Home > judaism, peace, politics, spirituality > Jerusalem – an ideal of equality, freedom, peace and justice

Jerusalem – an ideal of equality, freedom, peace and justice

In my version* of hippy Orthodox Judaism, Jerusalem (and Israel, and Zion) symbolises a place to aspire to of peace, freedom and love.  This idea of Jerusalem as standing for an Anarchist utopia came after discussion with other radical Orthodox Jews, including a couple who have studied Judaism deeply, and one who is fluent in Hebrew, including etymologically.  From what they have said it seems that this was part of a traditional view of Jerusalem – although it would traditionally have had a creator/external G-d more centrally, and simultaneously referred to the physical place as well.  This is common in Judaism, with non obvious symbolic meanings ascribed to many (most?!) words that the direct translation into English fails to carry over.  (Mitzrayim, meaning both “Egypt” and “that which confines us” is another one of particular relevance during passover)

We create “Jerusalem” temporarily many times, with our loved ones, in liberated spaces, in collective endeavours, at the best festivals and on trips to the mountains – or whatever does it for you.  They are temporary in this capitalist, authoritarian world because they are rarely allowed to survive unless money or power of some sort provides a protective bubble, but even then that bubble tarnishes what is inside, especially once those inside become aware that it is just them that are experiencing it, and outside folks are oppressed and hungry.  So for me, as an Anarchist, Jerusalem stands for the world I am trying to create.  And again, to strive towards a place of peace, justice and equality is very rooted in Jewish tradition.

When, at the end of a Seder, or in any of my spiritual practice, I speak of Jerusalem, to me it is with longing for that vision to become a global reality, and with renewed determination that I shall dedicate my life to trying to make that happen.

* and I’m sure many others – I’m def not claiming this as some unique thing that I came up with all on my own!

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