Swim Against the Current

“In ages of collectivism, Jews emphasised the value of the individual. In ages of individualism, Jews built strong communities. When most of humanity was consigned to ignorance, Jews were highly literate. When others were building monuments and amphitheatres, Jews were building schools. In materialistic times they kept faith with the spiritual. In ages of poverty they practised tzedaka so that none would lack the essentials of a dignified life. The sages said that Abraham was called haIvri, “the Hebrew,” because all the world was on one side (ever echad) and Abraham on the other (Genesis Rabba 42:8). To be a Jew is to swim against the current, challenging the idols of the age whatever the idol, whatever the age.”

Ceremony & Celebration p. 84