Monday, April 5, 2010

The key question

In Jerusalem, the key question to reconciliation and mutual tolerance of the religious and national communities is the question of Leviticus 19:18 and of the gospels, namely, whether I can regard the other as I regard myself. More specifically, can I regard the other's attachment to the holy city as equally valid as my own? Can I respect the other's love for the holy city not just as genuine and legitimate but as equally genuine and legitimate as my own?

The New York born and Israeli educated sociologist Adam Seligman tirelessly points out that toleration is useless and bloodless unless it is grounded in the deepest roots of our religious particularity. Translated into the situation of Jerusalem this means: never mind liberal Jews and Arabs and their ability to get along because they are liberals; can those deeply committed to the truth of a particular revelation also forge a path toward recognizing those grounded in an equally deep commitment to a different revelation as equally attached to the holy city?

To be sure, this leaves those of us not committed to any revelation out in the cold. Will those deeply committed to one revelation or another be able to tolerate us?

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