LOS ANGELES, September 13, 2013— The holiest day in Judaism, Yom Kippur, begins Friday night at sundown.
The Jewish day of atonement is marked by Jews fasting until sundown on Saturday night. Jews will sing “Avenu, Malkainu (Our Father, Our King)” and apologize for all sins committed during the entire Jewish year.
Earlier in the week Jews conducted the ritual of “Tashlich,” where bread is thrown into the ocean as a metaphor for casting away sins. Fish and ducks gobble up Jewish transgressions as a fresh new year starts.
For politically liberal Jews, Yom Kippur brings a special challenge. For 24 hours, they may confront the dark fact of possibly being liberals first and Jews second. Confusing liberal values with Jewish values, the only challenge tougher than fasting is going 24 hours without bashing Republicans and conservatives.
For many liberal Jews, the challenge becomes too great. They are likely better off staying home and skipping Yom Kippur altogether. It makes no sense asking God for forgiveness for slandering people 364 days each year while continuing to do it on the one remaining day.
For many Jews, liberalism is pathological. Honest differences of ideology and philosophy are replaced with notions of good and evil. Hatred of conservatives becomes a righteous act.
So what will liberal synagogues do this year? Will their services be specifically related to Torah (Old Testament) Judaism? Or will the sermon be a slavish devotion resembling a Moveon.org rally?
Some Rabbis will be unable to help themselves, even for one holy day. Neither will some liberal Jewish politicians.
Will Barbara Boxer blame Republicans for a war on women? There will be no mention of liberal Jews Anthony Weiner, Eliot Spitzer, or Bob Filner, who actually are the war on women.
Will Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz demanding gun control? She was the Jewish liberal who blamed Sarah Palin for the tragic shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
Will Jon Stewart give ideological bigotry a rest for one day?
Will synagogues spend the day pushing war in Syria while insisting that “Bush lied” about Iraq?
Will attacks on “radical Christianity” be part of a gay marriage sermon ignoring radical Islamists who murder gays?
Some synagogues will stick to the holiday’s purpose. Others will most likely feature attacks on President George W. Bush, Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann by Rabbis addicted to liberalism.
For those wondering how these predictions can come with such certainty, past is prologue. If synagogues repeatedly engaging in this behavior throughout the year would like to be called out and lose their tax-exempt status, that would be fine.
A better solution would be for this subtle warning to be heeded. Synagogues are places for Jews to be able to pray to God. That means all Jews should be welcome, regardless of how they feel about tax cuts or Obamacare. The holiday is about worshipping Hashem (God), not President Barack Obama.
For one day, liberal synagogues should be places where only real Judaism occurs. Remarks about supporting and loving Israel are fine. Those wanting screeds about settlements in the fictional “illegally occupied Palestine” should take the day off and stop confusing Occupy Wall Street or Democratic Party headquarters with places of Jewish worship.
Yom Kippur is for Jews to honor only Judaism. Business, including politics, should not be conducted.
For those seeking appropriate Yom Kippur behavior, visit an Orthodox synagogue such as a Chabad house. There will be no abortion, gay marriage, radical environmentalism, or illegal immigration discussions. There will be no liberalism or conservatism, only Judaism. Every Jew will be treated like a good Jew. Every congregant will be trying their hardest to becoming a better Jew in calendar year 5,774.
For the most passionate Jewish liberals, they can ignore Yom Kippur’s lessons and go back to hating Republicans and conservatives on Sunday in their own home on their own time.
They should resist ideological bigotry this one Saturday.
Anybody who can go 24 hours without eating one day per year can also spend the day engaging in appropriate quiet reflection. This beats spreading venom and confusing themselves with the deity they should humbly bow down before.
Love thy Jewish neighbor, even if that neighbor is politically right of center. It may be hard, but Yom Kippur is about taking hard self-improvement steps.
Hineni. Here I am. Jewish, Republican, conservative, proud, and still flawed enough to know what Yom Kippur really means and what must be done to measure up.
May every Jew be inscribed in the book of life for a sweet New Year.
Brooklyn born, Long Island raised, and now living in Los Angeles, Eric Golub is a politically conservative columnist, author, public speaker, satirist and comedian. Eric is the author of the book trilogy “Ideological Bigotry, “Ideological Violence,” and “Ideological Idiocy.”