Jews have always represented the right to be different. Societies that tolerate Jews tend to be free societies. Those that don't tend to be authoritarian or worse.
That's the conclusion of Dara Horn at the New York Times, writing in reaction to the recent shooting in California and more general upswing in violence against Jews in the United States.
Since ancient times, in every place they have ever lived, Jews have represented the frightening prospect of freedom. As long as Jews existed in any society, there was evidence that it in fact wasn’t necessary to believe what everyone else believed, that those who disagreed with their neighbors could survive and even flourish against all odds. The Jews’ continued distinctiveness, despite overwhelming pressure to become like everyone else, demonstrated their enormous effort to cultivate that freedom: devotion to law and story, deep literacy, and an absolute obsessiveness about transmitting those values between generations. The existence of Jews in any society is a reminder that freedom is possible, but only with responsibility — and that freedom without responsibility is no freedom at all.
Woe to the society that does not tolerate Jews.
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