"The Jews are a peculiar people. In age after age, they have been expected to disappear, and yet they persist. In age after age they have been few in numbers, and yet they have seemed large to themselves-and to their enemies. In age after age the beliefs and values of the Jews have challenged, and often irritated, the majority society. In age after age large numbers of Jews have been murdered or have been forcibly converted or have deserted their faith by choice, but enough have elected to carry on their Jewish otherness, to continue the journey…".
It demands that Jews be a witness to God's truth everywhere in the world, and witnesses to truth often end up in difficult circumstances. Some four thousand years ago, of the founding patriarch, Abraham. In age after age, Jews have followed after Abraham - by being different, by insisting on their otherness."
Jews have deep within them the determination to remain other and to live, often precariously, as a minority on the margins of alien cultures. The Jews are self- created and continue to exist by choice…". God expects Jews to live intensely, creatively, decently in the moral vanguard of mankind. Chosenness is ever present, and inescapable, discomfort caused by conscience. Judaism is not invented by man. It is revealed by God. We cannot create revelation on our own.
The Jew …lives in two-dimension -the now and the forever; Jews have lived within changing and often tragic circumstances, but their religion has lifted them up to another realm in which nothing changes. The holy days and the commandments that Jews observe are timeless. Historical events are fleeting.
Jews cannot leave one another alone because they are heirs of many generations of ancestors who have yet to reach full agreement as to what the exact duty of the Jew should be. They cannot leave the non-Jewish world alone because they are heirs to an idea that pursues them relentlessly and is held aloft in pride: the Jews have an indispensable role in perfecting the whole. "Jews of all persuasions continue to hold fast to the dream of their ancestors that at the end of the days hatred, poverty and injustice will be no more.
To be a Jew is to be commanded: to take actions because they are right, not because they bring personal comfort or material gain. If Abraham wanted tranquility and prosperity, he would have carried on his father's idol business. To be a Jew is to open one's tent from all four sides so that any stranger in need of food and shelter can enter from every direction. To be a Jew is to believe in tikkun olam, that the world can be redeemed. To be a Jew is to be carried by the current of the ancient Jewish river that keeps on flowing. The journey will continue.
The prophets taught that the one God of the Israelites was God of all the world. "For my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples." Isaiah 56:6. And the Jews were to bring this message to all the peoples of the world.