Peace, Justice, and Jews: Reclaiming Our Tradition

Incisive essays from progressive thinkers and activists advocating for the Jewish tradition of non-violence and compassion.

The tradition of peace and justice, nourished during two millennia of the Diaspora, has found Jews at the forefront of struggles for civil rights, labor rights, anti-militarism, and compassion for the most vulnerable among us: the poor, the hungry, and the oppressed. This affirmative tradition is grounded in the belief that only when human rights are respected for all, can Jews find true equality and security.

Editors Murray Polner and Stefan Merken have gathered the personal testimonies and practices of an increasingly vocal–and pertinent–number of Jews Israel and the United States: charity workers, political demonstrators, conscientious objectors, prison workers, animal rights advocates, mothers and fathers, refuseniks, rabbis, soldiers, journalists, and academics.

These diverse voices demonstrate a remarkable depth and range of thinking and commitment among Jews who seek justice by aspiring beyond violence’s many forms. Most urgently felt are the essays related to the Middle East.

Israel’s increasing reliance on military superiority in response to political and territorial problems, present to the American and Israeli Jews writing here, a profound moral dilemma.