasized that two antisemitic tropes are reappearing on the left: that Jews acquire wealth through nefarious means and that Jews are foreigners.
“This is the basis of the two-state solution being promoted by the Democratic party,” Rabbi Menken said. “It is based on the false claim that Israel is occupying Palestine, that we stole the land.”
Ironically, the CJV’s pro-Bible positions often put them at odds with secular Jews and align the organization with many Christians. In its mission statement, the CJV rejects liberal values that contradict Biblical precepts.
“American liberal Jewish movements have long abandoned Jewish tradition as their final arbiter of morality, and today declare that ‘Judaism’ requires support for positions at odds with the Bible itself,” the statement read. “Left-wing ideologues are quick to falsely accuse conservative politicians and officials of harboring antisemitic views while ignoring the rapid growth of antisemitism among so-called ‘progressives’.”
“Orthodox Jews follow Judaism,” Rabbi Menken said succinctly. “Too often, liberal Jews expect Judaism to follow them. This is not how Judaism works.”
He recalled that “the Jewish Left” attacked his organization early on by describing it as “espousing positions more often associated with evangelical Christians. To which our unwritten response was, ‘Well, yeah, where do you think the evangelicals got them from?’”
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