These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem


Posted on May 15, 2012 by David Bogomolny

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Too often bipartisanship is equated with centrism or deal cutting. Bipartisanship is not the opposite of principle. One can be very conservative or very liberal and still have a bipartisan mindset. Such a mindset acknowledges that the other party is also patriotic and may have some good ideas. It acknowledges that national unity is important, and that aggressive partisanship deepens cynicism, sharpens political vendettas, and depletes the national reserve of good will that is critical to our survival in hard times.

-Richard Lugar, U.S. Senator (R, IN)

Following the trend of the U.S. Senate (and all of Congress, for that matter), Senator Richard Lugar was voted out by his own party last week – after serving in the U.S. Senate for 36 years. The quote above is from Senator Lugar’s exit letter, dated May 8th (one week ago today).

This letter resonated deeply with me, and as I read it my thoughts turned to the Jewish nation – if there’s one overarching lesson that I’ve derived from my studies at Pardes, it’s surely the lesson of Ahavat Yisrael… the lesson that we Jews should strive to “have a bipartisan mindset… (and) acknowledge… that (others are) also patriotic and may have some good ideas… (that) national unity is important.”

Insert the word ‘pluralistic’ for ‘bipartisan’, and I find that Senator Lugar’s approach to politics suggests a healthy and productive framework for the Jewish nation to chart a unified course through the divisive currents of change and uncertainty.